Emotional abuse is crippling.
It can take the strongest woman and leave her feeling like nothing.
Worthless, cheap, stupid, ugly.
When people start to pull back the layers of the onion that is me, they are always curious why I stayed in an emotionally abusive relationship for a handful of years.
For the longest time, I didn’t know. I figured it was because I was dumb, as he told me time and time again. I believed it until I really got to know myself and learned that emotional abuse hijacks everything that is “you.”
Your abuser is like a demon that sucks all of the life out of you, leaving you weak. And sometimes, you end up trapping yourself.
This is why I stayed:
I didn’t really think I needed to check both ways before I decided to fall.
I was happy, and there was never a night you didn’t call.
Damn, what I would do to have had a crystal ball.
In the beginning, I felt so safe and secure.
But as the years passed, you could tell I was no longer sure.
Your facade eventually faded.
Leaving me mind-boggled and jaded.
I was convinced that the old you would come back.
All the while, I was under constant attack.
I told you so many times that you weren’t the man I fell for.
Screamed that I couldn’t do this anymore.
You manipulated me into staying—month after month.
The sting of the things you said lasting longer than any punch.
Time after time I would reach for that damn door.
But how could I be alone? I didn’t even know who I was anymore.
You hurt me in ways that no one else could see.
Not even those closest to me.
I hid your words like a bad habit.
Even after you were gone, I heard them. Listening, and continuing to make my own casket.
I left you, but not before you could plant seeds.
Ones that I would mindlessly grow and feed.
You taught me self-hate.
So, when they ask, that’s why I stayed.
Author: Emily Cutshaw
Image: Chaz McGregor/Unsplash
Editor: Toby Israel