Things that Happen When You’re Abused

The first time he gets violent with you, you will be too stunned by the Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation to believe he’s the partner you knew yesterday. The second time, you’ll be so confused by his manipulation and your trauma that you won’t be able to see clearly enough to know it wasn’t your fault. The third time, you’ll begin to hate yourself. Slowly, depression will roll over you, picking you apart cell by cell.
You’ll tell yourself he was abused as a child, so it isn’t his fault;
that he’s profoundly sorry, so he’ll change;
that he’s promised to get therapy.

He never does.

Even so, you’ll stay because you know you’re strong enough to keep your self-worth no matter how awful the abuse thrown at you. Except you’re not. You’ll stay because the trauma of repeated attacks will erode the very core of your being. Your skin will be grey. Your eyes will be drawn. The deadness of your face will be only a pale reflection of the sickness you feel inside.

“I’m fine,” you’ll say

But then you’ll forget what it was like to be a whole person. You’ll forget so thoroughly that you’ll think you’re still whole. You’ll continue to believe you can leave at any time and that he’s not broken you. Not yet. One day you’ll wake up to find that you’re having flashbacks. You’ll tell yourself it’s because you’re crazy. That is what he told you, right?

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“I’m fine,” you’ll say.

You’ll try your damnedest to change, because if you try harder, he won’t leave, right? But he will. He’ll leave you in the same way he left all his other partners. He’ll leave you because you will stop being a challenge. He’ll leave you because he’s grown bored with his own game. He’ll leave you because the only way to harm you more than he has already is to discard you in the most hurtful way possible.

At some point, you’ll begin the journey back to wholeness. Sounds, sights, smells, the sight of his face in a photograph will take you back to the days before you were set free.

He’ll try the silent treatment. He’ll send you love letters. He’ll send you ‘sorry’ letters. He’ll send you the same letters he used to send you back when you really believed he loved you. You’ll shut every door he opens until you’re finally entirely rid of him, but not before you go back to him and start from the beginning again…

“I’m fine,” you’ll say

and again…

“I’m fine.”

and again.

“Fine.”

You’ll know it’s as bad as it gets, but it never is, so you’ll find some impossible place inside yourself that’s able to leave him for good.

You’ll know that you’ll never recover, but you’ll wake up one day and realise you’ve not thought of him for a week.
You’ll wake up one day and realise you’ve not thought of him for a month.
You’ll wake up one day and realise it has nothing to do with him at all.
One day you’ll find a tiny sliver of belief in your own value.

You’ll wake up one morning before dawn, and the sun will rise to find you whole

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