I was in an abusive relationship for 10 years, it's hard to talk about it because it's usually women who are abused.
So i have Complex PTSD, from long term exposure to trauma/abuse. I also get bad anxiety attacks. Some things like hyper-vigilence will never leave me & the flashbacks may lessen over time. My tolerence to A holes is zero, my problem is determining if people are in fact A holes, or if it's just my perception of them.. In fact, i had a flashback the day after watching "Joker" last weekend & a day later i woke from a dream screaming.
To digress a little, the film was too real for me, how he was misunderstood, how he was the victim & yet blamed. He wasn't born that way, he was made that way.
I think i cracked at the end, i just couldn't take it anymore, i packed all my things and just left. I had to put up with the repercussions for a few weeks, 30-40 missed calls a day, 40-50 text messages, on bad days i just shut the phone off.
About 2 weeks after i left, I realised i couldn't remember a thing, nothing. I knew i was with her, and for how long, but no details. I was frightened, i didn't dare go out in case i ran into her, i stayed home a lot. The flashbacks started about 5 months later, a smell, a place or a word spoken would trigger one. i was terrified, i didn't know what would set it off.
The next few years were difficult, dealing with the flashbacks, waking up screaming or crying, i didn't know who i was or what i liked, i realised everything i did was the way she liked & i had no idea what i liked anymore. As cliched as it sounds, i had to find out who i was, what i liked & didn't like. I knew i wasn't quite right, i had no one to turn to, i didn't know what was wrong. All i could do was stay as strong as i could.
She had issues, that i knew, her dad was a gambler & wife beater. She was also most likely Bi polar. I tried to get her to seek help many times, but now I hope she rots in hell.
I started seeing a psychiatrist last year, 12 years after i packed my things & left. I felt i had tried my best & held out for too long, & i still needed help to address some issues. i almost gave up because the psychologist who was assessing me kept triggering me. She asked me difficult questions, about things i had not thought about for many years & expected immediate answers, i told her i was thinking but she kept pushing, so I refused to talk to her & requested for another, who was much better.
The psychiatrist is hopeless, he doesn't look interested, barely asks any questions and only seems interested in prescribing drugs. He didn't even want to make any diagnosis, which after checking around, seems to be the norm. The most he would say was it's an "adjustment disorder". The system itself is meant to make sure you are ok, but it seems to work the opposite way. When you show up for your appointment, you are asked at every step, if you have/had suicidal thoughts ; at the screening, counter & clinic nurse & finally the shrink. They stopped asking when i replied, "If 1 more person asks me, i may very well have suicidal thoughts."
All the drugs numb you, you don't feel like doing anything or care about anything. I would have things planned, but when it came time to do them, i just could not be bothered. Not hobbies or interests, not even food, you just seem to be in a trance. A trance that goes on for months, lethargic, indifferent, apathetic. They let me sleep initially, but i started waking 3, 4 times a night or more. I'm already a light sleeper, but on anti-depressants, it was ridiculous. The slightest thing would wake me & it was difficult to go to sleep again. In the end, i just stopped taking them, i stopped seeing the shrink & only saw the psychologist. I realised i needed help to find out what my triggers are & why. Then how to deal with it, it's a long road ahead & the end never in sight
The things i remember;
threats, criticism, spiteful comments, shaming, ridiculing, insulting, hostile looks, silent treatment, lying, gas-lighting, physical abuse, emotional blackmail...the list goes on. I remember seeing a list once, of all the things that an abusive person does, she actually did every single thing on the list.
- i was blamed for everything, everything was my fault, i was always wrong.
- Her constantly belittling or putting me down, my appearance, possessions. "you're useless, petty, stupid, etc"
- taking, breaking, destroying or throwing away my stuff. But done in a way that she could use as a lever against me.
- In front of people she would be the complete opposite & pretend to be nice, but in private it was the opposite.
- i had to apologise for everything, "even when i am wrong, you have to apologise".
- comparing me to every other man in the world, "why can't you be more like xxx?"
- She would purposely take the opposing point of view for everything, if a car cut me off & i honked, i would get told off for getting angry.
- If i didn't agree to anything, the arguments would start. About nothing, over nothing, it would just do my head in.
Some incidents i remember;
- She was quiet the whole day, i asked if anything was wrong, or if she wanted to talk. Her reply was " Why? Is something wrong? Did YOU want to talk about something?" . I said no.... she kept quiet the rest of the day while i waited for the explosion. Nothing happened till late at night, as i was lying in bed reading, she was tossing & turning. When i finally fell asleep, she was waiting... she elbowed, then kicked me awake at 2am. I told her that since i already asked, & she had nothing to say, she should stop her nonsense & go to sleep. Of course it was rejected even though i said everything she wanted to hear, apologised for whatever it was I did that made her that angry. She actually said "you're not getting away with it that easily" She refused to accept anything i said. Then at 7am she said she wanted make up sex, i was already numb, I told her nothing in the world could induce me have sex after a night like that, which started another round of "you don't care about me, you only care about yourself, you're the most selfish man i have ever known..." The rest of the day, i got text messages blaming me for her being tired at work, for keeping her up all night..
- Another time she tried to start a fight, i refused to argue, i told her so & walked away to sit on the sofa. She snuck up behind me & clapped her hands right next to my ear, the ringing didn't stop for 2 days & i have some hearing loss from that.
- I had a fever, and was sleeping in bed when her parents arrived for a visit, she told me to get up or her parents would think i'm useless for sleeping in so late. I said no, she stood in bed & literally kicked me off with her foot.
- She threw my clothes into the wash, including 2 brand new shirts, along with a red rag. When all the clothes came out pink, she played the victim in front of her sisters, saying i would get angry, i would blame her, etc. So i have 3 women telling me off, how she meant well, etc. (This is because I did all the housework, all laundry, ironing, cleaning, she started fights when she found hair on the floor )
- Somehow she got pregnant, i said i wanted to keep it. She didn't. I begged her, she said she would lose her figure, delay her promotion at work, get tired... i said she had no figure, she could choose not to take maternity leave & go straight back to work, i would care for the baby completely & hire some help if i needed. She didn't want it, she got rid of it. I forgot all about this incident till i had a flashback at work, it was hard to keep from crying. Then i forgot about it again & had another flashback. I console myself by thinking that maybe it wasn't mine, and friends have told me the same.
There are plenty more, but i don't want to remember.
For people who ask why i was with her, or why i didn't just leave...
It wasn't always like this, it didn't start like this. She drew me in & when i thought i would rescue her from her problems it got flipped around. Slowly, over the years, you get so sick of the fights that to avoid them you just do what she wants.
Why didn't i leave earlier? She was so good at pretending to be nice to me in front of our families that both sides would take her side. Also, she would tell me that if i left, she would kill herself. And she would make sure everyone blamed me for it. "I will kill myself in front of you", " If you leave, i will jump down the building", "If you don't apologise right now & beg me to forgive you for thinking of leaving i will slit both my wrists".
The last time she said it to me, i told her to go ahead, and i walked off.
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