I have a friend going through a really rough time trying to pull herself from an abusive relationship. She is telling her own story her own way on her blog. Telling the story is a hard thing to do, and I am so proud of her.
It has me thinking about a lot of things though. I should probably plan this blog and split into two or three, but we all know I don’t do things in the way that makes sense.
First, truths about abusive relationships:
1. The abuse builds slowly and insidiously. Most of us who have been in abusive relationships would have bailed if the guy started the serious abuse from the beginning. Had the one I was with called me a stupid whore in the beginning, I would have dumped his ass.
2. It starts small, and it seems forgivable. Every single person you are in a relationship with will hurt you. Everyone messes up.
3. You learn to make excuses for the stuff as it grows more inexcusable. They don’t even need to try and explain anymore. You just forgive them. It becomes like breathing, and eventually you lose your ability to see reality.
4. Most abusers have wonderful things about them, or we wouldn’t have fallen for them in the first place. Even worse, most of us can see where the behavior comes from, like the abuser being abused themselves, and we want to help them. Abusers are not monsters, but what they do is monstrous.
5. By the time the shit builds to the tipping point, the abused person has been so flipped around they don’t know which side is up. I literally thought no one else would ever love me. I thought I was so deeply flawed, I was undeserving of love. I thought if I were better somehow, things would be different. From the outside, it’s easy to see how much bullshit that was. On the inside, though, things are different and skewed. Remember that before you judge someone trying to pull themselves out of abuse. They are trying to reorient themselves to a different reality. It frelling sucks.
6. We don’t get abused because we are weak. We get abused because we are strong, and our strengths and vibrancy make us a threat. It scares abusers. They try to dampen it.
Second, being alone sucks, but you do realize later it is better than that bullshiv. I am the queen of single. I know I am in a great relationship now, but most of my life I have been single or with men who needed a lot of help I couldn’t give. People try to romanticize being single, and maybe for some personality types being single is frelling awesome, but for someone like me, it sucks. It took being single after being abused, though, to learn about me. I had to go through that bullshit and come out of it and do a whole lot of growth to become someone I love. SO, yes, it sucks, but it is vital.
Third, once you go through the bullshiv and finally do find someone, it is good. The Viking and I aren’t perfect. We’ve been together for 16 months, and by Oklahoma standards, we should be married, and I should be brewing our first kid. We don’t get to see each other a whole lot because of life. I have to say, even with that, it is wonderful. I could never have imagined this sort of love.
It would be easy for me to say it is all because the Viking is so wonderful, but that is only partly true. Don’t get me wrong, the man is amazing. Sometimes my breath stops in my chest when I think of how incredible he is and how perfect we are for each other. But, no matter how amazing he is, we wouldn’t work if I weren’t so incredible, too. I still forget that. He reminds me.
I had to find out what was incredible about me to love him properly. I had to learn how I want to love and be loved before I could begin to be with another person. I had to learn to push all that crap aside and accept myself before I allowed anyone else to try. I found this article about breaking the dating rules, and I realized I did the same thing. I decided before the Viking and I got serious to love him on my own terms and be every bit my flawed, wonderful self in front of him. If he couldn’t handle it, it didn’t make him bad, it just meant we shouldn’t be together.
At every single turn, the man accepted me exactly as I am. After a lifetime of not being good enough, I found someone who not only finds me wonderful but even makes my flaws into strengths. He helps me find my vibrancy when I lose it instead of trying to quell it all together. I am more me, not less. That is how you know it is good.
I had to find me, build me, and love me before I found him. He doesn’t make me loveable or strong. I do that. We are equals. He is just as lucky to have me as I am to have him. I forget that sometimes. He reminds. That is how you know it is good.
Life is messed up, and sometimes it really sucks, but sometimes it is really good. All you can do is push through, learn to love, respect, and accept yourself and demand the same of others. You make it good. That’s how you know.