Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And it all comes flooding back

(I know this video is about abuse more physical then what I went through, but the first time I watched it I seemed so familiar, that push/pull on/off feeling rang very true.)

I've mentioned before my first boyfriend P. We were together for almost 3 years. I moved to the city with him. We lived together after we broke up for another 9 months. What I don't often tell people is that the relationship was emotionally abusive. P spent a lot of time isolating me from my friends, he would tell me how ugly or fat I was, but how he still loved me and I should be grateful to have him. He never trusted me and used to call me a whore and accuse me of sleeping with other people despite the fact that I never did and never even came close. He controlled every aspect of my life to the point where I started doing things I didn't want to to please him and just stopped going out with my friends or going to any parties (and I was in college at the time, so there were plenty going on) because I didn't want to face the interrogation and accusations afterward. I was reamed out if I ever didn't answer my phone or immediately text him.

Through all that, I stayed, in large part because he spent most of the effort he put into the relationship to convincing me that I couldn't do better. That I was weird, I was fat, I was stupid, I was ugly, and no one else would have me. At first, I tried to break up with him, but he would cry since he knew it was my weak point, or later on, when that stopped working, he would make veiled suicide threats instead, until finally, I resigned myself to staying with him. Right before I started dating him, I had injured my knee, and started gaining weight. He dated me through the weight gain and made sure I knew it. When I was at my weakest point, with little self esteem, something in me broke, and I started to eat up everything he told me.

I would complain about him to my friends, and when I was alone, I knew how much I hated him, but I didn't leave. Even after we broke up, we weren't really. We still had sex, we still we completely enmeshed in each other's lives, I still paid for everything he had, including the apartment we shared. Nothing changed, but he used the break up as an excuse to bring other girls home and have loud sex when he knew I would hear it. He also creepily listened in and masturbated during the one time I brought someone home during our cohabitation.

Finally my best friend put his foot down. We kicked him out. I still saw him all the time (he worked at my local grocery store), and I occasionally broke down and had sex with him. Finally, about 18 months ago, I decided I'd had enough. I started deleting him from my life. His number, his email addresses, his facebook, were deleted or blocked. I even started grocery shopping somewhere else this past month.

But today, I saw him as one of the visitors to my online dating profile. Then he texted me. I can't seem to get him out of my life, no matter how hard I try, and he, for the life of him, can't understand why I would want to. He maintains he never did anything wrong. He thinks it was all in my head. That's the source of his power. Any chink in my armor lets in those thoughts that I'm just crazy, and as soon as I saw his name, that's exactly what happened. All those doubts, those worries come flooding back. I start to wonder if I should just date him again. I worry that all those things he said about me were true, that I'll never find someone else who will "put up with me."

It took me a long time to acknowledge just how bad our relationship was. I didn't call it abusive until recently, and it ended years ago, but even through everything I went through with him, even though I can't stand him, part of me feels this constant pull to go back to him. I don't think I ever will. I feel like my roommate and parents would pull me away by my hair if they had to, but they would never let me go back.

... After typing that last sentence, and realizing how true it is that everyone stopping me is probably the only thing that's kept us apart for so long breaks my heart a little. I can only hope someday he's no longer that little voice of doubt in the back of my head.


  1. ...He won't be. And you know what? I often hear that you have to deal with things on your own, which here would translate to, "just let out your own voice, and make it be louder." But I don't think that's quite right. I think it's perfectly fine, even better, that you have other voices surrounding you with warmth and love, even protection. They may seem small now compared to his, and but they have the numbers. The voices of your loved ones, and your own as it grows with their help, will someday drown his out. :)

  2. Sometimes you need the other voices to help you understand the truth, not the lie that your mind is perpetuating. It was only my therapist continually saying 'And why are you still there?'. Every week for six weeks. Along with the other counselling he gave me, I finally understood that I was worth so much more than this.

    My ex was not a bad man. Im not sure he even realised the mental abuse that he inflicted. But he did incredible damage over a period of three decades and still I stayed. I thought he was right and I didn't deserve better.
    Ruf showed me that I was beautiful and worthy of being cherished.

    So are you. I still have to see my ex because of the kids but I try to avoid other contact with him. When someone has been such a key part of your life for a long time, it's very hard to totally eradicate the connection and I dont intend to slip backwards. If you can avoid this man, you should. Shop somewhere else. Don't answer his calls or texts.

    You both need to move on!

    PS I love that song too.

  3. It is so crucial that you do not answer the texts or posts from him. You will always have that mental scar from the hurt he caused you, being around him, and or contacting him only keeps the scar fresh.

    You need to keep the focus on you. Obviously you are doing that since this blog has been up and running again ;) Don't lose that focus!

    An abusive partner will always maintain that they did nothing wrong. Nine times out of ten it is because they have convinced themselves of this.

    It seems that a true change from this guy would be for him to acknowledge what he did to you and make changes in HIS OWN life, accordingly. Then take those changes and apply them elsewhere. He missed out on a good thing (you).

  4. This is why you are so strong today! Feisty and know what it is you want out of life now.

  5. I just came across this post from a google search. I am in a similar relationship although I don't think to your extent. I hate him but I love him.