I'm starting to get worried. Before, I never raised so much as a voice when my ex would hit me with a put-down or when some other type of his controlling behaviour happened. Fool that I was, I thought that since I was "the wife," I just had to deal with it. My experience with the emotional abuse in my marriage was a HUGE eye-opener for me, and I get sad every time I see stories of women where I used to be, talking about how they feel trapped, like they "deserve" that kind of treatment or how "it's just stress."
Trust me. Once your partner/significant other/spouse starts controlling you, it is NOT stress. Actually, that's just one excuse that they use to validate their behaviour. It's just stress. Or money problems. Or they're upset with them in some way. Especially if it's ongoing.
For the longest time, I had a friend constantly telling me what I was going through was NOT healthy. I didn't believe her. She emailed me links to sites talking about emotional abuse, I STILL didn't believe her! I was in denial.
But that denial is not here anymore. While I'm coping with what I went through, struggling to understand the how and why, I'm also on the alert to ensure it won't happen again.
This is why I make a fuss over the slightest bit of something even resembling controlling behaviour from someone I get into a new relationship with. I'm not with anyone now, but there WAS someone I was thinking of having a relationship with. But after his repeated plans of this and that, I won't be pursuing it any further. There was the pressure to wear a hearing aid. There was his desire to just take that H.A. off of me whenever he wanted to (even though I never even got one!). There was his insistence I only be with him and not around any other guys. And of course, the last straw: Always saying "I want you all to me" and "there's going to be just the 2 of us." (He knew I had a child -- and, you know, she is a part of the deal if anyone gets involved with me.) That's "isolation" and possessiveness right there, folks! So, I'm not going to be pursuing anything further with him. Yes, I DID try to spell everything out to him before. I don't let people do that to me. I won't let people decide what I can and can't hear, who I can and can't see. I DO have guy friends -- and I'm a big hugger, so he'd have to live with it if I happen to even HUG one of them. (You know, that right there shows some serious trust issues. What kind of relationship do you have if you can't trust your partner??)
Part of me feels guilty for doing this, though. That's why I'm worried. I don't want to "run away" or break things off at the first sign of controlling behaviour from someone or making something bigger than it REALLY is. But, I just tell myself, if it's ongoing, then it's not going anywhere. I hate just "cutting things off" like that and.... well, part of me TRIES to see him in a positive light. But the other part, the one who went through that hell before, knows I'm doing the right thing in ending things right there. As one friend told me, and this is a friend who's been through the abuse, too, "It's time to look out for A#1: Yourself."
Those are words I live by now. I've been down that road of abuse before. I got out of it. That kind of experience just REALLY tore me down; it ate away at me and made me even want to just....just die. I got to the point where I didn't even care if I lived! It was that bad. That's just one thing abuse will do to a person. It will tear them down. I'm not bitter about my past, though. I don't hate my ex for what happened. Neither of us ever got counseling, but I'm definitely going to seek counseling when I get that chance. I'm not enteratining thoughts of suicide, or anything, but I TRULY believe counseling is helpful to everyone who gets out of an abusive experience. Look at me; I've had TWO! But all the same, I know that abuse tears a person down. Once that ends, it's time to build themselves back up again. And I'm grateful to be fully armed and on the alert to make sure that kind of thing won't happen to me -- AND my child -- ever again. Nobody should have to live that way. Nobody.
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