Ayet’s girlfriend stopped her from having an opinion and seeing her family and she eventually lost her sense of self, making it hard to cope after they broke up. With the support and encouragement of a close friend, she began to rediscover herself in a whole new light.
Relationships should never be that hard. The right person or people will come into your life and you’ll wonder why you ever stayed so long with an abuser.
I met my girlfriend when I was in my twenties. She was older than me. Not long after we met we moved in together, away from my friends and family. I became a stepmother to her child, whom I adored. Everything I did had to revolve around her. She told me that she wanted me to have my own opinion but when I did she became angry.
She also didn’t like my close friends or my job, so I gave those up. She began to drink more and became increasingly violent, both verbally and physically. Afterwards she always begged for forgiveness and showered me with love.
I didn’t want to lose her or her child so I stayed and tried to change my views to suit her. I became so dependent on her approval, her money, and her love that I forgot what I needed in life to make me happy.
How my situation changed
In the end my girlfriend ended our relationship and threw me out. It was painful but I now see it as a blessing. She never denied her abusive behaviour until recently when she began another relationship. She now won’t let me see her child and was directing her anger towards me.
I hit rock bottom emotionally and fell into a deep depression. I mourned for a long time and began to drink and go out to avoid being alone.
Regaining my sense of self
I put together the pieces of my life with the support of a close friend. She saw the depths of pain I was in and literally swooped in to save me. She held on tight to me and let me cry and learn and feel. She listened to me and gave me the encouragement I needed to move on. She helped me see the truth about my relationship rather than accepting what I’d come to believe about myself because of the emotional abuse I’d experienced.
I soon began therapy, quit drinking, moved back to the city, got a fabulous job and went back to study. I began to rediscover myself in a whole new light.
Even though I have peace within myself, sometimes I still feel hurt that I fell in love with someone who was unable to love me the way I believed she would.
What the experience taught me
Relationships should never be that hard. The right person or people will come into your life and you’ll wonder why you ever stayed so long with an abuser. I found it really helpful seeing a counsellor and having the support of a good friend. Looking back, I wished I had found a way to live separately. Having your own financial independence is so important.
About this story
While some names may have been changed, this story is true and was shared with consent for the purpose of raising awareness about the experience of family violence. Please do not republish or adapt this story without written permission. Contact us.
Telling your own story
Sharing your story of family violence and your journey to recovery can be powerful. It can raise awareness, challenge stereotypes and inspire others. There are many ways you can tell your story. This might include writing it down, expressing it through art, or sharing with a trusted person or support service.