By An Anonymous Guest Blogger
“Don’t make me pay for what he did…”
Nearly 4 years passed before beginning another committed, intimate relationship since my previous abusive relationship ended. Given my long history with my ex, a large part of my recovery from the abuse involved me getting to know myself in an intimate way without the “burden” of a relationship. As I reflect even more now as I write this piece, I am reminded of how free I felt after leaving the abusive relationship. Even during those difficult healing moments, I was always possessed by such an overwhelming relief that the abuse was finally over.
For a while after my previous relationship ended, I was psychologically broken in my perception of relationships in that I equated an intimate relationship to pain and suffering. I can say that I was not opposed to casually dating and “keeping things light,” but I was opposed to entering another committed relationship again because my trusting nature had been nearly broken and fear of being hurt again paralyzed my heart.
That was until an unexpected someone came along nearly 4 years later and changed all of that…
Approximately 6 months passed between meeting my current partner and making our relationship official. During those months and even now, almost 2 years into our relationship, my partner continues to treat me with a type of love, support, and understanding I have never experienced. For a long time, even at times now to be honest, it scares me because my abuser was also loving, supportive and understanding…in the beginning. The abuse started nearly 2 years into our 8-year relationship.
Despite the overwhelming amount of patience my current partner has displayed, he has said on several occasions, “I’m not him…don’t make me pay for what he did.”
Sometimes I struggle not to compare my current partner to my previous abuser. Sometimes fear does get in the way of our ability to move forward in our relationship because I’m afraid that eventually, things will go south no doubt, because that’s just how relationships work, right?
What I had to learn and am still learning is that healthy relationships do have their challenges as well. Given my history of trauma, we were bound to encounter difficulties as it relates to trust issues, on my part especially. However, with a loving, supporting, and patient partner, a corrective emotional experience can take place and over time, I can say that gradually, I’ve learned to rebuild that trust again.
I can speak for myself and for others that have experienced abusive relationships that the healing process is intentional. I still continue to seek counseling now. Even though things are going great in my relationship, I know that keeping in touch with my feelings as they come up is crucial not only to my own mental health, but to the success of my relationship.
I know firsthand that trusting again is much easier said than done. Even now, it is difficult sometimes to move to the next step in my own relationship when pondering commitments such as marriage and having children. However, experiencing new people and new things have a way of changing one’s mind about the world and the people in it. So, to those reading this post – there is hope out there.
Believe me, I was very cynical for a while, for good reasons I must say! Protecting your heart is important and sometimes necessary to prevent pain and suffering. I would say to be intentional on your healing process because it is critical to your health on an individual and relational level.
Don’t let your heart grow cold and don’t give up on love because if you do, your abuser has won.