Breaking Free From the Man Who Said He Loved Me (Because Love Should Never Cause Emotional Trauma)

L-O-V-E. I do not know why I cannot shake the thought about love lately. It is not the kind of love that many of you are blessed to have. I am talking about the so-called love that causes emotional trauma. Real love does not hurt like that — it should never hurt like that. It is hard for some to understand why it is not as easy as it seems to just walk away and let go. I know because I spent most of my adult life thinking that way. That is, until it happened to me…

I am writing this because I had suffered in silence for too long and I know there are some out there right now going through this very thing. I know you feel trapped, alone, and perhaps too embarrassed to reach out to someone close to you. You do not want anyone to know. Why? Only you can answer that. For me, it was shame. I was too ashamed to let anyone know the situation that I had gotten myself into. It was all my fault and I was stupid to let it happen. That is the lie that I truly believed. I hated that I had become so weak and needy. I used to be so strong. I just wanted someone to love me, so I pretended that he did when things were good. And when things were bad, I drank myself through it. I regret that I suffered in silence instead of reaching out. It almost killed me. I was only able to break free because I discovered that God is real and He helped me. He sobered me up first, then gave me the courage and the strength to walk away. So now, what I used to keep a secret, I openly share because I want others to know that suffering alone does not have to be. You do not have to be trapped. You too, can be free.

I have shared in older posts that I was in a mentally abusive relationship. It caused severe emotional trauma. I never knew that love could hurt the way it did. It is not supposed to be like that. For the longest time I was so alone and ashamed and I did not believe that mental abuse was really abuse so I kept my mouth shut and allowed it to continue. But I was so wrong. It is abuse. I saw someone put it this way in a recent blog: “Abuse doesn’t always manifest as a black eye or a bloody wound. The effects of psychological abuse are just as damaging.” I could not have said it better myself. It is the truth. All that time I was silent, I had wished I was getting hit thinking that it would help me to cry out for help. That makes me sad today because I think there are others thinking that as I write this. I was able to break free before the first hit came. I believe it was just a matter of time before it did. I say this because of an evil explosion of anger that came that really put fear in me like I had never known before. It wasn’t something I caused, but because I was there, I suffered for it. Then I heard the words “I warned you about my anger.” Hitters usually say that, don’t they? Thankfully, I will never know.

Because I was too weak to break away (after all he did tell me he loved me), I endured his abuse for too long. I was in too deep. I did not know how to let go. I believed that nobody else would ever love me. I convinced myself that I was damaged goods and that no one else would ever want me, so I stuck around and kept taking it. And as for reaching out to someone on the outside, I would rather have died from alcohol poisoning or from mixing alcohol with pills than admitting to anyone the horrific things that I was allowing to happen to me.

Now that I have God in my life and I am 100% sober, I know that it was never love. This guy was a master manipulator and being that I was such a lost soul with zero self-esteem, he caught on to that right away and used it. Boy, did he use it. I get teary eyed when I go back there in my mind and remember how it was.

After the newness of the relationship had worn out, I found myself slowly becoming more afraid of him. I was afraid to speak. I was afraid that I would say something that he would turn against me. I remember an instance when we were talking about something he was going through and all of a sudden I was accused of saying something about him that he took offense to. He then proceeded to tell me that he needed to take a step back and examine my character. There was another time where I was with friends, men and women, for a gathering that I had asked him to go to. He did not go, but of course he called me and because he heard a man’s voice in the background I was suddenly accused of cheating on him. I’ll never forget that hole he ripped into my heart later that night. I tried contacting him after the party and he hung up on me and shut his phone off. Later, he decided to send me a text and said “I hope you’re happy with your new boyfriend.” My tender and already broken heart sank even more when I read that. He had shut off his phone again so I couldn’t respond or call. That was torture. There were so many times when I had called where he would answer, but wouldn’t say a word and would hang up on me. He would later explain he was working or something — we were in a long distance relationship at that time. It was craziness that I kept going back for more for. Other times if I did or said something that he didn’t like, I would find myself getting intense silent treatment. I remember one time I just sobbed because I didn’t even know what I had said or done to deserve it. He would just shut down on me with no explanation. Then there was the intimacy. I practice abstinence now, but back then I did not know God so I did not care or think much of it. What a big mistake that was. I was literally sleeping with the enemy. He was addicted and there was just something about him that managed to tear down my self-esteem even more. I had no idea that it could get me deeper into the dark pit of depression the way it did. Things got worse from there. There’s so much more I could share, but I think this is enough. Why did I stay? I have no idea. The only explanation that I can come up with today is that I was truly a lost soul.

I am grateful that is no longer the case. God saved me. He not only saved my life and gave me a new hope, He gave me the self-esteem of Christ. He became my first love and this will never happen in my life again because I have a whole new set of eyes and I will see the wolves that come in sheep’s clothing. I am eternally grateful for that.

I do not know if what I have shared has been any help to anyone. I am sure praying that it does help because putting myself out there like this is HARD. I am praying that someone will be encouraged — someone whose circumstance is similar to what I was saved from. Do not give up hope and do not stay suffering in silence. You too can break free, but you need God’s help to do it. There is no shame in reaching out. Reach out to God first, then reach out to others. If you do not have anyone close to you that you can trust, know that there are others out there who truly understand what you are going through. We can only understand if we have been through it ourselves. There are support groups out there and they will walk with you as you walk with God to overcome. What God has done for me and others, I know He will do for you. Cry out to Him, He is listening. You WILL overcome.

I am praying for you, with all my heart. God bless.

“I wished he would have hit me” — My personal story of abuse…

When people think of an abusive relationship, they mostly think of physical abuse. Normally, people just think of a man beating a woman and/or sexually abusing her.  But I would like to share some thoughts about another type of abuse that I don’t hear a whole lot about. I want to talk about emotional and mental abuse. In my opinion, this kind of abuse can be just as distressing and painful as being consistently hit. It is so difficult for me to admit this on this blog, but this is what happened to me. It is my hope that by sharing my own heart and experience about this horrible and devastating form of abuse, that others who may feel ashamed or embarrassed may be encouraged that they too can find hope and freedom and know that there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

While I was in the midst of it, I was never able to tell anyone about the constant mental and emotional abuse I was facing. I felt so humiliated by it. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I truly believed that nobody would ever understand what I was going through. I really wished he had hit me. I thought that if he had, then it would be a better excuse for me to explain my pain. I was definitely in denial. I also believed that I didn’t deserve any better (I wrote about that for the first time in an earlier blog entitled “I was a lost soul – a mentally abused woman who didn’t deserve better”). I was worthless and a loser, so I took it. I took it for 4 or 5 years, and it about destroyed me altogether. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Even though I was already battling through years of depression and low or no self esteem and using alcohol to temporarily numb the pain, I still managed to be a strong woman – suicidal perhaps, but strong. Well, that was until I started dating a man I had settled for. Little by little he started to destroy what was left of me. It was a horrible nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. It was sudden when I had found myself so weak. This is when my depression and drinking were heading to bottom. I really thought I needed this man in my life. I didn’t want to lose him. I thought I loved him. Looking back I have no idea why I thought that. He didn’t show me much love, he just wanted sex. He sure had a hold on me somehow. I had to drink my way through the relationship to survive it. I will never understand how I got there. His manipulation started at the very beginning of our early communications, but unfortunately, I didn’t think much about it. I completely ignored it. I didn’t think enough of myself. It’s sad to remember just how lost and desperate I was back then. I didn’t want to end up old and alone, so I ignored every single sign. And, it almost killed me.

It didn’t help to hear from others what they thought about abusive relationships such as, “Why doesn’t she just leave him?” “It’s her fault for staying around.” “She doesn’t want help.”  I confess that I used to think that way about domestic violence situations. I am so sorry for my judgmental attitude toward women of abuse. Please forgive me. Before it happened to me, I just could not understand why someone would stay and continue to take it, day after day.  I swore that it would never happen to me. I would NEVER become like one of “those women”.  Sound familiar? All of a sudden, there I was. I was exactly what I swore I’d never become. I was so ashamed that I had allowed myself to be in such horrible circumstances, that there was no way that I felt safe to reach out to anyone to talk about it or to get help. I figured “well, at least he’s not hitting me…” so I just kept taking it and drank it away as much as possible. Recently I was thinking more about the possibility of getting hit. I thank God I will never know if that was going to come into play or not, but I discovered recently that I had ignored another sign. After a family party turned violent one evening, (I described this event in that previous post I mentioned earlier), I remembered that days later he had reminded me that he had been letting me know that he was feeling anger building up inside of him. He told me though, that he was keeping it under control.  I was slowly discovering that he had anger issues and was just keeping them inside. But because I had never really witnessed it in him, until that frightening evening, I again didn’t think much of it. But it’s what he had said days later that kind of gave me the chills when I remembered it recently. He said “I warned you…”  I remember he was telling me that he had been warning me that he was about to break. Like it was something that I was supposed to know and just “watch out”. Don’t abusers who hit usually tell their women that they had been warning them? I know I’ve heard it before in stories of physical abuse. I then started to recall that he had told me that when he was young, he would see his father beating his mother. So I now think it was a good possibility that hitting would come next had I stayed.

So how did I get out of it? I have no doubt that it was a God thing. I believe God’s hand was on my life even though I didn’t know Him yet. I had been crying out to Him because I was definitely not going to cry out to anybody else. Interesting when I think back on it, how I was crying out to a God I didn’t know and I am grateful I took that chance! He set me free. And later, he set me free from alcohol abuse and severe depression. It took a rock bottom kind of moment for that, but I’m not complaining. I am grateful to be free.  I am now seven months away from celebrating my 5th year of sobriety. I am also celebrating my 4th year or so of being free from that abusive relationship.

So that’s some more of my story that I hadn’t had the courage to share before.  I’m glad I did now. I don’t know what else to say except that if you’re in the midst of this right now, there is hope in Jesus. There is a way out. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. Please reach out to someone! Reach out to God! You don’t have to keep living like that. You deserve much better. If you don’t know God, it’s not too late to start knowing Him now. Call out to Him with a sincere heart and He will hear you.  He will help you like He helped me and has helped so many others. I don’t know you, but I’m praying for you. Please use the below contact form if you’d like to send a private message.

I’ve been through a lot of hurt in my life. I buried most of it for decades and just recently in my recovery program, it’s all come out to the surface so that I could get healing. In therapy, I was asked to write a letter about victory. I’m thinking, if I can be this vulnerable and share this part of my story, then I should be able to share that personal letter too. Perhaps I will share it in a future post. Again, I’m only doing this with the hope that others will be blessed by it and have courage to take a step in the right direction like I did. ANY kind of abuse is NEVER OK.

That’s it for now, thanks for listening to my heart.