I am one of those girls (or women, if it pleases you) who’s seen so much in her life and I thought that I was smart enough to dodge all the bullets shot my way. I thought I knew what abuse looked like and I thought I could spot a toxic person headed my way from miles away. It turned out I couldn’t be more blind or more naive than I was.
So what’s my story? I had a history of abuse in my family and I swore that I would never let anything like that happen to me. I swore to wait for the right man regardless of how long it took me to find him. I had previously had a few relationships but I always held back my emotions and I never let myself fall completely for someone. This went on and on until I finally met someone with whom I could picture my life with.
See, this man was everything I was looking for, or at least I thought so. He was the pure definition of a real man. He was successful, good-looking, charming, empathetic and he had this ability to make me feel like I was the only woman in this world.
With him it felt like I was on a cloud nine. I guess you know already how it all goes. It appeared to me that we were literally one soul in two bodies, that he was my twin flame. I thought that I no longer needed to hold back and that I’d found what I’d been looking for this whole time.
When you’ve been through what I’ve been through in life you think that you’ve had your fair share of pain and that after the rain it’s time for a rainbow, that eventually it’s time for the sun to shine. I naively rushed into the arms of a man who I thought was different from all the rest I’d had the chance to encounter. I lowered my guard thinking that my storms had come to an end, when in fact it was just the quiet before one of the biggest storms I’d ever encounter in my life.
The man I’d fallen for was nothing like what I had looked for but he disguised himself so well that I was left absolutely unarmed before him. We took things relatively slow. I thought I was getting to know him when in fact he was the one who managed to find out everything about me so easily. We talked to each other for a few months before we finally decided to go out on a date and then when we did, that man swept me right off of my feet. He was everything I expected one man to be. And the story he sold me… oh boy, he really knew which cards to play.
When I told him he was too good to be true he just laughed and sold me the story of a victim. He told me how he had been through hell in the past, how so many people had used him, how until then he had never met a woman like me, how all the others were after his money or whatever he had to offer and that in relationships he was the one who always ended up pulling the short straw. Then he told me how he never allowed himself to lose faith in real love or how there would be someone worthy of his love, someone who wouldn’t use him and someone who’d be able to love him just the way he was. It was like he was taking the words right from my mind and saying them out loud. It rang so many bells in my head.
It took me around a year and a half to see him for who he truly was. He sold himself so well and I fell so blindly for him, I lowered my guard so fast that I was left unarmed in this battle he orchestrated for us. To me, he felt like the home I had never had, he felt like my safe haven, he felt like my dream come true. Little did I know he was just a well-disguised nightmare.
My friends tried to warn me, they tried to open my eyes, but how do you make someone see something they didn’t want to believe? They told me that I’d lowered my guard too fast, they told me I knew little or almost nothing about him, they begged me to not rush things but I wouldn’t listen. Now I wish I had but I guess everything happens for a reason and I needed to fall flat on my face in order to learn a few more things. I needed him to serve me as a lesson that I’m not immune to abuse regardless of how well informed I am about it.
I kept telling myself I knew the game so I convinced myself I was ready to play. But what could a girl so in need of love know about love really? I wanted to play hard to get, I wanted to make him wait and I wanted him to work to get my love, but before I knew it I was head over heels in love with this guy. And instead of having him work hard to crush down my walls, I ended up being the one who bent over backward to show him how I was not like the rest or how I was worthy of his love and how I actually understood everything he’d been through.
God, I tried so hard for him. I tried to understand his ‘brokenness’, I tried to be there for him, I justified his shitty behavior toward me and I strongly believed I could ‘fix’ him. I told myself I would be the one to change this man. Little did I know I was falling into his net and that I got so entangled that it would take months to free myself from it and even more to heal after a toxic relationship.
After only a few months of being with him, I started wondering what had happened to me, where did this old, happy and independent woman disappear to? She was nowhere in sight. I was no longer this positive and outgoing person. I no longer laughed, I didn’t speak up, nor did I stand up for myself anymore. I got so tired of being constantly put down, I got tired of having to argue with him day after day, I got so scared that I’d again do something that would trigger his anger. So, I remained silent.
In the beginning, I was so happy that he wasn’t one of those guys who constantly went out, I was so happy he chose me over going out with his friends, I was so happy to finally be someone’s priority that I missed his antisocial behavior. He wasn’t staying in for me, he was making me stay home because it was what he actually liked. Eventually, I cut everyone off because he made me do it, because each time I’d go out without him, he’d make me feel guilty for leaving him alone that I eventually made myself a prisoner of our home and our love.
In the beginning, I loved his alpha personality until I realized that I had been totally stripped of my independence. It wasn’t an alpha personality, it was a sociopathic disorder, one that results in a great need for dominance. I used to admire his drive to be the leader and his need to speak up but then I realized he just wanted to be heard and that his behavior had nothing to do with his drive, it was his illness he was led by.
I was always a highly intuitive person and I could pick up things easily but with him it was as if all my senses were off. I wondered and was asked plenty of times why I stayed so long. And the answer is simple—I was blinded by love. Love makes us do crazy things and I never saw him as an actual abuser, I always thought he was treating me badly because of his past. My empath side was constantly on and I couldn’t be mean to him even in the moments he deserved it the most. And I gave my all to this man, I truly did. I gave my all, I gave my love, my time, my commitment, my independence, my everything, until I had nothing left.
It took me a while to pick myself up, it took me a while to admit to myself what was going on. You have no idea how hard it was for me to say out loud that I was being abused. You have no idea how much courage I needed to look myself in the mirror and convince myself to walk away. You have no idea how much strength it took me to finally fight back again, to speak up, to get my old life back, to pull out that strong and independent girl to the surface one more time.
The aftermath of his abuse lasted even after we split. These kinds of guys don’t ever leave you alone. But I wasn’t gonna ever let myself become a victim. Yes, I was abused, yes, I was manipulated and yes, I ended up being one of those girls who lost herself to a toxic man but eventually, I broke free from his chains. I am not a victim, I am a warrior.
See, I could have let what I went through either destroy me or make me grow. I chose this other option. I not only chose to learn from it but I swore not to be harsh on myself or hate myself for ever allowing him to get to me. I understand now that I’m a human being and that I make mistakes and that’s okay.
You know, I’m proud of myself actually. Yes, I have been so naive to fall willingly into the claws of such a distorted man but there isn’t much I can do about it. I’m proud because I didn’t let myself drown in my sorrow. I’m proud because I eventually stood up and I’m proud that regardless of the hell I’ve been through, regardless of the manipulation or the constant putting down, I rose above it all and now I’m finally able to see I’m free.
What I’ve come to realize after loving a sociopath is that I’m way stronger than I give myself credit for. I learned that sometimes in life you need to fall in order to be able to rise again. I learned that no matter how much you think you know, there are always things to be learned. There are always two sides to one story and it’s up to us to uncover them.
You know, I should be mad at him and myself but I am not. If I hadn’t fallen for him, if he hadn’t treated me as badly as he did, I’d never have learned what exactly I’m made of. Now I know what kind of strength I possess, now I know I’m capable to love even when one doesn’t deserve it and I can say I’ve finally grown emotionally too.
I love myself and I love who I’m becoming after experiencing this storm called sociopathic abuse. I love every inch of my body my abuser hated, I love myself each time I choose to speak up instead of dimming my voice and each time I allow myself to be empathic and gentle to another human being, each time I feel love, I know deep in my bones that I didn’t let my abuser win and being able to be kind despite the hell I’ve been through is my biggest victory in life.