it took a while, for me to discover that it was abuse. in the beginning, it just seemed to be good-natured ribbing, like you would do with a good friend. maybe not your girlfriend, but still it seemed innocuous. harmless even. that is until it WASN’T.
the graphic in this piece is a fairly good representation of how I felt on numerous occasions. when he started on my clothing and appearance is when I started to feel worthless. he’d critcize hair and makeup all the time. nothing ever looked right unless he gave it his approval. I loved his attention, early on. it became scary when he wanted to control my friendships and family relationships, on top of my appearance. “you shouldn’t hang out with so and so…she doesn’t care about you,” he’d say. or, “whenever you hang out with her, you come home depressed worse.” I heard this stuff enough times that I started to question myself and my decisions. unapologetically gaslighting me in a dynamic way. at the time, however, all I knew was words were hurting me, and I couldn’t stop it.
the sexual relationship was still very strong, and continued.
this lasted a while. until I found out about the cheating. I could not abide that; I found out from friends and was stunned. even more so because they shared that it had been going on a while, which made me feel physically ill. I ended it then, although the late-night phone calls and hook ups went on for a few weeks after the official breakup.
I was so embarrassed. when did it start? who was this person that he had chosen? yada yada yada, did it really MATTER? that’s a good question.
the answer is NO. the takeaway is THIS: YOU WERE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
he didn’t really love you. just used you. WHY?
because he was a lying narcissist. because I ALLOWED him to use me. because he COULD.
this was DECADES ago, but I still dream of him, waking up breathless, as if he were next to me.