How An Abusive Relationship Set Me Free

After years of endless insults, fights, broken doors, and emotional abuse, I would like to just say thank you. I am not trying to say thank you for breaking my heart, or for making me question my sanity, or for the countless nights of crying I endured. I am not trying to say thank you for bruising my ego and my self-esteem through your injurious words, threatening screams, and personal attacks. I am not trying to say thank you for making me believe that I am someone who didn’t deserve to be treated right, or for making me feel like I was alone, even in your presence. Sometimes I think that a literal slap in the face would have hurt less than a metaphorical stab to the heart.

But I would like to say thank you, because without finding you, I would have never been able to find the person I love the most — and that is me. You might say that I abandoned you, that I woke up one day and stopped loving you. But that is not the case. I woke up empty. There was no hate, no resentment, no love, and no energy left to give, just emptiness. But it was with this emptiness that I allowed myself to resurge my energy and put it towards a better cause, finding myself.

Before this, I remember looking into the mirror with horror and shock. Who was this person looking back at me? I didn’t recognize her, nor did I want to know her. But without this realization, without this deep discovery that I wanted to be and could be something more than this person screaming for escape from the inside out, I would never be this person I am today. So thank you, thank you for assisting me in finding freedom.

Freedom comes in many forms, but the freedom I am talking about isn’t the ability to go about my day without getting yelled at or interrogated (although that has been a heavy weight lifted off my shoulder, too). The freedom I speak about is the ability to indulge in the little and beautiful things life has to offer. Getting lost in laughter, in scenery, in conversation, in a good book. Noticing the beauty in people’s humor, their intelligence, their life advice. These were all things I took for granted. Things I knew were there for the taking but never had the motivation or encouragement to grasp them.

A book I recently read called Invisible Monsters stated: “The best way is not to fight it, just let it go. Don’t be trying all the time to fix things. What you run from only stays with you longer. When you fight something, you only make it stronger. Don’t do what you want, do what you don’t want. Do the things that scare you the most.”

Letting you go was one of the scariest things I had to do. But I think what was even more frightening was the complacency I began to feel in this dark place I was stuck in with you. I do appreciate every single memory you have given me, because all the good times will be looked upon with a smile, and all the bad ones will be looked upon as an experience; and one thing I have come to learn is that we are all a product of our experiences.

One thing you would always tell me — and I will always be grateful for this, although I didn’t quite understand it at the time — is that we create our own happiness. I used to be reliant on other people’s affection, their opinions and their attention in order to be my happiest self. So much of the time, my pursuit of happiness directly depended on wether you had found yours. But I realized life is too precious and too entropic to rely on others for happiness when the simplest shortcut is just to do the things that we love simply because we love them. Swimming in an indoor pool, taking on reading as a new hobby just because, traveling the world for weeks at a time, even taking too long of a shower just because there was a good pandora station on. We are entitled to wallow in whatever pure pleasures we choose to get out of life.

I used to call you my bad karma, my punishment for all the wrong things I have ever done in my life. But you and this experience has taught me that aside from being the product of our experiences we are also the product of our own conscious actions and choices. And that has led me to the choice to be better, to live freer, to love widely but to also choose wiser.

Like most humans in this world, I am flawed. But it has come to my attention that while most of us curse these flaws, we should in fact be embracing them as the components that make us each unique. Someone with unconditional love would see them, as john legend would say, as perfect imperfections.

I am also still a work in progress. But if I could sum it up and thank you for one thing, it would be for giving me the power to not let good enough be enough, but rather to strive to be someone great. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Emergency Brake

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