Mental Health- Realising you’ve escaped an abusive relationship Part ONE
Trigger warning- emotional abuse, depression, anxiety
*names have been changed for obvious reasons.
I met Dick through a dating site. It wasn’t until after our first date I found out the name I knew him by was false. About a month in, he told me he was in love with me. A little too quick for my liking, but as he was the first bloke to ever use those words, I went with it. By January, he’d informed me that he no longer loved me. That he’d ‘trained’ himself not to love me anymore. Strangely, that didn’t make me walk away; it made me try harder. It was my fault after all, right?
The man who showered me with affection, who insisted on going out on our 2nd month ‘anniversary’ and proudly wore a matching t shirt for our Christmas was a fake. At the time I didn’t know what a sociopath was, or how they worked through a relationship. I was the proverbial frog in the pan, rising my temperature until I was compromised. It led to my darkest rabbit hole journey.
Before you read any further, please understand that this will not be an easy read. I do not mean to offend, upset or anger anyone. This is not attention seeking or story writing. Everything you read here is the truth, as I saw it. I wasn’t perfect and my actions towards the end of the relationship were desperate and certainly not something I am proud of.
This candid look at a sociopathic/narcissistic relationship is perhaps a little selfish. While part of me is putting it out there so that other people will recognise traits in this man and save themselves from the pain I endured, there is a bigger part of me having to put this out there so that it never happens to me again.
Why am I doing this? Firstly, I had a heart to heart with my best friend and admitted to her (and social media), that I’m still very much broken over Dick. I don’t want him in my life, I want my memory wiped of him. Secondly, while searching for a photo for a blog post I found this:
I look like shit. But what struck me most about this photo was how miserable I looked. My eyes are dead, when they normally have that little bit of a sparkle. Even I can tell that my smile is fake. It’s a portrait of pain and abuse. Scars I’m worried that will never heal.
To give you an idea of what was going on in my head within 12 hours of this photo being taken I have found notes I’d made on my way to Copenhagen with a friend. Someone who didn’t know I was still with Dick. The secret was taking its toll, because I trust these people who I kept it from. I knew what they’d said in the past was the truth; there was something fundamentally wrong with the man.
He’d gone away on a business trip and he’d pulled out a trick from the Sociopath’s bible: ghosting. At this point we’d known each other 5 months, and I’d had a text from him EVERY SINGLE DAY. Good morning, good evening, even a ‘meep’ when I hadn’t text in a while. However, this week was strained and cold. Rather than annoy him with my thoughts about what was going on, I wrote this out;
Han’s Heart – I miss Dick, I want to text him… just because. (Well… no. Like a muppet, I want him to text me)
Han’s logic brain- but he’s not text you first in weeks. You need to back off so he can miss you. You can do it. Just don’t text him till he texts you.
Han’s Gollum brain- but… but… but… what if he doesn’t text back, ever because he thinks you not texting is actually a good thing and feels relieved that he’s not hearing from you. He just doesn’t know how to tell you that you’re horrible and repulsive.
Han’s logic brain- you know he doesn’t love you any more so he doesn’t think about you as much; it’s normal for him. Stop poisoning me Gollum.
Han’s Heart- but I want to be normal. Normal for me is texting him when I want to and not caring if he texts back.
Gollum brain- but he wishes your texts were from someone else. ANYONE else but you. No one likes you. You can’t keep the weight off. You’re shit in bed and he never wants to touch you. He doesn’t care if you get off.
Logic brain- it doesn’t matter. He’s a good person. He likes you.
Gollum- he lies
Logic- for good reason
Gollum- I bet he uses the condoms you buy on other girls. He won’t even think about it. You gave him a great out as well when you brought the new ones.
Heart- why hasn’t he text?! He must be waiting for his plane now. What did you do wrong Hunter?!
Gollum- you’re being punished because you’re evil and horrible. I bet he doesn’t even smile when he sees your name any more. He groans and puts his phone away. He wishes he could have the orgasms you give him without seeing you. I bet he’d rather Nel was the one he fell for. That’s if he ever loved you.
He text just before I got on the plane. It didn’t make me feel any better. Not too long after that, I found this in the Notes section of my phone. I don’t think this is one I’d sent to him.
So…. I think I know what it is that’s putting me on edge. I don’t want to lose you. The man you were right at the beginning (bringing sushi randomly to mine was WAAAAAAAY better than any rose), the things you said (why am I so lucky to have you?)… I couldn’t want for anything more and the best thing; I don’t think any of that was an act. I literally thought I’d found my dream man and in all honesty?! I still think I have.
At the start, you were doing things that came naturally to you. Now you second guess everything and while I know you’re doing it to ‘protect’ me and keeping me at arm’s length, it’s coming across as apathy and almost like I’m a chore that is making you miserable.
If you want to spend time with me, just do it. Stop thinking about this stupid ‘once/twice a week rule). You want to stop worrying about me being hurt; start inviting me to things yourself. Not leaving it me to ask and get the response that you’re with someone else. (Yes, I know you’ve said it’s always her that asks and you just say yes… but I’m not part of it. I don’t know. I am always worrying about whether I’m asking too soon, too late or worse, if I don’t ask I won’t see you at all. It’s exhausting.) you have ideas, you just need to go ‘Hey Han, can I see you Wednesday this week. Meet me in Ealing and we’ll go for food.’ You can’t tell me that’s not something you can do; because it’s EXACTLY what you ARE doing by being on the dating apps. You’re actively seeking company.
Honestly. I think you want me more than you’re letting on and what is stopping you is the fear of being alone. The fear that we won’t work and that you might lose me. I think you’re scared of your feelings.
It’s making me feel so ill reading these. Even at his cruelest, I was making excuses for him and trying to massage his ego. The sad thing, I think I believed all of this.
Any normal person would feel some sort of remorse for knowing the pain they were causing someone. Nope. It made him angry. It bored him and made him want to be with one of the other girls. How do I know? He told me! Said I was the better girl, the best girl… but I just didn’t behave right.
Why wasn’t I behaving? Because I didn’t know all the rules. Not one for failing, I tried to learn the rules. Please believe me, I tried. So hard. However, the rules would change and I’d be punished. To be clear, I did tell Dick at the beginning that I take things literally.
I’d not been in a relationship for a long time, so I thought telling Dick things like this would make things easier. What I hadn’t realised though, was I was giving him a blue print to my undoing; I handed him his gaslighting road map on a plate.