I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, and thank God that I’m alive to tell the tale of the worst 4 years of my life.
I attempted suicide about 3 months after I ended the relationship because I was ashamed. It’s not often that a man admits to being abused by his girlfriend because masculine discourse and social expectations won’t allow it.
But I was, and I feel like shit because of it.
I really didn’t see it coming because when I met her, she was such a sweet person. She was really fun to be with, very supportive of me and quite romantic. I thought that I had found the one, and I thought that she would be my wife in 3 or 4 years.
During our first year of dating, I liked that she took initiative in our relationship with our dates and even intimate moments. It made her happy when she had her way and when she felt like she was always right, so I just went with the flow.
In the second year of our relationship, we moved in together, and at first it was cool. We would disagree about small things like chores and the toilet seat up versus down, and I thought that was normal because people that live together will always grumble.
She started calling me “stupid” and “idiot” when we would disagree on stuff, and when I flagged her behaviour, she would get more aggressive and blame it on me, saying that I bring out the worst in her and I was selfish for not taking her needs into consideration.
The amount of disrespect I was getting in the relationship was unbelievable now that I look at it in hindsight. No one should ever go through being humiliated and degraded in what is supposed to a loving relationship. She would give me the cold shoulder for weeks when we had disagreements, withholding love and affection, and she had a habit of locking me out of our apartment until I apologized to her, even when she was wrong.
She would go through my phone and hack into my social media profiles, deleting pictures that she didn’t like and unfriending or unfollowing people she disapproved of. She once threw away clothes of mine that she said were not decent enough for someone she was dating.
I felt offended because my privacy was violated, and when I talked to her about it, she told me that she loved me and was only trying to help me become a better person by removing “clutter” from my life. The whole thing didn’t sit well with me, but I let it go to prevent a temper tantrum from her.
I hated it when she made me the butt of all jokes in front of our friends and made it seem like I had no sense of humour when I confronted her about it. It’s like she went out of her way to embarrass me in public. And the worst was when she shared our private moments with our friends, knowing full well that I disliked it. After a while, I stopped going out with her, and I spent less and less time with my friends because all they’d want to do is talk about my relationship and how concerned they were about me.
Maybe her public embarrassment stunts were part of her plan to cause a drift between me and my friends. She never liked them, and somewhere down the line, she stopped talking to the few friends that she had. We were isolated, like a remote island far from any human contact.
I spent the rest of the relationship walking on egg shells because I didn’t know what to expect with her. She was incredibly unpredictable. One moment, she was happy and we were like a normal, loving couple, and without warning, she would just flip, becoming a beast. She would scream at me and throw stuff at me like we were in a bar fight.
I know that I should’ve ended the relationship much earlier, probably at the phase when she was calling me names, but I really loved her and I honestly believed that she cared about me and wanted what was best for me. I wanted this relationship to work out because I was ready to start a family, and I wanted to do it with her.
What hurts the most is having to let go of the dream that she is a good person and can let go of all the bad stuff that she does, which would enable us to move on and be together. I know now that it’s not going to happen.
I’ve cut out all contact with her and I’ve moved to another city. I’m working through the shame, the self-doubt and the depression, and it’s difficult. I didn’t realize how deeply she chipped away at my soul with every negative word and action until after I survived my suicide attempt. I feel worthless as human being and as a man.
I hope that I’ll rise up from this and be happy again.
*image from Creative Commons.