Thursday, December 8, 2011
But There Aren't Any Bruises...
I'm about to break down a major wall and share something with all of you that I haven't shared with many people. Because I feel that it is an incredibly important topic, this post will be serious and a very guarded part of my soul will be exposed for the world to read. Perhaps it will be the last tiny bit of closure for my own well-being, but what I would truly like to see as a result of this post is for one person to read it (or pass it on to someone who will read it) and get out of the situation in which they now find themselves.
In 2008 I got into a relationship with what was seemingly my dream guy. We shared all of the same interests, liked the same music and had the most intense conversation I had ever had with anyone in my life up until that point. He was, what I felt at the time to be, my best friend. There were so many red flags, but I ignored all of them and before long, he moved into my home (a home which, after he settled in, I was not allowed to invite anyone to visit) and bonded with my son. To be fair, he was amazing on that front.
It was only a matter of weeks before I started to realize what a mistake it was, but was too determined to make it work and too proud to admit that I was wrong. While he was quite the charmer and could be a truly wonderful man when he wanted to, more often than not he was controlling, belittling, selfish and manipulating.
The number of events (including my very own birthday dinner) where I arrived solo and made excuses for his absence were too many to count, and the ordeal waiting for me upon my return home drove me to the point of simply skipping gatherings altogether. I missed the weddings of two of my very best friends and worked full-time while he sat home and found reason after reason for not having found a job. This went on longer than I'm willing to admit. Twice that I could prove, but more than that if I went by gut feeling, he used the internet to betray my trust with women with whom he would chat both online and on the phone. To add insult to injury, I was made to feel as if I were crazy for thinking anything was going on, and guilty for "smothering" him and not giving my undying trust. Friends told me that they could no longer speak to me because it hurt them too badly each time I'd dry my tears and return to him like a whipped puppy.
To keep this from going into several pages, I will leave the back story at that, but the list goes on. It wasn't until speaking with someone about a mutual friend who was being physically abused that I snapped back to reality. I scoffed at her willingness to go back, at which time I was told "You're worse. At least her bruises can be covered up and will heal".
My stomach to the floor and heart into a thousand pieces. This is not who I have ever been and not who I am. He had to go, pronto.
I am now stronger, happier and more stable than I have been in my entire life. The experience was certainly one which changed me for the better and developed in me a deeper appreciation for the good guys, but I'd never say that it was something that anyone needs to go through. By choice, I have remained single for almost 2 years now. This time has been used to travel, party, bond with my child, surround myself with strong, supportive and caring friends/family, be happy, and prove to myself that I COMPLETE ME.
It was just recently that I decided that opening up to the idea of a relationship with the right man would be something I could now welcome without unfairly punishing him for the deeds of an ex.
HealthCentral posted this story listing ten signs of an emotionally abusive relationship, and I cannot begin to tell you how much they rung true. If you or someone you know is in a similar situation, please encourage them to break away and seek support in friends and family. No man (or woman) is worth the hurt.