Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 – Relationships
Recently, I got in touch with a former girlfriend of the Manipulative Ex. I have carried a lot of guilt over the last nine years with regards to how I treated her thanks to the lies he fed me. She’s a lovely young woman who suffered the same treatment as I did, and I was vile to her because of how much I was under his thumb. I’m on good terms with a few of his ex-girlfriends actually. And even without going into the eerie similarities of our relationships with him, there’s always been two words that has been used to describe him by all of us.
I’m a huge advocate in recognising emotional abuse as a valid form of abuse in relationships, something which has been gaining traction over the past few years thankfully. It took me a very long time to acknowledge that my two and a half year relationship with Manipulative Ex had actually been abusive. After all he never physically harmed me, and whenever we had problems the blame would quickly shift to me. Everything was my fault. I drove him to do things, to act in a certain way. It was even my fault when he cheated on me and lied about it. He made everyone around me believe that I was going crazy and looking for attention when in truth I was suffering from severe depression and hurting myself daily because of how he made me feel. Since then, I’ve found out that he was gaslighting me. But how could I have known? He was so charming and seemingly sincere… he told me how much he loved me all the time, and how no-one else would love me.
He did some awful things to me while we were together. When I was really ill with a severe urinary tract infection, he wouldn’t take the 45 minute walk to pick up my antibiotics for me so I had to. Lost count of how many times I threw up on the way there and back. He deleted text messages on my phone from my mom which would get me into a lot of trouble. Then there was the enabling of some of my more extreme behaviour, which he’d swear he tried to stop when he finally took it to someone else. The list goes on and on. Despite finally getting out of the relationship in 2009, the scars (both emotional and physical) remain to this day.
Even when I met my Husband, I was so very wary of him. Abuse of any kind in a relationship can damage a person beyond repair, and I know I was lucky in finally meeting someone who has been patient and caring. I’ve lost count of how many times he’s had to say “I’m not Manipulative Ex!” whenever the topic has come up.
The hardest thing about an abusive relationship is opening up about it. There are always going to be those idiots who say “Why don’t you just leave?” If it was that fucking easy, everyone would do it! Even without the threat of physical violence, the power of fear and intimidation is much stronger than some might believe. And when the person you love is telling you that you’re worthless, ugly and unlovable, you don’t want to let them go in case they really are your one and only chance for love.
The truth? You are worth so much more than these wastes of air will allow you to believe. And that’s why they do it, because deep down they know you can do so much better – and they’re afraid that you’ll leave them in the gutter where they belong. I know that’s where Manipulative Ex should be. It’s easy enough for me to say from the other side, but I’ve been down there with anyone reading this who thinks this post relates to how they feel in their relationship. It might not feel like you can get out, but the first step to realising just how you’re being treated is by talking to those close to you. Friends, family, anyone who knows you well. And if that’s not an option, because abusers can isolate you from your loved ones, then there are other avenues for you to look at. Please look at the links at the end of this post, please reach out.
I would even want you to reach out to me, if you just need someone to talk to. No-one should ever face this on their own, and if I could just be an ear to listen then I would be glad to. You always deserve love, respect and safety.
I’m glad to be rid of him. And I know I’m not the only ex-girlfriend of his that feels that way. Despite the fact he called us all psychopaths when asked, it says a lot when we all have eerily similar stories about the damage he did to us. Is it really a mystery as to what the common denominator is?
24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline
0808 2000 247
Run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge
The Men’s Advice Line
Available Monday to Friday 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
0808 801 0327
Available Monday to Friday 10am-4pm and 7pm-9pm
Broken Rainbow’s Helpline for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender victims of domestic abuse
Available Monday 2-8pm, Wednesday 10-5pm and Thursday 2-8pm
0300 999 5428
The national helpline for victims of stalking and harassment
Available Monday to Friday 9.30am-4pm, except on Wednesday which is 1pm-4pm
0300 636 0300
The Forced Marriage Unit helpline
Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
020 7008 0151 (00 44 20 7008 0151 from abroad)
The National Centre for Domestic Violence
Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
0844 8044 999
Rights of Women helpline
Available Mondays 11am-1pm, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 2pm-4pm and 7pm-9pm, Thursdays 7pm-9pm and Fridays 12pm-2pm
020 7251 6577
The Respect Helpline offering information and advice to people who are abusive towards their partners
Available Monday to Friday 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm
0808 802 4040