I’ve written one other time about an abusive relationship I was in for about 4 years. It took me a long time to come to grips with it and to fully understand exactly what I went through. It’s very difficult to look at a person that you loved and to classify the things they said and did to you as abusive because nobody wants to be a victim. Sometimes abuse is confusing, especially sexual abuse when you are in a relationship.
As I’ve stated in the past, I was so young and naive. I didn’t understand that you could be raped by a person you were in a committed relationship with. I didn’t understand that the things he did to me were against the law. I knew it was wrong, but when you’re in the situation and you have emotional attachment, your mind and heart justify behavior and you start to blame yourself.
I didn’t write in great detail the things that he did to me, just a general overview of some of the things I endured. I’m not ready to talk about the specifics in a forum such as this, but I did confide around the time of that blog in my two closest friends a more detailed account of the relationship.
The problem with all of this that I have been facing lately is that memories have been popping up at completely random times that I honestly had completely blocked out. Other things that I did remember have been resurfacing in my mind more vividly. I’m recalling things that I simply forgot about or maybe chose to forget about.
When someone beats you down for so long, it all blends together. I’ve come to the point where I can’t even conjure up a happy memory in those four years. Everything that I once deemed “happy” I now see was miserable. It wasn’t real. It was all a facade created by him to trap me. For every supposedly happy memory I have, I can think of 2 or 3 corresponding events that tarnish whatever I was holding onto to put myself at peace with everything. For a long time I desperately clung to anything I perceived as happy to help me cope, to say “there was a time it wasn’t all bad.”
But now I am older and more experienced and I see that nothing was happy. There was no bliss. There was no laughter without tears. There were no hugs and kisses without fighting and screaming at my expense. In fact, there were no arguments that didn’t end with my begging for forgiveness for things that I didn’t say or do.
So why did I stay? Why would I stick around and put up with this for so long?
Because abuse is calculated and this guy was good at what he did. He was an expert level manipulator and I was the perfect prey.
When we met, I was 19 and he was 23. I was completely inexperienced in every way imaginable. I didn’t have any life experience. I’d grauated high school and completed 3 semesters of college. I was working odd ended jobs for spending cash. I had never lived away from home outside of a dormroom. I’d lost my virginity already, but sexual experience was just not there. I’d dated guys, but I’d never had a serious relationship. I had always been a good girl. I got into normal teen trouble, but on the whole, I was pretty much your classic girl next door.
By all accounts, I was about as naive as they came and if someone was going to take advantage of me, they had every opportunity to do so. I didn’t have the street credibility so to speak to prepare myself for what this gorgeous, smooth talking guy had in store for me.
And the signs were all there on the first night we hung out. All of the red flags in the universe. But what did I know? I was 19, hanging out with an older guy who was paying attention to me and telling me how beautiful I was. This was the ultimate deal for me. How could I feel like this was a losing situation for me?
There are many facets of abuse that make you stay. I’m going to post another blog following this one to explain what they are in detail and exactly what happened that made me stick out this situation for as long as I did.
But, to give you a quick list they were fear, self-loathing, being isolated, lack of self-esteem, and being blinded by emotion.
I know this is a real doom and gloom topic, but it’s an important one. Regardless of how many people read this blog, this is my way of dealing with it and getting this all out. Holding it in for so many years is coming to a head and I’ve slowly become more and more comfortable talking about my experience. If I can help even one person recognize their relationship isn’t healthy or to not feel alone, then I’ve accomplished something. But if not, this is still a huge step for me and that’s why I write.