For the last eight years, I’ve been in an abusive relationship.
Abuse is not exclusively limited to romantic relationships; abuse also occurs in familial and platonic relationships. The abuse I endured happened to be from a member of my family and was mostly emotional/psychological in nature. However, the abuse did become physical on two separate occasions.
After eight years, I’ve finally made the painstaking decision to cut ties.
While I know it was necessary for my own sanity, it was not an easy decision to make. I’ve been wrestling with this decision for one third of my life, yet I never thought myself brave enough to follow through with it. I still don’t. Maybe one day I will but, right now, all I feel is sadness. An important relationship has just ended. It may have meant little to them but it meant the world to me.
The past twenty-four hours have been an internal battle with myself over whether I ought to grieve given everything I experienced. This person lied to me, manipulated me, threatened me, and even stole my identity, an act that led to me being groomed. So why grieve? Why have I shed tears over this? The behaviour and actions from this individual have been abhorrent, yet my heart is breaking. I feel nothing but unwavering sadness. Though the things they’ve done are unforgivable, I still love this person deeply.
I don’t like them but I love them.
Whether I should or not, I’m grieving. I’m grieving for the person they were. Believe it or not, they weren’t always this way. I’m grieving for the person I’ve lost. I’m grieving for the person I had convinced myself they could have been. And I’m grieving for the years I lost believing they could change, like a hopeless dream.
An Unhealthy Relationship
I’m finding it hard to even admit what I experienced was abuse. It somehow doesn’t feel significant enough to warrant being labelled as abuse. It took many panic attacks, much heartbreak, and several nights crying myself to sleep to finally realise this was an unhealthy and abusive relationship.
I had myself convinced for so long I could never cut ties with them. They told me if I ever did then they would end their life. It wasn’t a risk I could take. My loving boyfriend tried in vain for several years to reassure me that it wouldn’t be my fault but I couldn’t believe him. I was consumed with guilt and fear. What if. I had panic attacks imagining scenarios where the police would knock on my door. If this person wasn’t online for a certain amount of time then I became concerned for their safety. Every time I saw them I had to tell them I loved them, just in case. Much of our relationship was built on fear. I see that now.
Right now I’m trying to come to terms with my decision. I’m trying to cope with the loss I’m feeling and learning to navigate a life without this person. It’s not going to happen overnight. I have years of behaviours and thoughts to unlearn. Healing will take time but I’ll get there.