I've been in an abusive relationship before. It never became physical but the mental, emotional, and even spiritual warfare was real. The miscellaneous, unexplained bruises on my body left in the wake of the relationship were real. I remember that in one the last conversations I had with him I could feel a piercing pain in my throat. That pain was real. Sickness came over me just like it did when we first met. I remember in our final meeting after I cried in my house for hours determined to only cry once over the situation how I sat across from him. I think I put a curse on him in that moment. I had no words; I just rocked back and forth staring at him. In my head I said, "You are going to get it." I came home after it was all over, moving states, a shell of young woman.
All of that over a relationship that lasted no more than six months. I met him when I was lonely and had something to prove to myself. I wanted to have a successful relationship and I didn't want to go about that time in my life alone. Most of my peers had partners and from the outside looking in, it looked great, desirable. Then he showed up. There were warning signs from the beginning. He had a dark, gloomy energy despite his seemingly positive, helpful demeanor. His car was full of bags which meant he didn't really have a home and had too much baggage (emotional, mental, and physical). There were other signs that only I would get, my personal intuitive clues, like his writing style, his name, and his appearance amongst others. The biggest sign for me was that during my month and half long sickness, he cared little about my comfort or wellness. The same person who professed his love for me within three weeks of knowing me.
Of course, he had to have redeemable qualities. Why would I have been with him? He was helpful with technology...even though you can't convince me that he didn't break my external drive that had all of my artwork on it. He was a great dancer...even though he only seemed to dance with himself (awkward). He knew how to apologize...except not to me, but to men he was afraid of, I have never heard more beautiful apologies. He was affectionate...mostly in public. He was nice to me, in public. He was health conscious, obsessively so (annoyingly so). He was witty. He was creative. He had awesome friends. He took out the trash. He cleaned my house without my asking. He was incredibly helpful...but it didn't come without a price.
I feel I attracted him into my life because of the larger questions I was asking rooted in my limited understanding of relationships and the desire I had to be in a relationship. I wanted to understand my parents failed relationship. I wanted to understand a lot of the relationships I saw my close friends experiencing. Even though I knew they weren't great relationships, I didn't know the reasons exactly. This guy served as an amazing teacher. He helped me see the things I needed to heal. When he inadvertently helped to recreate an unpleasant scene of my parent's past (that I only knew in story form) I knew I had issues to work out. He showed me that difference between unconditional love and whatever he thought he was offering. My great desire not to fail in a relationship showed me some of the greatest ways they do fail: Lack of honest communication, running away from childhood issues, not healing from past traumas, lack of self-love, lack of self-awareness, inability to forgive, lack of integrity, ignoring your intuition, and lack of self-control to name several.
I felt so much shame when it was all over. I was ashamed that I chose someone who would call me names and disrespect me in private and public. I was ashamed that I even spent a day with him. I was ashamed I shared myself with him at all. I was ashamed I didn't beat him up. I was ashamed that I was afraid to end the relationship. I was ashamed that I didn't listen to my intuition. I was ashamed that the relationship proved my imperfection. I was ashamed that I was sad that the relationship ended. I was ashamed that in ways he pulled away from me before I did from him. I was ashamed that I would have this story to tell.
When I came home, my mother and an unlikely friend nursed me back to health. I was supposed to be celebrating a great accomplishment I made in my life, but I instead found myself weak, underweight, distraught, and dramatically laying on my mother's bed in a state of shock. They loved me and gave me room to forgive myself. I wrote angry unsent letters (no one would let me send them). If communication with him wasn't necessary, I didn't do it. After awhile and a few self-help books, I was able to see that in ways we were both hurt children. The big difference was that I was actively addressing my issues. It was my budding awareness of myself that created an exit for me. My ego and inner child took a beating, but my heart didn't, it was just starting to reveal itself to me. Following that relationship I made healing, forgiveness, self-awareness, and self-love my priority. I love the woman I have become. I'm thankful for that relationship. I can now identify those kinds of relationships with very little effort and even though no one likes to hear it, I'm accurate.
And for those of you who are wondering, he did "get it"...but when someone lives in that much pain, there isn't much that truly hurts them. Pain is their modus operandi. They feel lost without it as much as they claim to dislike it. So my little "Celie, Color Purple" moment was reflecting who he was and did very little to change his circumstance. It also did nothing for me. I didn't get up and leave empowered...and in the years that followed I felt no satisfaction. What if I, in that moment, decided to beam him love of the unconditional variety? No more words, wanting nothing in return, looking into his eyes, calling on the purest of love to flow through me, and beaming it straight at him. Release. Hmmm...