I Was In An Abusive Relationship, And I'm Still Trying To Rebuild

by Fay Hugh
Marjan_Apostolovic / Getty

If you would have said that I would be the victim in an abusive relationship I would have scoffed, brushed you off and even laughed in your face. I am a strong woman, I work with abuse victims. I am not a victim. I am not someone who is abused, battered and scared. I never have been and I never will be. I am too smart.

And yet.

Here we are.

I’m trying to rebuild my life, totally uncertain of myself and my ability to make good choices. Now, my choices effect more than me; they impact the lives of two little humans who rely on me for guidance and support. They trust me with their lives.

I would have laughed and told you that you were bonkers if you told me someone would be able to beat me down so small that I would question my very own existence, make me wonder if it really is as it seems to me or if my reality is something that is false, made up and simulated in my own mind. I would have laughed, I am not someone who does not know their worth. I know how to tell people their actions are out of line and how to treat me if they stray off the path of respect and kindness. I do this for a living. How could I not see it happening in my own living room?

How did I miss the flags that were blowing violently in the wind of my own emotional hurt? How is it that I let so many things slide until I felt it was too late to say anything? I teach people these skills on a daily basis and yet I somehow forgot my own lessons.

I know my own worth and yet even now, away from it on a daily basis I am still afraid to say the things I am thinking. I’m still afraid to say how I feel out of fear of how it will be heard, taken and then reacted to. I am afraid of the fallout of my own thoughts and so I keep them inside. I let them roll around inside my head, until they move down into my stomach, becoming that ball of panic, the one that makes me wring my hands questioning my every move and playing out all of the possible outcomes.

I’m terrified of everything. And yet I still scoff. I am not abused. I am strong. He didn’t know. It’s just how he is.

I’m still protecting.

Someone pointed it out when I complained of not feeling like myself, weak almost. I recognized that I had no confidence anymore, “You were abused. It will come,” and then he carried on. Not letting it be the elephant in the room, and always willing to point it out when it is.

I was abused. I am still strong. I didn’t let it happen; it was happening and there was no stopping it until I saw it for what it was. For what it still is. Until I was ready to leave for good and accept that it was not me who was the problem, no matter what he said, what he says.