What happened that made you decide to leave?
Suddenly my eyes were wide open. I had been spending all of my energy trying to do better, be better so that he would accept and value me. I was finally starting to realize that he held absolutely no value for me as a person, as a human being. My only value to him was as a sounding board, a punching bag, and someone to blame.
The change happened one morning when I expressed that I was unsure of what to wear to a job interview. He called me “irritating” “infantile” and ” a little girl”. He said, “Well, I’ve known how to dress since I was twelve years old”. and I just suddenly realized his insults were completely unwarranted, that it was completely normal to be apprehensive about what to wear to an interview. Later that day I tried to talk to him and get him to apologize he said “I didn’t insult you. I was just telling the truth.” It became very clear to me that nothing I could ever do would be good enough.
I started to remember what it felt like to be happy and fulfilled. I remembered that I had a “Self” that I used to really like. I wanted her back and I knew I had to get away from this man and find Myself again.
How did you feel about your abuser and/or your relationship in the days before you left?
I started to pull away mentally and emotionally as much as I was able. I started watching him as objectively as I could during his rants and tirades. I started to picture him as a tantrum-throwing bully in the sandbox throwing sand at the other kids. He started to look more and more ridiculous to me as he invented things I had done wrong. Jumping up and down like Rumpelstiltskin. I started listening to the way he talked to his friends and family and paid attention to the fact that they got a whole different person out of him. That was another thing he would do. He would say “I don’t treat you any differently than I treat anyone else and no one else has a problem with me.” So untrue. No one got insulted like I did… No one. I forced myself to keep my eyes wide open so I would have the strength to leave.
What three emotions did you most experience in the days closest to leaving Abuse? How did you deal with them?
Fear, of course. I was very afraid I would regret leaving and come back and then he would exert even more power and control over me. If I had to beg to come back I would lose any ground I had ever gained.
Despair. I had to really grasp that everything I had dreamed for my life with him was never going to happen. Giving up that dream of happily ever after was very difficult, but I knew I had to face it.
Relief, truthfully I started to get excited about finding myself and my happiness again.
What planning did you do before you left? Who knew you were leaving besides you?
I told my brother what was going on and that I was looking for an apartment and he said “get out of there right now” and I am staying at my brother’s while I look for an apartment instead of what I now refer to as “That house of pain and sorrow”.
What were the one or two BEST things you did before you left?
I started to objectively watch him while he ranted and insulted. I stopped trying to defend and explain myself and just watched and listened. It really helped to keep me focused on the fact that the problem was his… not mine.
How long ago did you leave? How do you feel today?
It’s been three tear free weeks. We’ve broken up before, and I have cried and come back. Not this time. It’s over. I want a happy normal life, and I am going for it.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
There is a beautiful happy life out there. If you’re being abused it’s so easy to get caught up. Especially if they add an element of truth to the insults. You get completely confused and doubt yourself. I spent almost three years of my life spinning sadly around this man. Never being good enough. Now I am looking forward to a future with a mutual love and respect in it.
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