I read something today, “I overthink, but I also over love”. That pretty much describes every relationship I have ever been in. I thought I was truly in love with the man I was with for over 2 years. I let him into my life, I let down many of my walls and most importantly, I introduced him to my children and my family. He made me promises and I believed them. Typical stupid girl, right? You’d think that by now, I would have figured it out. Well–clearly, I haven’t.
I have suffered with anxiety for years and it’s like my body and mind are trying to tell my heart things that it should already know. I should have ended this relationship months ago. The thought of talking to him made me anxious because most times when I would try to tell him how I was feeling, he would get angry. But when I say angry, I mean livid. He would threaten to leave. Sometimes he actually did. He would bang his hands on the steering wheel, he would call me horrible names and he would yell.
I have been in a physically abusive relationship before. My first husband left physical and mental scars that very few people have seen and even fewer know about. I kept that part of my relationship with him to myself because I was ashamed and embarrassed that I failed and that I didn’t see in him what everyone else did. However, I don’t hold this experience against all men. I am not bitter and I don’t think every man is the same. If I thought for one second my most recent ex would have put his hands on me, I would not have stayed with him for as long as I did.
Recently, several famous women have come forward with their stories of abuse and mistreatment at the hands of powerful men. My story pales in comparison with some of theirs. I was never forced to stay with anyone. I made my choices and I own them. Should I have left sooner? Absolutely. Would I ever stay with anyone again who physically abused me? Absolutely not.
I was not afraid that he would hit me, but I was afraid of losing myself to him. I didn’t see right away that I already was. Everything we did was dependent on his schedule and his finances. When I voiced my disappointment at not being able to spend as much time with him as I would have liked at a decent hour and not just when he was done with all his other commitments, I was presented with ultimatums and threats. He told me straight out that what he was giving me was all he could give. It took me a while, but I finally told him that it wasn’t enough.
We are treated the way we allow ourselves to be treated and I allowed myself to be treated disrespectfully. So why would he change if he had been treating me this way for so long? Needless to say, he didn’t change and I told him that I wasn’t happy.
It was not and even today, over a month later, it is still not easy. I tried to be civil. I have never broken up with someone and been on bad terms. He still has a copy of my key and yes, stupidly, I lent him a very small amount of money. He never responded to the voicemail or email I left him about getting those things back. After over two years, I mistakenly expected more from him.
I am by no means saying that I did everything right. I am far from perfect. I am sometimes painfully aware of my imperfections and I own them and will apologize for them if I hurt somebody else because of them. I know I hurt him and I’m very sorry that I did because that’s not what I want him to remember what he thinks of me.
I have also learned that I cannot control how anyone else feels or behaves. If he hates me, as much as that bothers me, I can’t change it.
The universe tried to show me that he is not my person. On a positive note, I lost 320 lbs in one day.