I have been trying to figure out which part of being in an abusive relationship made me the woman I am today. How integrating this part of myself creates power. It is time to own this in a way that is not a victim who holds shame but a victor who got out stronger and wiser. It is time to come clean.
I can look at it now at least without blaming myself. I was still a teenager and I just wanted to be loved.
It starts out slowly. Seeing how far you will tolerate being degraded. How far you can be pushed. It happened so gradually I did not notice what was happening. He would tell me my friends did not have my best interests at heart. That my best friend flirted with him when they were alone and I should not trust her. I see now the maniupulation it takes to be an abuser. It is quite a skill. My self esteem started to get chipped away and then chewed on. He would criticize what I wore or how I spoke. It is a slow process of turning something that was love inside out until it is unrecognizable and you are lost and the only familiar face is the one telling you what a lazy ugly stupid bitch you are.
The breaking point for me came when the daily verbal and emotional abuse took a turn to straight up violence against my body. My spirit had taken the brunt up to then. It did not dawn on me that I was not safe until it literally became unsafe. It was then I knew I needed an exit strategy. The confusing part is I still went back and forth with my love for him even after I left. I see that now as simply I just wanted to go back to the love. The love and comfort I did not know how to gift to myself. This is by far the most perplexing part of being in an abusive relationship. It took me years to fully understand that. It took me years to heal my body and spirit. It took me years to share this with anyone.
I now have the absolute honor of working with amazing people who are also wanting to find their love first and foremost inside themselves. To find yourself and to love what you find takes practice and persistence. It takes doing things differently and creating daily actions which represent love notes to yourself. It takes doing this so that external validation is not something you need. You feed yourself from the inside. No one can take you off your center because you trust yourself. You feel connected. I went through my past struggles for a reason. It was not meaningless. I know of transformation and what it takes to be an open hearted warrior first hand. To be liberated from fear and isolation and to rise up. I have history which is not pretty but it is real and it is part of the whole. It is my story. One which does not define or confine me. One that just is.