Monday, 20 March 2017

Emotionally Abusive Relationships

This is not the easiest topic to write about. Firstly because it's quite a personal and emotional topic for me and secondly I'm cautious about generalising the issue.

If it's not obvious from the title of this post the issue I'm writing about is emotional abuse. When I write emotional abuse I mean as the form of an emotionally abusive relationship and not the emotional abuse of a child. So here is the trigger warning. If details of emotional abuse are triggering for you then it's best to stop reading now.

Lastly, before I finally start the actual blog post I just want to state that I'm writing based on my own experiences I write on behalf of myself and my experience of emotional abuse and not other people's.

Emotional Abuse I feel isn't talked about enough or taken seriously enough. I didn't know nearly enough about the emotional abuse until I went searching for it. I really wish I had known the signs earlier, it would have saved me from lots of bad experiences.

I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for seven months. I'm thankful it wasn't that long, but it was definitely long enough to change me as a person.

It was my first proper relationship. I was ecstatic when we became partners. I was on top of the world. We had been friends beforehand and this had felt like the right step for both of us.

The first month our "honeymoon period" was great. Then slowly things started to change.

We never kissed or went further than holding hands and cuddling throughout our entire relationship. 

We were both shy people and it felt natural to go slow, but after a while, it started to feel like it was the right time. However, my partner didn't agree. I would NEVER pressure someone to do something they didn't want to do. That isn't the problem. If they weren't comfortable to kiss then I would never pressure the and that would have been fine. 

The problem was in the fact although they wouldn't kiss me they would talk and brag about previous partners and strangers they had made out with. This made my already low self-esteem feel even lower. It made me think I wasn't good enough for them or even anyone. There must be something wrong with me if even my partner doesn't want to kiss me.

My self-esteem, while I'm the relationship, reached my lowest it's ever been. Not only did they never kiss me, but they would talk openly about all these hot girls they liked. They liked the badass, smoked, got drunk a lot, confident women. I was the opposite of this. I felt bad for not being able to conform or be like who they fancied. They would talk about these women in front of our friends leaving me feeling embarrassed as it was obvious to everyone I wasn't like the people they talked about.

The problem with the low self-esteem is that even though I wasn't feeling too happy with the relationship I stayed in it because it made me feel like no one else would want me and I was lucky to have my partner want to date me.

The controlling aspect came next in the relationship. They would get easily possessive and jealous of anyone I hung out with. They would make me feel guilty if I hung out with my friends without them. It got to the point where they started to guilt me anytime I hung out with my best friend. 

Near the end of the relationship I left for university and it turned into a long distance relationship. In a way, it was both a blessing and a curse. They texted and messages me constantly. If I didn't reply instantly or quickly after they would guilt me and say things like "you're obviously too busy for me and don't want to talk to me" when in reality I was in a university seminar so couldn't reply. It became so conditioned into me that I would feel bad anytime I didn't see a message sent from them and reply in the first five minutes.

Throughout the entirety of our relationship, they played the victim card. We both suffered from mental health illnesses, but it was always focused on theirs. I would spend hours talking to them, making them feel better, giving them advice. I spent most of our relationship acting as a personal counsellor. I helped because I loved them and I wanted them to be happy, but it started to cost my own happiness.

I would push aside my own mental health illnesses and problems to jump to their aid, but the more they realised this the more they used this to their advantage. They were sad every day and used this as an excuse. 

My own mental health suffered so much throughout this. Not only was I dealing with so much of my own personal problems I was dealing with theirs too. Whenever I tried to talk to them about my problems they would turn it around to relate to themselves and the next thing I knew I was comforting then. I relapsed so many times during that relationship. I'm not proud of it and I wish I hadn't let the relationship ship affect me that way, but in the moment it felt like I was drowning and I couldn't cope. The relationship that used to bring me happiness turned toxic and dragged me down, it made me feel worse.

I tried to break off the relationship several times. It didn't work. They would guilt me, say they would change, say that it would get better, all couples go through a tough patch. I would take them back because even throughout all this I loved them and I wanted to believe them. I later began to realise that it wasn't a "rough patch" like they said, but just a general toxic and rough relationship as a whole. Finally with the support of my family, friends and my counsellor I got the strength to end it all.

It was hard and emotional. I did love them and it broke my heart. For the first few weeks after the breakup, I felt guilty. I felt bad for them. So many times I nearly decided to dive back in because I hated hurting them, but I managed to struggle through.

It's been over a year now since the relationship ended and it most parts I'm happier, it was definitely the right choice to end it, in fact, I wish I had done it sooner. Because although I'm no longer in the relationship I'm still affected by it to this day.

My self-consciousness is still so low. I don't think I can get into a serious relationship for a long time now. I don't think I can take the fall and I don't think I could let myself believe that there is anyone really interested in me. I believe everything is my fault, and my mental health has never really recovered well since.

This relationship conditioned me so much that even now a year on as I write this I worry whether I have the right to write it? Was I really emotional abused? Maybe it was my fault? Maybe I deserved it all?
But I have forced myself to in hopes that it may help even one person.

Don't let anyone EVER drag you down. Don't let anyone manipulate you. If you are not happy in a relationship don't stay caged in. You have the right to leave. You have the right to be happy. You have the right to talk to who you want. You have the right to have independence. You have the right to be yourself. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

No comments:

Post a Comment