What is it like to experience an abusive relationship?

A young woman tells her story

Friends and relationshipsMental health and wellbeing
By VoiceBox ·


Ellena is 21 years old, studying Drama with Film at Royal Holloway University of London

My experience with a mentally and physically abusive relationship

Please note: this piece includes sensitive topics that some people might find difficult.

Love: an intense feeling of deep affection.

Similar words: fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, passion, romance, devotion.

Naturally, we desire love. Some would say that a life without love is not a life worth living. So, we search. So, I searched.

A lot of my life, I felt unprotected, vulnerable to the world. I felt alone. I felt like there was no one who understood me, cared for me or loved me. I had no one to wipe the tears off my face and tell me that it’s ok to not be brave and strong every minute of every day.

So, I searched.

I searched for that one person who could give me what I so deeply desired. There were a few that came and went, a few that broke my heart and made me doubt whether my search for love would ever pay off.

And then, there he was.

The one I believed could and would give me all the love and more.

He cared for me, protected me from the world, I believed he loved me.

It was like I was in this bubble and for the first time in my life, I felt safe.

It’s funny, thinking or talking about it now because looking back, I realise how stupid I was.

I look back at it now and I realise that he wasn’t protecting me from the world, he was blocking me from it.

He didn’t care for me, he was using and controlling me.

And he most certainly did not love me, because the last time I checked, the words, c*nt, wh*re, liar, b*tch, manipulative and f*cked up in the head, weren’t the words of love.

Looking back, I wish I could tell myself to run. But I didn’t.

Because, after being blocked from the world for so long, I was scared of it.

So, I stayed, and I let him lie to me, control me, use me, insult me and hurt me.

I let him cheat on me with my best friend.

I let him threaten me with suicide if I didn’t change as a person.

I let him suck all of the life and happiness out of me until I was no longer me.

I lost so much of myself, more than anyone will ever know, parts of me that I will never get back, just because I believed that I needed someone to protect me, care for me and love me in order to find everything in life that I was missing.

I believed that I needed to save someone else in order to save myself.

I don’t blame him. I don’t even think I hate him. I just resent him for making me terrified of the one thing we all naturally desire. I resent him for making me believe that I do not deserve passion, intimacy or devotion.

I just hope that one day, I find it. I hope that one day I can either let go of the past or appreciate it and that that will help me find all of the parts of me that I lost.

I hope that everything that I have experienced will teach me and show me that I deserve better.

I hope that if I do find that love, all the pain and helplessness I have felt will make me try so much harder to ensure that that love will never be questioned.

I hope he has shown me what love is not, and I hope I find the strength again to find love that can make me love myself as well as somebody else.

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