You love them. You want to be with them.
But what started off as a loving, caring, fun relationship, has turned into a controlling, threatening and fear-filled existence.
It didn’t happen overnight. It took time for their paranoia to emerge. Yet the more you reassured them that they were the only one, the more they suspected you of deceit. Despite your innocence, they made you feel guilty. So you stopped meeting friends, stopped seeing family. You stopped going out.
And how could you have foreseen that the very things they used to love about you, now seem to be the things they hate about you. Previously they had been encouraging about your work and were proud of your achievements. So it is hard to understand why they are suddenly suspicious of your interactions with colleagues or why they take delight in belittling your accomplishments. It doesn’t take long before you are doubting yourself and have stopped thinking of promotion or embracing new challenges.
Soon your ability to manage your life has been sabotaged and it is they who determine who you see, where you go and what you do. But something even more sinister is going on. The criticisms are becoming more personal and demeaning. Your self-esteem is spiraling downwards while your anxiety is soaring. They are not just controlling you physically, they are manipulating your mind. And you don’t know how to stop it.
Most of the time you find yourself feeling battered from the day before, mindful of the day ahead and terrified of what tomorrow could bring. It was never meant to be like this. Everything had started out so right but now it is all wrong. Somehow you feel you’re to blame even though deep down you know you’re not.
You don’t feel strong but there is a spark inside you that gives you hope that things can change.
For me that spark of hope was found in faith, Even though I had seriously questioned the existence of a higher power during the tough times, I knew that somehow I had got through those dark days for a reason. The reason was that I mattered. I had a purpose in life. It took time, tears and courage, but through faith I experienced the unconditional love that allowed me to love myself. Faith gave me the strength to break free and reclaim my life.
And if you are in an abusive relationship, you need to break free too.The alternative is to continue with the negative cycle which will perpetuate your misery for the rest of your life.
Your mind, body and soul are unique. They are not to meant to be someone else’s property. Your dreams and aspirations are special. Your purpose is not to be someone else’s puppet. You deserve to live your life as the person you were meant to me. Not as the person someone else wants you to be.
And I do understand that sometimes, things aren’t as bad as ‘all that’. And they do say sorry occasionally, and they do try to make up for it. The gifts prove that they were feeling guilty about what they had said or done. And when they are good to you, you can almost forget the bad times. Can’t you?
Yet you know that things can’t continue as they are and that something has to change. But don’t expect the change to come from them. They have no motivation to give up their power.
I know that I used to pray for the other person to receive some miracle transformation from the Jekyll and Hyde character into the loving, caring, stable individual that I knew existed. And I would forgive them so that we could start again, each time praying that this time it would all work out. It never did. And it was never going to until I found the courage to heal.
You can’t change the other person, so you have to change yourself. That is hard to do if you’ve been accustomed to reacting. If you have become physically isolated and emotionally worn-down you will be fearful of change. Which is why you need support. Be brave. Take that step and reach out to family, friends, domestic violence groups, your doctor, church fellowship – anyone who can be there for you as you make the journey to break free.
It’s time to set boundaries and make plans. It’s time to stand firm and start believing in the wonderful being that you are. No one expects you to be able to take massive leaps to freedom, little steps are fine. Just as long as you are moving forward. Be mindful that as you make changes, they will notice them and feel a difference in you. They won’t like it. And you know all too well what happens when they don’t like something. So make sure you have a safety plan. And use it.
Keep reminding yourself that you are taking responsibility for your life. You are not helpless. You have the right to be happy. You deserve to follow your dreams. You are worth it.
Breaking free will release you to laugh again, love again and live again. What are you waiting for?
A massive ‘Thank you’ to Melanie for inviting me to guest post here and allowing me to share my thoughts.
About the author – Carolyn Hughes
For 20 years I called alcohol ‘The Hurt Healer’ It numbed me from being abandoned as a child by my mother and abused by my father. It gave me confidence to deal with the present and took away my fear of my future. But it also kept me trapped in depression and hopelessness. My lack of self-belief led me to relationships that only served to reinforce my worthlessness. Through faith, forgiveness, serenity and joy I found the strength to reclaim my life. Today I am happily married with two amazing daughters.
Today it is faith, forgiveness, serenity and joy that make up ‘The Hurt Healer. Join me on an inspirational journey to live life as the person you were meant to be – My blog The Hurt Healer – http://carolynhughesthehurthealer.com/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheHurtHealer Twitter – @bluetufty