Last Call for Baggage Drop.

22 Jan

This is it. I need to get this off my chest.  It has been torturing me for way too long and the baggage comes off TONIGHT. I have given bits and pieces and hints to several friends, but only one or two people in the world know the whole story.

A few years ago I let myself fall victim to a situation I never imagined I would find myself in, that is, stuck in an abusive relationship. Now people throw around the word abusive and let me tell you, I fully believe in the effect of emotional and verbal abuse. Those are horrible things and can really mess up a person. But please understand that when I say abuse, I mean full-out physical abuse. And not just “oh he shoved me once” but really bad, traumatizing events. That were happening on a regular basis. Everyone thinks that that sort of thing will never happen to them, or they look at girls who stay with abusive partners and say things like “Is she crazy? Why wouldn’t she just leave? It’s stupid to stay and her fault for putting up with it.” but the whole cliche about abuse being a cycle is so true. And the most horrible, angry, abusive men are the ones who do the most dramatically sweet and romantic things on the other end of the cycle. That’s what keeps you coming back. It’s all about the mind games to them. I could write pages upon pages of my experiences over the last few years of my life, but for the sake of your and my sanity I won’t. But I also want to say that if anyone wants to talk about it, I’m done sweeping it under the rug. And if I can keep even one other person from going through what I did, I will.

Abusive relationships are, as I said, all about the mind games. There’s isolation from friends and family so that you think this abusive partner is all you have, there’s false accusations and SO much criticism so you feel like this may actually be what you deserve, and there’s always the fear of doing or saying one wrong thing to set him off. And they can truly guilt you into believing that everything is your fault, I swear to you there were nights I was thrown against walls and dodging flying objects and in the end, I was the one apologizing. I was the one begging for forgiveness, promising I’d be a better girlfriend. You have to be in a pretty deeply messed up state of mind for things to be THAT turned around. It’s the product of being talked down upon, being told you’re trash, that you’re just a stupid whore that no one else wants. Even in the “honeymoon” phases he had his way of putting me down: “Oh baby, I love you so much. You mean the world to me, even if you are a crazy bitch..” You see? It’s a horrible tangled web that once you get caught up in is so difficult to escape. And every time it happens he promises you it will never happen again, and you believe him because you just want so badly for that to be true, so badly for him to prove to you that you’re worth treating better. But it never happens, and you tolerate more and more abuse always hoping that time would be the last. Never wanting to leave because you just feel like garbage that no one else wants. Feeling like the only one who can make you feel better is the one who smashed you so far into the ground in the first place.

And then there is the humiliation. I am literally embarrassed to have anyone reading this know how I’ve been treated. I’m going to be embarrassed when I email this to my parents before I post it, that I went through this world of hell without ever having the sense or the balls to just tell someone. To think I could fix it myself. That if maybe I could just be a better girlfriend, or stop saying the wrong thing, or talking to the wrong person, that eventually he’d quit. Eventually I became hyper-sensitive, I would notice every little look of disappointment, or shorter-than-usual text message, anything to tip me off that another episode was coming. So I could start apologizing, start back-pedaling whatever I had done to cause the rage this time. I look back now and am amazed at how I tiptoed around him, walking on eggshells, and stripping myself of my very identity in order to please him. I fell for all the guilt trips he laid on me, thinking that he was the victim in life, when I realize now that he was in control the entire time. Like it was all just a game, I was his puppet. It’s sickening.

I finally broke up with him but continued to let him be involved in my life. He’d come and go as he please, hang around just long enough for me to start questioning his intentions, and then leaving and making sure I knew how much happier his life was without me just in time for me to feel like I had made a mistake. It took over half a year to come to my senses, and to cut him off. Even then, I have never been able to fully remove him from my life. I have asked him so many times to quit talking to me, and he’ll give me just enough space to think I’m finally free of his games, and then he’ll pop back in out of nowhere. Text me from a different number, so I don’t know it’s him until it’s too late. Play the guilt trick that always worked when we were dating, telling me how unhappy he is with his life and how he has no friends and his girlfriend is cheating on him and whatever it takes to get me to feel like I’m a shitty human being for not answering him. Then I cave and I reply and I try to be a “friend” and instantly regret it and hate myself and wonder why I am still so stupid. The effects he has had on me have been lasting. I still have nightmares about his outbursts, I still randomly burst into tears if someone says the wrong thing or touches me the wrong way, I still feel worthless sometimes. I have spent time talking to a therapist about it all, who says I am dealing with my own form of PTSD, that I suffer strongly from hypervigilance– in short, being constantly tense, hyper-sensitive, and “on guard”. In an abusive relationship, hypervigilance keeps you alive. In normal life situations, hypervigilance is exhausting. It gives you a short fuse, and makes you think every little thing is a sign of attack. Constantly on the defense, constantly overanalyzing every word that is said to try to detect some sort of negative meaning towards you. In normal life, it causes fights, breaks apart friendships, and hinders relationships. It’s ruining me.

But this is where my turning point is. At the Vineyard this weekend, we spoke about the power that our words have on other people, and the power that other people’s words have on us. At the end, my pastor asked for anyone who felt that they were still affected by negative words spoken over them should come up and get prayer. I didn’t even think about it, it was like my legs were moving on their own, I was up there before he finished the sentence. And it hit me, this is why I feel like I can’t get over what happened. This is why I’m still hurting. This is why even with professional help to deal with the real nitty-gritty stuff: the fear, any PTSD symptoms, etc from the physical aspect of the relationship, I’m still broken. It’s because have taken all the negative words, all the verbal and emotional beatings I took on my appearance, my personality, my worth as a person, and I soaked them in and never have been able to convince myself of anything else. I told my story to the girl who was praying for me and she just looked at me and said “Girl you are NOT alone. I have been there.” and even just those words: you are not alone, swept peace over me. I’m not alone in this? I thought I was. Someone else has been through this? Someone else knows this crazy, messed up world I’ve experienced? I had no idea. She prayed for me and I just cried and cried and afterwards we were talking and she looked me in the eyes and literally took me by the shoulders and said “Laura, you have been carrying this baggage for a YEAR AND A HALF. You have GOT to let it go. Enough is enough. I want you to walk out of this room and do whatever it takes for you to shut this guy out of your life, to stop going through this alone, to no longer allow him to continue controling your emotions. He has NO power over you, his words mean NOTHING to your well-being, and I want you to take every word he has ever spoken over you and you erase those from your mind and NEVER remember a single one. You are better than that and you are better than him and he will steer you away from every good thing in your life if you let him. Put it down, and walk away, and be free, once and for all.”

Wow. I turned around, I walked out of that church, I drove straight home, walked into my room, deleted every single picture with his face in it that I had ANYWHERE on my computer, turned my entire room upside down throwing away anything that reminded me of him in the slightest, blocked him on facebook, and I’m going to get his number blocked from my phone. I don’t need this anymore. I’m done. I’m done letting him manipulate me in order to keep his hold on me. I’m done feeling like a waste of a human being, I’m done feeling like I can never be in a healthy relationship again, I’m done hating myself and assuming others view me just as lowly, I’m done allowing myself to think that he irreversibly damaged me. DONE. I know it’s easier said than done, and it is going to take time to fully put those memories to rest. I still have flashbacks of having my head slammed against a brick wall, being chased in the woods, being screamed at, shaken, pushed down, and everything else I don’t even want to keep listing, basically being treated like I’m nothing more than a punching bag. I am a human being and I have feelings and I deserve better treatment than that. I can’t keep living a life of lies. Do you know how it feels to be put in the ER by the hand of this guy who is supposed to love you? And then instead of having others to support you, you had to tell everyone you just slipped and fell? How it messes with your sense of trust when the one person who is supposed to love you the most is the one you are most terrified of? It messes with you. It eats you alive inside. It scares you. And it still does.

And for those reasons I’m not naming names on here. Yeah if you’ve known me longer than a year you already know full well who this is about, but if you ask me if it was him, I’ll deny it. For the sake of being clear on the fact that this isn’t me ratting anyone out, this isn’t me trying to get anyone in trouble, because the last thing I want is for this chapter of my life to open up again. This is me CLOSING that chapter, and I have no intentions of revisiting it. This is me finally being honest and seeking the support that I should’ve sought out years ago. And this is to hoping that no one ever has to go through the same thing. I wouldn’t wish it upon even my worst enemy. And “emotional abuse” is real, and it’s where this all starts. I remember sitting in the doctors office way before this all started, and reading one of those cheesy posters that said “Are you being emotionally abused?” and it listed all these signs, and I could relate to every single one of them. But I pushed it to the back of my head, and assured myself it’s not abuse until it gets physical. Well, it did, but by then it was too late. And I wish more than anything I had the sense to see those red flags and get out before things got ugly. But because of all this, I can guarantee I will NEVER allow myself to fall into such a similar situation again. I can confidently say that I truly value a good, kind, and respectful person whereas five years ago I would’ve taken you for granted. I am more than willing to talk to anyone who feels they may be dealing with the same sort of thing, but please keep your negative comments to yourself. And finally, as friends and family members, please be patient with me. I don’t want pity, I want understanding. With this knowledge, please look at the times I am extra defensive, or short tempered, or overly-emotional, and just remember that this is a work in progress. I’m trying, I really am. I’m not there yet, but I have come a long way, and I feel closer than ever to the light at the end of the tunnel.

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5 Responses to “Last Call for Baggage Drop.”

  1. Jini January 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    Oh honey….I am sorry you had to go through all that alone. And I am even more sorry that something so horrible has had an effect for this long on you. I hope this is the end of that chapter of life. And as cliché as it may sound, you will find someone who knows that you deserve better and treats you the way you should be treated.
    If you want to talk, I am just a phone call away :)

    Sleep well tonight. Tomorrow you begin a new you! :)

  2. conservatarianthoughts January 22, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    You are a bright and beautiful young woman; worthy of respect and honor. I will do everything in my power to help you realize that! I love ya, kiddo.

  3. Classy In KC January 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    You can not image how proud I am of you for taking this step in the healing process. It brings me to tears to know that me sharing my experience made a difference to you. I know that your story is going to change the life of so many other girls in this situation.
    You should NEVER be ashamed or embarrassed of what happened to you. It was not your fault and you are going to be some much stronger now that you have made it through. I wish you an incredible life filled with all the happiness that you deserve. You are an amazing woman!!!

  4. wendy January 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Wow, I feel like this is my story! I never had the guts to bare my soul like that. Everything wwritten is so true. Very sad situations women can get into and can’t get out because we do feel worthless. My frailty was allowing it to happen twice in my life. Good luck to every women in an abusive relationship!

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