I Broke Out Of An Abusive Relationship & It Changed Me Forever

I never thought I’d be in an abusive relationship. Because he didn’t hit me or harm me physically, I didn’t even recognize the abuse for what it was at the time. I’ve always been very strong and independent, but I have my weak spots — he found all of them and I let him. Here’s what happened and how I finally broke free:

  1. It sneaked up on me, so I didn’t recognize the situation for what it was. I never thought I’d let myself get into that kind of situation but before I knew it, I was emotionally and psychologically screwed. I didn’t know what to do or how to get out. I knew he had issues, but I thought I could help him. I thought that he didn’t mean to hurt me, that he was just a mess who needed fixing. The problem was that you can’t fix someone who won’t do it themselves.
  2. I made excuses for his behavior. Because he wasn’t leaving bruises or physical marks on my body, I wrote it off. The truth is, though, that He abused me in pretty much every other way you can — mentally, emotionally, etc. — and I just took it. I made so many excuses for him to myself and others that I even started believing them.
  3. I thought because I loved him, things would work out in the end. It wasn’t all bad. We had lots of good times — mostly when he wasn’t drunk. Unfortunately, he drank most of the time. I allowed him to get away with way too much because I cared about him and I thought that eventually, if I stayed by his side, he’d realize how much I loved him and change his ways.
  4. I got fed up when I realized the bad outweighed the good. I fed off the drama for a while because I thought it meant we were passionate, but I was delusional. I generally keep my life very free of BS, and here I was living a soap opera. He broke up with me every other week and he was always drunk and either angry or depressed (and taking it out on me). I had mistaken his moodiness for depth but I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I was miserable and he was sapping all of my energy. I couldn’t focus on what I wanted to accomplish in my life because I was always dealing with drama with him.
  5. I gave myself a wake-up call and found the strength to leave. The trick is that if someone who professes to love you treats you like crap a lot of the time, you begin believing that you don’t deserve more. He was great some of the time, and I chose to focus on that instead. Finally, however, my good sense kicked in and I chose to put an end to it and get my life back. It wasn’t easy, but I kept reminding myself that all the tears and fights and sleepless nights trying to reason with him were worth the grief and abuse.
  6. I considered going back to him in weak moments. Even after I told him off, I tried to go to his house and reason with him. He was entirely at fault and yet I still wanted to give the whole thing a chance. He was completely shut down and remote, so there was no question we were done. Still, part of me remained hopeful we could work it out. He was the worst, but I was sad and lonely and I thought I needed him. His silence and resentment towards me was the best thing that could’ve happened. We needed to be done.
  7. I finally felt free… and incredibly relieved. I realized very quickly that there was no conflict or drama in my life when he was gone. Without the heavy weight of emotional and mental abuse, I was happier and lighter than I had been in a long time. That was how I knew I’d made the right choice.
  8. I became stronger by owning up to my unhealthy patterns. I hate to say this, but many elements of my relationship with my ex paralleled my dysfunctional relationship with my mother. Familiarity feels comfortable, so I slipped into a terrible situation. He was moody just like her and I gravitated towards it. Owning up to my past and doing the work to ensure I wouldn’t get back into the same situation was a tough process, but well worth it.
  9. I learned to recognize the warning signs. I know better now than to let a man abuse me again. I can see the signs clearly and I won’t stand for mistreatment. I would never beg a person like that to stay with me now — I would tell him to get the hell out. I deserve so much more and I won’t accept anything less.
  10. I developed a sense of self-worth and became a new and different person. I’ve changed in many ways throughout the years, and this particular relationship was just one element of my growth. I had low self-esteem and I didn’t think I was very important back then. I didn’t take care of my needs, and that included standing up for myself when I needed it. I didn’t know how. Now that I love myself, I know that I’ll never make the same mistakes again.
  11. I figured out what I’m looking for in a relationship. I have a terrible savior complex, and I wanted to fix my ex.  That’s done now. What I’m looking for is a guy who has his act together. He’s mature, kind, caring, open, and ready to put in the effort to make our relationship strong and healthy. No more broken guys in my life — for now on, only the good ones will stand a chance with me.
A former actress who has always loved the art of the written word, Amy is excited to be here sharing her stories! She just completed her first novel, and is also a contributor for Elite Daily, Dirty & Thirty, and Thought Catalog. Amy is the founder of What If Journey and can be found on Twitter @amyhorton18. You can also visit her website at amyhorton.net.