You don’t know me, but we have said “Hi” before. I look like any other mom you have seen at your mom’s business, but I have a story. Your mom and I talked last week. She had no idea about my past, but she opened up a little to me about you. Now, please don’t put up walls. I did that. I was SO EMBARRASSED when I thought my mom was fluttering around town sharing all of my personal stuff with whoever would listen. I was disgusted she talked about me behind my back. Now I know why. My mom was scared for me, just as your mom is for you. It is no accident that your mom opened up to me that day. Please, just listen. That is all I ask. Please just read this, then you can go back to whatever you need to do. Please open your heart for just a few minutes.
Anna, I have been where you are right this very second. Too many times. I am a bit of a free spirit, and well, normal guys never kept my interest. But…because of my free spirit, I have been in relationships that were not healthy. I have been “loved” by guys (I will not call them men) who did not know what love was. I kept repeating the cycle until I wanted to die.
I was in a depression so deep, I never thought I would see light again. Each guy chipped away at me until I had nothing left to give. They were all takers. Not givers. I felt like every part of “me” was sucked out and replaced by the person HE wanted me to be. My friends were not good enough. My family was not good enough. I was only allowed to associate with people of his religion. The isolation happened so slowly, I didn’t see it for a very long time. Over time, I had given up all of my hobbies, everything I loved, to be replaced by things HE wanted me to be involved in.
I was “jokingly” put down, then told I was too sensitive if I got hurt. I never felt good enough. That was one feeling they all made me feel. I felt like NOTHING I ever did was QUITE good enough. Some made me feel like I was never thin enough, my hair was never blonde enough, my cooking not good enough, and the house was never clean enough. In what ways has your boyfriend made you feel “not enough”?
After the put downs or a fight over something that ended up being ridiculous, he would always reel me back in. He would be romantic, do something nice, be his old charming self….and the cycle repeated and repeated until each and every “he” made me feel like I was a little crazy.
He made me feel like he was all I needed. We would conquer the world together. No one understood him but me, because I was the only special person EVER in his life to understand him. Two of the guys had bad childhoods. They sucked me in with stories that made me want to save them. Anna, a healthy man does not need saving.
The things he says to you, Anna, are abuse. I know you don’t want to hear it. I didn’t. In fact, when my mom would say it to me, I would roll my eyes and shut her out. I shut everyone out, partially because I didn’t want to really listen. I partially blocked them out because deep within me, I didn’t want them to know there WAS a side to him that wasn’t good. I thought I could help all of the guys who attached themselves to me. What I didn’t know is that you can’t help someone who is truly empty inside.
It took me 38 years to realize love does not behave in the ways I was accustomed. I grew up with wonderful parents, so what made me want to help every broken boy who came along? Those are answers I am working on within myself.
Each guy was a little worse than the previous, until one night, after trying to break up with the last one, I sat in his car with him in the garage. (He was also the one who took the emotional abuse to physical abuse.) He turned everything around and made me think it was all my fault. He handed me the gun he was holding and told me I should just kill myself.
I have never told this to anyone. A part of me wanted to die because it was just too hard anymore. Life was just too hard. You don’t think you will or could ever be driven to that point, but you are wrong. These guys will say or do anything to manipulate you into doing what they want. I have never felt so alone as I did at that moment. God stepped in. He put pictures of my kids growing up in my head at that exact moment, and told me how much I have to live for.
I had such low self esteem I believed every charming thing that was said. I have stood in your shoes, Anna. I have. I was 21 when I said “I do” to the devil wrapped in Christian clothing. I was a year older than you are now. I know exactly what you are feeling right now. You love him with all your heart. Everyone is wrong. They don’t understand him like you do…. Am I right?
This was very hard for me to write today. As part of my healing, I don’t like to revisit the past. I did it because I don’t want you to take my same path. When you are ready you can read my stories. You could very easily end up where I am now.
Your family is GOOD. I have known your mom for a long time. She is an incredible woman. She is scared for you, and so is your sister. Anna, they are scared for good reasons, please don’t push them away. They are your anchors, and they love you unconditionally.
You are so beautiful and so talented, Anna. Anyone who knows you will agree. Look how far you have come. You have accomplished things by the age of 20 that most people will never achieve. You are an incredible shining light. Your light is being dimmed by someone only thinking of himself.
All of the things you are giving up that your are being told are not important, ARE IMPORTANT because they are the things that make you, YOU. I lost myself. I lost who I was completely, but I am coming back, and I am learning to fly again.
I have met a wonderful man who handed me my wings. You have yet to experience what true love is. IT IS AMAZING, and you know what? True love never makes you feel bad.