Don't Let the Abuse Change Who You Are
Women of all ages, backgrounds, races, and financial status have experienced abuse from their significant others. Be it a husband, boyfriend, or even someone you're just in a casual relationship with, abuse can take on many forms. It is all mentally draining and it is all detrimental to your self-image.
Being a young woman that has experienced abuse within a relationship, I know firsthand of how it can alter your behavior and perceptions. You start to question your own choices. You truly start to believe that you are wrong. You are wrong for feeling a certain way, you are wrong for saying no to something, and you are wrong for reacting to his/her antagonizing behavior towards you.
After many years of being in that relationship, you find yourself slipping on a mask of someone else. Someone whom you've never met before. Someone that scares you. You start doing and saying things out of character. Perhaps even developing an unhealthy amount of road rage when driving home from work. Or yelling at your family members for a simple mishap. After someone calls you out on it, you take a step back...look in the mirror and ask yourself..."what have I become?"
You are NOT alone.
As much as I lost myself in the midst of the abuse, I knew that my behavior was out of character. Before I got into the relationship, I was a much different person. I was more open, carefree, and kind. Over time I grew antsy, nervous, and suspicious of everyone around me. Negative qualities I had not displayed before. There came a time I started questioning my behavior. This can't be normal. There has to be a reason for this. Someone else must be experiencing this too. Have I become an abuser as well? I like to call it "abusing your abuser". It is not a good thing. It only escalates the relationship abuse to another level.
I started to do my research because I knew there had to be answer as to why I started reciprocating the treatment I was experiencing. I had learned the term "reactive abuse". Your abuser will push you to your limits until you react in an abusive way. Following that, they will point the finger at you, naming you as the abuser. If you have experienced this, it is very typical. I spent so long crying and pleading for the treatment to stop. Only to yield no results. So, I started to fight back with my words. Somehow I felt terrible afterwards. I ended up apologizing even though I felt justified at times.
My significant other would often call me out on it. Stating that I was in fact the abuser. Typical response from a narcissist. They will blame you for retaliating against their treatment. Fighting fire with fire is NEVER the right answer. Please, I beg you, do not succumb to their bad behavior. I know some of you are in abusive relationships and find it almost impossible to get out. You could be suffering financially and need the support from he or she because they're the "bread-winner". I can tell you that I have been there.
It sometimes feels like you're in an impossible situation with no way out. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel. You have to pick up the pieces and move forward. If you are out of work, start applying yourself to be able to work again. Save your money as much as you can. It's always good to have back-up when things fall apart. That is where I came up short. I had spent my time carelessly spending money without realizing the importance of saving. If you are living with an abusive lover, he or she could very well kick you out of the home if you are the dependent one. That is a terrifying reality that needs to be acknowledged.
This is another way they can break you down. If you are unstable financially, they will only make you feel worse about your situation. Throwing you into a downward spiral that will ruin your self-confidence and self-esteem. This may hinder your abilities to maintain a steady job. Thus, making you fully dependent on them. Giving them the control they crave.
Acquiring the strength to be independent is not easy, I know.
All of this will cause you to act out in a way that is really not who you are. Getting a grasp on reality and realizing their behavior is affecting you can be the most challenging. I myself had consciously noticed what I was doing and saying but for some reason it felt like I couldn't stop. I would even lash out at my family members. Nothing hurts more than your own mother telling you that you've changed. That was the light switch that finally went off in my head.
I knew I had to stop the madness.
He and I sought counseling together. He actually went before I did. Things did get better but once that trust was broken, it was almost impossible to get it back. I do feel that there are still issues within me that need to be sorted out. I do feel I need to seek counseling for the pain I have suffered. If you are currently out of the abusive relationship you were in, seek the counseling you need. Especially if you feel that your behavior is out of the ordinary. You don't want to take that with you onto your next relationship. It takes a lot of strength and courage to admit you've changed as a person.
Whoever you are that is reading this. You are BEAUTIFUL. You are STRONG. You are CAPABLE, and most importantly you are DESERVING of every piece of happiness you receive. Don't lose that faith, after every rainstorm comes a rainbow.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2017 Raquel Ascension