We have all dated someone who mistreated us.
Someone who absolutely despised us, but confessed an undying love at the same time. Maybe they called us horrible names with foul, degrading language.
What did we do? We stayed.
We stayed because we were never taught self-love. We stayed because our self-worth was tarnished. We stayed because we were codependent. We stayed because they were so goddamned charming and persuasive. So, through it all, we stayed. We tried to survive it.
We stayed through all the name-calling. We say we tried to leave, but we stayed. We stayed through all the put-downs, the belittling, and the arguments. We stayed because they made us financially dependent on them. We stayed even though they denied us sex. We stayed although they never showed us affection. Communication? Nonexistent.
We stayed because we had become a shell of a human. We stayed because we no longer had a sense of self. We stayed because they isolated us from friends and family. We stayed because we felt we had nowhere else to turn.
Then, we started to heal ourselves. From within the toxic entanglement, we promised ourselves we would never repeat the pattern again.
We started to gain strength. We began to leave. Little by little, we left. We still went back sometimes, but mostly we left.
We left because we started to love ourselves. We left because we found our self-worth again. We left because we deserved better. We left because we, too, became toxic.
We left because they abused alcohol. We left because we finally had enough. We left because we remembered our strength. We left because we were done being lied to. We were done being manipulated over and over again. We left because we wanted it—because we had to. We left.
It doesn’t matter how long it took. It doesn’t matter how many times we went back. What matters is that we left.
We forgave them. No matter how hard it had been, we chose to forgive them.
We forgave them for us.
We forgave them so we could be at peace.
We forgave them. It was hard at times, but we did it.
Emotional abuse can be so gradual that we don’t even realize it’s happening until we’re deeply entangled in its web.
Just know that we can pull ourselves out of that web; the moment we choose to love ourselves, we are free.