Tuesday, 12 August 2014

After mental abuse


Source

Warning: this is a long and personal post.

I've shared this personal experience because I believe it to be an extremely common occurrence and want to express that is it is anything but ordinary.

It is unacceptable.

This is a tough topic that is close to my heart, as I feel it is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that mental abuse and psychological bullying is part of a normal relationship, of any kind. It is especially hard when you are in a sexual relationship for the first time.

I had two boyfriends before I began seeing a person who would soon turn into my only past relationship regret. The warning signs where there, right in front of me, screaming at me, telling me that this boy was no good. He had very recently broken up with a girl (it turned out that it was only a few weeks previous to me) and would joke about how he would deliberately annoy her or talk excitedly about the arguments they used to have.

My heart had been broken a few months previously and I jumped far to quickly into believing that this prospective boyfriend was a good fit. Looking at this guy and his friendly happy exterior, I was fooled into the thinking that it must have been the ex girlfriends fault. I was the fool at the beginning, maybe during, but not at the end.

It started with asking what I was wearing when on a night out and then saying "you've only curled your hair like that to pull someone else". He would ask for me to send a picture message and almost instantly respond with "why are you wearing make-up?, who are you trying to impress?". Writing this all down makes me angry at my former self for not seeing how controlling he was becoming, but for a year I went from a bubbly, happy girl to a self conscious mess who was always crying on nights out at uni and worried what her boyfriend would say if she went to a party without him.

For example:

I once left a really cool, awesome, fun party (the kind you see in movies) because he was telling me to leave and would not stop texting or ringing me telling me how crap I was to him. If I had turned my phone off I would have felt worse because I knew that he would be getting angrier by the second. So I left.

I left the gym because he said that I wasn't doing it for health, I was doing it for attention.

I would decide what to do socially depending on my boyfriends mood.

I did not make any new friends during this relationship. I did however introduce the majority of my friends to him.

Before things escalated this guy showered me with attention, he made me feel important and wanted. So when he started to change, I thought it was my fault.

I even forgave him when he kissed someone else. I brushed aside the obvious, that he had sex with someone else.

I didn't push the argument when I found a wrapper from a brand of condoms we didn't use on his floor. Somehow he managed to turn that on me and made out that I must have brought it in to his house by it getting caught in my knickers! WTF

By nature I am not argumentative, I don't have the energy or the need to fight and I am one of those people who will always think of the best comeback after the conversation/hissy fit fight has finished.

This guy could twist anything his way and there was no point.

It turns out that he cheated on me multiple times and I was a bit of joke with some of the girls he was cheating on me with. Not long after I dumped him I had to stand in front of one those girls in a queue, who was obviously talking about me behind my back. Yes, I am trying to live are more peaceful and mindful life now, but eight years ago I wanted to chuck my pizza box right in her face.

A few months towards the end I wanted out of the relationship and I think he knew it. He became more controlling and I couldn't fight it. He had woven his way into my friendship group and it felt like he was more popular with my housemates then I was. It was tough. I let it get to me.

I could write a whole book on the constant mental abuse but I don't want to. What I will say is that it escalated.

First, it was the time we were both drunk after a night out and he violently shook me so hard over and over and then ending it by bashing my head against the wall. All because I was said hello, to a class mate, who I used to live near in halls. In his mind I was flirting. All because my friend was male.

Then the time he hit me in the face with such force that my glasses flew off my face and broke. That was for dancing with a gay guy he didn't know. It was joke dancing, as in, how stupid can I look etc. This was the turning point. He had full on hit me in front of my peers and one of my housemates in the middle of our student union.

I went home and the next day I broke up with him over the phone, with the speaker phone on. So my housemate could hear how manipulative he could be. Not my most perfect moment but I needed someone else to hear it, to know what it was like.

I knew it wasn't going to be an easy break up, but hell, it took about four years for him to leave me alone. He told my friends that I lied about being hit. He made out that I was drunk that I had fallen on the floor and broke my glasses on my own.  I couldn't believe that they would side with him, the people I lived with, knew before him, I chose not to fight it. Maybe this was the wrong thing to do but if they didn't believe me after people had seen it with their own eyes, I wasn't going to bother with them.

It made uni a very lonely place.

Gradually I made new friends and re-established a few old ones and it was okay. I was starting to feel comfortable. Then came the devastating blow of loosing one of my best friends. Which is my fault entirely. Six months before we broke up I confided in my then boyfriend about how worried I was about my friend, they were struggling with some life choices. I didn't know how to help. In no way should I have shared that information with my boyfriend, it was not mine to tell and I have learnt my lesson because I have never told a secret since. Loosing that friend has to be one of the things I regret the most.

What I didn't think would happen was, that he would wait almost a year later to publicly embarrass my friend, when I wasn't there to help defend them, or to explain. This led to the kind of radio silence that is deafening. I lost that friend forever. I ruined my friendship and reputation, a lot of people thought I was a piece of shit. Even though I didn't orchestrate what happened I was the messenger, my friend became the victim of my awful relationship and that was so unfair on them.

There was also a rumour going around campus that I had wet the bed during sex. Amusing yes, however it isn't fun having to go through the motions of that conversation, "No I didn't wet myself. Yes, I know what he said.... etc". It was so draining.

In the end, the people that believed him didn't matter, however it took me a few years to get over loosing friends that I thought would be around for a while.

More lies came, unknown phone numbers constantly pestered me, So I changed my number. Email after email chased me through the internet, so I changed my email. These steps repeated themselves, until for some beautiful reason they simply stopped.

It was a breath of fresh air.

Before starting this blog, I honestly thought about not doing it because I was worried about him finding it. Finding me. Now I'm strong enough to know that he can't do anything, I'm better, stronger and happier then I ever used to be and letting the past dictate my future would be a terrible thing. I can't be bullied anymore.

I promise you no matter how tough it is right now, it does get better. The future is indeed brighter, you just need to go through the motions and come out the other side a bit wiser and resilient.

If anything or anyone is stopping you from doing your thing, chasing your dreams or dragging you down. Remove it or them out of  you life. It will be hard but worth it. Please don't left someone belittle you and tell you that it's love. It isn't.

Of course, sadly, there are individuals out there with experiences far worse than mine. But this is what I dealt with and have learned from it.

Now I don't take any crap from anyone and I now know what a loving, honest and compassionate relationship should be look like. Feel like. Be Like. I also know my own worth and don't rely on someone else for it.

Don't let anyone tell you differently. You are amazing. You are unique. You are LOVED.


11 comments:

  1. Excellent post Liz, I'm glad that you shared it. I'm sure a lot of readers will identify with parts of your story. I'm sorry you went through all that, but pleased that you've come out the other side and that you're now happier and stronger. And don't forget, there's a whole bunch of us ladies that don't take crap in our skincare, and won't take it being directed at lovely people like yourself xxxx

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    1. Thank you, i wasn't sure if i should post it. I had written and then re-read it multiple times before deciding to share it. But i think is is important to share the good and the bad, it is what we learn from and guides us to what we look for in future relationships! Yay for not taking any crap! x

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  2. This was so hard to read, I really feel for you. Luckily I have never been in a relationship like that, well done you for getting through it and coming out the other side stronger and happier. Rach xx

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    1. Hey, I was hard to write but very cathartic. I'm sorry if it was painful to read, I just decided to share it after deliberating for a long while. If it were to rings bells with just one person then that would be amazing. lots of love xx

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  3. This was a great post, and I am so sorry you had to go through something like that, something I think is more common than it would seem. I feel like a lot of blogger tread very lightly when it comes to the tougher experiences in life and it is great to hear someone be open about what has happened to them...it was very brave of you!

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    1. Hey Danielle, Thank you for such a lovely comment. I was nervous about the response but I felt like I wanted to share it as it has made me more aware of what I should be looking for when in relationships and concerning my wellbeing. x

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  4. I am sorry to hear that you have had such an awful experience, but I am pleased you are in a much better place. I think it is very brave of you to share your experience. Hopefully it will help others in a similar situation recognise the abuse they are going through, and see that it is possible to leave it behind you.

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    1. Thank you Karen, That is exactly why I decided to post it. Thank you for reading xx

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  5. You are such a strong woman to have come out on top like that. It was a difficult time, but you are resilient, and used it to become a better person.

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    1. I don't actually see myself as terribly strong but strength does come from experience and from this I didn't come out stronger and wiser. Thank you for stopping by xx

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  6. Oh Liz, this was so hard to read I bet it was much harder to write, you are so brave! I feel for you having to go through that but now you've come out stronger, knowing that it is now in the past & you can move on in life, being treated the way you deserve to be! Well done for writing it, I bet it will help a lot of others too xxx

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