how to leave an abusive relationship

I Found Peace After An Abusive Relationship And So Can You

Yes, I was in an abusive relationship. No, I won't let it define me.

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Some people are good at hiding things. They do this to protect the people they love or to protect the person they thought they loved. And in doing that, there comes a price.

I was one of those people, and keeping that secret destroyed me mentally, emotionally and physically. If you're confused, I guess I should start from the beginning and tell you what I hid for so long.

I met this guy. Let's say his name is Chris. Chris and I were friends at first. Then he asked me on a date, and we saw a movie together. We instantly clicked. We started dating in December, and I fell hard for him.

He was my best friend, and I adored him. Around late December, my grandmother's cancer came back, and I was devastated. Chris was there for me, and I was so grateful for that. But after she passed away, he changed.

After my grandmother's memorial was the first time I saw Chris get angry. We headed back to my dorm, and when we got to my room, I was still upset. And he got annoyed with me and slammed me against the wall. I hit my head pretty hard.

I apologized to Chris. I was afraid of him, but that was only the beginning. When he came over he would grab me and leave bruises. He would yell at me, breaking my spirit more and more.

Chris would be angry whenever I would focus on school or hang with my guy friends. He'd threaten to harm himself. I would always drop everything to make sure that he was okay. I would end up coming back with bruises and scars.

This continued to happen over the four months we dated, and I kept my mouth shut. I was afraid and depressed. I felt so alone.

I changed a lot. My grades began to slip, and I had trouble getting out of bed. Worst of all, I began to fear the people I loved - my friends and family. I didn't want to leave Chris because he would hurt himself and because I loved him. I began to believe that I deserved this, even though I never did.

I was drowning inside, and I didn't think things would ever get better. But one day, after not seeing him for a while, I came back with cuts on my face from Chris.

That was the moment that I finally broke down and told someone. My friends finally knew, and they convinced me to leave him. It was the scariest thing in the world. When I left Chris, I didn't know what to feel. I honestly felt empty. I told my family, and they were shocked and devastated. But I felt nothing.

They say time heals all wounds and scars, and it has taken some time for me to heal. The day after I left him, I still felt empty and afraid. There would be moments when I would have random flashbacks of events that happened to me, and I would just break.

I began to believe that nothing would get better, but eventually, things began to look up. I began to see a school therapist which helped a little bit. But part of me wanted to start fresh and leave this dark part of my story behind. So I did. And I will be starting school somewhere new this fall.

But here I am two months later. I'm still here, processing and putting myself back together. And in all honesty, I'm becoming a much happier person. Yes, I still have nightmares and flashbacks of the events that have occurred, but it's slowly getting better.

And I don't want to be silent about this part of my story anymore.

Yes, I was abused. And I'm slowly putting myself back together. But I won't let it define me anymore.

I will be okay. And to anyone who is reading this and has been or is in an abusive relationship: You will be okay too. I've found peace in this dark part of my story, and so will you. Things do get easier, I promise you.

If you or someone you know is being abused, reach out for help. I promise it will get better.

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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I Don't Have To Wear Makeup To Be Beautiful

You don't have to, either.

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For about as long as modern makeup/cosmetics/skincare brands have been around, the notion that women have to use any of these cosmetic products to be considered "beautiful" has also been around.

(If you've read my earlier article about red lipstick giving me my confidence back, you would know that I absolutely adore certain skincare/makeup products.)

However, I personally don't believe that I need to wear any kind of makeup to be considered "beautiful." And you don't, either.

I think that we, as a society, have seriously overvalued aesthetic beauty and undervalued the beauty that comes from being a decent, honest, genuine, and kind person. I believe that while makeup has an incredible and transformation-giving effect on women, (and men too, just for the record), that none of us honestly should depend on x, y, and z products to make us feel that we are beautiful, or that our self worth and sense of self should be tied up in how many likes a selfie of us in a full face of makeup get.

And quite frankly, there is so much to love about our makeup free, naturally glowing skin that so many of us hide, simply because society would love to tell us that we're not beautiful, or pretty, or worth very much at all if we don't use [insert new trendy skincare product here].

Well, excuse my French, but I'm calling bull.

It's not okay for any of us to think of ourselves as less than, simply because we're not following those crazy and crappy societal trends. In a culture where "Instagram perfect" pictures are the ideal that every woman, or man, is expected to look up to, I'd say it's pretty revolutionary to dare to bare a fresh-faced look.

No one has to ever feel the need to compulsively put on makeup to be considered "beautiful."

Because, in all reality, makeup can't measure the kind of person you are.

Makeup/skincare products can't measure your kindness, your generosity, your bravery in the face of adversity, or any other kickass quality that you might have. Makeup can't do that; only what's inside of you, if brought out for the world to see, can do that. And yes, I'm well aware of how cliché and "junior high preachy" that sounds.

So, I hope this article will possibly spark some introspective thoughts on what beauty means to you. I hope you start to think about the fact that who you are as a person is not defined by how "attractive" or "beautiful" someone else might tell you you are.

You define who you are as a person, nobody else has that power.

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