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 By the end I had zero self worth, I was withdrawn, depressed, I had no sense of what a normal relationship should look like.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.