I lost myself, too. I gave up my own identity to make him happy. Maybe it didn’t make him happy, but it seemed the only way to keep him off my back. I didn’t know at the time that each compromise I’d made was giving up a little part of who I was and my life as I’d known it.

The little things add up…in this situation it was a bad thing. He didn’t like my friends. So I went around them less and less as time went on. My family was “crazy” and he didn’t think it was healthy to be around them and didn’t want his unborn child exposed to their dysfunction. He knew how I felt towards my family because they were actually dysfunctional. I didn’t ever want to sever connections from them, & never planned it. My best friend I’d had some issues with over the last few years that had nothing to do with him, and wasn’t anything major but they were unresolved, and he played on them. He acted like he understood and empathized with me and then made it sound like my family and friends weren’t good enough for me, and that he didn’t like it when I wasn’t treated well by others. I didn’t know any better in the beginning, but this was the start of isolating me from friends & family. If I was convinced they didn’t really care about me, then when they did contact me I wouldn’t make any effort to talk to them or share my life in any way. As time went on my friends disappeared-fading away, and in my mind I wouldn’t go to them for help anyway-I was too afraid of being judged and condemned for being with him.

The music I listened to was another thing that was picked at. Anything that offended him he’d throw a fit about, & I soon learned to sing in the basement. He didn’t want to hear songs that gave men a bad name. The way I cooked was also something I changed-he didn’t like leftovers and I soon found out that meant anything that didn’t come right off the stove or out of the oven. Spaghetti had to be cooked a certain way or he’d refuse to eat it. Food set aside in the microwave was leftovers in his opinion, even if it was just cooked a half hour before he got off work. It seemed like I couldn’t do anything right.

This whittling away of a person’s world makes it easy to control and brainwash someone who is completely uneducated about abusive relationships and domestic violence. You can compare it to the analogy of the frog in the boiling water. It isn’t thrown in when the water is boiling. It’s put and the water gradually heats up. The frog never realizes a thing until it’s too late. That is why education of what domestic violence and abusive relationships really are is so important.

Through education and intense counseling, I was able to heal, and became a better person for it. I don’t regret my experience, because I believe that everything happens for a reason. Does that excuse his behavior? No. But I survived, healed, and then evolved. Experiencing such evil has shaped me to be able to appreciate things in a greater depth than I ever had before. It has allowed me to be able to give more without expecting anything in return, and it taught me what the true meaning of love really is and is not. For that reason alone, I am forever grateful-which truly makes me stronger.


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