There is a truth universal to all humanity, to all creatures, including you. Including me:
We are beautiful and worth real love.
This story is dedicated to my soul brothers and sisters currently in, or who have left, abusive relationships.
Unfortunately, I spent too much time in a toxic situation. I did so under the false belief this made me strong and amazing. I did so with the optimistic and naive hope that he would change, inspired by my kindness and loyalty. I kept thinking the way he was treating me was temporary, because he told me it was temporary. It was all just due to his current life circumstances, he said. And I bought it. I stayed the course.
(Some people might call this suffering from delusion. Those people would probably be right.)
I had known him for years. After dating, however, the charismatic side he showed in public did not match the side I saw in private.
But he told me he wanted to be with me; he told me he loved me. I disregarded the fits of anger; the throwing of my personal belongings; the slamming of the door and the screeching of tires. I thought I was being loyal and kind.
Yet over the months, my harmless comments or questions kept being misconstrued in some manner. He would find a reason to react in anger. Sometimes, it was simply because I leaned over and hugged him. (He had things to do, you see.)
I kept thinking the answer was more empathy. I’d never been in such a tumultuous relationship before and I did not recognize the signs until it was too late. My heart was invested.
On his part, however, he kept me at a distance, and maintained control. We were never equal.
Trust me. It can be difficult to give so much and not understand why someone is not meeting us halfway.
In the middle of it all, we can be optimistic and hopeful that any person we are with wants a true and sincere connection. However, by obstructing the connection, an abusive partner can maintain power. This caused me to question myself and my worth.
Please, listen again: you are worth so much more.
I’m back to loving myself and feeling better. However, these things are insidious; someone warned me the impact could be more than I realized. It takes some time to heal. And that’s okay; I will allow myself all the space and time my heart needs.
From now on, I show myself nothing but the gentleness I deserve.
And as a part of that healing process, I wrote this letter. It is a reminder to all who need might need it, including myself:
You are beautiful, kind and talented. Honest. Loving.
You have a good head on your shoulders. You know yourself well.
You are worthy of great love.
You are funny and compassionate. You are complicated and unique.
You are creative. You are capable of great works of art.
You are brave.
You have done many wonderful things. Do many more.
It’s okay to feel.
You have had so much to feel.
Work through. Burn. Burn the fire. Burn it and move on.
You are not unobservant. You are thoughtful.
You are not overemotional. You are loving and deep and loyal and passionate.
You are not weak. You are a delicate mixture of compassion and justice; the recipe, rare and coveted.
You have stood up to many bullies in your life, toe to toe. You have walked right up to their door.
You have dialed their number. You have walked inside their shop, looked them in the eye and asked, “Yes? Can I help you?”
Taking advantage of emotional intimacy is weak. You are not weak.
You are strong.
You, my love, are whole.
You deserve whole love.
A Love Letter to Myself
Author: Marie Brown
Associate Editor: Kendra Hackett / Editor: Renee Picard
Photo: Leland Francisco on Flickr