Written by: Liana, Survivor
Pain is addicting. I felt that I was in love with pain. I couldn’t stop my own, and it felt as if I was doing humanity a favor by loving someone who was “damaged,” “misunderstood,” and “crazy.” I needed to be needed. I needed to be darkly and desperately wanted. Like an addict, I needed the intense high. The feeling after things got bad, that felt so good. The feeling I felt when we first met, when the insults, arguments, and manipulation was made up for with gifts, money, the feeling of profound admiration that filled my veins with ecstasy and supplied the air in my lungs. Things would be okay if he told me he loved me and would change.
It was like a drug to me.
He needs me. I can’t leave. I’m the only one who can save him from himself. The see-saw of control swings back and forth.
Obsession and craziness became my idea of love. Love doesn’t leave you crying outside an empty bar. It doesn’t put a fist through the wall. It doesn’t drain your energy so much that you almost don’t care about the ending of this horrible nightmare. It doesn’t become high on its ability to control you. It doesn’t threaten you. It doesn’t search for reasons to incriminate you. It doesn’t twist its words to keep you on a string. It doesn’t get angry and worry about punching you. It doesn’t isolate you. It doesn’t feel like a ton of bricks weighing down on your chest as you lay awake at night. But the more he pulled back, the more I held on. The more I let go, the closer he pulled me in, desperate for a fix of that high again.
The car door slammed as I watched the sweat from my palm transfer to the door handle. I knew what was coming already, the yelling, the arguing until I choked on my words and held back my tears. My chin quivered as I turned away trying not to show how vulnerable I was once again. His voice stern, his words running on a nonstop circuit, “this is all your fault,” “you need to change,” “I want you to do this.”
I’d lost count of the times I’d heard those words; I’d lost count because I was used to it. My mind raced, and my body felt hot. Blazing hot. Each time I tried to pull the words from my throat I felt blank. My mind was blank. I fought the feeling of shame so well that it numbed my entire body. His words punched me in the face and bruised my ribs. I had no words that could overpower his, so I kept silent and let the tears fall down my face, their warmth comforted me.
I took the blame.
I let it slip, another apology. Another broken promise to give him what he wanted. I felt as if I was outside my body, just watching this fragile, broken girl beg for love from somewhere she’d never receive it. He pulled me closer and wiped my tears. There it was. The feeling I’d been so desperately craving. He loved me. He cared.
I’m still angry. I think I’ll always be angry.
Deep down the shame ate away at every part of my body. My deteriorating figure, my flattened mind. I lost track of what was real and what was a lie. I believed every lie. Every cruel slip of the tongue was brushed off by him but fell deep into my chest and stained my heart little by little. The hurtful words would throb in my mind as I convinced myself he didn’t mean it. I believed he would get better. I believed the person he used to be would walk through the door one day and my world would light up brighter than any sunrise.
Months had gone by, and the person I was searching for was nowhere to be found. He’d push me out the door, and I’d grab onto him even tighter. “It’s over” was at the tip of my tongue each and every day, but the healing of his lips would push it right back in. I felt ashamed I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t tell anyone what I couldn’t even believe to be true.
I finally saw my own pain, and I could finally see what was happening. I looked in the mirror and didn’t see myself. I didn’t know who I was before this. The only thoughts in my mind floated by like clouds. I walked away from that relationship only a shell of the person I used to be.
For anyone in an abusive relationship, you will find the courage to end it. Allow my story to be your lifeboat. Forgive yourself and move on. No amount of excuses will change the situation. Never be ashamed about how you feel. We are not cures for others’ problems.
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