The Aftermath of Emotional Abuse

I originally posted this on my Facebook page, but I wanted to add it to the blog too because I feel it is an important message. While writing this post is far from easy, I understand the necessity for it. I have also added to and made some tweaks from the original Facebook post. Please understand this post can be quite triggering to some, as it covers abuse & the aftermath of it.

A little back story for y’all. My soon to be ex husband and I were really good friends for many years before we actually started dating, he had been in love with me during our entire friendship though I never reciprocated those feelings. Yet, as time progressed, with failed relationship after failed relationship, after seeing the way he stood by me through it all, the ways he was there to help me pick up the pieces, the way he respected me, I finally broke down and decided to give him a shot. We weren’t together very long when we go married, because he was planning on going in the military and we wanted to ensure we could live together on post. We had been friends for so many years, our relationship was amazing, while it had it’s moments there were no red flags. So we had an incredibly short engagement, he changed his mind about the military, and we moved in with his parents not too long before our wedding. That move changed everything, slowly he became someone callous, someone viscous, someone with a hair trigger response. Mind you he doesn’t handle change very well and we were going through several changes from my moving in with him, to him starting school for HVAC, to him finding jobs in his fields, so at first I chalked it all up to that. But things never got better, in fact that only proceeded to get worse. We went from this happy couple who had minor disagreements to the couple who was having all out wars constantly. One day while we were fighting, he had me trapped in our room (a common occurrence for him), I was crying, I was scared, I was done, I just wanted to escape, I wanted to be anywhere but there. I managed to get passed him finally, I had just the tips of my fingers in the door, when he slammed the door shut, I genuinely though he broke my fingers. Removing my hand from the door, I bolted. NO shoes, no clue where I was going to go (as we lived kinda out in the middle of no where, and I don’t drive), no clue what I was going to do. Only thing I knew was I needed out. Walking down our driveway (which mind you is quite long) he came running up to me, tears streaming down his face, apologizing relentlessly, I was shaking, clutching my hand, in a daze. I told him to leave me alone, I just need to be alone. He refused, he followed me. With shaking hands I pulled out my phone to call a friend to come grab me, but before I could hit send, he knocked my phone out of my hand. This was it, I was screwed. But I just kept walking away from him, I was prepared to walk all the way to town barefoot if I had to. It was at some point during this time, that his mother pulled into the driveway (she was quite the handful to deal with and many times responsible for a significant amount of our fights). I finally managed to get him to leave me alone, but as my fog was lifting, I realized there was no way I could walk all the way to town without my shoes. So begrudgingly I made my was back to the house to try to get my phone from him as well as to put on some shoes. Still he refused to give it to me, so I asked him mom for hers after telling her what happened, to which she replied “maybe if you weren’t so controlling, this wouldn’t have happened” Somehow, this all became my fault. Yet, she mind you she repeatedly got on for his anger, for the things that I “controlled” him, like his drinking, like getting him to go to school, like getting him to start getting life under control. I stormed out once again, this time at least with shoes and started my trek to town. He followed me, finally giving me my phone and my space. I dialed my friend, with tears streaming down my face, explaining to him what had happened. I was prepared to leave that day, but I had no where to go, not really. No one could take me in, and he knew this. I made it about 15 minutes from our house, with my hand still bleeding, I haven’t even really looked at it yet, when he pulled up in the car. I knew I had no other options, he knew it, so I let him look at my hand, I let him bandage it up, and we went out for a drive and had a long talk. We tried to make things work after that, but honestly that was the day I decided I was done. I knew this wasn’t going to be the last time, and while it may have been an accident, next time probably wouldn’t be and/or it would be far worse. We got better for a little while, but then things got really bad again, and enough was enough. We only made it a few more months after that day and lived together for a bit after we first separated, until I moved to Georgia. That distance helped to provide me with even more clarity and helped me start to come to terms with it.

The further I get removed from my marriage, the longer I have that space, the more I reconnect with myself, the more I open up about it, the more I realize just how bad it truly was, just how destructive it was, how much it took from me, & how much it changed me.

In the beginning I was in a state of denial over the extents to which that marriage affected me, I just didn’t want to think about it, plus since I live with various mental health diseases I was unsure how much of my perceptions of it were real and how much were manifestations of my diseases. It wasn’t until several months later when I started putting the pieces back together, when I put some actual physical and emotional distance between us, when I started finding myself again, when I started talking about it with others that I really started to see my marriage for what it really was. This become especially clear when I reconnected with my best friend, who had a relationship with him in the months since our marriage ended. It was during those conversations where we talked about our different relationships with him, with the ways in which he treated us, the ways he made us feel, that it finally 100% clicked that this wasn’t just me, it wasn’t just my mental health making it seem worse than it was. It actually was worse than even I had thought, I’ve come to realize that the man I thought I knew was a facade.

I’ve said this many time before, the emotional abuse I have endured over the years left far worse scars than the physical ones ever did. I have worked incredibly hard to overcome it, but there are many days where the words I was told, the lies I was fed, the times I was berated or belittled still control me. Mind you my marriage was not the first time I endured emotional abuse, but it certainly has left its impact on me.

To this day if someone raises their voice, my first reaction is to cower, to wince, to make myself as small as I can, if I could turn invisible I would.

To this day if I say or do the wrong thing I am already preparing myself for an attack, to apologize, to do whatever I can to mend it. The words I AM SORRY have become so ingrained in my language that I find myself apologizing for things I didn’t even do.

To this day I struggle with voicing my opinions, my feelings, my thoughts, my anything, for fear of backlash. When preparing to be honest, to share my truth, I must first deal with the nearly crippling anxiety then once I speak or say my truth, I then start questioning it, analyzing it, seeing what I did or said wrong, how it can be twisted. I second guess myself constantly, I will play out different scenarios in my head for how my words will be received. I will have this massive debate with myself before saying or doing anything. With each word I speak, with each word I write or type whether it is to someone or even to myself, I find myself holding my breath, I feel my heartbeats quicken, my hands start to shake, because for me in the past my words were rarely met with respect or understanding.

To this day as I lay my head down to rest, there are many nights where those words that were spoken with such malice, with such venom, with the sole intent to hurt me, play on a repeat I I can’t stop.

To be told by someone who is supposed to love and protect you that when they are angry or upset with you, they purposefully think of the most hurtful thing that can say rocks you to your very core. It is truly one of the most heartbreaking thing to trust someone, to love them, to be there for them, but to have them sit there and go “Hmmm, what is the most hurtful or painful thing I can say to this person” then to proceed to say it. For me, with my diseases I work incredibly hard to control my words, my anger, my outbursts. People already have a lot of misconceptions about those who live with mental health, and I refuse to give them more of a reason to believe those. While it can be quite difficult, I do a pretty good job of controlling my emotions, especially words spoken in anger. I could never fathom purposefully saying something hurtful to someone else. When I do say something that hurts someones feelings even it is was totally unintentional, I feel AWFUL afterward, I get physically sick to my stomach, I apologize profusely, and I obsess over how I could do such a thing. Generally, I try to walk away before things get too heated so that words which cannot be taken back are not spoken.

To this day I find myself having to sit with my back to a wall and where I can see all that is going on, I struggle with going out to eat because I know it is not always possible to get the table that gives me the best vantage point. I find myself constantly aware of my surroundings, checking for all the exits, ready to bolt at a moments notice. I am always looking over my shoulders, my body is in a constant state of tension and in fight or flight mode.

To this day the fear I once knew as my daily life still filters into this new life I created for myself. I find myself skittish and so easily frightened. I find myself afraid of the smallest things, questioning everyone, their motives, their sincerity.

To this day I find myself realizing more and more how effected I was and still am by the abuse. To this day while I am safe, while I am healing, while I am better than I was before, I am still scared, I am still living with the demons of my past, I am still recovering.

To be in any sort of abusive situation, be it from a family member, a friend, or a partner can do irreparable damage. It will leave scars that never truly heal. It changes you at your very core. And to those of you who say “You should(ve) just walk(ed) away” ” You should(ve) just call(ed) the cops” “You should(ve) done this or that,” it is not as simple as you may think. In my case, the times when our fights got really bad I was either stuck in a car going 100 MPH (which mind you I still debated jumping out of the car just to escape), or in our room which was on the second story with him blocking the door, so I had nowhere to go, no way to escape.

For when you are in an abusive relationship or situation; they break you in ways that make you feel worthless, make you feel like you are the problem, make you feel like it is all your fault, make you feel like you are crazy, like you are irrational, like you are overreacting. They make you feel like you can’t leave, like you have no other options, like this is what you deserve. They create such a deep seed of fear that you will do all you can to keep them from unleashing their wrath upon you, even if it means staying with them. They isolate you from your friends, your family, your support system, yourself… They convince you that no one loves you, that you are truly alone, that they are your savior (by this I mean they tend to prey on those who are already struggling in life, and they swoop in, take care of you, make you feel safe, make you feel whatever they need you to feel, long enough to get you hooked, then their true colors come out, then the facade fades and the masks fall away. At this point though, it is already to late, you are on the hook) They manipulate you in such a way that while they’re destroying you they’re also convincing you that they love you, that they will change. Many abusers are slick talkers and quite charming. In my case my ex was so good at tearing you down in the nicest way possible many times, or I would walk away from the fight genuinely believing it was my fault. He had such a way of convincing me that I was the problem.

I know to most it doesn’t make sense to stay, to put up with it, but for many they do not see any way out. Abuse, especially when it is emotional abuse, changes you, it leaves you a shell of yourself. I am happy I was able to escape before things got any worse and while I am recovering I still have a long way to go.

As Always,

My Beautiful Badass Unicorn Phoenix Goddesses I Hope You Have A Magical Day!