The Myth of Loneliness and Tips to Jumping back in Post-Vortex.

In my last entry I wrote about how I was going to write about things I enjoyed writing about. I had imagined that I would be writing about nothing in relation to abusive relationships. But as the weeks have passed, I have been bombarded with messages from friends, and friends of friends saying how much my blogs have helped. How they find strength in these blogs…

If I am honest with you, I never had really intended for these to be seen by many. I had no idea that I could help people with my experiences. So as I write again, knowing I am helping someone heal – I am thrilled to be writing on this topic.

I was speaking to someone I didn’t know recently, he was referred to me through a friend. Let’s call this referral Ashton*

Ashton: Athena, my mother keeps telling me I should break up with my girlfriend and be alone to figure myself out.

When I heard this, I had a few questions come to mind.

  1. What is your relationship with your mother?

As I mentioned in the SPEAK UP AND TELL YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER POST https://athenaandhermes.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/speak-up-tell-your-friend-you-hate-their-significant-other/ If someone close to you is telling you to end things with someone you are dating – it is worth listening to. However, I still asked because there are toxic child-parent relationships where parents like to get in the way of their children’s dating life. If this isn’t the case, and this is not a habit that occurs – it is worth listening to.

2. What do you think of being alone?

Some people fear being alone – sometimes it’s what propels them into toxic relationships. They are so lonely they would rather settle with someone who hurts them, then be alone. If that resonates with you – then it may be worth considering.

However, there is a huge societal misconception that one needs to be alone to heal. I have had girlfriends tell me that I should “take a year to myself” to “find myself” before I start dating again. And though I am a huge advocate in understanding oneself, I don’t believe the narrative that people need to be alone to heal. You need to do WHATEVER YOU NEED TO DO.

This is what I told Ashton – and this segues me into the real meat of this entry.

In Carl Jung’s book Memories Dreams and Reflections he discusses the power of being alone and how one can discover their own personal individuality. Often times this is boiled down to the idea that one must be secluded with their own thoughts to find who they are.

Sure, I mean it’s quite a boiled down idea… one that has made itself known to the societal expectation that if one breaks up they MUST take time for themselves.

I call bullshit, and I’ll tell you why.

The mind of an abused person is one of the scariest places to be, and put that person alone in a room to “ruminate” with their thoughts (which are more the thoughts of the abuser than their own)… good luck. Not only that, but most often, the abused person has felt alone DURING the relationship. They have had to fight tooth and nail to find the reality of what is happening to them, and ALL BY THEMSELEVES pull themselves out of this abusive situation. Since it takes 7-10 tries to escape an abusive relationship by the time they have gotten out, they’ve already likely moved on.

So – before you tell your friend that they should “take some time for themselves” after being in an abusive relationship. Take into consideration that they may very well need to be around someone healthy instead.

LET ME MAKE THIS VERY CLEAR:

there is no right answer to healing.

If you want to stay single for several years and focus on yourself – DO IT.

If you want to jump into bed with several people, to shed off the ownership of your ex – DO IT. (please be safe)

If you want to get into a serious monogamous relationship with someone who has been waiting for you, or who has helped you escape your abusive one. DO IT.

Despite what you might think, you actually DO know what is best for you. And before you scoff or roll your eyes I have proof for you:

YOU GOT YOURSELF OUT OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP.

If that isn’t enough proof to show yourself that your inner voice knows best… I don’t know what is.

If you do decide to jump into another relationship, or into bed with someone else, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • The healing that you are experiencing from your past relationship is mainly around TRUST and AUTONOMY. This is a really great place to start slowly testing your boundaries with someone new. See how they listen to you. Make sure to assert yourself, and speak up when you feel your boundaries are being crossed. See how patient someone is with you – if they aren’t, this is a red flag and a sign to move on.
  • Your personal thoughts likely aren’t your own. Before you start telling this new person what you think about things, take some time to really think about them. It is very likely that you have thoughts about yourself that your ex has planted, that maybe don’t nessisarily resonate to your authentic self. (Anal sex is a huge one that comes to mind here. Very often toxic partners will force anal and talk them into liking it. There is no shame in liking it, but be sure that you truly do, and this isn’t some pleasing tactic.)

  • Take some time on your own. UM WHAT?! ATHENA YOU JUST TOLD US THAT WE DON’T HAVE TO!! I know I know but read this section until the end. This is where individuality comes in. The societal idea of being alone is not wrong.. it’s just implemented incorrectly. What Carl Jung talks about is taking time out of your day, everyday, to be on your own with your own thoughts. Very often we get pulled into toxic relationships because our abusive partner wants to bombard your focus so you can’t think for yourself. It is very important to disconnect (this can be anyone in your life, friends, lovers, parents, etc.) and take time to think alone on a topic. (**TEXTING IS STILL TALKING!!) I personally take this time while walking my dogs. I tell my partner that I am going alone, so that I can ponder and think on the day. If it’s his turn to walk the dogs, I will take the alone time in my office to journal and think. This makes it possible for me to keep my individuality within my thinking.

  • Misery loves company. You have been through a lot. You are vulnerable and very susceptible to others like this. It’s not to say that you can’t surround yourself with people who have gone through the same thing. There is great connection and support within that but be aware that your goal is to heal. Many people who have gone through trauma are also trying to heal and your company (or theirs) can be triggering. If you are spending time with others who have been in toxic relationships or are healing from something traumatic be very aware of setting boundaries for them, and yourself. Communicating while one is trying to heal, and trying to assert oneself can be difficult. It is often helpful to make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who have healed already, or who are also understanding of your struggle.

  • This new person could be a rebound: It is important to acknowledge that this new person may not be around forever. They could be there to help you heal, they could be there to be a support while you try and find yourself again. They could just be the person who makes you feel clean again. Personally, the first person I jumped back into bed with was someone I needed to cleanse me of my exes body. I wanted to make sure he was no longer the last person I slept with. It’s okay if they aren’t around forever. People come into your life sometimes just to help you with your next journey, knowing this is a huge part of your healing. It’s also important to know so you don’t hold onto them like some sort of medicinal fix. Sometimes, they do stick around and that is also just as wonderful.

  • Toxic behavior can create more toxic behavior: If you have been put through the ringer, it is very likely that you can regurgitate that behavior onto someone else without wanting to. Acknowledging this possibility allows you keep an eye on it, particularly when you feel scared or angry. Just like an abused dog, when we are put into a corner we can lash out, especially when we haven’t been able to express ourselves in our abusive relationship. Lashing out on a new person is our egos way of showing ourselves that we are in control – unfortunately it can be very damaging not only to relationships but to our self esteem. Just make sure to keep an eye on this.

Remember. You know best.

~Athena and Hermes~

Life After The Vortex

In my last entry – I discussed “The Vortex”, which is what I like to call the emotional abuse experience that people go through.

If you haven’t read that entry – feel free to find it here.

What’s Inside the Vortex of Emotional Abuse

Over the past couple of months, I have found myself running into many people who have gone through similar experiences as me. Either they were currently in a emotionally abusive/physically abusive relationship or they had just been lucky enough to get out of one. I found myself listening to similar story lines, similar feelings and saying the same thing to every single one.  Out of all the questions, the one that came up most was – “When am I going to be okay?” 

It occurred to me that if many of those close to me are wondering this, than there are probably hundreds of other people wondering this as well. Perhaps you are one of them. This blog is going to tackle my personal experience of what happens after The Vortex, with some insight of what some of those close to me have also experienced.

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First of all, if you are out of the Vortex, you have dumped your ex, deleted and blocked their number and social media, congratulations. Really. You should be proud for having the strength, courage and determination to escape their manipulation, validation, gas lighting, and abuse.

If you haven’t, that’s okay too. Don’t be hard on yourself, you will muster up that courage, you will be able to get out and you will eventually stop talking to them, stop needing them and you will delete all their social media and affiliations. You will get out – and perhaps this article can you help you look forward to what’s to come when you do get out.

When I got out of my Vortex, I went through the typical stages of grief.

  1. Denial – A lot of agonizing crying. Deeper than any tears I’ve ever shed. I wouldn’t admit that I had been damaged by my partner, that I had their thoughts in my head, that I was afraid of being alone, that I could ever heal.
  2. Anger – I realized what I was put through. I rampaged around telling my abuser what they did. (if you can avoid this step, do so. It was dangerous). I wanted to get revenge, (I wouldn’t suggest it, at least not in the way you think about in this stage).
  3. Bargaining – This stage didn’t exactly occur for me, because I felt like most of the relationship was me trying to bargain for safety and sanity… so this wasn’t so prevalent.
  4. Depression: This is where I realized just how long it was going to take me to heal. How much I was hurting, how scared I was, how broken and how damaged my psyche was. I think I still sit here occasionally.
  5. Acceptance: … I have accepted that I survived it – but I have not accepted why it had to happen, or why I allowed myself to put up with it for so long. I am still trying to accept how I could have been so susceptible to brain washing and grooming.

WHEN WILL I START FEELING OKAY?

To answer this simply – it will take a long time.

But the sooner you start, the sooner you will heal, the sooner you can move forward.

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WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO GET ME TO HEAL?

This is obviously different for everyone, but my experience went something like this.

  1. VALIDATION: I pin pointed that the biggest thing stripped from me during my time with my abusive partner is that I was never validated completely. I was pushed aside to be the “invisible girlfriend” while he promiscuously rolled around with others. My response: To sleep with as many lovely people I could get my hands on. I treated them with respect, letting them know early on that I wasn’t looking for anything serious, and that I likely wouldn’t stick around. I needed validation that I was beautiful and wanted, that my body was my own to do as I pleased and it belonged to no one. ESPECIALLY NOT MY EX.
  2. INDEPENDENCE:  After I got that out of my system, and realized that I was wanted – I realized that I actually didn’t want to parade around sexually… I got my fill and decided I wanted to be in a place where I was my own person, free of anyone. I did what I wanted when I wanted. Movies alone, restaurants alone. Stayed up until 4 watching TV, sometimes would show up to work late, sometimes early. I was my own boss and no one owned me. ESPECIALLY NOT MY EX.
  3. TALKING TALKING TALKING: I started to talk about it, first to my therapist, then to those I loved. I had to get the courage to admit what I had been through. I started commenting on Twitter threads, and eventually when it could come up in person, I would make a small mention to having survived it.Therapy is a huge one – not all therapy places are expensive, be keen to look up cheaper therapists in your area – YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS WORTH IT.
  4. FINDING SUPPORT: After talking to friends and loved ones, I never truly felt like I was understood. There was a lot of support all around me, but those I spoke to weren’t there to experience what I went through, in many ways it didn’t matter who I spoke to, I felt somewhat crazy. I needed someone who had experienced a similar situation, who knew what I meant when I said: “He groomed me.He brainwashed me. He manipulated me. ”  It took a lot of courage but I reached out to some of the people he had dated in the past. (I don’t entirely recommend this, but it worked well for me, and if you know the person is compassionate, it may work for you too.) The people I reached out to understood – not only did they validate that what I experienced, they told me their experience which was almost TO THE WORD, the same experience I went through. This person we all dated used the same tricks on all of us. It made me feel less stupid, and able to see that I was not alone.
  5. ADMITTANCE: I hate the idea of victim-hood. It rubs me the wrong way, however when I finally started to admit that I had PTSD from my partner a lot started to change.  Admitting that I had his thoughts in my head daily,  admitting that whenever I would hear his name I would tense up, admitting that I had dreams of him attempting to kill me… that’s when I started to come to a huge healing place. It was okay to be a victim, and it was okay to not be okay from all the emotional abuse. <A LOT OF TEARS HERE. >
  6. HELPING OTHERS: I started to see the pain of emotionally abused people everywhere when I got out of my vortex. I started to hear the jargon that I used to say come out of others mouths and realized what position they were in. I am now so much more aware of how to identify a manipulator and their victims. In seeing this, I started to listen, ask questions and offer advice and support to these people. In helping them, I was also helping myself.  Since in many situations we can’t reach out to our abuser’s next victim and save them, helping in a overall sense for others is a very good way to pass on this invaluable information. You went through it – you should be able to take something good from it and teach others, perhaps save someone else.

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WHEN WILL THIS ALL BE IN MY PAST?

I  think it’s important to understand that if, like me, you suffer from PTSD from your emotionally/physically abusive partner. You are likely to carry that with you for a very long time. I remember asking my exes ex how long it took her to heal from him, and she said “It’s been a decade and I still get anxiety when I am in the area where he works.” 

She had moved on, found a real love, gotten married and yet still a part of him still lingers.

That may seem grim, but it made me feel better – it meant that I was in no rush to heal, it meant I could still fall in love while healing, and I had all the time in the world to come to terms with what I had been put through.

So to answer this question – It is already in your past – but it may at times creep into your present, and there is no shame in that. 

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The image at the beginning of this article is the destruction of a tornado. I think a pretty accurate image to coming out of the Vortex. You will be a mess, and that’s okay. But you will get better, and you will heal and out of that charred and unsteady soil will sprout a better you – a stronger you – and a you that can go around and help others too.

I am proud of you for being strong enough to battle these wounds.

I know how hard it is, and you are one step closer.

~Athena & Hermes~

What’s Inside the Vortex of Emotional Abuse?

We are very clear on what “physical abuse” is.

Physical abuse is actually the easiest form of abuse to identify. There is evidence of it: a bruise, a scrape, a popped blood vessel, a swollen eye…etc.

It’s a form of abuse that doesn’t require someone to believe you on your word, because there is a whole lot of proof THAT YOU CAN SEE – now whether or not you come forward and admit that’s who the mark is from is an entirely different situation.

Often with physical abuse comes, that equally as terrifying monster: emotional abuse. This abuse is very hard to see, very hard to prove and even harder to walk away from.

If you know someone in this situation, I recommend you read Erynn Brooke’s blog on

Stockholm Syndrome & Emotional Abuse – Part II

It will give you the tools to help out your family member, friend or coworker stuck in this horrible vortex.

I call it a vortex for various reasons.

  1. The calmest place in a vortex, is the middle – which is where the abuser is. The emotional manipulation of your abuser will make the world around you seem blurred. They will manipulate your thoughts on your closest friends, your family and your allies  so that the calmest and least stressful place is with them. This is how they control you.
  2. If you enter a vortex, getting out is nearly impossible. You have to work your damnedest to escape. As stated in Erynn’s blog above, it takes “It takes 7-10 tries for a victim to fully leave an abusive relationship.” That is a lot of work, bravery and effort to get out.
  3. There is so much bullshit being thrown at you from your abuser, your world spins. Your thoughts are altered, your world view is skewed and you have very little control.

Now it’s very common, that those inside the vortex have no idea they are in it. This is because of point #1. They are so close to their abuser, the calm place, that they have no idea they are even inside this abusive situation. It’s also very common, that once you finally escape  that is when you realize you were inside it.  It’s when the pink coloured glasses fall off, when reality becomes clear, and when you are far away from your abuser that you realize just how far inside that vortex you were.

I’ve been there.

I’ve been deep inside the vortex and I had no idea.

There were moments when friends would crack the glass on my rose coloured glasses and for a second I would see clearly, but once back in his presence, he’d patch them right up and I’d be back in the middle again.

It’s those moments of clarity with friends or family, or when you are alone – THOSE ARE THE MOMENTS YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO.

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If you have had a moment of clarity where you have thought that perhaps you are inside this vortex – just a second where you questioned your relationship, or questioned the normalcy of what’s occuring, but aren’t quite sure.

Here are certain points and situations that if you identify with, will confirm that you are in fact in an abusive emotional relationship.

  1. You don’t really argue. Instead they yell at you – and you find yourself holding back on your opinion out of fear.
  2. They throw or break things in your presence, perhaps not at you, but it’s “because of you”.
  3. They make you feel guilty or stupid for having certain preferences. This could be a political, religious, sexual  (ie: monogamy/polyamory), or life preferences (ie: marriage/kids), food preferences (i.e. vegan/meat eater) etc.
  4.  They use power to make you feel special. They tell you things they’ve done to exes/others that they would never do to you. (They will do it to you, and they use this tactic on everyone.) This is a huge one – I would recommend reading about Stockholm Syndrome because this is one of the steps to get you there.
  5. They hold back on certain things, making it known just how special you are when they give it to you. This could be something as simple as sex, affection, or sleeping over, calling you a title, telling people about you, bringing you out in public.etc.
  6. They tell you it’s hard to find someone as good as them out in the world. This could be in relation to love, sex, communication. I’ll tell you what – there is and will always be someone else out there for you. Your abuser is doing this to keep you in the middle.
  7. They get angry at you for things you had no idea you did. It could be something as small as calling you “passive aggressive” or “belittling” when you didn’t think you were. Remember that if someone comes to you with an issue about your behaviour they have NO RIGHT to yell at you about it.
  8. They will make small retorts to being jealous about things that you do. Perhaps when you go out wearing a certain type of pant, going out with a certain friend, having a night out..etc. They do this in the hopes that you will decide not to do it, on their behalf. This is a high form of manipulation. If you decided to do it before they tell you not to, then it was “your choice”. The problem is, with manipulation and emotional abuse, your choice was stripped from you long ago.
  9. When you are alone you break down and cry and have no idea why. This isn’t a normal cry, this is a painful, panic attack type of cry that comes from being squandered.
  10. Your love to them feels like a drug.  If this is the highest form of love you have ever felt and you feel the lurking pain of withdrawals when you are not around them – run. This is not real love, this is you needing them. I know many will think that “honeymoon love” is this way, and there is an element of that. But,if you are unsure – take 7 days away from this person. If at the end of five days you feel like you don’t need them…this is a very sure sign that you don’t “love them” but you were manipulated to think that you “need them.” Another test is to journal your thoughts when you are away from them – do you resent them when you are not together? Do you have issues with your relationship? Are there things you think are unfair? Then journal your thoughts after you have been together: is everything amazing again? Is everything resolved? If this is the case – start that fight to get out. You are in the vortex.
  11. If your friends hate them. If your friends tell you that they don’t like how your partner talks to you, treats you, talks about you..etc. LISTEN. Your friend is brave to bring it up, because often when you are in the vortex you find a reason to excuse or attack their opinions about your partner. If you are getting defensive with your friends about their opinion about your partner – seriously question why.
  12. If you know of others who have experienced emotional abuse with this person – believe them. If you choose to ignore those facts, by thinking that you are different, I’m sorry to tell you, but you are not. This is a very hard realization to come to, but if you are being warned about someone’s emotional abuse take them by their word. They are simply trying to warn you about they pain they experienced.
  13. If you saw this title and are reading it because you thought it may pertain to you. When i was experiencing the abuse in my relationship, I googled “abuse” “dating someone abusive” “signs of emotional abuse” hundreds of times in the hopes that one of the articles would confirm what I was feeling. Deep down I knew, but my brain had been so manipulated I couldn’t think clearly on a conscious level.

If you have read this and have come to the conclusion that you are in an abusive relationship, reach out to a friend or family member close to you and tell them everything. If you feel like they’ve all been pushed away due to your relationship reach out to someone you respect, or call a domestic abuse hotline.

I hope none of you experience The Vortex, but if you are there right now – I am here to tell you it gets better. You will come out stronger, and you will be able to truly love again.

~Athena and Hermes~

What Do You Mean I Get Triggered?! Oh…

Here I was thinking I was better than that.

I’ve always associated “being triggered” as somewhat of a choice, and a weaker one at that. It reminds me of people who cannot have a diplomatic conversation, people who are deeply offended if you disagree with them, people who… okay okay… I’m just going to say it – social justice warriors. 

The term SJW is incredibly negative and is a definition that many people give others who they deem to be illogical – so naturally I don’t want any association with that term or any remotely close to it.

I also always assumed that being triggered was something people chose to do. It was something they understood, a feeling they enjoyed and an a form of attention seeking.

I WAS WRONG.

 

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Turns out… TRULY being triggered is emotions and reaction first and then logic second . Plus on top of that there is absolutely nothing you can do to control it. It is a lash out, or a emotional break down, or instant fear that happens way before you can reign it in and calm yourself down.

I have experienced flash backs where a location will bring back traumatic events. I have experienced traumatic childhood memories hit me out of the blue when a specific word is said – but all of these I have a handle on. I  know what is triggering me, I can logically rap my head around my reaction.

It wasn’t until just recently I experienced a triggering experience and I didn’t even know I was being triggered. I lashed out, started trying to control my environment, was rude, and passive aggressive and hilariously…. thought I was completely correct in doing so.

Feel free to laugh at this one….

I freaked out because my boyfriend didn’t wish me goodnight….

and it get’s worse… because he actually did wish me goodnight, but I had already gone to sleep and at that point it was too late.

I messaged him in the morning telling him we needed to “figure out how we communicate” and that “there should be rules on how we text with each other”

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Meanwhile, I am sure my poor Hermes was siting there wondering what the heck he had done to deserve this! I am sure the thought of “crazy girlfriend” entered his mind, because I know I would have thought that if the roles were reversed.

As he tried to calm me down and explain to me that we communicate just fine, and that we respond to each other when we are able, and we don’t need to check in to tell each other where we are because we trust each other, I had to reassess my reaction.

WHY ON EARTH WAS THIS SUCH A BIG DEAL?!

I was troubled by this…

I had no idea why this upset me so much.

I decided to walk it off, and really ruminate to figure out why this “GOODNIGHT TEXT” was just so “gosh-darned the biggest deal ever.”

I sat on a park bench, in the middle of downtown Toronto, and cried. As I cried I realized why.

The only time my ex wouldn’t text me “goodnight” was when he was sleeping with other women.

We had an open relationship, where I would celebrate him while he sought out casual encounters, and he would veto me ever seeing anyone else other than himself.  (A toxic relationship, and one I should have never allowed to happen but that is a story for a different time)

Of course, when you have an open relationship agreement you want to be supportive, and at first I was, not knowing that the offer for me to experience the open side would never come. But as I remained monogamous and the years went by waking up to you  “I successfully seduced and screwed her brains out” texts, I was struggling to say the least.

Every night he had a date, I would try my hardest to stay up to receive a response to my “Goodnight babe, I love you.” and every night I was disappointed. I knew he was too busy sleeping with someone else to wish me goodnight.

YES I DID THIS TO MYSELF.

I could have left him. I should have left him much earlier than I did. So yes, letting myself go through that was on me. But regardless, it wore me down and hurt me greatly… AND APPARENTLY caused some emotional trauma I didn’t know I had. giphy (1).gifSo this now brings us back to my freak out to my current boyfriend.

Upon realizing why I freaked out, tried to lay down texting ground rules, and scolded him for something he did not do – I APOLOGIZED.

I now know this is a trigger for me. I now know that it has nothing to do with my current boyfriend. I now know I CAN BE TRIGGERED. Shit. 

I didn’t know that this past relationship harbored such baggage in me, and I didn’t know I hadn’t dealt with it all. If I had known all this when it happened I never would have lashed out, but sometimes we have to make mistakes to learn about ourselves… life is after all trial and error.

~Athena and Hermes~

 

Speak Up. Tell Your Friend You Hate Their Significant Other.

That’s right. I said it: TELL YOUR FRIENDS IF YOU HATE THEIR PARTNER.

Alright, I may be jumping the gun a little bit – but let me explain.

We live in a world where: we tend to sugar coat things, we tend to appeal to everyone’s feelings before we speak the truth, we struggle to tell people things that may hurt. Now in many ways this can be useful, because speaking in the name of honesty as a way of being cruel is not right either – HOWEVER….

We are avoiding conversations that need to be had among our friends because we fear them.  

One of those conversations is the “I don’t like your partner” conversation. Many feel that it is not their place to judge someone’s significant other. That may very well be true when it comes to your boss, your colleagues, your teachers, etc. etc. etc. However it is important to be honest and candid when it comes to your close friends and your family (dependent on your relationship with them).

I don’t mean when it’s something superficial like the way they dress, their class, their education, or their looks. I mean when its serious things such as: the way they speak to your friend, they way they talk about their friends, they way they treat others, their outlook on life, their values.

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If you disagree with me hear me out.

I dated a man who I thought made me happy – but all of my close friends despised him.  They hated how he spoke to me, how he interrupted me, how he expected me to act a certain way around him, how he never showed his affections to me, how he would scold me, how he would often propose I leave my field of work… the list goes on and on and on.

I couldn’t see any of these things because I was “in love”. By the time it was all over, I realized I had been manipulated, brainwashed and emotionally abused. They all saw it within the first few months but they never told me how much they hated him until AFTER WE BROKE UP! 

I had all of my close friends admit to me they desperately wanted to tell me just how terrible he was to me, but were worried it would ruin our friendship.

Three of HIS friends approached me after we broke up to tell me they wanted to broach the topic, but were worried it would make it’s way back to him.

My aunt, who only met him twice, told me after it was over that she despised him upon first meeting, but didn’t want to tell me as she didn’t feel it was her business.

My exes mother even told me her son was not good enough for me and  she wished me the best in finding someone better, after it all ended.

I WISH THEY HAD TOLD ME THOUGH.

I realized I am an adult and I can make my own decisions, but had nine people told me that there was something off about my relationship, I may have slowly had the rose colored glasses fade sooner. Perhaps I could have seen what was occurring and escaped a bad situation a year sooner than I had. Naturally the choice would be in my hands, but being offered another perspective is always useful in any situation.

If you are a friend of someone who is dating or married to someone awful, you are in a very difficult position. You have to risk the friendship in speaking the truth, which is why many people avoid it.

My advice is to 1) either send them this blog and let them figure it out or 2) breach the topic from a place of love and not of blaming. Ask them questions, allow them to realize they deserve better, they are worthy of true respect and love. You can even bring up the fear of losing the friendship over this conversation and make it clear you care about them and just want to make sure they are truly happy. If your friend is truly happy your comments will not affect them. If they aren’t however, the seed you planted will grow and they will eventually see the truth.

When I was in this toxic relationship one of my closest friends asked me: “Are you happy with this arrangement?” and I said to her “… yeah I’m okay with it.” and she said: “Okay Athena, if you are then I’m happy for you. Just keep checking in and making sure it’s constantly true. If it’s not, that’s okay – just ask yourself why.”

I went home that night and cried… it wasn’t true.

The truth was that I was miserable and trapped and believed that he was the only one who would ever love me. That belief is what kept me there. It wasn’t until she asked me that question that I woke up from my trance and started to realize there was so much more past the relationship. I was capable of so much more and deserved so much more.

Three months after that conversation the seed she planted grew and I was able to dump my toxic boyfriend.

Some of you reading this may be thinking:

“MY FRIEND WON’T LISTEN THOUGH. “

They may not respond positively right away, they may not take your advice right away, they may not accept what you are saying right away… but the key words here are: RIGHT AWAY. Your words will seep into their mind, they will digest it and they will dwell on it. When it is all said and done, they will thank you for it.

If you care about your friends, SPEAK UP. 

Just remember to do it with kindness and not judgement.

(Let me be clear, if you don’t like your friends significant others for reasons that are superficial, or judgmental that have nothing to do with treatment or abusive behaviors this article is not promoting a conversation. Tune in with yourself and your thoughts on this person before you have the talk to be sure you are doing it for your friends safety and well being and not your own issues) 

~Athena and Hermes~