Upon reflections of my upbringing,
It truly is no surprise
That the first man I ever “loved”
Would have been mentally abusive
In every sense of the term.
I don’t talk about it, not to anyone. I’ve only ever told really told one person about some of the horrors I endured for an entire year of my early twenties. My friends at the time didn’t know half, a fourth even, of the mind games, guilt trips and manipulation that man put me through. I couldn’t tell my sister, I was too ashamed. Truth is, I didn’t have anyone I trusted enough to talk about it to. I felt isolated and alone. And anyone who knows anything about abuse of any kind, the abused almost always feels that way; alone, with no way out. And unless you’ve actually been in that situation, you will never, and mean never, understand what it’s like. You’ll never understand the conditions that led to a victim being a victim, and staying a victim.
I had no confidence, no self esteem, no self worth. I had no idea what a functional relationship was supposed to look like, feel like. I had no clue how a man was supposed to treat a woman, or what it was to be truly respected or cared for.
In the beginning, he made me feel special, desired, and loved. I fell hard. Things moved at a lightening fast pace, and almost immediately we talking about our future and marriage. But it didn’t take long for things to start going south. He would ignore my messages, disappear for weeks at a time, delete me on social media then pop back up saying he missed me, and that he loved me and was “going though stuff”. And the few times I mustered up enough courage to stand up for myself, he’d twist things around and I’d end up being the one apologizing (he was exceptionally good at that). Apologizing for not being understanding enough. Apologizing for not being a good enough woman, saying I’d do better. I distinctly remember begging him not to leave me. It sounds crazy doesn’t it?
Intellectually, I knew the way he was treating me wasn’t right, but at that point in my life, I’d only ever known a man to make his woman miserable, so in a sense, it was almost normal. I would say things to myself like, “who am I to think I deserve a perfect man? I’m certainly not perfect, so I should take the bad with the good.” Or, “Once we’re married, it’ll all be ok.” I was determined to be dedicated, unwavering in my devotion to him because he had a hard life and I was going to stand by my man. Be a “ride or die”. It all sounds so foolish now, but I’m older, smarter and more importantly, I now possess the self worth that I simply didn’t have back then. But I can remember exactly what it felt like. Feeling like, if I ever lost him, no other man would possibly ever love me. It was my one chance at a happy ending, I couldn’t let my pride get in the way of that. It’s sad to think that as neglected, rejected and sometimes despised I felt by him, somewhere in my mind, I guess somehow still believed he loved me. Or maybe I didn’t believe he loved me. It’s interesting the way your brain finds a way to justify the unjustifiable so you can sleep at night.
I remember how exhausting it was pretending everything was ok, I couldn’t endure being called silly and ridiculous by friends for not ending things, I couldn’t have my sister being disappointed in me, I needed her support more than anything and if she knew of all the nights I cried myself to sleep because of how badly he treated me, she would never accept him. So the worse it got, the more distant I became to others. If he and I were on one of our many “off again” periods, I didn’t say a word, I knew we’d be back on again and all would be right.
I’m not shy about the fact that I have daddy issues, mommy issues, attachment issues, trust issues, abandonment issues and pair all that with my self image issues, I was literally the perfect storm, so to speak, for abuse.
I was a girl desperate for a man’s love while feeling utterly undeserving of it.
My mother still thinks just carelessly cast him aside like I’m some kind of heart breaker and that we were such a cute couple and that I should have married him. Truth be told, even after everything, after he revealed that he hooked with some chick because he was lonely, I would have. I would have still married him if he’d let me. Thankfully, through a certain circumstance that I won’t reveal, God saved me from it, and from him, because I was powerless to save myself.
Fast forward to last year(or maybe the year before). I open up my Kik app and that man had actually had the audacity to message me say something along the lines of him knowing he messed up bad (darn skippy) and that I probably wouldn’t give him another chance (preach) but he’d like to still at least be friends (boy bye!). See, he thought I was still in victim mode and would race back to him. Sorry boo, I’m a queen now.