There's many different kinds...and I was in one for a while.
No, I was never hit, but I was abused...emotionally, psychologically and verbally...and I took it for years instead of walking away. It would have been really easy to just walk away.
I am often able to find the comedy in bad situations. I mean, I come from a family that is able to make plenty of jokes at funerals. We cope with hardships with a lot of laughter.
For years, I took this abuse, and joked about it...how this would all make such a great book one day. It was all so outlandish that it HAD to be funny...I joked that I had Stockholm syndrome...growing fond of my kidnapper.
Until one day, that relationship ended, by no decision of my own...and I began to reflect on just how abusive it had been all the while.
I went through (literally) hundreds of emails from the past few years to friends...so many said, "I just cannot take this anymore" "I am so sick of being treated like this" and "I cannot stop crying."
After a while, I stopped crying so much because the abuse became so routine. I told myself that I was getting stronger...but perhaps a stronger person would have walked away a long time ago.
Four days before everything ended, I wrote in an email:
"I just cried for the first time in about two years. I can't take being dehumanized anymore. I really can't. "
But, for some reason, when this relationship ended, I felt like I had been completely crushed. I cried for hours, and, almost two months later, I'm STILL sad.
I still feel bad.
I still think back to what I could have done differently to have had another ending and feel like I would have stayed had I been given the choice.
I still blame myself a little.
I'm not sure what I learned from all of this...if anything. I think one thing I know is that I need to have the confidence to never let people treat me or talk to me in a way that isn't completely respectful.
I have the basic human right not be demeaned, criticized irrationally, yelled at and humiliated in front of others and it is up to me whether or not I take it. I gave this person the power to treat me like that, and because I didn't say anything, this person will just continue to treat others the way they treated me.
I know that, for the most part, I am really good to other people. I believe we should treat others the way we would like to be treated...and somebody like this person will never know a true friend.
Perhaps that should make me feel better, but it just makes me feel incredibly sorry for them.