By sharing my story, my only hope is that this will help someone, in some way. We all deserve love. We all deserve kindness and respect. We all deserve to feel safe in our own homes.
We hear about abuse all too often. Child abuse. Physical abuse. But there is one kind of abuse that is far more quiet and far less obvious: emotional abuse. Abuse is abuse. It does damage regardless of what form it takes. And it is unacceptable regardless of the means of delivery.
The abuse was not at all obvious in the beginning. It wouldn’t have been. The primary form of it was manipulation. He seemed like the perfect man for me. I could not believe that I had finally found “the One”. The person that would love and protect me for the rest of my life. The person that I had more in common with than anyone else on earth. The person that I gave my heart and soul to, wholly and completely.
But he wasn’t that person. He was nothing like he presented himself to be before we got engaged. As the years went by, more of the truth came out about who he truly is. I was increasingly treated with disrespect and verbally assaulted. Any action of his that caused me harm was my fault. It was also my fault that he “couldn’t be himself” around me. As someone who has always prided myself on my authenticity and honesty, it makes it slightly easier (now) to see through these lies.
I slowly turned into someone that I do not recognize. I started treating him the way that he treated me because I didn’t know what else to do. I slowly began to realize how unhealthy of a relationship I was in. I slowly began to realize that the risk of leaving was far outweighed by the reward. I was so broken down, so emotionally beaten, that I had nothing left to give.
Unfortunately I did not fully comprehend the situation until it was far too late.
He threatened to commit suicide in an attempt to keep me. By that, I mean that he came into the bedroom as I was trying to fall asleep one night, grabbed the gun from under the nightstand, and locked himself in the office.
I knew immediately that he wasn’t going to do it, that it was a test to see if I would come to “save” him. I knew this because there were multiple guns in a safe in the office with him. There were plenty of other weapons in the house other than the one that was in the room with me.
I also knew that, if I did not come “save” him, that there was a real possibility that he might either kill himself once he realized I wasn’t coming to his rescue or threaten/attempt/actually kill me.
No one deserves to be treated this way. No one deserves to live through that experience. There are many different types of oppressors and dictators and terrorists in this world, and it should never be in your home.
If you or someone you know is being verbally, emotionally, or otherwise abused; if someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship, there are crisis hotlines across the country that are only a Google Search and a phone call away, for men or women suffering from abuse. In Indianapolis, Sheltering Wings is a great organization.
And if you know someone who is abusive or mentally unstable, the same crisis lines can help them, too.