To the Survivor of an Abusive Relationships
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Relationships

To the Survivor of an Abusive Relationships

You are victorious.

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To the Survivor of an Abusive Relationships
Anna Leigh Mayfield

He loved me, and through that I was led to believe that his "love" somehow validated everything he said and did.

He said everything was normal. He said that my concerns were irrelevant. Then sometimes he'd admit he wasn't treating me right and would cry over his words, but become angry if I didn't comfort him through his self-loathing.

My concept of a healthy relationship became this: his manipulation, my forgiveness, his excuses, my grace, his frustration, my apologies.

He looked at another girl; I had to accept it. I spoke to another guy; he became inconsolable.

He had a bad day; he ignored me. I had a bad day; he abandoned me.

He would refuse to say what was wrong; I would be berated for not asking.

He became angry that I would spend time with my family during the holidays instead of him. (Because, wow, what terrible person spends Thanksgiving with their out-of-state relatives instead of their boyfriend?! Oh yeah, that was me.)

He didn't want me going to church, college, or any activity for fear I might find some random dude and run off with him (which was ridiculous, since I am fiercely loyal). He'd make me feel like a slut and a terrible person if I ever did anything that I enjoyed. After that, he would ignore me.

Oh, and how dare I ever be better at something than him? I couldn't showcase my talents, because that made him feel like less of a man.

I was abandoned on dates, ignored for being upset, shamed for feeling good about myself, and called all sorts of wonderful (sarcasm) adjectives. His encouragement was contingent upon my cooperation. And I experienced this every day until I finally cut him out of my life.

___________________________________

I wish I could say this was an abnormal situation, but it's not. Emotional and psychological abuse in relationships is very real. Physical and sexual abuse is very real. And even when you finally get out of that relationship, those feelings and twisted words follow you. There are days when I still hear his voice in my head, telling me to shut up and just look pretty (but not too pretty, because no attention needed to be drawn to me). These situations happen in romantic relationships, family relationships, and friends.

My friend, if you have experienced/are experiencing this, I want you to know:

- your emotions, opinions, feelings, perceptions, and hesitations are valid

- you matter as a human being and hold immeasurable value

- you are worth more than the sum of that person's lies and manipulative words

- you do not have any obligation to that person. Run. Do not feel the need to keep them in your life. They are not worthy of your affection or attention. They do not deserve a check-up text or some post-breakup coffee catch-up. They, consciously or not, tried to break you down. You do not need them in your life.

- you are not alone. They will try to get you to isolate yourself, because they do not want anyone to judge their behavior towards you. That loneliness you feel is very real; however, there are thousands of people who have walked through this. They can help you and stand with you as you go through the healing process.

- you need to speak up. Keeping quiet about what you have gone through will just cause more damage. Tell a friend, a family member, or someone you trust. If that's too overwhelming, seek out a therapist. The best thing I did was go to therapy. A therapist will take your side and help you work through all of the damage caused by that person.

- you need to stand up. Not literally, but in a motivational sense. That person tried to knock you down. Do not let their intent become your purpose. Go chase your dreams. Go find help. Go prove that person wrong.

- you need to show off. They tried to get you to hide all those incredible things about yourself. Showcase your talents, abilities, beauty. They didn't want you to sing? Sing. They didn't want you to wear that gorgeous dress? Wear that dress. They didn't want you to apply to that school? Apply to that school. They didn't want you to do well at work? Do what you love and kill the game while you're at it. You have been given talents for a reason, and you have every right to pursue and showcase them.

But there is one more thing that is important for you to know. Your pain is real. I let myself think that I was just being over-emotional. The truth is that manipulation has a powerful grip on one's life. It causes deep wounds that take time to recover from. You are allowed to feel hurt. You are allowed to feel betrayed. You are allowed to feel taken advantage of. Because the truth is that you were.

You were abused.

But you are no longer a victim to all that happened - you are victorious. Because, if you're reading this, you are still alive. You survived something that was designed to destroy you. And you, a priceless and amazing soul, have the power to defeat everything that person put in your life.

_______________________________

I am now doing my best in college, making nice grades and meeting cool people. I work out and eat healthy and take care of myself, both mentally and physically. Sometimes I think about him, but now he is just a part of my story, a part of what I have overcome. The nightmares have started to go away. The memories have begun to fade. I refuse to let the things he said and did define or control me in any way.

I am happy. I am joyful. I am confident. I am strong.

So to the survivor of an abusive relationship:

This will not defeat you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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