the impending realities of getting out of an abusive relationship

I need to start off this post by saying that I was never physically abused but abuse is abuse even if he didn’t lay a hand on me.

The emotional and mental abuse took a toll on my future relationships as a result of my traumatic past relationship with my abuser and many people ask me, “Why didn’t you leave? Why did you let him treat you like that? Why didn’t you walk away from it? I would have.”

It’s hard to say why, but one of the reasons was because I loved him.

Or at least, I loved the facade that he put up around him to the point of no return even when his abuse became evident as our relationship progressed further down this spectrum of hatred, self-worthlessness and despair. It got to the point where I hated myself and when I tried to leave him several times, I would feel so lost because I felt like I needed him in my life.

He was wonderful to me in the first part of our relationship.

I met him just three months after my father passed away and to me, meeting this person who said the right things and did the right things felt like a blessing to me. I thought he was a gift from God because my father had been taken from me to be replaced by someone else.

Oh, how I wish I wasn’t so naive with those thoughts.

His first sign of abuse came just a month after we started dating. I should have seen it coming but I was far too deep in my emotional vulnerability and dependency on him to walk away.

He had found out that I had gotten part of my father’s inheritance money in lieu of his death and he tried to tell me what to do it with it. Three times despite my repeated sayings of “no” which he couldn’t seem to comprehend. He decided then that I was stubborn and couldn’t spend the rest of his life with me and yet, he continued to see me.

I continued to see him because I adored him and I wanted to make it work but him, he wasn’t determined to make it work so why did he continue to see me?

It was a question that lingered on for so long even after we broke up and he left Australia for home back in America.

His repeated signs of abuse came soon after. He would tell me things that would hurt me on purpose. He brought my self-esteem down to the worst and often played the victim card on me. Every time I tried to leave him, he would pretend that I was the bad person for trying to leave him and he would successfully guilt-trip me into continuing our abusive relationship.

I remember his words at one point, “I know I am a hard man to love and I’m used to people leaving me and this is no different.”

Manipulative, yes. Guilt-tripping, yes. Abusive, yes.

Of course, I tried to prove him wrong. I wanted to prove that even though he was difficult, I would still love him and he knew the kind of person I was and he exploited that.

The first time I tried to break up with him, his truth and lies came to light.

He admitted to a lot of things; things that should have made me walk away and to this day, I never understood why I came back. It might have been the feeling of emptiness or the feeling that I needed him. It might have been the emotional dependency I had on him or it might have been the foolishness.

But the first time I tried to break up with him, he admitted to a lot of things.

“When I first started dating you, you were like this project for me because you were so innocent and never had a boyfriend before. I wanted to show you what it was like to have a boyfriend.”

After a while, I caved again and contacted him again. I would still never understand why but I felt so lost without him. It might have been my need for love or my loneliness that came after my father’s death but all I wanted was love.

During the course of our relationship in the last month, I had never been made to feel so uncomfortable in my own skin, and in his presence.

He repeatedly told me things like, “If you wore certain clothes, or wore makeup a certain way, or went to the gym and got yourself a bigger bum, you could be one of those Instagram models.”

He repeatedly told me to eat healthier food but never encouraging me to. All he did was beat me down for eating unhealthy but never offer the moral support to do it. He was in short, disgusted, with my eating habits.

He was embarrassed to be with me and constantly tried to hide the fact that he hated being on my Instagram stories or posts. He hated that I introduced him to my family and hated meeting my friends, barely interacting with them when he met them.

He repeatedly talked about how he hated Australia and couldn’t wait to go home, disregarding my feelings that I would have been sad to see him leave.

After he did leave, we broke it off but I promised him that I would be friends with him because he often talked about how alone was and his lack of friends. He talked about his loneliness and suicidal thoughts but it was all a ploy for me to feel sorry about him and stick around while he did whatever he could to gain a crowd of friends back home.

When he did start to go on dates with girls, he would shove it in my face. He repeatedly told me with much arrogance how beautiful those other girls were and that he “wanted a relationship with them”. He treated me with the utmost amount of shit whilst he dated other girls and each time, they only lasted a date or two before he caught onto his shit and stopped seeing him.

Only then, did he come back crying to me.

Sometimes, he treated me like an ego-booster.

I still had these feelings for him and I would send him long paragraphs about how much he meant to me and how he seemed perfect in my eyes. He relished in them and never returned the same amount of respect for me.

He told me the most fucked up things.

He told me that I was “just another girl.”

He admitted to using me for free car rides around Australia whilst he was on his stay here and admitted to using me to make his trip more interesting while he had a shitty career in the marines with zero friends.

He admitted to using me, and said to me on the phone, “I kind of used you and you still fell in love with me? You’re like the most retarded girl I know.”

He admitted that even if we had tried to do a long-distance relationship, he would have still broken up with me.

He lied saying that all the times we ever fought, it was because he was in the military and when I said that we had never fought because of his job and started listing down actual reasons why we had fights, he pretended to be surprised that I would remember everything.

He admitted that he never truly felt any romantic connection with me.

He admitted that he stopped being nice to me after a while because he didn’t want me to fall in love but continued to see me because he didn’t want to be alone during his time here.

He told me that how he hurt me could never compare to how his ex-girlfriend before me hurt him when she cheated on him.

He told me that my makeup skills were heinous when I had only started doing it the month before.

He told me that I was a boring girlfriend who only wanted to sit and drink coffee all day long.

He told me that the reason why he couldn’t love me was because I wasn’t beautiful enough.

This was an abusive relationship on its own that took me six months to get out of after we broke up. I repeatedly went back to him because of how worthless I felt without him and it was him who made my mental health deteriorate.

You’d probably still ask me, “Why didn’t you walk away? Why would you let him treat you like that?”

He was my first boyfriend. He was my first relationship and I had no idea that this was not the sign of a healthy relationship. I thought that this was how I was supposed to be treated in all my relationships.

I thought this kind of behaviour in a relationship was normal.

That’s why I stayed.

This abusive relationship affected me to the point that I ruined many potential future relationships. I became desperate to fill this hole in my heart and instead of going slow with someone, I expected a full relationship out of them. Every time something went wrong, I automatically assumed that it was because of my physical appearance.

I was made and conditioned in a way that made me think that I was never going to be beautiful enough for any relationship with a man.

It brought my self-esteem down lower than it was before. I almost gave up on wearing makeup ever again because what he said about my makeup skills made me feel like I was walking out of the house looking like a clown. He made me feel embarrassed to be in my own skin and flesh.

Whenever I had arguments with my mother that often gave me suicidal thoughts, I wanted to talk to him about it because of my emotional dependency on him and every single time, he would heavily sigh and downplay my problems as though it was all petty talk.

Whenever I missed my father, and wanted to talk to him about it, he would heavily sigh and talk about his own friend who lost his father at the age of three which was barely old enough to have a proper relationship with his father. He would brush off my feelings like they were nothing to be crying about because “other people have gone through worse.”

Whenever something went wrong with prospective dates, he would heavily sigh and talk about himself and all the things that were wrong with me and why boys didn’t like me. He talked about his tastes and what he didn’t like about me and generalise that all men had the same tastes as him.

In the last three months of us trying to be friends before I completely cut him out, I completely hated him. We were constantly arguing over everything and I was always questioning why he did the things he did. He would make up lies and change his answers every time. We would argue some more and not talk for a week.

He came back to me crying every single time afterwards, begging me to stay in his life because of his lack of friends. He begged me to stay and yet continued to treat me like I was dirt. Every time I threatened to leave, he would promise that he would change but he never did.

Finally, I cut him out of my life.

My mental health improved significantly. I didn’t give up on makeup and my skills improved significantly. My relationships with boys didn’t get any better but I learned to let them lead.

Perhaps, the only reason why I kept letting him back into my life was because I tried to see the good in him and when he promised to change, I wanted to believe him. Fortunately, I was brave enough to see past that front and move on from the one thing that made me live an insufferable life for so many months.

The turning point in my life came to this boy. I adored him but not emotionally. He was the cutest that I had known and I wanted to spend time with him even though I didn’t see a realistic relationship with him because he was a completely different person from me.

We hung out three times and each time, I let him lead what happened.

One day, he decided that it was just wasn’t working out. He wasn’t looking for anything serious and I adored him to the point that it was getting serious for me.

And then he just told me, “It’s not working out and it happens.”

I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand how rejection could be so easy. I didn’t understand why he wasn’t telling me it was because of my appearance or something else. I didn’t understand a single bit of what happened.

I consulted my best friend for advice. I was devastated, and I asked him if he thought I was pretty because I couldn’t understand why that guy couldn’t like me and my best friend simply told me that he did think I was pretty.

And it just made me realise that maybe, things don’t work out and it happens.

It has nothing to do with my appearance or personality. Sometimes we just don’t match and things happen. Shit happens.

I moved on with my life, determined to take a break from dating because I genuinely liked him but the week after, I met him.

I had never seen a realistic future with someone before. I had never thought about marrying any man before because I just couldn’t see myself with them in the long run but him? I saw all kinds of futures and we didn’t even talk for very long.

When I first started talking to him, I didn’t like him too much. I didn’t think he was cute but maybe a bit. I didn’t think too much about him and I was careful not to catch feelings because I was afraid of what would happen if I trusted anyone too easily like how I did my abusive boyfriend.

Slowly, I started to like him.

And I knew he liked me too.

He felt like home to me. He never let me go to bed upset with him and we would always resolve our conflicts the same day they surfaced and we always went to bed adoring each other. He treated me well. He treated me the greatest, like the queen I deserved and I knew that.

I tried to do the same for him but soon, things came to light.

I was constantly arguing with him over small things and I would fight more than necessary because I was so used to fighting my abusive ex-boyfriend just to get my side of the story heard.

I refused to apologise for so many things because I was a pleaser for my ex-boyfriend and was constantly apologising to him and I refused to do that again. So I never apologised.

I said hurtful things hoping that he would change himself because that was how my ex-boyfriend made me change myself.

He was constantly saying, “Let’s look past this and move on” just so I could go to bed happy and not upset with him. He was constantly putting his pride down for me so I could win our arguments and he would relent.

He was supportive of me even in dire situations and I couldn’t do the same because I didn’t understand how support meant in relationships.

In so many ways, I couldn’t understand a healthy relationship.

In the end, things ended because of me. I couldn’t appreciate him enough and I couldn’t treat him the way he deserved.

The last time we had an argument, he told me, “I try to treat people the way they deserve like how I do you, but I know what I deserve too.”

He was right and we both knew it. I didn’t treat him the way he deserved and he had the kindest, most beautiful soul and he deserved more than what I could give him.

This is the impending reality of getting out of an abusive relationship. It had affected my relationships with other people, even with the ones who treated me well because I couldn’t comprehend a healthy relationship.

I hope that one day, I meet someone who fills his shoes. He set the standards high and I hope one day, I meet someone who fills his shoes and bigger.

is it time to forgive?

I’ve written about this many times and I suppose, this will be the last time I ever will.

It’s come to that point in my life where I close this chapter of the book and go onto the next one. To move on and accept that whilst the events had unfolded many months ago, I cannot deny that they happened and I can only learn from it. While I try to hope and pretend that they didn’t exist, the truth never ceases to exist.

In July 2018, I met someone who I thought was my first love. He was, but with the help of manipulation, lies and false sense of securities, oh yes, I loved him.

My first boyfriend saw me as a fling. In fact, I never saw him as a boyfriend until he called me his girlfriend and we just foolishly went on from there. I was young, inexperienced and I had a lot to learn from the world outside my own.

He manipulated me, emotionally abused me and in every sense of word, lied to get what he wanted. He was sure to repeatedly remind me that he wasn’t a liar, but yet, he was the exact same thing he said he wasn’t. Perhaps hypocrite would suffice for his character.

For months after we broke up, I tried to leave him. I tried to stop talking to him even knowing that despite how much I loved him, he was toxic and bad for me. I tried to cut him out of his life but every time, he would manipulate me and play the victim as if I was the bad person for leaving him.

“I know I’m hard to love and that’s okay because in the end, everyone just throws me away as easily.”

He uttered those words to me once and it made me determined to keep loving him and be there for him to prove him wrong.

Oh, how I wish I knew just how manipulative those words were.

He emotionally abused me several times. He took my self-worth away just so I could bring his up. He made me feel like life wouldn’t have any sense without him. He made me feel like I needed him in my life or I would lose all meaning. The first time I confided in him, he judged me for the situation that I was in, shamed me and called me things that I didn’t think I was.

That, in itself, was enough to emotionally abuse me.

It took me six months to cut him out of my life. I tried for months and finally, I had it. The last time I spoke to him, I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t sad. I wished him good on his future and bid him congratulations for finishing with his service to the military.

And that was the last of it.

My self-worth has improved considerably since then. I’ve not had anyone tell me that I wasn’t beautiful enough, or that I was too boring, or that I had no redeemable qualities. I’ve made myself my own person. I’ve gotten my school work done and fixed, my own makeup has improved on my own accord and no more hearing “if you improved your makeup by doing what I told you to, you’d look like those beautiful Instagram models.”

In the last six months, I had been talking to a new man every single week in search of replacing my ex-boyfriend. In hopes that they could fill the gap that he left. Hoping that one of them could make me as happy, but to no avail. I got disappointed every single time and it made me frustrated, desperate.

Why couldn’t I find someone who could make me happy?

Two days ago, my sister told me, “You are your own happiness. Don’t depend on your partner to make you happy because it’s not their job. Their job is to amplify your happiness.”

I’ve never heard of anything truer.

A few weeks ago, I met someone. This one was different because he was special. I don’t mean to scare him away and I don’t want to. And the first time I met him, I had never felt more happier in so long. Not because he made me happy but because I felt happy that I could be myself around him and he wouldn’t shame me for what I was. I felt like truly, he was different from everyone else I’d met.

How cliche is it?

I try to be patient with him. Not rush things. Not expect things. We’re in a limbo that I can’t figure out but on the inside, I know that he’s just as scared as I am.

I’m scared that he’ll use me as how my ex-boyfriend did. I’m scared that if he doesn’t return the feelings that I have for him, he’ll use my feelings to his advantage. I’m scared that he’ll manipulate me knowing that I would do anything for him. I’m scared of what’s beyond what we have now.

My fear stems from my ex-boyfriend but I’m no longer thinking about him anymore. I haven’t thought about him in a long time. I would take an even longer time to forgive what he’s done, and I would admit to a forever never where I will let him back into my life.

This is the last time that I write about him because I may still be angry, upset and hurt, but he is no longer part of my life. It has been a month and I hope it goes on to be a year and a decade where I won’t think about the boy who broke my heart and crushed it single-handedly. I will never step foot into someone else’s life with much anguish expecting them to bend by my traumas because this is me starting anew.

I want to be able to love again without fearing the bad and I want to be able to smile knowing that whoever smiles with me smiles genuinely.

But most of all, I want to be able to forgive myself, accept that it happened and to forgive him when I’m ready because we are all fools and he was a fool who didn’t know he lost a gem.

to err is human, to forgive is divine

Every day, I spend some time to read and it fills me with an immense knowledge for everyday things.

The internet is a toxic space, that much, I admit. I am hateful of the company that fills the surroundings and many times, people find validation on the internet only to be disappointed and filled with more remorse than before.

However, in my reading travels online, I came across a post on my favourite forum website, Quora.

It tells of the tale of a man who was in an unrequited love with a girl who he hoped for, and tried to shower his love for her in order for her to fall in love with him and it took him over a year to realize and understand that she will never look at him that way. He was only hurting himself by continuing to pursue her, and that in itself is his fault.

When we pursue someone despite continuous efforts of rejection, we hurt ourselves in the process and it is never the receiver’s fault. They are not obligated to love you.

It is our own.

My mistake in my first and last relationship was putting in 100% before the commitment. I put in my 100%, and I loved him. I loved him to the point that I would have done anything for him, even traveled the world to see him. He was not from here, and we were together for a few short months before he had to leave. He was in no position to be obligated return my affections and I never blamed him for it.

It hasn’t been very long since he left and we last saw each other but I do not want to make the mistake of loving him even when it is clear that there is no hope for us. It is clear that he doesn’t return my love, and he has repeated that multiple times.

I am in denial.

I keep loving him in hopes that he will see how much effort that I put in for him, and realise that I would do anything for him. I wanted him to see that someone was capable of loving him this way, as much as I do, as he lacked affection and company from the people around him. I showed him passion, put in effort and loved him like how I would anyone I wanted to potentially spend my life with.

I wanted him to see his worth.

In turn, it made me forget mine.

I’m glad that I came across this Quora post as it had lit a bulb in my head. It helped me realise that sometimes, we give things up to make room for new, better ones. It made me realise that I deserved better than what he offered me and I was a fool to have thought that he could offer me the world. I was in denial.

Was.

Keyword.

Now, I realised something much more. I realised that it’s better for me to stop chasing after dreams and instead chase a better reality. I deserve someone better, and it took me a while to understand it. I thought that he was that better but I was wrong.

I was hurting myself in a continuous motion. He didn’t love me, and would often talk about his ex-girlfriends by putting them on a pedestal higher than me. He would point out my flaws that he couldn’t deal with and he would be the one who berated me for my lifestyle that I was accustomed to. In many ways, he tried to help me. In more ways than one, he couldn’t accept that kind of person that I was. He wanted me to change for him and it was impossible.

In more ways than one, he wanted someone who was a pushover.

I was opinionated. I was optimistic. I was open. I was none of which he wanted but I made myself available to him because I wanted him no matter the circumstances, the pain and the unrequited love.

That was my mistake.

When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.

I keep this in mind whenever I’m down. Whenever I feel like I’ve lost everything, I remind myself that when life is taken, another will be given. When we lose someone, someone else will come by.

It’s time for me to move on from unrequited love. I was a fool to think and hope that perhaps, I can make him see how much I love him but in turn, he took advantage of that love. He took it, knowing that I wouldn’t say no to anything. He exploited me, and he wanted my love to only be for him without returning mine.

We need to know when we deserve better and when we need to move on. For me, I’m moving on and moving along because I know that now that I’ve lost him, someone else will come into my life and take me.

That is all that I hope for.

It was completely my fault that I got hurt in the process of pursuing unrequited love. This is my punishment and whilst I welcome it with open arms, I accept that I need to forgive myself.

I like to think that he is my first love. I had never felt so much for anyone before in my life and this feeling, I love it. But it’s destructive for both him and I, and I prolonged it for as long as I could just for a few hours of happiness. That was my biggest mistake and I need to learn to forgive myself for it.

To err is human, to forgive is divine.

Forgiving oneself is the most divine intervention they can ever give themselves.