I often talk about the negative things that came from my relationship, which are plenty, but today I want to share some positive things I have learned from it. Not that it was a good thing to live through, but some positive stuff came from making this horrible experience. To provide a context I was in a long distance relationship with her for over 6 years, the first year was great while the rest became progressively worse. She never was physically abusive however she was pretty cruel when it comes to the emotional side. As always I welcome comments and love to hear from people who can relate to my experiences.
- I learnt that I am a emotional person. Before I met her I was so closed off to everyone. I pushed all my emotions down and got my myself pretty convinced I am just not an emotional kind of person. I was actually quite proud of myself not having all these pesky feelings. I thought I really can't feel sincere love and emotionally connect to anyone. During our first year all of this changed and she really got me to open up. She showed me that I have strong emotions many of these I didn't even think I was capable of. The downside of this is I was so incredibly hurt by her but I still think this is something really amazing that came out of being in this relationship. It let me understand that pushing away feelings doesn't work and set me on a new path in my life.
- I realized I don't want to be alone. Before being with her I tried being comfortable with being alone. Not that I enjoyed not having someone to be connected with but I felt it's best this way. Not wanting anyone in my life gave me some form of control, I was invulnerable. If I am okay being alone I never have to be afraid someone I love will leave me which undoubtedly will happen or so I thought at the time. Being with her showed me I am not an island. I want to be with someone, someone who cheer me up when I am down, someone I can share my struggles with, someone who gives me a hug when I need it. The thing I thought was such a weakness in me I now see as something truly amazing.
- I learned to recognize abuse. I was sexually abused before which is quite easy to detect. Emotional/verbal abuse however is so hard to see when it happens. It took me years to even consider what she was doing was abusive. I knew something was wrong but I couldn't put my finger on it. I went day to day feeling miserable without knowing the reason. I tried to fix something I just didn't know what. It took me a while to accept she I am living in an abusive relationship and much more time leaving it. Since then I read quite some stuff about abusive relationships and how abusers think. It helped me seeing the patterns and warning signs of it. This gives me some control over my life back. It's not that I am just a victim anymore that can do nothing about getting abused. I became a survivor who can recognize emotional abuse when he sees it. I realize now that no amount of gentleness or understanding will ever prevent any abuse, it makes it just worse. The only way to stop is to shut up the abuser or leave him/her. Without having made this bad experience I would never thought of learning about this stuff and would have gone from one abusive relationship to another. Now I actually have some hope for living in a healthy relationship.
- I need someone who supports me. Before I got together with her I thought wanting others to support me is such a weakness. I was convinced I don't need anyone in my life and can do everything on my own. When I went through a really difficult time I never reached out to anyone but isolated myself until I got over it. I felt so invulnerable and independent. When I met her all of this changed. I actually wanted to share my struggles with her and wanted to have her support. It felt so good to just have someone listen to me. I learned reaching out for support is not a weakness but a strength. Of course it makes me vulnerable to getting hurt, which happened more times than I can count, but in the end it's definitely worth it. I am sure if I wasn't in that relationship I would have never known this.
- I realized my CSA had an effect on me. I know I been sexually abused as a child for a long time. However I got to a point where I went back into denial. I thought who knows maybe it didn't happen. Children imagine all kind of crazy stuff and even if it happened it wasn't such a big deal after all it's just sex, right? Wrong it's not just sex it's abuse! I was convinced my CSA had no effect on me at all and I can safely move on without ever thinking about it again. When I was with her it became so clear to me that my CSA didn't only had an effect on me it affected every part of my life. I couldn't get intimate with her let alone having sex. Just the thought of someone touching me made me freeze and left me in utter panic. I noticed that I get the intimacy I need in my life from porn and even got quite addicted to it not that she cared much about it. All those things were there before but they were hidden and my relationship put a spotlight on them. I know now I am far from healed and healing is not something you do once and then forget about it. Healing is a constant struggle with lot of ups and downs.
- My friends are not as great as I thought. Before this relationship I thought I have such amazing friends. They never ask personal question and are not interested in my personal life. They don't bother me with their pesky problems and I not them with mine. These surface level friendships just seemed perfect for me. Of course I overlooked I felt alone and miserable most of the time when being with them but that has clearly something to do with me. I mean how can it not be my fault with these amazing emotionally distant friends of mine!? This all changed once I started to move on from my abusive relationship. Once I dared asking my friends to listen to me and support me they didn't really feel that amazing anymore. When I started to learn the patterns of emotional abuse I recognized the same behavior in a much lesser extend in some of my friends. At first I thought that is really some strange coincidences that my friends behave in such similar ways as my ex. It's no wonder that they still are on her side and basically think she may have done some wrong things but in the end it's at least mostly my fault. I mean according to them by letting the abuse happen I was pretty much asking for it. Although it's so painful to see step by step how the people in my life are actually bad for me I see this as a positive thing. It enables me to see who is actually good for my healing and from whom I should better stay away. I am sure without having my ex push me over the edge I would never have noticed that.
- I met other survivors on this forum. Before I had this horrible experience I never had nor wanted any contact with survivors. The thought of joining a forum about SA/CSA didn't even cross my mind. Why would I need such a thing anyway since I am all healed now. In fact I avoided other people like me as much as I could because they reminded me of my past. I don't need anyone to remind me what happened I need just to forget about it and everything will be fine. I was so wrong about this. No matter how much tried to deny and forget the SA it was always there and came up in such strange ways. Ironically I joined this forum to become a better boyfriend for my ex so that she can stop treating me so badly. In the end opening up to people here caused me to leave her. Healing can really get you to strange places where you never expected to end up. Without this relationship I never would have thought there is anything wrong and had no motivation to join a site like this. Thanks to her I met so many supportive and amazing people here.
- I understand people who been in abusive relationships. Before I got into this relationship I couldn't at all understand why so many women keep going back to their abusive partners. It just didn't make sense to me. I could understand you going back if you don't realize he is abusive or if you are scared to leave but once you are out and know he abused you and will do it again why would someone ever go back into a relationship like this. I really tried to understand this point but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't so I did the next best thing and except it. After I went through something similar I understand it completely. I know for a fact my ex was abusive; I know for a fact she will abuse me again but still I feel drawn back to her. I am so glad she gave up and don't contact me anymore. I don't know where I would be if she were really persistent in getting me back. I cannot explain why I feel this way but I do. Now I can understand why it's so hard to stay away from an abusive partner. I guess you really have to life some things to understand them.
There are probably more positive things I could come up with but this is enough for now. If I think of anything else I will add it to the list. I spoke quite freely and used some sarcasms in this blog post I hope it makes the reading more fun and nobody gets offended.