I was in an emotionally abusive relationship my sophomore year of college.
I was always that person who didn’t understand why people stayed in abusive partnerships. I always asked, “well, if it is so bad, why stay?” I never thought I would have ended up in the situation that I did. Now, of course I realize this was an incredible lesson to learn although horrible to experience during.
This relationship, throughout and after I finally mustered the courage to break ties with him, left me confused, self loathing, and spiritually broken. Three years ago I convinced myself that I had made amends with the situation. Forgiving him even though I was the one deserving of an apology. That right there though.. the statement I just made stating I “deserved” an apology, is exactly the mindset with which caused the memories of this relationship to remain dormant within my subconscious. Although in some instances, I was a “victim”, I was still subconsciously choosing to act like a victim after the ties were broken. And because of this victim-tie, I allowed him to take the biggest blow of all, my self worth.
This relationship not only confused me due to the abusive qualities, but it confused me because I wasn’t in love with him. I didn’t even very much like him when we initially started dating, at least not more than a friend. I was lonely and learning lessons as any new-to-college individual is, and the mere fact that someone seemed so genuinely interested in spending time with me seemed pretty cool. This of course was my own wounded self-worth’s facade working its magic. I rationalized that his interest for me must be the beginning stages of love and loyalty. This thought process is something I never thought I would find myself in. It comes from (personally) growing up in a broken home. I was programmed to think, because I was the female, my self worth was determined by male attention. (It’s hard for me to even say that out loud because I never thought that’s what I was thinking… but looking back, that’s exactly what was going on.)
I would go to class and be bombarded with text messages wondering where I was. I would return to my apartment to find him waiting for me; sometimes it was to hang out and never leave my side, and sometimes it was so he could yell at me for whatever I had failed to not realize I needed to do for him. A few times I would “venture” to the library (like an undercover mission) to study. I wouldn’t respond to his texts and would be bombarded with threatening texts and calls accusing me of cheating (or something within this ballpark.) It’s so obviously ridiculous, especially when I reflect back on things. But genuinely, I was afraid of him. I didn’t leave because I was afraid he would somehow ruin my life… when in reality, his actions were allowing me to ruin my own life and take my own shine away from me.
I remember putting together a dance party for my 20th birthday. I crushed the party planning man. That party ended up so fun. Everyone was joyous, it was over capacity. I was finally feeling extremely proud of my capabilities again. My boyfriend was one of the dj’s (which I like to have fun doing as well) so, I took over a set for a bit. Every 2 seconds I was bombarded with threatening whispers that I was doing things wrong, that I was taking the spotlight away from him. At that point I didn’t care. I wanted to have fun and I was. Finally, I cleaned up the venue by myself that night. My boyfriend made it a point for me to know that I had screwed him over so badly that he was leaving. At that point, although probably seeming super sad from an outsider’s perspective, I didn’t mind cleaning it all by myself. It was the first time in 6 months that he was finally not chasing me.
Slowly and steadily I regained bits of strength and self-worth back. I knew I was going to break up with him, it was just finding the time and place…. (By the way, “finding the right time and place” is a cop-out… it’s fear trying to steer you away from your true goal(s)) & thank god for divine conspiracies because, not many days after my party, we went out to lunch and that’s when the breakup occurred. At lunch we shared some sushi and my personal entree came with 2 small donuts. I ate both of the donuts without offering him one. He then proceeded to call me a bitch, throw his chair down, and storm out the restaurant. To say I wasn’t dying laughing at this point would be a lie. Oh, and of course I finished my meal before I went to deal with that. It was finally my time to get what I needed. We got back into the car and I ended it then and there.
I didn’t mean to go into a whole narrative, but I did want to share a brief synopsis of my experience in the hopes that, if you or others are dealing with a similar or worse situation and don’t know what to do, you can at least know you’re not alone. This is something I haven’t told to but a few people and I finally want to release the narrative for good. Don’t get me wrong, I have accepted this experience and moved past it years ago, however, I didn’t realize until recently that I didn’t release it. I still held on to this narrative as a defining factor of who I am… Yes, this experience happened to me and I learned lessons, but it doesn’t define me or change who I am or was as an individual.
**A couple days ago, this ex actually reached out to me with that apology. (At this point, I almost hate to put everything on the table, but we both know our truths.) At first I remember my inner dialog being something like, “oh, don’t even worry dude it’s been years…” yet something made me feel like I had been stripped of an energy I didn’t even know I still carried. Like an old-worn out teddy bear that you always wonder why you still keep.. & that’s when I realized that I appreciated his words. It was the 2nd to last release (this now being the official send off: in the hopes this helps others) and I knew I believed his apology and that we all grow and learn. I was, and am, genuinely happy to hear that he is on a much more positive path and I wish him all the best 🙂
If you’ve experienced something traumatic or wounding (this can be anything and also can be physically or mentally wounding) I want to give a bit of advice for those of you who are ready (or at least think they’re ready) to release their pain:
-Begin meditating with your eyes closed as to present the wound in a relaxed manner.
-Release your victim-ness mentality and (OUT LOUD) present yourself an affirmation of self love and kindness. An example if you’re unsure, “I am not and have never been a victim but a divine spirit who’s goodness was almost taken. I am kind, deserving of love and happiness, and I now present myself to a more-positive and happy world where my soul knows no limitations.”
-Forgive the individual or event that wounded you and pray that you wish for peace and healing to envelope them. (Because people don’t hurt others unless they themselves are hurting)
-Remind yourself that this event was not your fault and say thanks/give gratitude for your current day and life. (I would say everything out loud by the way!!)
**Listen, I know that affirmations, meditation, etc. sometimes come off as “cheesy” methods of self-care. I was one of those people who stubbornly thought didn’t need to meditate or give thanks for every day… well guess what, I’m going to make this easier for you now. Just do it. It is actually extremely helpful no matter whether you are a seasoned practitioner of meditation or you’ve never tried it in your life. Stop being so hard on yourself and allow yourself to live the life you have always been destined to live.
Much love y’all!