I sometimes contemplate the concept of fairness. Is it fair that good people suffer?
In that vein, I occasionally think about my abusive ex-boyfriend with regards to the concept of fairness. After all the put-downs, the aggression and downright disrespect, he continues to go through life as though nothing happened, void of any remorse or a sense of wrong-doing (or so it seems).
It’s not fair; not in the slightest. It’s not right that the rest of his friends and family think he’s an emotionally healthy and good-natured man. He got away with it scot-free. It’s not fair that I have to reconcile with this, knowing that I will NEVER get the apology I seek.
These situations aren’t fair, but that doesn’t make them less purposeful to those that suffer the consequences. What I have gained from this is a level of strength that I wouldn’t have otherwise, had he not treated me the way he did.
Fairness and lack thereof can be a difficult pill to swallow. However, bear in mind that life is doing this FOR you and not TO you. The difficulties you face will only hone your character, strengthening your abilities to deal with life’s greater challenges.
Let them go and live your life. Fairness, much like sadness and happiness, comes in waves and is never constant. You will be fine and those ex-abusers just helped you, in the most unlikely of ways, become a stronger and better you.
I recently started taking improvisation comedy classes which might be the gutsiest thing I’ve done in a long time. Challenging yourself by pursuing novel and difficult situations leads to growth and tons of self discovery. The key is to learn how to recognize your own fears and ignore the potential for judgement from others. Once you rid yourself of that, anything can happen!
When I asked a friend for advice on how to deal with the fear of judgement or seeming silly and nervous on stage, he said:
“When you’re on stage, “they” are no longer important. You are. They’re simply watching.”
Use this as a mantra for your life. The opinions of others are as important as you make them. People are simply observers, by default. YOU are the performer and the artist. Don’t fear, be real and be passionate. Follow your heart and perform with everything you’ve got. Trust me, others will applaud you and follow your lead:)
Seeking counsel after you leave an abusive relationship is something I highly recommend. Speaking to someone who is knowledgeable about the issue can provide sound insight when you’ve been left confused, hurt and, broken.
Recently, I was fortunate to connect with Kellie Jo Holly, advocate against domestic violence and the founder of AbuseJournals.com. I was seeking advice on how to cope with lingering loose-ends, so to speak, of my former verbally abusive relationship, which I had been struggling with for months.
Kellie’s insight gave me the strength I needed to push forward and break the barriers I was imposing upon myself. Being a survivor of verbal abuse and an educated counselor in the field, she was the best resource that I could have found during my time of pain and confusion.
That being said, Kellie has been mentoring for some time now and is growing a base of mentors to help victims of abuse. I encourage you to explore this resource, especially if you’re in need of answers to what may seem, countless questions.
Further, if you want to share your story and hone your counseling skills, be a mentor! There are also opportunities to join her amazing team.
Sometimes, when you leave a bad relationship, you’re left with TONS of existentialist questions to deal with. I, for one, thought that my relationship, as verbally abusive as it was, was the be-all and end-all of my life. I guess that was part of the whole manipulation, right? All that was left for me was marriage, kids and years of resentment. But, I left.
I’m on my own now and my life has taken a course for the “questionable;” not at all in a negative way, but in a very overwhelming, “where will life take me????” kind of way.
I’m sure some of you may be familiar with The Holstee Manifesto. It’s a direct, short and sweet rundown of what matters in life and how to live it well. A message that has been shared over 500,000 times and viewed over 60 million times online.
As a reminder to those that feel lost, downtrodden and discouraged, life has meaning once you start perceiving things differently and doing what you love. I encourage you to follow The Holstee Manifesto and watch your life transform into your own little slice of heaven on earth;)
The past six months have been SUCH a journey for me. Six months ago I was living in Montreal with by verbally abusive boyfriend. I didn’t have a job, I had VERY few friends; I felt isolated, depressed and lonely. I spent the majority of my social time with my ( now ex) boyfriends family members, especially his mom.
The day I left my ex boyfriend, I went back to Connecticut to live with my parents. It’s been a challenge. I’ve been here for 6 months practicing yoga, going to weekly therapy sessions, and soul searching…LOTS of soul searching. My goal was to heal and find work in Manhattan…
I just accepted a job offer in Manhattan. And my mind is going bonkers! I’ve been taking the time to listen to my mind, body and soul to make sure that everything is in sync. I have gone through SO many changes in the past 6 months, it’s mind boggling. I don’t even know how I did it… My tenacity never ceases to amaze me.
I’ve made it my life’s mission to listen to my heart and go for whatever it is that I want and need. I’ve done it time and time again throughout my life and because of it I am a strong, wise, and resilient young woman who has learned many of life’s lessons early on.
I can tell you that today I am so proud of myself. Proud of the growth I’ve made while being in Connecticut. Proud of myself for doing the (sometimes agonizing) work that I needed to do to move on to the next chapter in my life. Most of all I’m proud that I let myself feel every emotion necessary in order to get over the man I tried to save by being his doormat, verbal punching bag, and catering to his every request.
Thank you for all of your support, encouragement, and kindness I feel so lucky to have such an amazing virtual support system. Your comments and “likes” have gotten me through many of the off days I’ve had. Today at my 430 Hot Baptiste Hour of Power class, I will be dedicating my practice to each and every one of you. For love, happiness, healing and strength. I found it within myself and it’s there, inside you, waiting to be nurtured.
I came across this in my phone. It was a note to myself I had written eight months before I left my ex. Wow. I am now realizing just how clear it was to me that something was off in my relationship even before things got wayyy out of hand….I am so happy I have […]
My ex-boyfriend and I had exchanged stories regarding our most recent break-ups when we first met. He told me that his ex girlfriend had broken up with him because he was “too negative” – BIG surprise there! He seemed so charming and supportive; “negative” just didn’t make sense to me at the time.
However, there were lots of little signs that I didn’t pay attention to because I was infatuated. The key in identifying an abusive individual is being able to hone in on those RED FLAGS at the beginning that might predict escalated abuse in the future. I remember reading the following list months into my relationship, when the verbal abuse had peaked, and I had then put the pieces together. All of these signs were present even at the beginning, just to a lesser degree:
He seems irritated or angry with you several times a week. When you ask why he’s mad, he either denies it or tells you it’s in some way your fault.
When you feel hurt and try to talk with him, the issues never get resolved. He might refuse to discuss your upset feelings by saying, “You’re just trying to start an argument!” or claiming he has no idea what you’re talking about.
You frequently feel frustrated because you can’t get him to understand your intentions.
You’re upset—not so much about concrete issues like how much time to spend together, but about communication: what he thinks you said and what you heard him say.
You sometimes think, “What’s wrong with me? I shouldn’t feel so bad.”
He seems to take the opposite view from you on almost everything, and his opinion isn’t stated as, “I think …” but as if you’re wrong and he’s right.
You can’t recall saying, “Cut it out!” or “Stop it!”
Excerpt from: The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Patricia Evans. Adams Media Corp 1992, 1996, 2010
Get to know the person you’re dating VERY well. Be curious, ask questions, see how they respond, make note of their inclination to address any topic – are they genuinely forthcoming or do they simply blame their ex’s for failed relationships in the past? Are they coming on too strong? This could be a sign that they’re trying to control and take ownership of you. Are they constantly speaking highly of you and very lowly of others? They might be idealizing you and this will lead to constant criticism down the line. Full-fledged verbal abuse takes time, but the signs are there right off the bat.
Always respect yourself, speak up when you’re being mistreated and trust your gut. DON’T settle! Once I’m ready to date and start a new relationship, I’ll be taking my time, making sure that respect and healthy communication are priorities for both.
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau
My relationship ended and I found myself considerably lost, confused and inundated with way too many important life decisions for one broken-hearted person to handle. I’ve had to re-evaluate absolutely everything from my career path, my likes and dislikes and, my future goals, just to name a few. Which road do I take? How do I get there? Will I regret my choices? Will that decision make me happy in the long run? As overwhelming as this place can be, I realize I needed to get here in order to understand and appreciate myself thoroughly as a unique individual with a unique destiny.
Today happened to be one of those dreaded “lost” days. However, something changed today; I learned to finally embrace the overwhelmingly blank canvas. Truly, I am wholly blessed with the freedom to follow my life’s destiny and allow my dreams to materialize. Nothing and nobody is holding me back. My life is no longer in someone else’s control; I create the life I want.
Through the clouds, the decisions, the void and pain, I begin to see who I REALLY am and it’s kind of amazing. It’s almost as though a pure self-love has been brewing in the shadows.
I had spent many months after my relationship drowning in “WHYs.” It was exhausting, to say the very least.
Why did he treat me the way he did? Why isn’t he calling? Why can’t he apologize? Why do others seem to love him so much? Why is he so driven and successful? Why does he seem so oblivious to what he put me through? Why can’t he fix himself? Why doesn’t he care? Why is he so selfish? Why does he think he’s always right? WHY ME?!
If you’re at all familiar with the “WHY” stage after your verbally abuse relationship is over, then you’ll know how draining it can be. It’s taken every ounce of my strength to stop asking why and to start moving forward. Ultimately, I’ll just never know. What I do know is that his instability and his issues with aggression stem from an inner suffering I can’t help with nor understand. Unless he gets the proper help he needs, which will help him to understand how and why he hurt me, which might encourage him to APOLOGIZE, I’ll just never reconcile with the “WHYs.”
Constantly asking “WHY” is like digging yourself so deep into a bottomless pit that you start to lose sight of the light. I’m finally learning how to move forward, stop asking questions to which I can’t possibly have the answers to, and focus on being happy and strive for my goals.