As the year quickly speeds toward its timely end, I’ve decided to polish off the outstanding challenges that I’ve commenced over the last twelve months so I can begin 2014 anew. One of these is the “Try Looking At It Through My Eyes” challenge (devised by Bold Kevin over on Voices of Glass).
When I left the challenge I had reached day seven, which means today I pick up with day eight: If you had a friend who spoke to you or treated you the way you speak to and treat yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend and why?
This is actually a tough prompt for me to write about, not because the answer eludes me, but because the answer is so painfully obvious it’s almost unbearable to admit to.
Most readers of my blog will know that I was once the victim of an abusive relationship; a relationship that cost me everything in my life, a relationship that continues to haunt my life seven years later.
So to admit to being in a second abusive relationship is extremely hard for me to do, especially as the abuser in this relationship is myself. But no matter how hard I try to deny the obvious, the evidence is staring me in the face every single day.
On any given day I put myself down, make myself feel bad about myself, call myself names, play mind games, humiliate myself, make myself feel guilty whenever possible and deny the abuse is happening; often blaming external sources for the grief I am bringing to myself. My abusive side forces me to control what I do, who I see, what I read and where I go, thus limiting my outside involvement and preventing me from forging new relationships. The abuse is so bad that I am frequently afraid of myself, especially when threats of self-harm and/or suicide come in to play. In fact, the abuse is so extreme that I frequently feel like a prisoner in my own mind; a servant to the whims of a controlling overlord.
All of which are signifiers of an abusive relationship.
So how long would I allow a friend to speak to me/treat me in this way?
I’d like to think that I wouldn’t put up with being treated this way for any period of time, for having been in one abusive relationship there’s no way in hell I want to be in another.
But the fact I believe I deserve to be treated this way makes me think I would put up with it.
And I don’t know what to do about that.
If you’ve missed any of the previous posts in this challenge, you can read them here: