Dear Avalanche: “I am stronger than he can ever know”

Years of sustained emotional abuse left Jessica* struggling with feelings of low self worth and desperate to escape her abusive partner for good. Here, she shares how she regained her freedom, strength and happiness.

*** Jessica’s story has been published, in her own words, at her request as she hopes her experience will help others. Names have been changed to protect her identity. She’s awesome. ***

Jessica’s story

I met a guy when I was in my late 20s. He came onto me extremely strong: constant texting and calling, as frequent as every minute of the waking hour.

I had come out of a relationship with a guy who was never available, so I thought, ‘Wow, this is what love looks like and he really likes me!’

Little did I know this was love-bombing, and therefore a form of control: he wanted to lure me in as quickly as possible and he wanted to monopolize all my time.

He wrote me poems, using the most flowery language I’ve ever heard. My friends told me it was too over the top. I ignored them; certain I’d found the love of my life.

sarah

Photo of a model, by Giulia Ciappa

He was constantly there, he never wanted me to go out, and got jealous of everyone I spoke to. I thought that I really mattered to him. At the time, I had no idea what an abusive relationship is.

This man promised me the moon, and I was on cloud nine.

Then the lies built up.

I confronted him about some untruths, and every time he denied and minimised them – and somehow lost his temper with me.

After six months together, I tried to leave him.

He threatened to ruin my reputation. And when that didn’t work, he threatened suicide. He took pictures of bottles of pills he was going to take and sent them to me in the middle of the night.

Each time I tried to leave, he’d threaten me.

I didn’t leave. Why? Because I was weak and I was strong-willed at the same time. I believed he was a good person somewhere inside, and I thought I could change him.

I thought if I acted right, he would treat me better. I thought I could bring back the person he pretended to be at the very beginning.

He didn’t allow me to have friends. He trash talked all my friends, told me my best friend hit on him, he punished me for seeing any friends. Over the course of this relationship, I lost every single friend and I wasn’t allowed to make any new ones.

I became depressed and afraid. He also didn’t allow me to participate in any outside interests. If I ever went to the gym, or even grocery shopping without reporting to him first, I’d suffer consequences. He either gave me silent treatment and withdrew all affection, or he yelled and screamed at me to punish me.

He criticized my clothing, hair, makeup. I was either dressing like a whore or a nun.

I could never do right. Whenever I bought new clothes, he purposely never gave me a compliment – and hinted that he preferred other styles.

danger signs

Image by Click

On his good days, he would pump me up. He would put me on a pedestal. But I never stayed on there too long before being knocked down, and harder each time.

This person enjoyed making me cry, and when I cried, he either told me I was manipulating him with tears or he sat there stone cold playing on his phone waiting for me to be done.

He had double standards. I wasn’t allowed to have friends, go out, look pretty, drink alcohol, exercise, or go swimming; but he was entitled to do whatever he wanted – and he hid many things from me that he did.

He lost his temper with me many times.

He couldn’t take any form of criticism or even an opinion different to his own. He was highly sensitive so I couldn’t say anything to him.

Often, he broke up with me at the slightest disagreement. He broke my self esteem and took away my smile.

I became depressed and he told me ‘Look, if you were always this depressed I’d never have been with you,’ and that no other guy would put up with me because I’m emotionally high maintenance.

Over the years, I was brainwashed.

I watched him lie cheat and steal. I knew was involved with a bad character, but I was too addicted to get out. I finally left him after countless failed attempts. He would chase me back every time, but punish me afterward for leaving.

He told me I was the manipulative one because he was the puppet on my string: I left him to make him chase me, apparently.

I desperately wanted to get away. And then I finally did. Nothing major happened to make me leave, but when I got out I didn’t look back, ever.

I blocked him, changed my email, changed my routine, hid in the house for months, lied about moving away, I cancelled all social media and never checked his.

Despite everything I did to hide, I suffered a whole year of being stalked.

I think he finally stopped because he realised he could never get me back and he has lost all control over me. That made him move on to the next person.

During No Contact, it was hard. I had so many suppressed feelings, it took many months to feel everything I wasn’t allowed to feel during the relationship.

Healing takes courage

Original photo by Bohari Adventures

I felt anger, betrayal, injustice, and sadness. I also didn’t believe he never loved me. But I stuck to No Contact, and I kept loving myself no matter what.

I’m happy to report that I’m happy!

I’ve learned so much during this year. I’ve become the best person I’ve ever been, and I’m looking the best I’ve ever looked.

I have let go the fantasy with this abusive person, I have accepted that he never loved me, and what he did to me was abuse. Even though he never put his hands on me (not yet), what he did to me was bad enough and if I stayed, it would only escalate.

I’ve learned that my self worth is in my own hands.

I am beautiful because I am a beautiful person inside out, not because he told me so or he told me otherwise. I realized I am smart and resilient, I am strong and stronger than he can ever know.

At this point of my life, I truly don’t care about this person. I don’t care what he does: I have let him go completely. I only achieved this with No Contact. I want everyone to know that I thought I’d never get here, but I did! And I’m happy, without the abuse.

We have to courageously let go the illusion of love the abuser created for us. We must look for and believe in truth.

Thank you Avalanche for offering me advice at the times I really needed it. I am happy and I am free and I can’t stop saying that.

I hope someone will benefit from my experience and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it is always darkest before dawn.

Can you relate to Jessica’s story? Have an experience of healing from domestic abuse? Please SHARE in the Comments.

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7 responses to “Dear Avalanche: “I am stronger than he can ever know”

  1. All I can say is ME TOO! Destroyed me! But I’m now free too. I got treatment & read her book from Dr. Karyl McBride ‘How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist and Heal Your Family”. I wasn’t married to him but this book made me understand myself and how to heal. Went from victim to victor! God bless thank you for sharing.

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  2. It’s amazing, and disturbing, how often I find myself thinking, “I wonder if this is my ex?” because there are so many times I read about other women’s experiences in an abusive relationship and it mirrors my own. Your story sounds exactly like mine. I can’t agree more that no contact is key to your recovery. It wasn’t until I did that that I finally began to truly move on. I refused to be sucked back in by any method he attempted to use–usually guilt–in order to move on. Thank you for sharing. Stay strong; you got this!

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  3. My abusive ex took his life two weeks ago. A constant cycle of I love you, I’m going to kill you, I’m going to kill myself. I obtained a protective order in April, was terminated from my job in May ( they feared for my co workers safety ) but I remained foolishly hopeful if he got help we might be ok. He refused to get help and continued to deteriorate. I finally phoned the police when he violated the protective order and came to my home. He had left before they arrived but throughout the next day his voicemails took a turn and his anger was directed at my daughter. He took his life two days later and here I sit feeling guilty, I pushed him over the edge.

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    • No honey, no. You did not push him over the edge. He pushed himself, and if he could have, he would have taken you with him. You are never responsible for another person’s actions. You are only responsible for your own. My ex attempted suicide and blamed me, his job, basically everything except himself. I was still deep in the lies he spun, so I accepted his version of reality. Two years later I know that it was all part of the abusive pattern.
      I am so glad you and your daughter are safe. Hugs and healing to you.

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