You want to steer, I’m shifting gear

Looking back on my extremely toxic relationship, I can now quite clearly see it was all about control – him controlling me.

Before I met him, life was fantastic, I had a wonderful journey of my life in front of me but in the blink of an eye everything changed.

I was no longer in control of my life, my thoughts, feelings and aspirations no longer mattered – let’s face it, I didn’t matter either, well not to him anyway.  To him I was just a possession, something for him to control on his demand and disposal.

Before I met him, I was confident and knew my own sense of direction but it felt as though he came long and mocked everything out of me, he ridiculed my beliefs and humiliated me at every opportunity knowing the love I had for him would allow me to forgive him over and over again.

The love I had been surrounded with all my life by my parents suddenly ripped away from me as though it shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

I had met this person who piece by piece destroyed me completely, crushed me physically and psychologically in such a powerful and clever way it made me believe he loved me.

Everything he said to me was like a dagger in my heart, his words were so powerful and left their mark in a way that I soon started to lose self belief in myself.

I was suddenly living in a world that just no longer made sense to me, where a mother acknowledged and knew her son was so abusive but never told him any different.

It soon became normal for me that if I dared speak to anyone of the opposite sex, irrelevant of who it was, I would be accused of having an affair, made to feel so guilty that just making eye contact with them was something sinister.  In the end, I learned it was easier for me to walk around with my heart bowed down rather than making eye contact with anyone at all.

That’s the thing about living with an abuser, you might learn the hard way but you certainly learn quickly.  Little tell tale signs that he was pissed off, such as his foot tapping, were indications of abuse that was about to happen.  No matter what others thought, I never provoked him, ever.  It was as though this gush of anger lived inside him and the only way it would erupt was if he lashed out – at me.

Living with an abuser is a rollercoaster or emotions and it’s not easy to identify that you are in a relationship with an abuser.  They are so charming and loveable, until the mask starts to slip off and when their true identity is finally revealed, you are just so crushed, wore down and have no energy whatsoever and have no idea which way to turn, you just feel so lost and empty.

Over a period of time and without acknowledgement, simply acceptance, you have been brainwashed, controlled and manipulated by someone who claims to love you.  Whilst you try to digest all of this, the guilt, anger and blame kicks in too.  It’s a whole whirlpool of emotions and understanding which just feels so surreal and difficult to comprehend or understand.

Three years I was in a relationship with him for and he wanted to steer me in only the directions he wanted me to go, but the time came for me to shift the gear.  It didn’t come easy but almost 12 months after becoming a mum, things changed, I changed and he noticed that – and hated it.  He must have felt that gear shifting.

Of course he loved it when he was in control but hated it when those roles reversed.

 

You leave because theres nothing keeping you there

Love comes in all shapes and sizes the same as perpetrators.  The honeymoon period is the same for both too and dangerously difficult to differentiate the two.

 

It’s all new and exciting to begin with and you really can’t get enough of each other but in a toxic relationship you could say you are groupe to make it easier to be abused.  When friend and family notice a difference in you, you simply brush it off, defiant that everything is absolutely fine, how you and your relationship is perfect and how you won’t hear a bad word said against your partner because they are simply the best.

You believe that, you want that to be true, you tell yourself that but deep, deep down you know it isn’t true.

 

Something tells you that when they tell you not to see your family tonight, that it’s wrong and it shouldn’t be that way but because you love them and want them to love you, tonight is the night you miss going to see your family and the next night you don’t see them until you can’t even remember the last time when you did see them.

 

You feel so frustrated because it seems as though your life is completely changing but your partners’ life stays exactly how they want it to be.

 

Over time you lose your identity to simply become the cook, the maid, the prisoner.  You lose your sense of belonging, just existing rather than living.  You wake up telling yourself, today will be better, always giving them a second chance but that change doesn’t come.

 

Working things out in your mind makes you feel as though you are on a roundabout just going round in circles, you want to stay because you love them, you want to leave because you know it’s wrong but who will listen to you, let alone believe you.

 

You’ve left a thousand times in your mind but you haven’t even left.

 

If only you could see yourself from the outside in, then you would know that you have to leave because nothing is keeping you there.

 

Take a step back, just one and look at the compliments he isn’t paying you, how many times has he told you he loves you, when was the last time he joined in with a conversation with you and your friends or told you to give your mum a call.  When was the last time you work up and didn’t have to walk on egg shells or when you didn’t go to bed wondering if you would wake up the next morning?

 

Can you see the last time you went out with your friends without having to reply to a million text messages or the last time you were allowed to the shop alone without being called, asking who you were with.

 

How many times have you wore your favourite outfits without them ridiculing you, why have you stopped wearing makeup and when was the last time you had a cosy night in without any abuse to follow?

 

Inside that relationship you can see nothing more than your abuser allows you to see but outside you can see everything so crystal clear.

 

They build you up, put you on a pedestal, promising you the moon and stars in return for them to abuse you whilst making our to the work they are the perfect partner.  You feel exhausted from pretending they are that perfect partner.

 

This is how abusers reel us in, make us feel loved with their charm and hurt us with their control.  With no on understanding this complex cycle, it leaves us feeling lonely and isolated, as though we are an outcast in our own community.

 

It often feels as though we are losing a battle within our own mind because we don’t really know what is happening to us or why, we put up with it in the hope it will stop soon.

 

Sometimes we might feel a little brave and tell ourselves that today is the day that we are going to leave but then one hundred million reasons to stay will pop up in our mind, making us stay for another day.

 

We tell ourselves we might as well stay because if we report it, they will deny it, no one will believe me or they won’t be punished anyway so what’s the point, I’ll stay.

 

The relationship you are in is packed full of problems yet your abuser has made you completely reliant upon them and with their wonderful words meeting with your ears, you give them another chance and another.

 

All this is part of the complex cycle, the mix of emotions, the not knowing, should I stay or should I go, that is difficult to comprehend.  With abuse all around you, it’s suffocating but leaving is the most refreshing feeling ever.