I came across an article today where this woman was telling the story of how she stopped wearing makeup because of a jealous boyfriend. Her words hit home for me. This is the side of abuse that nobody seems to talk about; Mental, emotional, psychological. I lived through this nightmare for years in a past relationship. I know firsthand how it breaks you down and changes you as a person, isolating you from every positive influence in your life. The negative becomes your constant and there is nothing else.
I was a teenager when this phase of my life began. I had never heard anyone talk about emotional abuse before. There were plenty of times the physical aspect of it was brought up. As a girl you learn from a young age that the lowest thing a man can do to you is physically hit you. That someone abusing your body is not to be tolerated, if this happens you leave him. And while that is absolutely true, nobody ever told me to leave a man if he doesn’t respect your emotional well-being.
I’m not trying to lessen the seriousness of physical abuse, I am simply saying that these two types are equally damaging. I wasn’t walking around with bruises but I was in just as much pain. I was isolated, shamed, manipulated, intimidated, insulted, and degraded on a daily basis. At first it was subtle, becoming worse as the months and years went by. Upon entering into this relationship, I was a confident, happy, and outgoing person. By the end I had zero self worth, I was withdrawn, depressed, I had no sense of what a normal relationship should look like. When I would try to go see my friends, I would be made to feel guilty about it. Or accused of cheating and being a slut. I wasn’t allowed to have any male friends. I couldn’t put on makeup or do my hair without being accused of trying to look good for other men. When I was pregnant with my son I was called fat, and yelled at for spending money on maternity clothes.
People ask why don’t you just leave him? It should be that simple. God I wish it was. For anyone on the outside looking in it’s absolutely absurd to let yourself be treated like that, and leaving seems easy. In reality leaving is the hardest thing in the world. Your mind is altered throughout the years of manipulation and No matter what this person does to you, you still think you need them, you think you would be miserable without them. Your self worth becomes non-existent and yet you still see this person through rose colored glasses.
It terrifies me to think about what my life would be like right now if I had stayed in that relationship. I will always remember the moment I ended it and how powerful and free I felt. You may think being treated like a human being is a simple thing but I have learned to never take it for granted.
I had my son when I was 19 years old. Fresh out of high school, working a minimum wage job, in a dead-end and abusive relationship. This was my life until I became a mother. The years after high school, your 20s, for most people are about freedom and finding yourself, partying, getting a little to drunk, making bad decisions. While I skipped the wild partying stage that my peers were going through, I still managed to find myself within these years. I have motherhood to thank for making me grow up and leave the life I was burdened by.
One of the most common things I heard when people found out I was bringing a child into this world was “your life is over”. I know what they said behind my back, that most teenage mothers never amount to anything. But the truth is that becoming a mom gave me a whole new life. My life was far from over, I was just beginning to live it. I’m proud to say that today at 25 I went to college, have a successful career, live independently, and I no longer stay in relationships that are not good for me.
I think that many people have the assumption that life is over when you have kids, no matter what age you are. I wish we could get rid of this stigma because it simply isn’t true. When you become a parent that’s not all you are, you are still your own person, separate from the title of mother or father. I’m a single parent who works long hours, but I still find time to do the things I love. I have done lots of travelling, and keep up with my hobbies like photography. I get a sitter whenever I need “me” time or a night out with friends.
Some people would call this selfish. I don’t believe that living your life the way you always wanted, while being a parent is selfish at all. Nobody should ever be made to feel guilty for taking care of their well-being. Essentially, if you are happy then your kids are happy, and that’s all that really matters.
I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be afraid to separate yourself from your title of “mom” once in a while. It’s ok to have solo time. You should never feel guilty for it. It’s even ok to lock the bathroom door and have a shower in peace!
I often think back to when the three of us were kids. Carefree summers spent exploring the forest, camping, swimming, surrounded by our amazing family. Visits to the cabin nestled on a hill by the ocean. We didn’t yet know the burdens and struggles that life would bring. We didn’t know what our futures held, nor did we care, all that mattered was the present moment in time. I never could have imagined that two of us would leave this world before 25.
I’ve never known the impact of suicide until recently. It’s an unimaginable loss that leaves you confused, angry, heartbroken, numb. There are times when it doesn’t seem real. How could she have done this, she had so much to live for how could she not see that? If she had held on for one more day, even one more hour, would the outcome have differed?
These questions will never be answered.
It’s hard to understand and I’m still trying everyday. A phone call in the middle of the night can change your world forever. Receiving two of those calls is something I never thought would happen. The grieving process will never end. I will always feel that sadness when I visit the places we spent our childhood, or see something that reminds me of them.
I hope wherever those two beautiful girls are that they feel the comfort and joy we felt as kids, running on that sun drenched beach with our whole lives ahead of us.
We ended our relationship six months ago. Over four years of my life poured into him, and I have not seen or talked to him since I walked out of his house that day. I’m writing this because for the past six months I’ve had to stop myself from letting him know how angry I am at him for wasting my time, my childs time, and for being too much of a coward to end it when he knew he didn’t love me anymore. I stopped myself from telling him because, what’s the point? My words would not mean anything. They didn’t mean anything to him even when I was foolishly in love. I guess the person I should be more angry at is myself for not leaving a lot sooner than I did.
I know now that I was in denial for a long time. Every time he would look at me with that blank, empty stare. Every time I would hold his hand and he would pull away. Every time I would find his messages to other women, telling them how much he cared for them and how beautiful they were; words I never heard. Every time these things happened I felt so small, worthless, and like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. It’s one of the most heartbreaking things to watch someone you are deeply in love with change into someone else, someone cold hearted and unrecognizable. I felt the loss of our relationship long before we broke up. I can’t tell you how many nights I cried myself to sleep because the man I fell in love with had vanished. I guess I held on for so long hoping that someday he would come back to me, until one day my hope was gone for good. It’s sad when the person you loved the most turns out to be a colossal disappointment.
Most days I wish I had never met him at all, but I am able to thank him for one thing. I thank him for teaching me what a man who is afraid of emotion and commitment looks like. I thank him for showing me what it’s like to feel alone and unloved in a relationship. I thank him for showing me what it’s like to never be appreciated. I thank him for not truly accepting my son into his life. I thank him for showing me all these things so I know what to avoid in future relationships. He showed me what a coward looks like and I will never make the mistake of being with someone like him ever again. I know now how I deserve to be treated, how every woman deserves to be treated, and I will never settle for less again.
Losing you was natural. The end swept in like the tide, fluent and uninterrupted. I welcomed it as it began to rush in, knowing nothing of the future but fearless of this moment. I am not the lone maiden on the shore, I do not need your beacon to keep me safe. This voyage is now my own. This sea is my constant and as I cut loose the anchor I know it will take me home.
I have to start this post by letting you know, I do not struggle from depression. I cannot say that I understand what you are going through because I have not been there myself. I can only speak from the point of view of a person who has had countless people in her life battling this disease. I have seen what it can do to a person…
It was December, cold and snowing outside, I was in bed just drifting into sleep when my phone rang. We all know a phone call in the middle of the night is never good. It was my aunt. She wouldn’t tell me what happened, just asked me to get my mom on the phone. I don’t know how, but before they even uttered those horrible words I knew. I knew she had taken her life. My cousin who I spent my childhood with, grew into teenagers and then adults, one of my best friends…gone. Depression had won.
It really bothers me that some people have the mentality that depression is not a serious issue, they say oh everyone feels sad, you will get over it. Well the fact is that no, everyone doesn’t feel sadness in the way that a depressed person does, and they can’t just get over it. Typical sadness doesn’t cause you to not be able to get out of bed, not be able to function in your daily routine, it doesn’t cause you to feel physically worn down and severely emotionally disconnected from loved ones. It doesn’t cause you to legitimately consider ending your life. From what I have seen I can only describe it as a constant dark cloud above your head. Or a prison in which you are both the prisoner and the jailer. A tunnel with a dead end and no light.
I can honestly say that I believe this is one of the worst things a person has to go through in life. That’s why we, as loved ones of people who suffer from it, have to be there for support. Don’t try to diminish what they are going through by telling them it’s just a phase or a simple sad feeling. They need to know that you will be there for them through this battle and that you understand how serious it really is. Never judge or blame them. This is not their fault. It does not define who they are. Never give up on them. Do not walk away.
Being in a relationship with someone who has depression is a whole other topic. I think the hardest thing to deal with are the days when they just aren’t emotionally available. It can begin to feel like they don’t care, or don’t love you. It can become very lonely, you may feel like you lost the person you fell in love with. It’s a struggle for both people in the relationship. But you have to realize that their feelings for you have not changed, they love you but there are times when they will not be able to express it. That is something you have to accept if you are going to commit to someone who is dealing with this. They will have days filled with hopelessness and even anger but it’s not their fault and it’s not your fault either. Give them space when needed. Be understanding. Not everyday is a bad one. You will both get through it and in the end all the good days will overshadow the bad.
To any of you who are currently fighting this battle, please know that you are not alone. I respect your strength for continuing to take control and win this fight. Even when it feels like you are spiralling down to a horrible place, there is always hope. You CAN win this fight.
The feeling of a thousand suns, warming me, burning away the emptiness and anger. Freeing me to wander among these paths of diamond stars. They all lead straight to you.
This is the birth of a galaxy, bursting into spirals of magnificent light. I hang on your shade of blue.
It’s a feeling of a place that I once knew. Now it’s real. The brilliance of your being pushes me past these horizon lines, bringing me upward from this world into another.
We float across this grand expansion, a journey through the stars. This universe is ours to keep.