Creating a New Relationship with Myself After Verbal Abuse
Abusive relationships cause us to lose our relationship with ourselves. But we often find plenty of reasons for staying in a verbally abusive relationship; life circumstances, emotional investment and the absence of physical abuse are some reasons I stayed. Here's how I learned when it was time to make the break in the relationship and how I chose to start a new, healthy relationship with myself.
How I Felt During My Verbally Abusive Relationship
I have only experienced verbal abuse in one relationship, so when it started I had a hard time processing my ex-partner's actions and the way I felt. The one thing that I was sure of, however, was that my instincts told me it wasn't comfortable for me. As an emotional, romantic person, it was easy for me to believe when he told me that I was being oversensitive or dramatic. Believing him was the first break in my relationship with myself.
I think one of the hardest things to do for me in this whole journey was to make the distinction between average relationship fighting and emotional abuse. I felt depressed a lot of the time and like I was subdued in talking about my feelings because I thought it would start a fight. It was easier when these conversations didn't surface--if he was in a good mood, our relationship was positive and we had a good time. Looking back now, this was an unhealthy situation for me; and, even though I felt the discomfort, we lived together and we had a lot of good days. It was the definition of choosing to be complacent and ignoring my true self.
Ending the Abusive Relationship to Begin a Relationship with Myself
Over time, I started to realize that I was avoiding communication with my partner, but it was less about not wanting to start a fight and more because I knew he wouldn't understand and I wouldn't feel better even after talking to him. This is when the despair started to transform into frustration. I felt less like a pathetic partner in fear of rocking the boat and more like someone trapped in a discourse with someone I was no longer compatible with. In effect, I felt more confident talking to my friends and family about my experiences since I wasn't feeling heartbroken--I felt angry and like I needed to vent.
Getting outside perspectives about my partner's verbally abusive conversations was key in being able to identify that this behavior was not normal. I started to realize that I had isolated myself from a lot of these people in the whirlwind of trying to work through our relationship issues and talking to them more made me feel closer to being myself. I was regaining a healthy relationship with myself.
Starting a New, Healthy Relationship with Myself
I think staying in a verbally abusive relationship for so long gave me a very unique experience when ending it. Once I had gained confidence in myself and found validation in my feelings about the verbal abuse I had experienced, the process of the breakup went smoothly. I did background work to find a new apartment, I had friends who were now aware of my situation who were supportive if I ever felt weak or sad, and I felt at peace with moving on. I think most of my sadness had been experienced during the relationship, so my main focus, once we broke up, was to be happy.
I knew I didn't want a new partner, but I did have a new apartment and a new outlook on my life. I realized how many things I didn't do before because my partner didn't want to, and I decided that I would never hold out on exploring or doing things I loved to do just because I didn't have anyone to do them with. I found joy in movie theaters, coffee shops, and local events all while embracing my emotional side and prioritizing my needs as fair, necessary parts of my life.
I know that being newly single can be daunting, no matter how unhappy a relationship was. However, I adopted a mindset that I was never truly alone because I could love myself and keep that company. I think that relationship was one I ignored when I was wrapped up with someone else, and that's one a lot of people often neglect. So, I'm taking the time to get vulnerable and comfortable with myself without distraction. This relationship with myself is the healthiest relationship I've ever had.
Brinkley , K. (2019, November 29). Creating a New Relationship with Myself After Verbal Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2019/11/creating-a-new-relationship-with-myself-after-verbal-abuse