We worked together and then started dating, and things were magical. I thought he was the perfect man. I imagined us getting married before we even started dating and was absolutely over the moon in love with him from the very first date. Slowly, over time, he began to emotionally abuse me, mostly through gaslighting. He started telling me that I was too emotional, he would get irrationally angry when I would express discomfort with some of his actions, he wouldn’t let me visit with his family, he wouldn’t meet or hang out with my friends, he was always visibly uncomfortable being around my family. We only did activities that he wanted to do. It got to the point where I wasn’t even comfortable offering suggestions of things I enjoyed. If I tried to bring up the future of our relationship, it always became a huge fight. After each blow up, he would do super nice things like take me to a nice dinner or send me a sweet text message and I was always forgiving him and making excuses for him.
In the beginning, I thought it was just a matter of all couples have their issues and their struggles and what makes the relationship beautiful is how they work through it. Over time, I started feeling like a lot of things weren’t worth the fight, so I just let him dominate most aspects of our relationship. Toward the end of the relationship, I felt helpless, small, out of control of my own life, desperate to hold onto him and our relationship, and constantly on edge. It was like I was begging for his attention and walking on eggshells all the time
Today, I feel relief. I feel strong in knowing that the hardest part was the relationship ending, but I got through it. A week after the breakup, I literally said, “Death would be easier than this.” But I got through it. It was the hardest, darkest, most awful part of my life so far and I survived. I am now pursuing the things that inspire my soul. I am happier now than I have been since before I ever met him. Most importantly, I am proud of myself for getting through it and moving on with my life.
To anyone experiencing abuse… If you feel in your gut that something is wrong, LISTEN to yourself! If I had listened to myself when I was writing about the emotional abuse in my journal, I could’ve saved myself a lot of pain and misery. Also, make a pact with a trusted friend or family member that you will listen to them if they see behaviors that concern them. It was only after the breakup that my friends and family came forward to tell me that they didn’t like how I had changed in the relationship or how he treated me. I now have a small group of people who I trust to be completely honest with me and I have an agreement with them that I will actually listen when they bring up any concerns they may have about future partners.