June 24, 2018 at 6:12 pm #194133
Warning, this post will be lengthy but a story worth reading. By no means, am I trying to gain sympathy for myself, and I apologize if this material triggers anyone as I am well aware that others have gone through toxic relationships way worse than I have. My heart is with you all, and nobody deserves to be ripped apart by another person. This is how I overcame a test of my own strength and you can overcome anything if you believe in yourself.
Relationships at first may seem like heaven, that “honeymoon” phase where you are swept off of your feet and in the happiest state of mind. Well…. that is until you finally realize you have been sucked into a toxic relationship.
I was once a very young and naive high school girl, looming and searching for the love of my life. I met a guy my freshman year of high school who captivated me in every way. He was very smart, not only in school, but about life as well. We began dating and he taught me so many things I was never interested in such as sports, cars, computers, outdoor activities, and things that really made me feel like he was someone who could help build me into a smart ambitious adult.
Fast forward to the downfall of my dignity. I should have noticed the warning sign when we began dating and he told one of his friends “she has nothing to her, except for her good looks” but of course I was too busy falling head over heals.
The relationship began to turn toxic when my partner began to criticize me very heavily on everything that I did and was. He began to tell me how to wear my hair, if I had too much makeup on (honestly was hardly wearing any) he would tell me I looked bad, he would tell me how to dress, and eventually began comparing me to other girls. He told me “why don’t you dress like “her” or wear your hair like “her”, she looks hotter than you. Clearly, that bothered me so I foolishly began to change myself to please him as I figured he was so smart and knowledgable, I better listen to him. Years past, and nothing changed in his behavior. I was not allowed to go to gatherings with friends to socialize, i was only allowed to stay with him and be under his watch.
Then things turned even more sideways, on top of him working to manipulate me and my appearance, he began to rip me apart as a human being by being very rude and critical. If I did something or asked an honest question that was obvious to him, he would say things like, “Are you stupid?” “Are you retarded?” which made me feel very poorly about myself. With a mixture of him changing everything about me, and calling me names, he began to treat me VERY bad and made me feel like a worthless piece of dirt.
As all of this was going on, the obvious results began to occur as I slowly started to loose all of my friends. Everyone around me was aware of what was going on and along with my family, would begin to warn me and tell me that I was dumb for sticking around, but I didn’t know any better and was so manipulated by him that I refused to listen to anyone and lost all of my friends from hanging out with just him and his friends. He had this way of being horrible to me, but then being so loving and kind and it became a cycle in which I was unable to get out of. Emotionally abusive relationship to say the least, although it gets MUCH worse.
After years of criticism and harassing, he turned worse. I began to realize that I was being treated like crap, so having sex for me was no longer meaningful, pleasurable, and something I was interested in doing. For him, sex meant that I loved him. If i wasn’t having sex with him, then it meant I did not love him, and really did not sit well with me. As he quickly learned my stance on this, he said something to me that will forever remain in the dark part of my memories. He said, ” Three things are going to happen here… 1. you are going to change this behavior and have more sex with me… 2. you are going to go to your GYN and get better birth control with more hormones to increase your libido/sex drive….3. I am going to cheat on you. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?
Guess what happened? I was so naive and manipulated, I went to the GYN and asked for a stronger birth control for that reason, received it, and nothing changed because who wants to have sex with someone who treats you terribly? After nothing had changed, he cheated on me of course… many many times and even told me to my face.
Eventually, after I felt no self-worth and needed help, I took the path to seek out a therapist which my high school kindly offered. It ended up being the best thing I ever did. I became very close with my therapist and have been so grateful for her ever since. I was able to regain my friends, open my eyes to the situation and actually listen to others around me, tell my stories, and overall, I took myself out of the relationship although, he went crazy and it was hard to go through, but I remained strong.
To this day, I am so proud of myself for being able to rebuild myself from the ground up and never look back. It is a story to remember and something to be proud of to realize how far I have come and the many things that I have learned from the experience.
NEVER be afraid to seek out help when you feel as though you are trapped and cannot find a way out. Even when you feel like you are not worth anything, listen to the people who care about you because sometimes, they know better than you do. Nobody deserves to be treated poorly and every person should know that they are valued, and loved no matter what. The power of “I can” is stronger than you think it is, and we can all overcome hardships with the trust in yourself, and the love of others around us.
I hope this story was able to inspire others and I can say that despite how bad or dark a past experience may have been, there is always something positive to take from it and learn from. I may regret ever having relations with that guy, but I am thankful and proud to know that I was able to bring myself back onto my feet and regain myself as a better and brighter person.
Always think positively and know that you are loved and appreciated. I appreciate you all, and thank you for reading!June 24, 2018 at 7:34 pm #194434
I described a number of similarly toxic relationships in the book Indecent Exposure. Your man was worse than most, but many seem to feel ownership once a woman has enjoyed sex with them. I’ve come to believe these are attachment issues. But you had fair warning of his lack of respect. It takes self respect, and courage, to turn away.June 24, 2018 at 7:36 pm #194435
Thank you very kindly for sharing your story Rochelle. So many of us have gone through horrible relationships like yours, we need to share like you’ve done so others can be more aware of those warning signs. Something I feel that happens to us is somehow he makes us feel like it’s our fault, that we need him more than anything, and only by pleasing him are we going to find fulfillment in life.
I do hope your relationship didn’t last terribly long, and he never hurt you.
I was in a toxic relationship for almost nine years, like yours my ex went through cycles, where he’d be really affectionate one moment then really degrading towards me at another moment. He was able to establish a culture of control that went on for a long time. I also should’ve seen those warning signs early, especially his jealousy and how he worked to isolate me from everyone. I feel a big warning sign is when a man tells you everyone else is trying to hurt you, he wants you to feel he’s the only one you can trust, which just seems very dangerous. He wanted me to be the only person I sought validation from, so he could control my emotions, breaking me when I was getting too confident and then rebuilding me so I’d be grateful to him and him alone.
He hit me one time, I got so very mad at him he actually cried and swore he’d never do that again (he didn’t), but he’d often break things when angry. Something I only recently learned is considered domestic violence/abuse, is there were times I wanted to leave and he’d trap me in my closet until I promised I wouldn’t, that happened at least half a dozen times. These men want control, I do fear they’ll resort to anything if he can’t maintain it over you permanently.
I’m also proud of you for rebuilding yourself and your confidence, it took me nearly half a year before I really could go out of my shell again. I’m in a relationship now with an incredibly kind and gentle man, I swear I’ll never let that happen to me again, and I feel so very sick so many women are going through this right now, many much worse than I did.
Please take care, and thank you again.June 24, 2018 at 7:42 pm #194438
Thank you for sharing and for your kind words! I am happy to hear that you are in a safe and loving relationship now. Best of luck to you and thank you again.
Take care!June 25, 2018 at 7:43 am #194448
Thank you for telling your story Rochelle. It is hard reading but does show there are ways out of such a nasty relationship. I am glad you came out of this well. Both you and Mamie xJune 25, 2018 at 10:02 am #194459
Hi Rochelle, I was lucky never to have had a really bad relationship and was always wary of the signs. Perhaps I just attracted ” nice guys ” and my relationships ended before we were at each others throats. Anyway you have moved on and good luck to you.June 26, 2018 at 3:45 am #194517
I’m glad you had the courage to seek help and leave this relationship before you wasted your youth. Your man was pretty bad.
I was in a toxic relationship for 17 years, 15 years married. Although I know, in my heart of hearts, fidelity wasn’t an issue in my marriage, I was quite familiar with criticism and disparaging remarks.June 26, 2018 at 6:22 am #194529
I’m glad you survived and are doing well with your lives, Rochelle and everyone else on here. As hard as your story is to read, Rochelle, you are an inspiration. It takes courage and strength to survive – and walk away from – a toxic relationship. Thankfully I have not been in such a relationship, but I can understand how the degrading behaviour makes an abused partner feel, such as yourself. Your boyfriend, unfortunately, showed his true colours all too quickly. Your counsellor is a star for helping you out: I am sure many will read your story and find hope that there IS life beyond an abusive, toxic relationship.