meoww Posted August 25, 2011 Share Posted August 25, 2011 I took a little time off of relationships (a year and a half so far) because in all honesty, I was ruining my life. I had a very dysfunctional upbringing, I never had a family even though both parents were physically present on and off. The last two relationships I was in were really toxic and I was wondering if a.) How I ended up in such bad relationships b.) my own role in the abuse c.) how I can prevent this from ever happening to me again and d.) affirmation that I'm not crazy and that things were really bad. I think I have figured a lot of it out, but I feel like I just need to get it all out. Bad Relationship #1 I had moved home for the summer after my second year of university. I intended to take a year off, rethink my goals, and return or transfer to another university, feeling refreshed and motivated. My mother is really abusive and I used to start getting hysterical around her because I was very afraid of her. She lives in another country and I brought a friend with me, under the guise that she could experience another culture but really I just didn't want to be alone with my mother. So, I was under a lot of stress. I met this man, who was 8 years older than me, 28, who I invited to hang out with my friend and I. I had absolutely no feelings for him, I never expected it to turn into something romantic. He seemed odd to me, and he was definitely not my type. Anyway, so the 3 of us go out together, my friend and I are acting quite immature (we were 20) but somehow this man finds it a turn on I guess because he kisses me. I didn't feel any spark or connection to him. The next morning he gave me a massage and made me lunch. In time, he listens to my story about my family and for the first time in my life I had support (or so I thought.) I tell him about my ambitions, that I've taken a year off to rethink my goals and switch disciplines when I return to school. He makes fun of my ambition, and my worry that I'm not becoming the professional I always hoped to be. Seriously, he really did. He begins convincing me that his field (something I am interested in, but it's something kind of out of date and not my cup of tea) is the field to be in and that my desired field is for phonies and pseudo intellectuals. The funny thing is that later on, I realized it's actually the opposite, and he is just jealous of the folks who pursue the field I'm interested in because they get more recognition and money! Anyway, in a few months I am a convert. And so began the brainwashing process...I hate to sound like I'm not taking responsibility for myself, trust me I know I should have just turned and ran very early on the relationship, I don't know why I stayed.. He became more and more of an alcoholic and he started yelling at me in front of our friends and ignoring me when he got sick of me. He even mistreated his cat and acted like this was normal! I started to realize I would never want to have kids with him. He tried to rationalize me transferring to a tier 4 university in his area while he went to one of the best schools in the country. Of course I was pretty compliant in this so I know it is definitely largely my fault. It just got worse, I wasn't allowed to think for myself at all, or do anything without him: he'd try to punish me if I decorated our shared apartment, criticized my tastes in art--too trendy, again I lacked substance or something, my love of nature (was insipid), basically he attacked every single thing I said I loved. I wasn't allowed to listen to any kind of music he didn't like. So I strived to see things his way, instead of wondering why he wanted to be with me if everything I thought was so absurd. He wouldn't let me leave him, he'd throw fits when I tried to get my own apartment. So I was kind of afraid, not for my safety, but just really confused about the whole thing. He often acted like he hated me, but wouldn't let me leave. He would always befriend young women, even younger than me, and watch a lot of teenage porn (around age 18.) Sorry if this isn't well organized, anyway, I'm sure you get the picture. I was clearly unhappy with my life and the relationship. Somehow I stayed in this relationship for 3 years, then I finally had the courage to leave but he had really exhausted my financial resources and my parents weren't willing to help me out anymore, which is fine, but because I was in an abusive relationship, I never got to pursue any of my dreams, so it was really bad timing to say the least. I'm now picking up the pieces of my life after this horrible experience but as I said, I feel very disheartened and kind of lost. Relationship #2 This relationship followed immediately after getting out of the first abusive relationship. We were friends before, so I thought we could have a nice, but somewhat casual relationship with mutual affection and respect. I wasn't expecting exclusivity, nor did I really want it. I just wanted to have a sexual relationship with someone who didn't totally creep me out after having my body be violated for 3 years. Sorry if I sound disturbed...So I told him how I felt and then he suddenly blurted out that he was in love with me and 2 days later, he said he felt like he just knew we were going to get married. I was still pretty dazed from the last relationship that had ended only 2 weeks before. I know, I sound like such a train wreck, I don't blame you for thinking that, because I really used to be. So we were never apart after that, I moved in, we shared our dreams together--that part actually wasn't that bad because this time our interests aligned very well. I loved being in his apartment and being part of his life. But I noticed he also expected me to take care of him, and didn't really acknowledge that fact. He also didn't have any patience for the fact that I had just gotten out of this terrible relationship and needed some downtime to think about my arrested development and neglected goals. I started to feel really depressed and overwhelmed. He was very chivalrous and caring but it was way, way too intense. I started to wonder if he even liked me, or was just playing out some kind of fantasy. He took me on a bunch of trips, and found us a new place to live that was very beautiful. But I was almost catatonic and dwelling on my childhood abuse on a daily basis. I had a part time job, and I was basically just coasting by. Then, our relationship started to change. He decided to go back to school to pursue a new field (the field I always wanted to pursue). We made plans to move to a new city, we already lived in a relatively cosmopolitan area but this new city was much, much better. He seemed very excited at first, we were going to move to his home state and we were going to experience the city together. However, I had serious doubts that he would actually stick around. To be blunt, he's way more privileged and has more leverage in trading up, in terms of relationship partners. I, on the other hand, was running out of money, was totally messed up and didn't how to change it. Even before we left, we took a trip and the mood was really uncomfortable. He kept looking at me like he was evaluating my worth. So I had a bad feeling this was all going to end very badly. We rented a moving van and took the long trip to our new home. I started to feel really bad about myself. He continued however, to say that I was part of his family and that I didn't have to worry anymore. We moved in, I met his parents and I realized they really down on me and didn't think I was good enough for their son. I'm actually a really nice person so it really hurt. I tried doing nice things for their family, like making a care package with ceviche and cookies when one of their relatives died but they didn't even say thank you. We went on another trip where he was horrible to me, just awful. He constantly belittled me in front of his friend and then cheated on me because he had a layover in Paris on New Years. I didn't find out about this until he broke up with me. When he arrived at home, a day later than me, he said, "You're more beautiful than any of the girls I saw in Paris," I really had no idea, but I kind of did, I felt really uncomfortable. Within 3 weeks he broke up with me, I knew he was embarrassed by me. His parents told him not to help me move out, because his studies were more important. I agree but it wouldn't have taken long to help me move out either! I had never felt so horrible in my life. During this time, my mother also decided not to contribute anything financially to me so I had nothing. I know it sounds weird that I was receiving financial support from an abusive parent. Every time I tried to do something to become independent, my mother would threaten to cut me off, so it was kind of all or nothing for me. At the time I wasn't willing to become an orphan just to have the freedom to be poor...what a mess right? I wish now, that I would have just made the choice to leave my family at 18, but that would have required a lot of planning in my high school years that I'm not sure I was capable of, given how traumatized I was. I experienced a lot of violence during that time and I was really not myself. At this point, I had basically hoped that I had met the love of my life and that he accepted me, and all the problems I came with and that he believed I was capable of making a better future for myself. This is all very romantic but obviously, it was pretty naive. Oh and during that time he tried to kick me, and told me I blame all my problems on other people and that I wasn't smart enough to be where he was in life, because if I was, I would already be there. (He had one friend who came from a working class background who attended his alma mater.) He told me I wasn't very pretty and that it was a good thing, because at least I'm not too hot to handle. So packed up my bags and left the city and moved away and now I'm just working and saving money to start over. I'll be doing that next year. We kept in contact for a while, had an on and off long distance relationship but it was basically just me being his emotional crutch while he shopped around for new partners of all kinds, and really battering me in the process, basically always saying that a relationship with me would be so unsatisfying. We haven't spoken since he finally found a new girlfriend, which was the last straw for me. I had been withdrawing for a while but when this happened I just told him I didn't want to talk him anymore. He didn't bother to contact me again but he stole my childhood mementos that he promised to send back to me, that I had left in the city. After everything, it really wasn't too much to ask so I still feel so angry about that, especially if he just threw them away. This is really bad, right? I haven't gotten into any other relationships recently, and I'm surprisingly normal now. I cut ties with my parents and now I'm basically totally alone. I spent a lot of my childhood in a lackluster and homogenous small suburb so I haven't really retained my contacts there, especially because I could never be honest with them about my abusive childhood and expect them to still accept me. I kind of just want to leave that all behind when I move in a few months and go back to school. Anyone else out there who has suffered repeated victimization and denial of their selfhood? I feel unbelievably glad to be free to make my own decisions now, but it really hard mourning for those lost years and the unnecessary suffering I put myself through. I wish I could have told myself that my parents were never going to change, and that I needed to become independent as soon as possible instead of looking for another family to take care of me. I was 23 before I even realized that, and I only did because I lost absolutely everything and I was battered beyond recognition. Link to comment
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