Updated: Jan 12
I want to start this off by saying to all the womxn, and of course men too who have been through anything, it breaks my heart to hear the stories but because of your strength am I able to share this.
Its taken me a while to put this down as it took me a while to even grasp that I was in an abusive relationship let alone accept it and share it. Ive also felt extremely anxious and afraid to share it as im unsure if other than 3-4 people - anyone will understand this. But I came to realise its not about understanding anymore, this is my truth and yes I was ashamed this happened to me but Im growing from it and becoming a better person and hence dont need to be ashamed of anything. The time felt right and I had to do it.
This piece is not to meant to blame anyone - infact I would like to even write from the perspective of the abuser - but this is just my truth and I stand by it. I still have immense respect for this person hence it took be this long to accept it & be open about it. But where respect is not given back, it makes no sense for me to continue to show any.
Mental abuse and abusive relationships are more common than we think, amongst friends, elders etc.; I only realised when I realised my truth. It is extremely hard to pull yourself out of one and although it starts with societal conditions and lack of necessary awareness and education it CAN be stopped if spotted and a lot of damage can be saved.
Here's my story.. #metoo
L o v e - story of my first love and then my second, the one that will stay.
All my life I had thought love was to be got from an external being and it was essential. It was shown in the movies, the cartoons; everywhere. It was almost engraved in our heads that we need a significant other to complete us or we are not complete. It was conditioned into us that love IS necessary from another human that we start searching for this when we're barely teenagers.
As a teenager I suffered from being severely insecure, bullied, I hated myself, I didnt want to live most of the time, I wished and longed for approval and self love was a concept I didnt even know existed. I saw others and wondered why I wasn't like them; I felt excluded & useless almost all the time. I saw all the pretty girls have many boys like them when all boys did to me was make fun of me. On the outside I smiled, but my world inside was dark. In my own dark world somehow I found this ray of light. As I sat quietly on the side of the bus everyday, sad, wishing, day dreaming, on how I can be “perfect” like others, a stranger came by and made me feel something I hadn’t felt in a long time. Happy. It started of innocent and it was literally like I was in a fairytale. I felt such happiness I had never felt before; I was so happy that when I heard I was diagnosed with cancer the next month, I shed my first tear because I wouldn't be close to them for a while now.
Somehow we are not taught the concept that love and happiness are things we can very much give ourselves, yet we are encouraged to be dependent on others sometimes resulting in self destruction.
So, I fell in love with the happiness and smile they gave me. The importance, the sense that someone actually likes me, for me. Because all I felt before was mostly misery. All I had experienced before was people making me hate myself, so now this new feeling was addictive. So that made me fall, really hard. I won my battle with cancer, and myself at that time. I had decided to be fearless and be exactly who I wanted to be after I was out. We were just 15-16 still. I was out of the hospital and our love story continued.
2-3 years went by great, I thought this was it. I have it all. Love and happiness. My disney movie was officially complete. They actually need me, care for me and see me. They ‘thought’ they were in love too. But no one tells you “love” can be destructive. Love is glorified in cartoons and movies and thats all your learn from a very young age; that falling in love is not only easy but its smooth sailing and butterflies and rainbows and also without it you're incomplete. And that unfortunately stuck with me.
As the years grew, the issues grew with them. Everything wrong that happened I justified it by thinking it was all in the name of love so I can let it go. I let things go all the time, and finally I let myself go at some point and I didn’t even realise. But I had convinced myself I had found true love so its alright. This was the same love that made me an alcoholic, depressed, anxious, insecure, mindfucked beyond words, sad, confused, & just plain exhausted human being. I turned to alcohol as things started getting really rough as no one understood what was happening with me, not even me to be honest. The constant anxiety, the constant mindfuck of what might happen next, what will they say, will they change, etc got to me so much I was pretty much anxious all the time. I needed a painkiller, a best friend, an escape. I found that in my whiskey. We had, had a bad day and a fight and we had broken up and I remember sitting with a friend and they were trying to console me, with all the cliche lines possible and I felt like I was about to burst and yell BUT YOU DONT UNDERSTAND ANYTHING. And I took a sip of that whiskey, and a few more, and that anger burned down, my mind was calm, my pain was numbed. It was an addictive feeling I couldn't let go. I drank sometimes as early as 9am, went from college directly to peoples houses to drink. Always bought liquor and sneaked it in for my "emergencies" which was basically every night when the reality hit me past 11pm and I needed the "love of my life" while they were away thinking of their needs, & hence I needed my best friend again to take it all way. It was a terrible cycle that went on for months. I hid a lot, had to give white lies to a lot of people, got made fun of multiple times, many people didnt take my alcoholism seriously not even them. Not even me till I was hospitalised for alcohol poisoning. But I still didnt stop, I continued my usual but made sure I atleast ate food now. Towards the ending I started throwing up blood, the alcohol showed on my face, and my friends started seeing it too. One really bad night later when I could feel my body give up, I remembered the hospital and all the shit I had already gone through - this wasn't worth it. So i told myself I would stop, & I did. Its funny how I could control my mind for such a thing like addiction all on my own because no one actually helped me out off it since very few people even knew but my mind didnt register all this was abuse until recently.
I tried constantly to make this work, be there for them, make them happy, even with the girls, the drugs, the lies (oh the lies), I really tried doing everything. But nothing I did felt ever enough. They would always wanted an escape from their pain and somehow I always ended up feeling the hurt. We kept breaking up & getting back. Each time I was sure I was done but they would gaslight the situation, emotionally manipulate me; and we were back to square one. I started feeling small again, the darkness I once felt sitting alone in that bus hating myself was back. I didn’t feel good enough, I didnt know what I was doing wrong, I didn’t understand why they didn’t see things the way I did. And even though they always said they loved me, their actions said the opposite.
But I fought, to keep the love. Because I thought “love was all we need”
There would always be times we were amazing. Days we'd be so happy and ecstatic, we could see nothing else but each other. We were even seen as the "it - happy couple" for so long sometimes I still get asked. They had discussed marriage, kids, two things I don't actually have/had has life goals but I had actually given it a thought then, for them. But the happiness was always temporary and it was back to the same problems. Back and forth again and again. Some day’s were magical and the rest was a constant mind fuck to me. It was almost always about them, when they wanted to meet, when they wanted to be nice, when they wanted to text etc. Everything was unpredictable and anxiety was living with me in my room all the damn time. I was always on an edge, never knowing what was going to happen, feeling helpless. Why were they behaving like this? Why are they saying this? But they said the opposite just yesterday? Why are they not understanding? So many why’s and I got no answers. Even till today. My insecurities rose, with my frustration. I was made to feel and I began feeling I was doing crazy things, i’m overacting, expecting too much, being unreasonable and I started believing them. When in reality they were the opposite. I started believing I was the crazy one when all I was, was hurt and confused, I started believing I was expecting too much when my expectations were literally bare minimum. I believed them because I mean, they loved me right, why would they lie?
The lies increased and so did my tolerance. I kept putting up with everything. There was lot of public drama, lot of crying, lot of me wondering why they would do this to me or treat me like this. I always felt like everyone saw me as the idiot who kept getting back with them but i couldn't explain to anyone what was happening, not even myself. So many public blow outs I stood there crying amongst people I didnt even know properly. I wanted someone to stand up for me, maybe tell them to not keep doing this but no one did it and yes I know its not their responsibility but it happened infront of many eyes that were there for years; no one could have thought what they were doing was remotely okay. I always felt small, ashamed, wondered what these people must think off me. A few people however reached out to me thinking I was unaware of the lies and their behaviour & I appreciated that so much because soooo many people had seen them doing this to me over and over again and not one had stood by me or defended me other than my own friends if they were around, so for someone to have the balls to actually tell me this was incredible. Everything I doubted and they straight up dismissed they confirmed was true and I felt myself shatter. So I ended it, obviously. But within a month they had convinced me otherwise. It had been too late now; I was conditioned, brainwashed, manipulated beyond belief & in "love" & they seem to realise this and did this for years. So many things I look back on now I dont understand what made me think this was love. The constant gaslighting, the constant "jokes" on me and how I cant do multiple things, the constant passive aggressive-ness, the lack of remorse, the constant ignorance to my needs, the power play where they wanted all the power to always be in their hands; which meant everything was done according to their convenience Very few times things have gone my way completely. From waiting for 3 hours to pick them up to switching of their phone after gaslighting the situation, to ignoring my messages for days, to coming to my house out of the blue when we hadn't spoken in months pretending nothing had happened - everything was according to them. I ofcourse take responsibility also as I did have the power in me to stop this but like Ive mentioned later, you never know when you are being abused and thats the saddest part. You only realise later, after most of the abuse is already done.
I certainly understand all abusers have gone through some trauma and have pain residing in them to act like this. Its unfortunate we as a society do not teach us these things. So many things like this happen because of societal conditioning. Everything is hushed; from mental health issues to abuses. No one comes forward because there are "rules" and expectations we have from this society we live in. Even though theres a clear black and white in every situation we have leant to live in the grey, keeping out mouths shut, not supporting whats right, not dealing with our issues - and all this for who? our outstanding society. And even I fell into this trap.
I knew they were in some sort of pain and wanted to escape it always, with all their escape techniques that I had accepted by now. But the problem was I was fully there for them, at all times. Everyone who knew us, knows that every single time I was there. I supported them, motivated them, tried my best to understand them everything; but they never saw that. I guess this is what happens when a class A narcissist and an empath get together. Pure destruction of the empath.
I wondered why I was so logical and strong with everything else - why didn’t I just use this here? Why did I put up with someone making me feel so small & useless? Why did I put up with the excess stress and sadness (that I later realised was anxiety and depression)? Why didn’t I leave them and just go find someone else like everyone around me? WHY? And it struck me - no one realises when they’re being abused. For those minute or hours of happiness I received according to their convenience I ended up putting up with years of abuse. (Obviously I am not sharing everything that happened as I dont think I can and dont see the need too.)
This realisation came to me when I was reading an article on how people are in abusive relationships and they dont even know it. And I was baffled, shocked, I let this happen to me. I still am, even till the last meet they continued to manipulate and abuse me and I had just let them. What I thought was absolute pure love was just a phase for them, what I thought was soul crushing connection was just an occasional need for them, what I thought was perfection inside my head was just abuse to myself.
Thankfully this realisation got me into finding out what real love is. The love I deserved and needed this whole time was not inside anyone, but me. As I transformed my self into letting go of the love I once thought was everything; I found myself in every depth off it. I found myself giving my body, my mind, my heart my everything the rest and love it deserved. And even though I was strong in all other parts off my life during this whole time - this always put a darkness on me which I didn’t even notice. It hindered my growth and I couldn't see past the darkness. Now I could see the sun and the sky again. I could breathe fresh air. I could feel the broken pieces getting fixed. Still in progress, but we’re getting there. But even without the pieces being fully fixed, I can feel the healing. I can feel the positivity engulf my body and feel the negativity move out. I can feel the love I always wanted too. And I didn’t get it from someone else, but myself. The acceptance, the appreciation, the feeling that I AM ENOUGH. & I got it all from me. No one else. Me.
And today I write this, not to throw hate on them in anyway. They meant the world to me and and even today I will try & see the best in them, that maybe they themselves are unaware of their doings and didn’t mean for this. I could never wish badly for them and even till day the empath in me hopes they get well. Im doing this because no one understood what was going on inside me, still dont. Not them, not anyone. I felt alone and lost and still continue to sometimes because this part off me had to always be hidden. I cant share this with anyone without them taking it lightly or saying they’ve felt the same or they were just an asshole to me. But this was more. It was traumatic for me. Today, even though im stronger the abuse has left its scars in me. I do not want to hide and neither should other people who go through this.
They still may not understand what they did and probably never will and everyone around us might not either. But I needed to get this weight off my chest and feel light and actually have the courage to say this out loud because I was truly ashamed I let this happen to me, but I also realised soon after beating myself up for this that we ALL need certain negative experiences to shape us and grow us as a person & I did take back a lot from this; the biggest one being I found myself. And ofcourse I want want everyone to know, what I didn't know back then either - that you are not alone.
Now, how can we stop this or help this?
-- ** Please realise that its important to stand up for what's right. There is a clear black and white in situations which we are all aware off. As being the most advanced species on earth we definitely have the intuitive and intelligence to see the clear black and white in situations. Sometimes out emotions cloud our judgement and biases are formed or we just either think its not our problem to solve or we are just afraid to speak up; but this has what caused our society to be so toxic. If you see anyone getting any sort of abuse - physical or mental it is definitely in your power to help stop it. I myself have sent messages to girls I saw were in constant abusive relationships that they dont deserve this or need this; and ive made sure I use the word abuse because until you hear that you never know its abuse. When it comes to serious issues like this - you have to try and remove the biases and stand for what's right. It may not be your problem or situation but the least we can do is give them some support; im not saying its our responsibility to solve peoples problems in the end you have to realise the truth on your own but speaking out about it can fasten the process. This is our community, our species at the end of the day. All these problems are OUR problems as well. It directly & indirectly effects us.
Also remember, constantly standing by someone who is an abuser is enabling their behaviour which then makes us part of the problem as well. Even if it is your good friend, best friend, family whatever, the best you can do is call them out because it WILL help them in the process as well while saving a lot of damage. No one deserves any sort of abuse, it leaves the individual damaged and scarred and no one can really fix it. If as a society we work together to make it easier to talk about problems than rather hide it, encourage people to get help, not stereotype mental illness, crying, pain etc to being weak we would be stopping not just the abuses but also the abuser from being in so much pain.
Spreading awareness on issues like this is what will make that change happen as abuse has gone on for centuries now and its only starting to be spoken about now. Also teaching children at a young age about necessary things can help the child to grow up healthy. Most of our issues today is because of childhood or teenage issues while what we also take in a lot of our principles, values and learning during our childhood. Our immediate environment is our learning. If schools and colleges cant teach this we as people, families, should take the responsibility to teach the child things not what society has conditioned us - but to teach what is actually right and what is wrong. The clear back and white in things. Not the conditioned brainwashed version. If I even knew the concept of self love I would probably not even have been in this situation, if they knew their reasons for pain they probably wouldn't have done this either. So for men who think the #metoo movement is an attack on men or feminism is an attack on men it isn't. We are just fighting for whats right. Abuse can happen to any individual but because our society is built on misogyny and patriarchy woman feel it's impact more & we as women are & should unite to beat this. But misogyny and patriarchy doesn't only mean men - many women may be part of this as well - we are just fighting for whats right. So instead of seeing this as an attack, see this as just a learning experience. An experience to educate and grow ourselves so that we can prevent any individual to go through any sort of horror.
Please also dont ever think love in any form is a good enough reason to put yourself through any sort of pain or misery. The first thing we need to work on and are sadly not taught - is loving ourselves not finding love; that love cannot be given to us by anyone. No matter how much you search it in anybody, you have to find it and give it to yourself. Love is not the end game and not the goal of life just like how many people think happiness is the end goal of life. Happiness can be seen in everything from seeing the sunrise to listening to your favourite song to travelling; its all happiness - there is no ONE thing. The same way love; it can be multiple things; not one entity that is another human being who must give you that in return to full fill life or your life is incomplete, no, love starts with you. Once you find that love, all other forms of love from any being will come to you.
For anyone who has been through any sort of abuse, I am sorry our society has failed us but as proud survivors we must hold our heads high and hope to grow and rebuild this. Together.
I still have days I look back at things and feel terrible, I am human after all, but unlike before where I would self destruct - now I just evolve. I’ve metamorphed into the butterfly now.
Again, this is not meant to be a piece to personally attack anyone. Your conclusions are purely on you. The truth remains.
Remember - the power, the love, is within you. You are complete.
Also remember - being vulnerable and weak sometimes is just part of life & nothing to be ashamed off. Share it, live it, learn from it.
But now, I love me more. And this my love, will last.