Real Love: I Thought I Loved Him

I Thought I Loved Him
By Kate Marie Robbins

When you think about abusive relationships, most people’s minds immediately jump to physical abuse. But there is more than one kind of abusive relationship. They can take on many forms. The one that’s hardest to see and even harder to get past is when the abuse is emotional or mental. More often than not, we’re less likely to talk about emotional abuse and even less likely to leave, because by the time the people around you who care see what is going on, you’re so brainwashed into believing everything your significant other is telling you. This is my story.

Before I begin, let me point out that this was a long-distance relationship. When I first met him, he was very attentive. We spent a lot of time talking and getting to know each other. It was nice to finally have someone interested in hearing what I thought about things. We texted constantly and would Skype when we were both home and free. But he was also battling both depression and anxiety. Now, I don’t see this as a bad thing, considering I was battling depression and situational anxiety, but I’ll get to why that it is important I point it out.

Looking back, I’m not sure when it stopped being a healthy relationship. Can you ever really pinpoint the exact moment? I honestly can’t. What I can do is look back and see all of the things that weren’t right about the way he treated me. Things that aren’t healthy…
Some of these were repeated things and some just one time instances, but that doesn’t make them any less right.

-We would Skype, but instead of talking to me he would play video games or watch television, completely ignoring me. When I would get mad about it, he would get mad at me for voicing how it made me feel.
-He would get mad at me for expressing my feelings over anything wrong he’d done, stating I was overreacting or twisting his words.
-He was jealous if I went anywhere other than work or to grocery shop and would try to make me feel guilty for having any fun or not spending my money to help him.
-Ask to borrow money and if I said no, he would make me feel guilty for not helping him. i.e. Guess I’ll just starve them. Guess I’ll just walk 50+ miles to work. Guess I’ll just lose my job then.
-Use his depression/anxiety as an excuse for the way he treated me.
-Ignore me on my birthday, Valentine’s Day, our anniversary, etc. Then get mad at me if I was upset about it.  
-Refuse to respect my wishes when I asked to be left alone when upset or mad.
-Put pressure on me to work more even though I have a whole host of health issues that prevent me from actually working full-time.

None of these behaviors are acceptable in a relationship. I know this now. I think I did all along, but I hoped he would change. I hoped I could help him with his depression and anxiety, but I was wrong. They won’t change. And you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. He made me feel worthless and full of guilt because I wasn’t good enough.

Finally, I realized that I deserved so much better than he was giving me. Breaking up with him wasn’t an easy thing to do. He refused to let me go, but I wasn’t backing down. And even after we broke up, he still tried to hurt me. I had asked him to send back some of my things, but now, seven months later, he still hasn’t done so. I’ve all but given up on ever getting them back.

It’s hard to see just what is happening until it’s too late sometimes. I write this because I see it happening around me all the time, but the only person that can save yourself. I know, because no one would have made me leave. I had to make that decision myself. If any of this sounds familiar to you, know that you are not alone. You can break free and be yourself again.

So much of myself was stolen from me in the three years I was with him. I’m still trying to get me back. Piece by piece I’m putting myself back together. Love shouldn’t destroy you, it should make you shine brighter.

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