You know what’s really fucked up? A person who supports abuse.

This isn’t my time to bash these people, but rather to tell my story. I have recently escaped an abusive relationship; one I had never witnessed or experienced prior. So, to all the ladies and gents that have gone through this, please know my whole heart goes out to you. There is nothing quite as scarring as this.

It’s really difficult to let go of the idea that it wasn’t my fault. I tend to replay every conversation, every empty look he gave me, every time he laid his hands on me, every bruise I was left with, a shattered phone, the times he made me feel sorry for him, every drive when I feared I’d crash, every terrible name he called me, every lost friend, every lost business relationship, every moment I feared for my life. I’m a strong, level headed person, but these narcissistic, manipulative abusers somehow know how to penetrate that shield. Why do I let these circumstances sink in and make me feel I’m any less than I am? I never asked for this. I didn’t deserve this. How many other vulnerable women have you done this to? How foolish of me to admit to our counsellor that I simply held on so you wouldn’t do this to other women. How foolish am I to think I can change a person?

Moving forward is the hardest part, especially since I’ve now placed myself in isolation. Isolation; for fear of him coming back. Isolation; for all the people he’s lied to and turned against me. Isolation; for my own attempt at personal growth. Isolation; for fear of falling for these fucked up behaviours in any other human being. I can’t let him ruin me. This was never meant to be my story, but when you plant your seeds in someone, take risk, unconditionally love and trust, give endless chances for change, it takes time to remove the spreading weeds. And, unfortunately, these weeds grow back as a reminder.

I know this period of growth hasn’t even really began. All I can really do is continue to focus on myself. To work harder than ever. To push myself to feel the unparalleled confidence I used to have, which is hiding beneath it all. To continue to love my friends, family and anyone deserving of it. To meet beautiful people who restore my hope. To understand that I’m not alone, and to feel compassion for those who have experienced, or continue to experience, something similar. To remember that our abusers are hurting. To realize that it’s not my job to heal the wounded, if it only negatively affects my well-being. To let go. To forgive. To remember that I will be stronger because of this.

If you’re reading this and you’ve experienced a similar situation, or you’re currently in a situation you’re having difficultly escaping, I’m all ears. I truly believe that by having an open dialogue, we can grow. Together.

Side note: I really want to thank all of my friends, family, and acquaintances who I shared my experiences with, and for giving me advice that at the time, I neglected to accept. I really do thank you all from the bottom of my heart. You saved me!