Written by: Jenny
"You're... like, too nice. It's WEIRD! You are too smiley and too talkative. It gives guys the wrong idea. What's wrong with you!"
My ex-boyfriend said that to me. I was so mentally beat-down by his years of emotional abuse, those words hurt me to my core. Every time he said them. And he wasn't one to hold back.
They don't look like horrible words. But, they felt horrible to me because those ARE traits of mine. I am nice. I am smiley. I am talkative. I'm not now and I wasn't then 'a cheater'. But, he made me feel like I was doing something wrong, just simply by being myself.
He tore down my already weak self-esteem.
And trust me, there were horrible words. Much worse than that. But, those were the ones that stung because I sort of knew who I was... and this other person was telling me it wasn't good.
Why is the negative always easier to believe than the positive?
I won't go too deeply into my personal and family history because that would take an eternity to explain. But, I am a child of divorce and although I knew I was loved, I think because so often my parents put me in the middle of their battle with each other, it wrecked something in my mind about my own self-worth.
The guys I dated probably sensed my weakness? Did it make them feel 'stronger' because they were weak themselves? I'm not a therapist. But, after silently analyzing everything I've been through over the years, that's all I can figure.
Breaking up was really hard for me to do because even though the relationships were completely toxic, I couldn't leave.
When you've been so beaten down mentally, somehow it all starts to feel deserved.
It is extremely anxiety-producing and embarrassing to write about this. But, I feel like it's time.
Because, I know that I'm not the only one. I have learned that by publicly sharing (which, is not for everyone. I get that.), it helps others. That was one of my main purposes for creating this site.
I want to help someone find the strength to leave. To take that scary, bold step. To escape the brainwashed prison. Because, on the other side? Is a beautiful life.
Often. Like, VERY often. People tell me how 'perfect' my life appears. I have a gorgeous, intelligent, successful husband. They assume that I am just 'that girl' who lived some storybook life and then continued with my own fairy tale.
Never judge a book by its cover.
So many times I've wanted to stop them right there and give them the low-down about how my story is anything BUT.
I have worked extremely hard for everything I have in my life right now. From relationships to career to children -- none of it came easy. I treasure all of it because I've been on the other side.
Sometimes, I'm really grateful for that perspective because I DO think it makes me more appreciative. But, it also creates anxiety -- what if it all gets taken away tomorrow? Life is so uncertain, and I've seen that many times too.
What I have now that I didn't have before though, is self-confidence. A career that is truly mine. Sincere friendships that have taught me so much about so many things in life. Age -- and with that definitely came wisdom.
I know who I am now.
I love that a man has made my life better because we truly enjoy each other's company. But, the cool part about it now is that I don't 'need' him to fill up something that could only be filled by my own confidence.
I just needed to find it.
And I did.
Some might wonder how a person could ever get sucked in to the trap of emotional abuse?!
Oh, be careful when judging. It's a manipulative web and easier than you think to get stuck.
However, one that CAN be undone. It can. It truly can.
So, beautiful woman reading this right now. Know this.
YOU are not what someone else tells you. You are better than that.
YOU have the power to change your life. Circumstance doesn't define you.
YOU are an individual. Capable of supporting yourself.
YOU are strong, even though you feel so weak.
Life is short. Make the most of your story.