How do you know when you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship?
Today we are showcasing a sweet friend that knows this battle well. Today we have another guest author sharing her journey with emotionally abusive relationships. It’s our honour to introduce Samantha and share her story.
Samantha’s bravely opening up about her experience with emotionally abusive relationships and sharing her list of signs to look out for
At The Relationship Project, we are firm believers in exposing the underbellies of all relationships and we know this battle is a common one and deserves to be spotlighted.
We’re thrilled and honoured to be sharing more stories, just like Samantha’s, experiences and advice, to help others out there, just like us.
Without further ado, let’s get to it!
If you were to tell me four years ago that I would end up being in an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship for almost three years I wouldn’t have believed it.
I never thought the person I could see spending forever with would loop me into a vicious cycle that I wouldn’t be able to escape from.
It all started back in August of 2013, I was newly “single” and enjoying my freedom. One night, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to tag along in picking up her two drunk buddies. I had nothing better to do so figured what was the harm… little did I know, this night would seal my fate for the next few years.
I have to be honest and say there were a ton of great times throughout those years and that the love I felt was real, but it seemed I let those feelings and moments fog all the negatives. Why you ask? Insecurities, feeling worthless, wanting something I knew I really couldn’t have, thinking I could change him…
To this day, I don’t have regrets and I would gladly do it all over again – I just wish I had stuck up for myself sooner.
That I had known my value and that I should not have wavered in what I want – just to let someone else’s happiness shine above my own.
If you think you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, here are some signs and behaviours to look out for:
1. There’s a cycle
For me – there was a very consistent cycle (you need to watch for patterns). We would start in the “honeymoon phase” for a few months, then on a random day something would switch off in my ex’s head. He would all of a sudden be sick of me. I would be shooed out of the house, told to give his key back, etc. leading to some nasty arguments. Then for a few weeks there would be random conversations back and forth, leading back up to a hangout, then bam – we’d start right back at the beginning. This became so taxing on me. How could I possibly plan a future with this person if he continually checked in and out?
2. You make excuses
I always was the first to defend my significant other’s behaviours – for everything! If he yelled at me, kicked me out, had a bad day, the blame was always on me and what I didn’t do for him. If you start lying to yourself you’re bound to lie to your loved ones about the state of your relationship. Stop lying to yourself!
3. You lose yourself
I’m still trying to find myself and piece back everything that had been broken – and it’s been over a year. If you find yourself giving up on your interests, hobbies and even your job, to accommodate your partners, that’s a red flag. Social media is also a huge factor when it comes to this. PUT THE PHONE DOWN! Do not sit around and wait for him to call or text, go live your life. A girl who is independant and has her own thing going for her is something worth having.
4. It’s one sided
For me I was the one always putting in the effort; when it came to plans, conversations, etc. I was giving so much of myself to this person that I was not getting anything back in return. I was being used and taken advantage of. Always remember that a relationship is give and take – both parties should equally be just as invested and willing to work at it.
5. You’re not “really” happy
This will be the hardest thing to admit to yourself. Of course there were happy moments and lots of laughter, but the only time I truly felt happy was when my partner was happy. Now there is nothing wrong with that – but if you feel like you need to constantly be putting something out there; sexually, emotionally, physically (be it a gift), just to keep the peace, you’re not truly connected. Happiness doesn’t come from stuff.
There’s never going to be an easy time to admit you’re stuck and not sure how to get out.
It hasn’t been easy learning to bounce back, and to be honest I still can’t say I have. I always question myself, ask ‘what if’, and blame myself for how I was treated. As the age old saying goes “time heals”. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but what I will say is time makes things more manageable.
It becomes easier to get up and grow stronger with each passing day.
The first step is knowing you’re in a toxic relationship and how to remove yourself safely.
Being honest with yourself is the biggest hurdle you will take in starting to find your happiness again.
There you have it.
Thank you Samantha for so bravely sharing your story and insights with us. Our biggest take aways are:
Being honest with yourself, your needs, and desires is crucial.
Ensure you can safely remove yourself from the relationship and threatening situations even if there is no “right” time.
Recognize the cycles and the patterns, this can prevent you from being sucked into the vicious cycles of abuse.
Thank you, Samantha, for being so vulnerable, real and honest in sharing your story. You are not alone in these struggles and we are so honoured to be sharing your story and providing the platform for these REALationship experiences to be showcased. We commend the courage it takes to share this with us and the social media world. We are cheering for you!
Samantha Lenz is a freelance journalist and lifestyle blogger residing in the Fraser Valley. This single mom balances raising her toddler, being a mental health advocate, and running a business from home.
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