I heard recently that you are only truly healed when you are able to get back on the horse and start doing that thing that hurt you again.
In that way I have been healed over and over, because that thing that has hurt me in life has been romantic relationships.
I have touched on my first relationship on the blog many times before but have never wanted to get too deeply into it because I suppose I didn’t feel healed enough to do so.
But over the last several months that has changed.
My first relationship was abusive – there I said it.
It does not mean that we did not have good times, great times and loving times.
However the man I was with for 7/8 years showed himself to be a pathological liar very early on.
His gas-lighting, silent treatments and aggression got progressively worse over the years.
By the end of the relationship, I did not know who I was anymore, only that I absolutely, had to want more for myself.
We hear the words ‘narcissist’ and ‘codependent’ often these days.
But I do not use these words or the word ‘abusive’ lightly at all.
As a woman who has experienced a lot of success in my life, it is not easy to acknowledge that I let myself be treated appallingly for so long.
There will be many of you reading this blog who will recognise this feeling in past relationships of your own, perhaps even your present one.
Abuse is not always physical as we well know, but I also experienced the threat of physical violence with this first boyfriend a few times. I have since found out that going as if to strike someone – even if you do not – is still physical violence.
Leaving an abusive relationship is not like leaving a regular relationship.
Your spirit, self-esteem and confidence have been crushed. Your strength all but evaporated.
I had to actively psyche myself up many times before I was able to do it – still I went back twice.
No one in my life knew the extent of this treatment I was enduring.
Few would have had the capacity to understand.
I did not understand.
But I did indeed leave, and I am here to tell the tale today.
It is important for me to add my voice to the many voices that talk about abusive relationships, because it marks a place in my healing journey that is particularly significant.
There was a time I would have been scared to write this post for fear of what he would think/do if he read it, I no longer hold any fear about that, because my abusive relationship helped shape me into the powerful woman I am today.
I have been sitting on this post for a long time, but after a recent session with my therapist, I knew it was time to publish it.
The last thing that had kept me from adding this post to the blog, is my shame.
I am ashamed of the person I used to be.
I find it hard to look back on her and have compassion for what she went through.
I want to distance myself from her.
These feelings come from the mistaken belief that it was my fault, that I somehow deserved that treatment/did not deserve better.
Now that I have moved into a space in my life where I absolutely know that I deserve the best – just like everyone else – I am beginning to look back on that girl and give her some love.
Much love Txx