I've written a lot about the abusive situation I was in. I always think it is going to be over one day. Finished. That I will have nothing more to say. But somehow it carries on. Sometimes something just comes along and bites you about the relationship which weighs you down and puts you back in a deep deep hole.
I have thrown off so much since I fought myself free and some days that makes me as light as a feather and I literally float around giggling at the new me. I realise I can think things for myself again. I can see things with my own eyes. Really see them. I can judge people with my own naturally sensitive nature and decide how to treat them properly as they deserve. with my real natural personality. Sometimes I get this wrong. I always apologise and try again. People are good. Only he was bad. I trust people now - (women of course - I have little to do with men). They keep surprising me with their amazing support.
Then the fear strikes. The fear of how he twisted everything about me. The fear of the bad things I did and thought and said when he was pulling my strings. And I feel such overwhelming shame and dislike of myself it makes me cry.
And it was really that horrible. He controlled everything about me. He did it in the most subtle ways so that I came to think those things were me.
When I say everything. I really mean it.
I had friends I loved and he convinced me they were horrible people and bad for me. He convinced me that the things they said were stupid and if I thought those things I was stupid too. I stopped listening to those friends and cut them from my life. This made it even easier to manipulate me for him. This is very common I know. Isolation gives them power. He did the same with my family. I cannot tell you how much he ridiculed my beautiful mother. Or the other women in my life that might have helped me. He hated women. All women. I fear for all of the women in his life. I fear for those who will come next. I am powerless to help them.
The views I held and knew to be right, and once upon a time would have defended to the death, he took careful, deliberate, cruel, years to dismantle and ridicule until I felt stupid believing them. You become disorientated if everything you say is challenged and dismissed constantly. You can fight for years and years. You know your own mind! Then one day you just roll over and give in. I tried so hard to think the "right" things as he did. The things that would please him and make him smile - so he would leave me alone. I try to be as good at everything I do as I can and I pushed myself to prove to him that I was good at believing what he told me. I allowed him to use my voice as his. I said out loud the things he believed. I'm ashamed of myself for this most of all. I was a good person. I became a bad person.
The career I had and loved, which he ridiculed and undermined and told me I was useless at, I gave up. I became something else that he preferred. I became quite good at it and convinced myself I loved it. Meanwhile I lost the freedom to fend for myself. I became the one who earned less and did less and was less. That's hard to discover now. That I lost financial independence too. There are worse things than being poor. Much worse.
The things I wore. His. The way I wore my hair. His. The things I bought. His. The house. His. The car I drove. His. Even the things I ate. Seriously. I ate things I didn't like to please him. I mixed and smiled with people I loathed. His people. I stopped listening to music I loved. I listened to his. I stopped reading things I liked. I stopped educating myself. I stopped talking about things that made me happy. I stopped talking with people who made me happy. I stopped looking at things that made me smile. I stopped going to places that made me feel alive.
He once told me I wrote badly. I believed him. I don't write badly. I write quite well. You women tell me I do occasionally and I cannot tell you how much that means. I love writing. It has been the most important part of me since I was a little girl. This is what they will do. They will take everything you love. They will burn it in front of your eyes.
I'm not even the mother I could have been because I spent so much time keeping the children out of his way. Making sure I was doing everything right for him - made sure I was doing everything wrong for them. Again this is a huge source of shame for me. I'm doing my best every day to put this right. It is very, very hard. You can fix yourself. Fixing a tiny human is much much harder.
I became a thing. A construct. A senseless, unfeeling automaton. In short, I became him.
Recently I cried when someone touched me because it was so lovely to be touched by someone who cared for me in the way I was once touched by someone who didn't and it nearly broke me. That was a shock. A real shock. Shocks come all the time with this recovery. Never think you are there or it will make a mess of you on occasion.
So, what can I offer you? What hope can I give you if this is you too?
Oh so very much my beautiful women friends.
I'm cooking the food I want to eat in half an hour. Tomorrow I will be with friends who forgave me. I have a cupboard full of clothes I really like. My hair is a mess and bloody fantastic. My mother told me she loved me today. My diary is pretty full. I spend time making my children laugh if I can. Sometimes they do. I write nearly every day and smile whilst I do it. I question everything I do to make sure it is what I want to do and not a remnant of what he has left in my soul.
I see him as a stain on me. I'm washing it out each day. It takes many washes. Each time I hang myself to dry in the breeze I know that I am cleaner.
I am changing. Back.
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