Living And Coming Through Emotional And Mental Abuse

He was the sturdiest thing i'd ever seen on two legs, not just his stance, or his body language but his mind too. Self assured, confident, intelligent, I didnt need to put him on a pedestal, he'd already had one. And a little vulnerable, a slight edge to him that made my heart reach out. We fitted together so perfectly, me with my random eccentric ways, him with his discernable logic and unwavering strength. Funny how people only show what they want others to see, it would be a long time before I saw the real him.

So many things going on in our lives, so many drama situations, close ones ill, loved ones dying, tragedy, we saw it all. It brought us closer together for a while as we both showed our vulnerabilities, isn't that what love should be? being unafraid to bare the bits of you that you have hidden so well. It was for me, but not for him, the more I uncovered, the more he pulled away and punished. The self assured, confident and intelligent man became the controller, the abuser and the blamer.

When do you pinpoint a change in someone like this? Is there a trigger, that perhaps it was your fault, something you did or didnt do. The slow realisation that your actions no longer mean anything to them. That punishment begins with the withdrawal of emotions. You ask yourself why, you ask them why, then the excuses start. They push you to the brink of despair, then when you are about to walk away, they beg, plead tell you they love you. Like a tide ebbing and flowing.....mental cruelty for days, then love given freely. Is it a thought out game to them? Or do they not realise their own behaviour.

The emotional withdrawal attacks your self doubt and self esteem, questions never answered knawing away day after day. Then once that happens, it gives them more ammunition. Your ugly, your fat, your useless, your stupid....it makes them feel superior, then they can hide their own self loathing easier. You see how it works? They put you in a place, where they don't want to be themselves. They are much to afraid to see their own weaknesses, so they bring out yours. It happens so slowly, so slowly you dont see it happening. I made excuses up to my friends, my family, even stopped calling them. Did I see it happening at the time? maybe not, I had my own pride too. I didn't want to fail. I didn't want to be all those things you told me I was, stupid, a failure, unimportant and insignificant.

You never hit me with your fist, but you hit my soul, my heart, my mind daily. You helped me on my journey to anti depressants, to anxiety, to phobias. You created a false safety net for me, in the four walls of our home. You told me I was a bad mother, yes you even said love was not enough. I should have been stricter you said, you bullied my children when you got bored with bullying me.

Nearing the end a little bright light appeared, in the form of a conversation with your ex wife. A woman who is couragous and noble, all the things you arent. I had never heard of the term gaslighting before, but my god i suddenly understood it, it all made sense! It wasnt ME that was going mad, like you would have me beleive...you had done this before, to someone else.

And so I left, and what a mess i was. A year on now, and I laugh, i laugh at the absurdity of it all. I see how things really were. But underneath my confident exterior, I feel guilt, guilt at not seeing things for how they really were, guilt at putting my children through that time. I feel sad too, sad that there are other people out there that are still in situations like this.

I see you for who you are now, still that unpopular lad at school with the big jam jar glasses, thats where it started wasn't it? The bravado, the intellegence, the confidence all acted to keep that little boy away. And the only way to keep that little boy away is to make sure you are always in control and above everyone else. Well, you know what....I was a little girl like that, but instead I learned empathy, compassion and feeling for others. I am proud of me, because I know my weaknesses and I am not afraid to show them.

Eldorai Eldorai
36-40, F
6 Responses Feb 25, 2010

Ethic, doesnt it just feel like your shoulders are no longer carrying a load? Like the eggshells you walk on are gone. There are times I have to check myself and not fall into that pattern of self destruction (as he conditioned me to beleive), but all in all i'm coming back. I havent been in a situation where I have met someone new, so i'm not sure how I will react to that, but for now i'm happy being a single person and growing for me, no one else. hugs xx

I felt i was reading my own story.. I could relate to every line of yours.. But thank Heavens i m done with him now for the past 2 years. I ve this immense relief.

Tinkerbell, my heart goes out to your aunt. I really believe the abuser learns from peers and their own life experience. My ex partner's dad was a fiend, and his childhood was spent in the shadow of an angry dad and a very submissive mum. I really feel his only form of attack to raise his self esteem was to be just like his own dad he feared. I don't want to make exuses for their behaviour, but it helps me to understand and feel a kind of pity, to cope with what he put me through. It makes me sad to think that actually if he (my ex partner) had let go of all that, his true colours would have been beauitful. maybe i'm putting this slant on things to bring myself up above his behaviour, to make myself feel the better person and therefore get over it, i dont know, I have no idea what was happening in his mind when he was doing those things, but for once in my life I feel superior to him now. Its took me a long time to feel that. We have no contact now, so my feelings don't affect him. But, back then he worked hard (whether consciously or not) on 'providing' me with a sense of comfort, better the devil you know and it took me 6 times of leaving, going back to finally make the break. I guess everyone has a cut off point, and the longer you are 'brainwashed' the harder it is. I shall say a prayer for your aunt, that she finds the light of her inner strength xx

I am so happy to meet someone else who was able to break away,there are so many who never do.I have an aunt who could have been free when my uncle passed but now her son is the abuser,She just can't believe she doesn';t deserve it. Congratulations!!

Thankyou Dita, you are so right it takes strength to pull away from people like this, and even more strength to regain your own sense of worth. It can be done, and when the realisation comes that you are not the person they made you beleive you were, the freedom you feel is amazing. That, i beleive is the turning point, when confidence and self esteem can return. More often than not, the abuser stays stuck in the cycle, repeating old patterns over and over. But we grow, and learn and recognise the signs quicker, and bless you, for your pain and your survival. :)

Beautifully written, thank you for sharing. I'm so happy for you that you have overcame it all!<br />
I myself was in a similar relationship, 2 infact! I man used words and the occasional fist and the other just fists. When you suddenly realise that life cant go on the way it has been, it comes as a revelation to you, you feel powerful, strong, and in control! <br />
Us as mother's need to set a bench mark for our children, we need to be strong, we need to make them feel safe. The women that have been through such things as this and overcame it are the most strong willed women I have known....