#savingme – Will you even know the real me

Yes, I’ve been run down in life.

Yes, I’ve been beaten ruthless in life too.

Yes, I am stupid.

Yes, I am undesirable.

Yes, I am a screw up.

But, why can’t you tell me something positively amazing about me for a change?

Yes, I’m not beautiful.

Yes, I am hairy, for a girl.

Yes, I am dark.

Yes, I am stupid.

I’m sorry!

But, I’m sorry, I was born that way.

Emma, you are so dumb! How did you not get this math question right?

Emma, you’re so stupid! How do you still not know math?

With all the “subtle” situations have have gone wrong, I really wonder, was everything really my fault?

Emma, I just don’t understand, what do you do all day?

With all the thoughts running through my mind of snarky sarcastic comments to blurt out back to their face, I just smile and say, lots! You simply wouldn’t understand.

Let’s say I go back to work.

Why are you working as that position?

Why is your salary only so much?

You should get another job. This job doesn’t “suit” you!

Emma, your paints are ugly!

Emma, you’re not bright!

Emma, you’re a joke!

Do something else! Everybody is laughing at you!

Whether I do something kind,  unruly, or abrupt.

Looks like the blame is still coming to me!

After everything I’ve done, and the amount of smiles I’ve gathered from others, most so from strangers

I still wonder,

What will it take, for my own to see me? The real me?

After everything, many still ask me,

But, I don’t understand, why are you sick?

Then, some on the other hand, feel, hey! It’s great that she’s sick!

She’ll die faster!

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#savingme is the column where abuse victims can publish their experiences just to let go and find comfort and support. Maybe it doesn’t feel like much but just publishing your story for others to read makes you strong. You can send your story about the abuse you went through to savingmestory@gmail.com and you can choose if you want it to be anonymous or not. More details here. 

#savingme – A Knife in the Heart

This isn’t going to be your typical abuse story. It’s something that I try not to talk about too
much anymore actually. The past is behind me and I try to leave it there. I’ve never actually
written about this experience in detail on my own blog yet, because it represents such a dark and
depressing time in my life. I wasn’t sure if there would be value in sharing this sort of life
experience. Yet, alas, here I am.

So, where shall I begin?

I’m 30 years old right now, but when I was 22, I had taken off on a backpacking trip for a few
years which took me through New Zealand and Australia. When I was in Australia living and
working out of a hostel, I met a French woman and we began to date. We traveled together for
about a year and by the end of our travels she hinted that she would like to come to Canada to be
with me. I was head over heels in love at the time, and so this seemed like a no-brainer for me.
I’ve never been afraid of a little hard work and immigrating someone to my country didn’t
frighten me all that much. I felt like we could handle anything if we handled it together.
So, I stayed with her and her family for a few months in France before coming back to Canada
where we tried to establish ourselves. I helped her to find work and I was able to find work
myself. She started off in Canada with a Working Holiday Visa, so she was able to work
temporarily for a year while we began the immigration process for her. Our plan was to get her
residence visa and then after a few years of saving, to move out West to BC, or so I thought.
When I bought a vehicle, I allowed her to use it most days while I rode my bicycle to work.
When she couldn’t work, I supported us on my meager income. Cracks began to show in our
relationship shortly after arriving in Canada. I felt like her attitude towards me had changed. This
wasn’t a glamorous life that we were living in comparison to our travels, and I could feel that she
wasn’t happy about it. We were also beginning to fight a lot more frequently, but I figured this
just had to do with all the stresses that we were going through. I had noticed a few strange things
happening on her end, but I tended to overlook these issues.

Like, one day I had noticed that she was part of a dating site because her email had been left
open on our computer. When I confronted her about it, she told me that she was trying to surprise
me by finding another woman for some experimental fun for us. I’m not sure why I believed that
at the time, because it was never mentioned again, but I preferred to believe that then the other
possibilities I suppose. There were also a few nights that she would go out with people she had
met at work and stayed out until early the next morning without giving me any updates. She
would just say that she had fallen asleep while she was out. It was incredibly frustrating and
stressful to me, but again, I chose to believe her. Hell, I even married her. I figured no matter
what might happen, if we love each other enough, then we could overcome any obstacle. I was
committed.

I allowed her to have male coworkers over to our apartment for drinks while I was at work
because if I were to raise a concern about it, she would say that I must not trust her. So, I tried to
trust more. I thought highly of her and I figured, if there were problems in that relationship, then
it surely must be my fault. We lived together for a few years and struggled romantically. I began
to really start to dislike the way that she had been treating me some days, but I was still
attempting to salvage our relationship. She had threatened to pack her bags and leave multiple
times when criticized for her behavior. It was an emotionally manipulative tactic which only lost
its power on me after the day that I agreed she should leave. I had even offered to give her some
of my savings to get her started again back home if that made things easier. At that moment, she
stopped threatening to leave, and cried about how she doesn’t want to leave Canada. It messed
with my head because she had so many complaints about Canada and living here, while she
boasted about how great life was in France, telling me that she sacrificed everything for me, and
yet now, even when she supposedly was at her wits end with me, she didn’t want to go back?
I was growing more and more skeptical of this relationship. At times I just wanted to be out, but
I doubted myself frequently and I allowed myself to be manipulated. When she finally received
her Permanent Resident status in Canada, I helped to get her a job with me at my factory. My life
at work slowly grew to be a living hell as she flirted with most of the men there and began to
spread subtle slander about me to justify doing it. Within 6 months we were “taking a break” to
find ourselves.

In the last 6 months that we were living together, she had told me that she was pregnant one day,
and then the next, that she had lost it. She said that the hospital had told her that she could never
have children again, which I thought was strange because how do they figure that out in a single
visit? She knew that I had wanted children so I suspect she was hoping that this would push me
away. She had also been seeing a friend for months that I had never met, once a week on the
same day. I was told that this friend was not allowed to meet me for the longest time because she
had a jealous boyfriend that didn’t like her being around other men. So – okay, I accepted that.
After a few months she said that this friend had been assaulted by her boyfriend and ended up in
the hospital, which seemed insane to me and I was very concerned for this friend. I wanted to go
and meet her, but now she was “too afraid of men”. After a few more weeks she had told me that
this friend of hers had died in the hospital, and afterwards that she was moving in with her dead
friend’s mother while we work on ourselves.

I had been telling these stories to some of the people that I trusted at work, and one old guy that I
was friends with used to love reading the news. When I told him about this assault, this girl’s
death and the funeral that my ex had attended, he began to search the news for any info that he
could find on it and found nothing at all. No police statements issued to try and find the murderer
of a young woman. No obituaries in the news, or any notices by the funeral home for this girl’s
passing which my ex claimed to have attended. When my ex was confronted about these facts,
she just made up a bunch of excuses for why these things were not available to the public. She
refused to tell me this girl’s last name and we pretty much stopped talking entirely afterwards
because she ghosted me. The prior 5 years of my life had been a complete and utter lie.
I learned soon afterward, that she was dating a co-worker of mine, and my experience at work
began to be awful. I had felt like people were treating me differently and I wasn’t sure what was
being told to others. I also spoke to one of her old coworkers from her first job in Canada and
found out that she had been cheating on me since before we were married. She had also been
telling her coworkers there that I was cheating on her in order to justify those actions. My head
was spinning from all of these lies.

We divorced. I entered therapy and eventually I had to leave my workplace because she
wouldn’t. I was never able to get an admission of guilt from her or any sign of remorse for her
actions. I was just used and tossed aside after I had served my purpose.

She now has a kid with her partner from this new relationship. I don’t speak with her at all, but I
had noticed it because of Facebook. After all that I had experienced with her, I’m glad that it’s
not my child. It’s been about 3 years now since the split happened, but it has greatly affected my
personal relationships – especially the romantic ones. I have a great deal of trouble with trusting
most women anymore. I’ve been improving my ability to trust, but I’m always a little suspicious
now.

In ways, the experience had changed me positively as well. I don’t take a lot of crap anymore. I
made sure that all my relationships were two-way streets after that, and I had cut many folks out
of my life who had taken more from me then they had ever given. I vowed to cut toxicity out of
my life and that included quite a few toxic people, including members of my own family. I also
began to chase after my dreams in a stubborn way without concerning myself with the opinions
of others. I grew to become a stronger individual in my own right, albeit wounded and with trust
issues. It’s taken it’s toll on me, but I’ve never given up.

Abuse doesn’t only occur to women and emotional abuse can be very subtle in relationships
hiding just beneath the surface. The only warning that I can offer to others who may be in a
situation like that which I experienced, is this – Listen to your heart and notice how your partner
makes you feel on a day to day basis. If you are feeling depressed, unloved, with very low self esteem and you had not normally felt that way before, then leave! Don’t spend too much time
overthinking it and trying to justify it or blaming yourself. Life is too short to be wasted on those
who don’t really care about how they make you feel. We must first learn to love ourselves,
before we can expect to end up with someone who will love us like we deserve as well.

My name is Mathew, and I host Blog of the Wolf Boy. I generally write works of fiction and
poetry, as well as posts on motivation, health, writing, travel and opinion. Thanks for taking the
time to read my story.

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#savingme is the column where abuse victims can publish their experiences just to let go and find comfort and support. Maybe it doesn’t feel like much but just publishing your story for others to read makes you strong. You can send your story about the abuse you went through to savingmestory@gmail.com and you can choose if you want it to be anonymous or not. More details here. 

Dealing with Trauma Flashback – repost

Certain smells, spaces, situations or people tend to bring up bad feelings we thought we had forgotten about. Most people who went through abuse deal with this problem on the regular basis especially if they just left the toxic relationship or moved away from the abusive parent who left them with a serious trauma.

These bad feelings and flashback can manifest in different ways. Some of the ones I experienced myself are running out of air, losing my touch with reality, feeling like I can’t move, paralyzing shivers up and down my spine, excessive sweating, stuttering etc. One of the worse things I still deal with are my nightmares that happen on a regular basis. The problem with these flashbacks isn’t only that they make you live through your pain again but they can put you in serious danger. If you are in a situation where you could get hurt but your mind has a flashback and paralyzes your body you are in an even bigger danger because you can’t defend yourself.

In my 22 years of life I have been abused physically for roughly eleven years but the psychological abuse continued despite my father not being around because my mind was still trapped and going over everything I experienced as a child. I learned to control it a little bit but there are still certain triggers that give me flashbacks. Some of them are being in the presence of a man who reeks of alcohol, someone putting their hands near my throat…

With time I started to use my breathing to cope with these flashbacks and to calm myself when I wake up from a nightmare. Whenever we get agitated our breathing changes, so in order to ease your mind you need to get back to your normal breathing pattern. Try to even out your inhales and your exhales. Breathe in for 3 second and breathe out for three seconds. It’s that simple and it helps you center your mind. You just need to focus on your breath, on the sensation of air entering and exiting your body. As soon as you get your inhales and exhales evened out you will notice a slight release in your body. Your muscles will get relaxed, your mind will get clear and that pressure on your chest will slowly fade away.

This isn’t something you can accomplish perfectly in one take. It took me years of even reminding myself to breathe when I start having flashbacks and panicking. The other thing that helps a lot is meditation. I think it isn’t even necessary to state all the positive sides of mediation because you already know most of them.

When you get flashback and feel paralyzed, you have the feeling like the abuser is still controlling you. He or she is not doing it, you mind is! You need to become aware of the power your mind has over you and you need to develop techniques to calm it down and to rise above what your mind tells your body to feel.

Remember: Transform pain into strength and you will be invincible.