A Survivor’s Story

October 1, 2019

It started off as any typical abusive relationship: prince charming – handsome, tall and funny, bombarded me with affection, gifts and attention until by the time the red flags started to pop up, it was too late. I was in love and totally ignored them. Finding out his relationship with his ex-wife got to the point where they were taking pictures of their bruises, wasn’t enough for me to make me run.

I am a 30-year-old woman who spent the last 3 years of her life in an on-off abusive relationship. I won’t list all the things that happened but instead how I managed to get out and not go back for the 100th time.

Unless it is physical abuse, it is hard to recognise that you are being abused. You are in love, he makes you think it’s all your fault, your self-esteem is virtually gone and you try to make him happy no matter what but somehow nothing works. People don’t see the bruises on your soul, on your heart. They just think you are snappy, rude and distant for no other reason than character fault. By this point you barely have any friends left thanks to all the emotional blackmail and jealousy.

After a holiday that went terribly wrong and just confirmed my suspicion that my physical safety might be in danger next to him, I turned to Dr. Google. Started to fill out questionnaires, read all the warning signs, blogs – I was shocked. As I found out, I was abused and I didn’t know it.

Realizing that it is happening to you is half the success. I started to educate myself on this matter. YouTube, Ted talks, movies, books, statistics, whatever I found. I made it my second full time job.

I ended up having a separate folder in my phone for screenshots, I had Sally Challen’s picture as my screensaver so when I looked at my phone I could imagine her saying “get out before it’s too late”.

I was lucky enough to have two friends who didn’t get offended by my disappearance but understood what I went through and listened and listened and had the patience to deal with my meltdowns over again. I owe them my sanity.

Every time a nice memory popped up in my head, I said to myself “it was just love bomb. It was to make you stick around for the abuse.”

On a monthly basis I started to write a diary of how I mentally, physically feel. As the months were passing, reading back now I can see how I got better and better. How I went from emotionally numb and barely able to eat to smiling for no reason. The lack of constant explosions, the lack of feeling like being on a war line in a hyper alert state made me bounce off the walls from happiness. Suddenly I had all this energy. My phone pinged and my heart didn’t sink, waiting for him to sarcastically say “oh, someone is popular today”.

Another important thing was to let go the anger and hate. I try not to look at it as he robbed me off of 3 years. He is not evil just ill. The chances of him having a healthy, happy relationship are slimmer than I will ever get. I try to see it as a valuable lesson. As a person, after all this – I feel like I’m much stronger and wiser than I was when I met him. Standing up for myself gave me a self-respect that I lacked. I am also glad to know about all this for the sake of people in my life, I feel like now I can read the signs I didn’t know existed before and my knowledge of it might come handy to someone else in the future.

My next step is – finding out why I go for the “bad guys”. We all have a type. My type has always been the loudmouthed, opinionated, risk taker who people usually call “the toxic alpha”. Quoting Mary J Blige, “Bad boys aint no good, Good boys aint no fun” – I’m not saying is true but certainly what applies in my case. The bad guys been fun. That impulsive high energy channelled in the right direction is exciting and makes your adrenaline hit the sky.

Am I drawn to danger? Do I have some issues I don’t know about and have to work on to not end up in the same situation? Is it possible to find a guy who makes my eyes roll back from pleasure instead of boredom and he won’t scream my head off one hour later for missing the right floor with the elevator? I know really nice people that say they always end up in the friend zone and I am guilty of doing that. They always end up fixing my laptop and being a shoulder to cry on. I know they are the good ones but I just don’t have the same attraction for them – this is going to be the homework of my life.

If you are stuck in an abusive or toxic relationship – please do believe me, the grass really is greener on this side. I know you are scared to leave but right now is this the life you really want to live? I know it’s a nightmare and the honeymoon phase make it so addictive but once you got out, you will laugh and cry in the same time. You will find yourself in place you forgot existed. It’s not your fault. Don’t let anyone steal your sunshine.