Learning to understand and deal with abuse

We all know that there are different types of domestic abuse. Physical abuse is what you normally hear about in society. However, the majority of people, women mainly, experience emotional as well as verbal abuse on a regular basis. I know this because I spent 10 years of my life in 2 different but very abusive relationships, and never got out of either one when I should have. It took physical abuse to make me realize I needed better for myself and my daughter. It was then that I understood what I had gone through for so long was hurting me as a person. It was hurting my relationships outside my partnership. I made excuses for everything. I became a person that was not me, and I had to take my life back. Here is my story and the ways I have overcome, gotten through, and coped with the abuse.


My first serious relationship started when I was in high school. He was my first everything. I thought he walked on water and that we would live happily ever after. What teenager doesn’t? We were together for a total of 5 years. During those 5 years we had a lot of great times, however there was a lot of abuse. I saw it as fights, or him just being a teenage guy being mean and showing off. I didn’t understand then that the words he would say to me were impacting my life. I started to shy away from friends, slacked off in the sports that I loved, and called out of my part time job a lot. If I wasn’t with him I was made to feel that I was in the wrong. Constant accusations of cheating and lying were never ending. I started then to only hang out with his set of friends that way I was always with him. The plus side to this was that it was 1996 to 2002 so there wasn’t text messaging yet. This cut down a lot on the “Where are you? When will you be here?” texts which looking back I am very thankful for. When we were together in public he made me feel wanted and loved. When things would be going good I would try to hang out with friends. This didn’t go well. He would cry, literally tears, begging me not to go out and come see him instead. If I did continue with my plans of going out with friends it would be for short periods of time so I could drive to the other side of town to see him before my curfew. He graduated 2 years ahead of me but when he was done with school he couldn’t keep a job and I was constantly bailing him out. I put all my personal needs to the back burner to pay off his credit cards when the collection agencies would call and threaten jail.


One year he bought me a puppy for my birthday even though his dad told him he couldn’t have one and I told him I couldn’t keep it at my parents house either. His dad told him if he kept the dog he had to find another place to live. He ended up moving in with my best friend and then my cousin before we ended up buying a house together. There I was 19 and owning a home, which I didn’t live in. At this point I had to drop out of college and start working full time in order to pay for the house. Who was I kidding? I would have done anything for this guy who treated me like an option. However, he always used the line, “You are in school and can meet other guys, all I do is work with guys, I wouldn’t be able to find anyone else.” I took this as a compliment. Boy was I crazy.


We had a joint best friend, and to this day he is still my best friend. However, he was away in SC for college so we didn’t see much of him. He was dating a girl here in FL and when he was home the four of us always hung out together. When Matt left to go back to school, my ex would go over to “help” the girlfriend since Matt wasn’t here. At first it didn’t bother me. He was being nice. But slowly he started to make up excuses to go out with “the guys”. This was strange to me as he hardly did anything outside of the house where I wasn’t invited. But I was still pushed to the back burner and felt neglected. But when he wasn’t with his “guys” I was the center of attention and made to feel like a princess. I was blinded by what I thought was his want and need of me. He made me feel like he was the best I could ever have.


One day during lunch I came to our house to let the dog out. There was a car in the driveway but it wasn’t his or his paint van. When I walked into the house someone was in the shower, his cell and clothes were in the middle of the living room. Her clothes were right next to his. At this point I took both of their clothes and threw them in the front yard. I waited in my car to see who it was. Come to find out it was our best friends girlfriend. Even after all of this he begged me to take him back. Again made me feel like he was the best I could get but at the same time he couldn’t live without me.


In that relationship I was made to feel like I wasn’t good enough. That I didn’t deserve better, and that there wasn’t anyone else in my life but him. This is typical for a mental and emotional abuser. I, to this day still fight these demons of not feeling good enough. It’s hard to explain these feelings to others because your first response is always, “Yes you are. You are worth it.” And while we know we are worth it and good enough there are always little triggers that make you feel otherwise. For example: This past weekend my boyfriend now was going to a retirement BBQ for someone at work. I had no desire to go, however he never asked me if I wanted to go with him. Probably because he knew my answer but it bugged me so bad that he didn’t even ask. I went back to the time I was cheated on and only thought the worst. Even when I know it’s nothing like that now. I felt left out, not wanted, and not good enough to be around his co-workers. I gave him a hard time about going enough to the point that he didn’t go. That wasn’t my intention and I feel awful about it. He doesn’t understand why I have the need to knowing I am thought about the need to feel wanted all the time. I try every day to keep things like this from happening even when it’s eating me up inside.


This is just one example of my horrible taste in guys. I will be in touch shortly with a follow up on another sample of my abusive relationship self. This one will touch base on both emotional and physical abuse. My word of advice to you if you have gone through something like this. Write it down. Even if you don’t show anyone. Writing this has helped me a lot in seeing what I am doing still because of something that happened to me 15 years ago. I have a long way to go but I am able to see where I need to go finally. If you want to talk I am willing to listen. No judgement, no telling you what to do, just a friend to listen and maybe give you my been there done that story and what got me through it. You can email me at lisa_westmiller@live.com and we can keep it between us. I am also going to look into support groups for this in our area and will share on my next posting. In the meantime keep your head up, you are not alone.

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