My post, 1,2,3,go, has received quite a bit of feedback which makes me so incredibly happy! If I can share my story to help someone else not make the same mistakes, it makes what happened to me, worth it . So here is my letter to someone living with emotional abuse. It could be anyone: your friend, sister, brother or even you, This happens to people of all classes, education levels, ages, and genders. The letter I have written below is not to anyone specifically. It is just to someone who is being emotionally abused, whether they realize it or not. Hopefully, if you don’t know it, this letter will open your eyes. Many of us have been in situations where we watch a loved one in an abusive relationship but we are terrified to say anything. I’ve written down everything that I would say, if I could, in that situation. Maybe if there is a person you are concerned about you can share this. Hopefully, that person will read it and recognize themselves.
I know you don’t think this is true but, you deserve better. You don’t think this is true because who are you to stay who deserves your love and who doesn’t? Who would want to make that call? After all, they need you. They have said it a thousand times, they couldn’t imagine life with you. You don’t want them to be sad or hurt, right? I understand.
I have to ask you though… WHAT ABOUT YOU? Aren’t you sad and hurt? Don’t you deserve to be loved? Can’t you imagine your life feeling loved and relaxed? Oh wait! You think you change him right? If he loves you enough, he will change his ways. That’s what you want to believe. And that’s what he needs you to believe.
Have you ever tried changing yourself? Even changing something as simple as your diet, stop biting your nails, no cussing, etc? IT IS REALLY HARD right? Therefore, you must realize it is a million times harder to change another person. It is actually impossible. Bottom line is, you cannot control their thoughts, actions, and you definitely cannot make decisions for them. You cannot change this person. They must want to change themselves. Even if they want to change themselves, it takes time. Just because they were nice to you for a day, week, or month, it does not mean that they changed. What will happen when the finances are tight, or the baby cries late at night and you are both exhausted Or what will happen when they just get tired of being nice? Do you really want to live like this? Don’t fall for the tricks. Sometimes they pretend to be nice to you, buy you things, and do other things to make you feel loved. It won’t last long. They are just doing these things to keep you hanging on. Once they know they have you back, the abuse typically comes back. It is an endless cycle. You don’t have to put up with this. You can choose something better for yourself.
I hate to tell you this because it hurts: this person cannot love you. They may think they do, but they can’t. They cannot love you because they do not treat you with respect. You cannot love someone and not respect them. Love is not controlling someone. Love is not being jealous. None of these things are love. Sure, you might think that if he is jealous it might mean that he just wants you to himself because he loves you. But, the overwhelming odds are that he wants to control you. You are considered property and he is protecting his property. Jealously is not attractive or healthy. Have you heard the song, “Jealous” by Nick Jonas? It has a catchy beat, it brings you in and gets stuck in your head. When you listen to the lyrics you realize it is about control. No one should enjoy being jealous or want their partner to be jealous. I know exactly what it feels like when you worry about someone looking at you because your significant other might go after them or accuse you of something, it is not fun, exciting, or loving. That song is the exact opposite of what a healthy relationship consists of. Don’t choose that life for yourself, choose a life filled with love.
So, if that is not love, what is? Love is accepting an imperfect person, perfectly. No one is perfect, people make mistakes on a daily basis. Those mistakes should not hurt you day after day. Of course, your spouse might say something that will hurt your feelings; unfortunately we do treat the people we love the worst at times. However, your significant other should never directly attack you for things that are beyond your control. You shouldn’t live in fear of upsetting them by living your life. No one should walk on egg shells and never be allowed to express themselves. Love is letting someone be themselves. If you are like me, you might think, well, he isn’t perfect but I am supposed to love him anyway, right? You are supposed to love an imperfect person, Not true. These things are beyond just an imperfect person: belittling someone, isolating them, screaming at them, lying, controlling, physical aggression, drug use, stealing, and abandoning them emotionally or physically. Someone who does these things to someone is not loving them. If you are having an argument with your spouse about the finances and you both say something that maybe you shouldn’t have, that doesn’t mean that you should run and leave. You both care about the finances because you want your family to be stable, you are arguing about it out of love. Couples disagree; that is completely normal. The line is when it starts making the other person feel unsafe, unwanted, and unloved.
Maybe you have thought about leaving but the ultimate line was thrown at you, “I will kill myself if you leave me.” This is the cruelest line that someone who says they love you could possibly throw at you. It unfair. They know that they will get you to stay because you fear that they will actually do it. Then if they did kill themselves, how would you live with that? The overwhelming odds are that they will not injury themselves in the least bit. All you have to do is type in “signs of emotional abuse” in Google and you will find list after list of signs. Pretty much every list has “threats to kill themselves” on the list. Abusers do this because it is the ultimate control. You have to remember that someone who says they love you and means would NEVER do this to you. Why would someone who truly loves you ever want you to feel the pain of their death? That is just cruel. The likelihood of the person actually killing themselves is basically zero. They are just using it as a method of control, they value their own life far too much to end it. However, they do not care how you feel. They do not care that you are dying inside. They just want that control. You deserve better, so leave. Let the pleas and threats come. Call the police, if it would make you feel better and let them know that the person has threatened to kill themselves. They will do visits to see if the person is mentally stable. More than likely, they will be just fine. You will see on Facebook in a week or so that they have moved on. It will hurt seeing that. You will be confused as to how they could move on so quickly if they loved you. The painful truth is, they didn’t love you because they are not capable. It isn’t your fault. You couldn’t have seen it coming. It was just one of those “wrong place at the wrong time” situations. But you can get out of it. You can live the life you deserve.
If you think you are being emotionally abused, try Googling signs of abuse. Use it as a check-list. If you are checking off multiple points you are in a situation that probably is not healthy. A healthy relationship has its ups and downs. However, the signs of abuse on most of these lists are beyond what most people experience in a healthy relationship. Write down how you are feeling at times. Go back and look at your writings a week or so later. Pretend what you are reading is someone else writing about their life. Are you happy for that person? Is this the life you would want for your son or daughter? If the answer is no, then well… you know what you should do.
So, if you find that you are in fact being emotionally abused and you’ve had enough… and you’re ready to leave but you are just not sure how, listen up. This will be the hardest day of your life but you are going to have to 1,2,3, GO it. This is how I got through it. I made it almost like a game. I gave my ex a warning, that if I left, I would not be coming back. He continued screaming at me. I said in my head, 1,2,3, GO. On the three, I literally forced myself to leave. I almost had to make it like when you count to your kid and they don’t want to know what is going to happen after three. I didn’t want to know what was going to happen after 3, so I escaped. So do it. Drive to a friend or family member’s house. If you do not have anyone near by to count on, call CASA. They will help you. Just get out of there! One thing I had to do when I left was to make sure I never saw his face again. I knew he would still have some control of me. I knew that if I saw his face, I would want to go back to him because I genuinely loved him. I would highly recommend doing the same. If you see them, you will feel things towards them and you would be more likely to go back whether you really want to or not. You’ll find an excuse for them and a reason to give them another chance. They don’t deserve it.
Once you get out, you are going to be saying 1,2,3 go, A LOT. If you were married to him, you will deal with similar things to me since you have to file for divorce. It’ll look like this… Get out of bed: 1,2,3 GO. Work: 1,2,3,GO. Lawyers office: 1,2,3,GO. Calling CASA for support: 1,2,3, GO. Setting up counseling appointments: 1,2,3,GO, canceling life insurance and health insurance: 1,2,3,GO. Changing beneficiaries: 1,2,3,GO. Telling friends and co-workers: 1,2,3,GO. Finding a home or going back to your home once they leave: 1,2,3, GO. Starting over: 1,2,3 GO.
You feel like you will be living off 1,2,3 Go’s for a long time. But it is worth it. You’ll survive and you will be better off. Take your time and enjoy your found freedom. You can do whatever you want and answer to no one. It is an amazing feeling. No more worries, no more stress, no more feeling like nothing. You are in control of your life from the day you left. You get to choose happiness. You’ll find true love eventually and you will appreciate it so much more because of what you have been through. For now, rely on your family and friends for support. You might think you are but you’re not a burden to them. They are not going to get tired of you talking about things as you work them out in your head. It is harder than you could ever imagine for them to watch in you a bad situation. They love and care about you more than you know. They love you so much that they don’t say anything to you because sometimes that can cause an argument which causes people to not talk. They want you to have someone to be there for you if you do leave. They are scared and sad for you, they know you deserve better. So rely on them to help you if you leave, they will be your biggest support system. If you do not have local friends and family. I highly recommend contacting CASA, they will get you a support system and you will not feel alone!
Choose a life you would be proud of.
I know 15-year-old me, would have hated the person I was when I was married. I would have been so disappointed in myself for letting someone control me. I know that my heart would have been broken if my daughter or son was living the life I lived. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Please choose the life that you deserve, would be proud of, and would want for your own children one day. 1,2,3 GO!
With all my love and support,
How did I determine that I was being emotionally abused? This didn’t just come to me one day. It took counseling, talking with friends and family to realize what I was really dealing with. It didn’t seem like abuse while I was living it, until I looked at it from the outside.
- Going out with friends without him was not an option.
- I was very nervous when I noticed I missed his call.
- I freaked out when my phone was on silent and I didn’t realize it, I could have missed his call.
- I was yelled at for things that were beyond my control.
- I felt isolated.
- I felt guilty all of the time and I didn’t even know why.
- He threatened to kill himself if I left.
- He started arguments with my family, ensuring that I stayed away from them, so it would keep the peace.
- He checked my Facebook and questioned me about people.
- He checked my text messages and questioned everything.
- I could never mention another man whether it be a co-worker, friend, etc.
- I was nervous when a man commented on my Facebook page.
- I had to leave work right on time. If I wasn’t home, when he expected, I was always questioned.
- He would drive recklessly when he was mad at me, no care in the world for our safety.
- I was left places when he was angry.
- I felt nervous.ALL.THE.TIME!
- Fear that the police would show up because the screaming was so loud (if the police are ever called, please take that as your sign to leave. This doesn’t happen in healthy relationships).
- I could never let him know that I was mad at him or that he hurt me. Otherwise I was yelled at more.
- He knew everything I was doing, throughout the day. I couldn’t stop at a store on the way home from somewhere without him knowing. I was always rushed to get home.
- If we went out to dinner, bar, etc, I had to watch how dressed up I got, even if we were going together. He always made me feel bad if I dressed up to go out. I wasn’t able to dress up to make myself feel good. Instead he always made me feel like I had other reasons for dressing up.
- He followed me around the house. I couldn’t even go upstairs without him asking what I was doing. If I didn’t answer (because I got tired of always having to), he would follow me.
- He hid his phone, if I came near, it he instantly took it.