The following is the first story in the Love Life. Om. Survivor Story Series. All names and personal identifiers have been removed and/or edited. If you’d like your story published, complete the Survivor Story Series Submission Form

Before I was in the relationship, I was happy, positive, confident, and outgoing. I was in school studying, had a car and was working on my career. During the relationship, I’m not sure how I was. I was down, lacked confidence, stressed, tired, and isolated. In the aftermath, I’m devastated, hurt, sad, emotional, and confused.

When I first met this man, he told me he had been single for awhile and was finally ready to move on. He told me he was a a successful musician and artist…a man of many talents and trades…none of which turned out to be true. He never had money. The cell phone he used was paid for by his ex, who he claimed “unfairly” harassed him about it too often. Less than a month into our relationship, he asked to borrow $2000 to cover his mortgage. He never took me out on dates. We never went anywhere, not even out for dinner, because he said food was over priced. If we did anything, I paid. I even had to give him gas money so he would pick me up. On one occasion, I booked and paid for a nice hotel, but we had to go where he wanted to go, and I had to give him money so he didn’t look like a jerk.

Our first Valentine’s Day, I awoke to a stranger beside me. It was as if a switch had been flipped on his personality. He began pulling away from me, distancing himself. He was never emotionally there. He never texted or called to say anything nice or kind. He talked down to me. I never received compliments. We never really had conversations; he was more focused on himself and very emotionally immature for his age. I couldn’t communicate with him; this man didn’t value anything I said or how I felt. But I still felt sorry for him. He claimed all his ex’s were horrible. He also claimed he quit smoking marijuana. However, once he became comfortable with me, he smoked daily and drank heavily.

He always talked about his ex and would compare me to her, often asking me to do things like she had done. Yet, he didn’t want me to better myself. He didn’t want me to go back to school but wanted me to work. If I dressed nice for him, he’d put me down. If I accomplishment something, he’d shrug it off or put a negative spin on it. But when it came to him, I had to praise him and everything he did. People noticed. They could see he didn’t like when I had a good time. Any attention from others had to be focused on him, not me. He was never accountable; he blamed everyone else for bad experiences or situations in his life. It was always someone else’s fault.

One time after arguing, he left me in the middle of a strange town and shut his phone off for night. I was stranded; I couldn’t reach him. Another time he stonewalled and ignored all my attempts to communicate with him; he’d left town and gone on a week-long trip. I was so confused. I sat in my room not eating or socializing. Being dismissed by someone who I thought loved me was excruciating. I wanted to die.

In the end, I had to involve the police, SPCA, and fire department. Instead of taking accountability, he continues to blame me and others for his abusive behavior and their consequences. I still don’t know if I did the right thing. It’s been a struggle, but I’m not giving up. I’m going back to school, educating myself on abuse, and spending more time with my children and family.

My best advice to others experiencing something like this? Look at what is right and wrong in life. Forget about millennial generation dating rules and what everyone else seems to think is OK and acceptable. Know your worth. Know who you are and don’t let anyone take away your identity. Relationships are two-way, not one-way. Don’t let anyone put fear into you or degrade you. I wish there were stricter laws and punishment for emotional abusers. We all need to be more educated on personality disorders.

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Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo

Mindfulness Coach at Love. Life. Om. Mindfulness
Paula is a passionate and innovative author, educator, and mindfulness coach.
Paula Reeves-Carrasquillo
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