Category: Relationships

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Jelena

Jelena

What Leaving A Narcissist Behind Has Taught Me…..

You should listen to people who love you. Your friends, your family, your coworkers, perhaps even your dog. At the time, you just didn’t listen. You thought you loved them more than anything, and you thought your best friends were overreacting. Oh how wrong you were!

It turned out, they were right all along. Now you know better. Now you know they were only trying to help you.

You must set boundaries. I lived in a fucking cupboard in my own house, where my ex never paid rent. How disturbing. The first thing I did when he was gone was to have lots of sex in that cupboard; and I still do. 

You can’t let anyone have control over you. When you say something, stick to it; otherwise, they’ll walk all over you. Once, twice, three, times. And they will always blame someone else. No matter how much you gave them. They will steal. Oh yeah, I was ripped off, what kind of person steals from a dying person? A narcissist. But that’s past now. I am so grateful for my new life, for the life I dreamed of, and that I can finally live to the fullest. 

Words don’t mean anything. They are only spoken to give false hope. Narcs do that all the time. They promise all kinds of things just to calm and fool you. Words don’t mean anything to them. 

Actions are what counts. Now I have a man who would literally kill for me. I would never ask. But I know now what love can look like. I am taking it slowly, as I am still shocked that men like him exist, and they do. I haven’t know him that long, but I am already considered his wife.

Forgiveness is a blessing. You can’t stay mad forever. The sooner you forgive yourself and make peace with what happened, the better you’re going to heal. It’s the hardest and most important lesson I’ve learned. And I did forgive myself, but I will never forget my mistakes and I will always take any opportunity to educate others. 

And lastly, don’t put yourself at stake just to save a relationship that is actually not worth saving. Nothing will go down the drain. Life won’t stop if you break up with him or her. Life will improve, things will be better, and you’ll be happier. Nothing is worth destroying yourself.

Nothing!

Abandonment Father

Abandonment Father

It is now a year since I have had any contact with my three beautiful young children.

My ex continues to deny me any contact with them. My ex continues to take advantage of a flawed system. A system that enables her to ignore and breach court orders for contact and engagement in interventions, with no legal consequence.

I do not claim to be an expert in parental alienation. My story is no worse than any other of the incalculable number of alienated out there.

The following is certainly not intended to be viewed as some kind of checklist to battle parental alienation.

I have simply reflected on the last year and compiled a list of what I have learnt during the last twelve months.

Normalizing the sense of sadness and low mood one will invariably experience as an alienated parent is okay to do.

Allowing this sadness and low mood to spiral out of control is a slippery slope.

Professionals that claim to be experts should always be challenged.

Reading and learning as much as one can about parental alienation is an integral part of fighting this battle.

Connecting with other targeted parents, be it online or in person is incredibly important. Invaluable for emotional support, sharing of ideas, information and advice.

Complaining to services and institutions with a dignified, articulate and well informed argument is key. You may not feel you are making a difference, but every bit of ‘chipping away at the system’ helps.

It took me far too long to realize that the way people treat me negatively, says more about them than me.

Professionals and friends have told me numerous times to engage in activities that will distract me. It is not always possible. As such I found a distraction that was connected to the issue at hand but also therapeutic, for example this blog.

I have realized that keeping myself well, mentally and physically is key to this battle.

I no longer feel guilty when I find myself thinking of my children less. This is simply a coping mechanism.

I have learnt that this does not mean I love them any less.

I do not need to feel guilty for what is happening to my children. There is absolutely no justification for the abuse that is being inflicted on them.

I have learnt who my real friends and family are.

I am way stronger than I thought I was.

I have learnt from others the true meaning of love, compassion and kindness.

I have learnt how much I love my children.

I will never give up. Nor should you!

Russtam

Russtam

A narcissist can inspire you to do better. I have a stalker. My stalker is very special — she is a narcissist. A very cruel, insecure, miserable, jealous, self-absorbed woman. She smiles a lot; her face twitches every time she produces a smile — oh how it must hurt to wear that fake facade for most of her day.

Thankfully she doesn’t go out a lot; it’s too much of a hassle for her. What if someone exposes her true nature? She hides inside her house, under her bed, and plots revenge. Health-wise, physically she is falling apart, and I often wonder how she is still among us. But then I remember that she is driven by dark forces, and I know that she will outlive us all.

The good news for me is that I will never be truly alone. The bad — she will be by my side always and forever. Why? Because narcissists never discard their supplies. I was about to use the word “victim,” but experience has taught me better.

I am no victim — I am a survivor.

For years I’ve had this person lurking in the shadows and working against me. She was so nice to me, love-bombed me, and treated me as if I was her best friend. I believed we were good — while she was up to no good.

This narcissist disliked me from the very beginning — but she was quite smart about it. She never publicly showed just how she wished to destroy me until the day she could not hide anymore. And why? Because she is a miserable person.

I know now that she just wishes to be free from herself, from her narcissistic persona and be more like me. And because she realises too well that is very unlikely to happen, she has no other option than to try to destroy me.

I made mistakes. I gave her too much of my energy in the past, so now I am trying to reclaim my life. She will become my inspiration. Narcissists are obsessive in nature because deep down they don’t value themselves. All they want is to be loved, but they are incapable of love and that’s why they hate others. I am now loved and respected.

This must hurt the narcissist. I wonder if she wonders, “Why? Oh why, am I not loved like this?” when she sees me happy. She secretly wishes to be me.

Envy is a special type of cruelty for narcissists. She knows deep down that I am doing “better” than her. Her jealousy is rooted in her own failures and inadequacies in life. Perhaps that’s why I caught her short-sighted vision in the first place.

I was doing well before I met her. I was seated high on my beautiful, white horse. She tried to knock me down and drag me into her drama.  I used to be a people pleaser. Now I enjoy spoiling and pleasing myself (in all possible ways). No matter what I do, there are people in this world who boil on the inside, just because I am who I am. I must not be as tasty to her as I used to be. Once I was under her control. I suspect she gets high from that. She sticks around hoping that one day she might regain that control.

She stood by me and inquired. “What do you do? What do you think? How do you feel? Where do you go? What do you eat?”

I used to answer all the questions. But I know now that my narcissist is a stalker. My biggest fan. My inspiration.

A few red flags that show that you are being stalked by a narcissist are:

  • You will receive frequent notifications from Google that someone is searching for your name
  • You will keep bumping into them even though you’ve moved to a different continent
  • You will receive emails even though you’ve changed your name

Are you stalked by a narcissist?

If yes, enjoy them. Let them empower you to do better and be better. Just keep being you, the loving and amazing you. Remember they just wish to keep up with you even though their legs are broken. Give or take, narcissists will always be 10,000 miles behind you if you keep being you.

It’s quite depressing to be a narcissist. They look at you and see everything that they can’t achieve or become. And that must be agonising, thus I am a survivor.

Carl

Carl

Once, I believed cheating was one of the few acts which were never justifiable under any circumstances.

Life challenged that belief (and many others) during my divorce: my ex-wife had not limited herself to only one man for over ten years, whereas — thanks to my single-minded focus upon my marriage over the seventeen years that it lasted — when it ended, I found myself with few friends and even fewer potential romantic partners.

In my naivete & blind devotion, I discovered an important truth: bestowing undeserved loyalty upon another is the same as betraying yourself.

Amid the enforced social isolation of 2020, before I had even heard of the concept of a “trauma bond,” I suffered through its invisible riptides pulling me further away from shore. Before I understood the neurophysiology behind the addiction to toxic love, I shamed & scolded myself for being weak-willed & spineless: why could I not break my thoughts free from their orbit around the ever-engulfing sinkhole of her inverted existence? After nearly three years of wasted effort, I had established unequivocally that everything I poured into that void inevitably vanished as if it never existed.

Yet, my money, energy, & time flowed down the drain with maddening predictability each time her tendrils brushed against the edges of my awareness. So many nights wasted in unnecessary self-loathing, so many days lost to the unsolvable labyrinth of circular, pointless debates, the universe expanding & contracting around conversations that somehow left the cosmos with less substance than it had before these words were added to the ether, chained together in sentences that clung to each other as they drowned in an ocean of incomprehensibility, each one giving rise to the next before it slipped away, spawning like litters of blind, tailless agouti mice doomed to propagate a flawed reality… it all could have been avoided if I had simply known & accepted the facts.

The best way to break a trauma bond is by establishing a bond with another; in fact, I would daresay that until one finds an alternate source of connection, it’s almost as impossible to maintain No Contact with one’s abuser as it is for a widowed spouse not to grieve for their lost love. Humans are undeniably wired to be social animals: oxytocin — the hormone released during moments of bonding & intimate connection — is a required building block for our brains to form serotonin, which is best understood as the brain’s “resilience” hormone: serotonin is what gives us the ability to persevere through difficult times while maintaining our faith, optimism, & hope. If we are disconnected from a tribe, our survival instincts will compel us to return to any relationship — even an unhealthy, disordered, & harmful one — rather than risk the dangers of solitude.

Ten thousand years of evolution cannot be resisted: no organism can be expected to act in a manner contrary to its survival consistently. Our ancestors lived to pass down their genes because they chose the tribe over the individual; when winter comes, the loners & outcasts are the ones most likely to perish.

Dopamine is the hormone behind motivation, purpose, passion, drive, and reward. When love loses its luster and sweetness turns sour, we must find something new worth living & striving for to fill our sails through the turbulent voyage. When past idols are revealed to be false, it is more important than ever to find something to take their place, lest we fall victim to hopelessness & despair. What better thrill could we ask for than the succulent temptation of once-forbidden desire?

I do not doubt there will be many that will find my message disgusting or immoral. Most likely, the majority who do will be those who are fortunate to have never known the unique agony of a traumatic bonding to a toxic relationship. The stoic souls who dare to endorse its wisdom with a clap or two have likely had their vanities & illusions stripped away by their own experience with the hell of which I speak.

To those who will hear, I do not hesitate to speak with clarity & conviction. Go forth and actively seek a new fountain; do not be too quick to build a new home around it, but do not let shame, guilt, or social mores entrap you in a place where your soul cannot thrive. Find a new lover, I say, and use the headiness of that illicit love as a springboard from which to launch a new and better future.

You deserve to be happy, and your abuser doesn’t deserve your loyalty.

Ilija

Ilija

When you speak your truth they may be frightened.

Stand fast and take heart. To be enlightened

Is in fact a heavy burden

And you’re likely to feel unsure; but to be uncertain

Is quite truly a tremendous blessing.

In not knowing we learn the lesson

And open ourselves up to a higher purpose.

Know that loving words, acts of service,

Quality time, gifts, & physical touch

Are not the only ways to express our love.

It can also be shown through benign distance.

Understanding that you then may sense

The best way to love a star-crossed lover

Is to let them choose another

And choose yourself instead. Do not waste

The pain. The stain, the bitter aftertaste,

Will fade as your light is rekindled

By the same one who let it dwindle.

To love unrequited is not your fate.

What you have to give is much too great

For one lifetime. Death itself shall not dissolve

Your soul. Use this time & life to evolve

Your potential. Close your eyes and see

The boundless boundaries all around. To be

Once again unbound is not a demerit

Nor is it wrong. All along, what you waited to inherit

You were given your first day on Earth.

From no other source pours your self-worth

And dignity. Your identity need not be defined

By the past you left behind.

A far better future awaits you, dear.

Falling down, you shall rise without fear.

JoeX

JoeX

I once pushed my wife out of the car. This might trigger an emotional reaction, especially from someone who has been a victim of abuse. You might be tempted to conclude I am an abuser, a monster, deserving of punishment, in need of psychiatric evaluation & counseling, and my opinion is not worth hearing.

That I had made several respectful requests for the hitting & hurtful words to stop, warned her repeatedly that I was losing my patience to tolerate her behavior, and informed her that if it continued, I would pull over & ask her to get out.

Does it matter that when she chose to continue, and I pulled the car over, I gave her time to exit, only resorted to physical force when she refused to exit & continued attacking me and made every reasonable effort to avoid causing any injury to her person & belongings in the process?

Perhaps you would still be disinclined to excuse my actions; after all, I was not in any real physical danger. Would your judgment be as harsh were the genders reversed? Would a woman in my situation be considered to be in real danger simply on the basis of the man’s superior size & strength, or would she be judged the same? When does defending oneself from abuse cross the line of reasonable self-defense to become criminal behavior, and is this line drawn differently for men than it is for women?

I ask these questions because they still trouble me to this day. After driving away, I broke down in tears.

I studied dozens of books & scientific papers on abuse, focusing in particular on the idea of reactive (or responsive) abuse. What I learned caused me to conclude that I could no longer continue my efforts to reconcile our separation due to the toxic dynamics of our relationship. It led me to file for divorce despite how deeply & sincerely I still loved this beautiful but deeply-flawed woman, as I had for eighteen years.

The truth that made me realize the only possible victory lay in giving up was this: no matter what I did, there was no potential positive outcome. I could not force her to be respectful or rational. I could only either endure the abuse — in which case my soul would continue to wither & die a slow death — or act to stop it, in which case my reactions would be used against me to justify her twisted narrative in which she was the victim. I was abusive, controlling, unfaithful, perverse, addicted to drugs & alcohol, violent, & mentally unstable.

Although never formally diagnosed, my now ex-wife demonstrated every sign of having a cluster-B personality disorder, most likely amorous vulnerable narcissism with borderline & histrionic features. I did not arrive at this conclusion lightly. While it has allowed me to understand her choices better & to have compassion for her, it does not absolve her of her responsibility, just as her abuse does not absolve me of mine. H

Within the social context exhorting us to “believe the victim,” there is no need to verify the facts, ask my version of events, or consider why I might have done what I did. When there is never an excuse for a man to use physical force against a woman, false accusations are believed to be so rare that they never happen, and women are seen as non-aggressive, vulnerable, & fragile.

When a woman uses physical force against a man, we assume she must acting in self-defense or he must have done something to deserve it, and we dismiss it as harmless or even humorous. It’s not like he’s not in any real danger, anyway, we reason—ignoring the truth that the invisible scars of emotional abuse no less real and cause long-term harm. Words can destroy lives almost as completely as fists, yet a man being abused elicits mocking laughter & indifference while we rise to the defense of a woman in a similar situation.

Taking advantage of this attitude in our society, immediately following this incident (despite having no injuries), my wife proceeded to contact the police & local domestic violence services, inform her friends & family members of what I had done, and post about it publicly on social media.

Yet I could not help but ask myself, was my silence helping or hurting the situation? Was it better to remain silent and let people assume my guilt or speak up, knowing I would come across as defensive & making excuses for what would be seen as an inexcusable act?

Even with the whole story disclosed, I do not doubt some would still see me as the guilty party; I should have continued to endure the verbal abuse for another twenty minutes until our destination.

Looking back upon the situation rationally, it is easy to see this as the reasonable course of action; after all, twenty minutes doesn’t seem that long. When emotions are taken into account, when one truly puts oneself in the shoes of the victim, perhaps then we can find more compassion for why they reacted the way they did.

When you are in a situation that you never thought you would be in, you find yourself reacting in ways you never thought you would.

Explaining my side of events did not seem worth exposing myself to further attacks & condemnation, for I knew there would be those whose opinions & conclusions would not be changed by anything I said. From the moment the accusation was made, I had forever lost credibility with those who had been raised to believe that — regardless of the context — a man using physical force against a woman was never okay. I could understand their perspective; it’s a belief that has been instilled in us from a very young age and one I had myself internalized, which — along with my idea that abuse was a gender-based crime of which only men could be guilty — created the circumstances that allowed her to verbally, physically, psychologically, financially, & sexually abuse me for the eight years before our divorce, all while gaslighting me into believing that I was the abusive one in our relationship because of how I reacted to her tirades.

Encounters with police & domestic violence services only reinforced her version of the situation; when I presented to the police station on my own accord with recorded evidence of her abuse, none of it was even reviewed, and I was thrown in jail. At the same time, my abuser received support, compassion, & sympathy.

Indeed, there are not two sides to abuse — so many “choices” I made were coerced under the threat of severe emotional suffering — but the gender biases held by the local courts & police ensured that my attempts to explain only brought more condemnation down upon me. A man complaining about his “hurt feelings” elicits no sympathy, only scorn.

This is the ultimate catch-22; we say the answer to male violence is teaching men to respect women, to manage their emotions better, and to learn to find healthy outlets for their expression. Yet when women demonstrate open contempt towards men, they are seldom called out for misandry. When men show vulnerability, they expose themselves to scorn, invalidation, & loss of esteem, with no sources of comfort, justice, sympathy, or compassion. We say there is never an excuse for a man to hit a woman… but a woman can attack a man publicly without reproach, tear his world apart with words, break his heart with infidelity, and ruin his reputation with false allegations… and rather than being held accountable, she is likely to be believed without evidence & even applauded for her “independence” and for “striking back against the patriarchy.”

Because of the lack of training & expectations of how a victim “should” behave, false allegations from a skilled female manipulator are likely to be believed, while real victims are likely to be doubted, and so victims of both genders end up re-traumatized.

I cannot speak for female survivors of abuse, although what I lived through has given me a deeper sense of empathy & understanding of their plight. My experience has inspired me to share my story and do what I can to raise awareness of the struggles men face — and how being seen as “privileged” often means these issues are not taken seriously. Men are not allowed to defend themselves, vilified if they leave (and punished with the loss of their children, should they have any), and seen as weak if they show emotion or reach out for help.

As for me, redemption remains an elusive, forlorn hope. There is no judgment that can be imposed upon me more harshly than the verdict I handed down upon myself. Perhaps I will always be haunted by guilt over the time I once pushed my wife out of a car.

Andreea

Andreea

4 AM phone calls…

This is what I’m living now …

I’m guessing is okay to feel so much pain much. But is not.

I am drowning in my own tears.

I don’t know how to escape the spiral of madness l but I have hope there is a cure somewhere out there.

Where? In Paris? In Prague? In Buchurest? In me?

I don’t know. I will find my way.

I heard someone say to me, we are crossing the bridge of troubled waters. I feel can’t swim.

How does that feel???

Hard. Nah, that’s not the right word. It feels like I am burning from the inside.

I’m tired.

I don’t care anymore.

I genuinely believe life starts with yourself.

I need help, and I asked for it. I didn’t see this coming. There is still authenticity in this world. Love doesn’t have to hurt. But it’s killing me now.

I am not judged for the first time in my life by my new family of choice.

But I still judge myself.

Today, I want to jump from the bridge, because I am caught in a storm that I cannot control.

Josh

Josh

I never realized I was in an abusive relationship until several months after it ended.  Our first ten years together were the happiest years of my life; the changes happened so gradually, I never understood.  How long does a cucumber soak in the brine before it becomes a pickle?  Does it matter?  You can tell which is which by the taste.  

Trying to understand the transformation from bliss to abuse intellectually is, in some ways, impossible – because there isn’t any logic behind certain choices & events; just emotion.  And behind those emotions, there is pain, and there is fear.  Fear of loss.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of change.  Memories float to the surface unbidden, like bubbles of methane gas from long-dead, decomposing bodies of pre-historic creatures entombed in the black, noxious mud of a lonesome bog, flares of hope like will o’ the wisps luring me away from solid ground.  

“But, she loved me, once…”  No.  She loved what I did for her.  She loved my vision of her.  And I allowed what she did to me, because I was in love with vision I had created.  The good memories come on their own (why are those still the most painful?).  I have to struggle to resurrect the corpses of the traumatic engrams.  When she broke down the door, missing the head of our newborn baby by inches as I tried to shield him from her rage, I insisted upon counseling; we spent several weeks in the counselor’s office discussing my masturbation habits.  Her temper was hardly mentioned.  

When I told her that honesty & faithfulness were my core values, and she lied and said she’d never had sex with our mutual friend at the time, I should have known he was to be only the first of many mutual friends with whom she would betray me.  When she lied to the detective investigating the rumors of her inappropriate sexual relationship with her high school teacher, it was a dark foreshadowing of how she would manipulate the local police department during our divorce, culminating in the loss of my professional license for the crime of my acquiescence to her demands.  Yet I listened as she lied, I knew the truth, and I stayed quiet.  When she threatened to leave me, she knew she was violating a boundary that was very important to me; I knew how these threats could be used as a form of control & manipulation and had made sure it was well-understood since the beginning that this tactic was forbidden.  I moved her belongings outside my apartment building and locked the door.

Through the window I watched as she stood there, sobbing in the rain.  I had grown up in a world of loneliness, isolation, withdrawn affection, & unpredictable rejection; I knew that pain, and I could not stand to see another suffer in its freezing, desperate despair.  I didn’t hold my ground; I let her back in.  I participated in my own destruction, every step of the way.  By the time we got married, I had shown her she could lie to me, cheat on me, abuse me, and threaten me, and I would forgive her.  To keep her from hurting me again, I would offer her whatever she wanted.  My core values were sacrificed like offerings to a false god, burned to ash in desperate & futile attempts to appease her and avoid the pain of the betrayals that never stopped.  

As her secrets multiplied, I strove to be a model of transparency, honesty, and integrity.  In quiet, private moments, I wanted her to see me – but I soon noticed that every vulnerability I had revealed to her eventually became a target for her psychological abuse.  What could I do?  I wanted true intimacy; true friendship.  

I did not want any barrier between her and knowing me fully.  But her alcoholic, abusive rages were becoming more & more devastating to my sense of self-worth, and I could no longer continue enduring her attacks without some form of protection.  Feeling I had no other option, I built a wall — but a wall made of glass — and I placed it around my heart.  I was not happy.  But leaving her was unthinkable.  I bargained and rationalized and denied, and in so doing, I lost my identity.  As her toxicity became my own and the damage to my personal & professional life elevated, I naively trusted in the truth to be my shield, little realizing the extent of the contagion growing inside me at that time; a mistake which would soon cost me dearly.

Trying to separate her abuse from what I am responsible for is like trying to wash the blood from clothing that has been fused to my skin by an atomic blast.  When the bomb went off, the glass wall around my heart imploded.  The pieces went everywhere but on her.  I lost my finances.  I lost my career.  I lost my dignity, and my privacy.  Most of all, I lost my innocence.  

This is victory, I remind myself, as I pick shards of rose-colored, blood-stained glass out of my heart, wash them off with my tears, and re-assemble them into a beautiful mosaic.  I won.  I beat the odds.  I survived a sixteen-year marriage to a narcissist, and its aftermath.  I escaped.  I’m free.  And I will heal.  Stronger, wiser, and happier than ever before.

Josh

Josh

When the breaking began, I painted over the cracks with crimson & gold. I did not think to ask myself what was the source of these brilliant hues, why I felt weaker & paler with each stroke of the brush, why the radiance no longer lit my steps, or why the dark shadows inside me were lengthening. I ignored the heavy stickiness, too thick to be paint, and the magical sparkling flecks, too precious to be merely real gold. It was my own life force & potential I was sacrificing to maintain the illusion, and the more I surrendered my reality, the more essential it became to me that I maintained my delusion. I was pale, cold, and dim by the time life pried the brush from my numb, desperate, unyielding hands.

“There’s a danger in loving somebody too much…”

I had spent a lifetime wishing on shooting stars and believing all I had to do was believe. For twenty years, I had given away my most valuable possessions to the least-worthy person imaginable. To the point when, once they were returned to me, I no longer saw them as being worth anything at all. My heart was held together by a network of scar tissue; the pain was all I had to hold myself together. As much as I hated this new self-image of weakness & victimhood, I depended upon it as the only source of any cohesive identity I had left. Without the pain & the scars, I was nothing but dust & fragments, and the winds howled with vicious indifference.

“Change, change, change…”

You wanted this broken, patchwork heart to love you, and I wanted to believe it could. I willed it to work as it once did, the seams bursting, tearing, and ripping, each beat a contracture of dead tissue producing agony that I did my best to hide from your sight. For twenty years I had loved something fake, a mirage that existed only in my head; it had become the only way I knew how to be loved, too. I thought if I pushed through the anguish & discomfort, the remnants of the cells’ memories would return with time, that patience would be enough to restore the familiar patterns… until I realized that it had never known how to work properly. There was nothing there to return to but a roadmap to dead-ends & disasters.

“Love is not a victory march.”

I reached the end of the desert, and felt a few sprigs of grass under the cracked soles of my dry, leathery skin. I tasted the faintest hint of moisture in the breeze. I opened my eyes wider, peering into the distance, imagining I could see chariots rising, ascending to the light and the gold and the beauty…

“What a fool am I…”

And then I turned around and walked back into the sands, knowing if I looked back, my resolve would crumble. My pain is easy to ignore; yours, I can barely endure. Seeking the absolution which I know will never come, I give myself over to the scorching heat to be burnt away, down to the ashes from which I hope to rise. My heart cannot be repaired; therefore, it must be remade. I could never be at peace with offering this broken love to you, or any other; I would always see the cracks, and be dissatisfied.

Maxim

Maxim

My  ex-girlfriend and I lived together for about three years. Like most couples, we went through a lot of things together. Sometimes she would just get really angry if things didn’t quite go her way. During those times, sometimes we’d argue loudly. I’ve never hit a woman. It goes against everything I believe in. When we’d fight, sometimes she’d throw things and even break them or other things. One time she used a cooler and smashed my car window with it. If you ever heard about domestic violence against men, this was a classic case, but I was really into her. I’m also very loyal and, as a Marine, I don’t give up easily.

I can put up with a lot of things and I thought this was worth fighting for, so I stayed. The only things that would have made me leave would have been infidelity because as I said, I am a very loyal person. She asked me once if I’d ever leave her and I told her that cheating would be the only thing that would be the final straw. She actually said, “You’d leave this?” kind of showing off her body (she used to model), and I said, “For that reason? Absolutely!”

I used to work a lot of hours, from 0500 until sometimes 1900 or 2000, but I made good money. She would work, too, but not as many hours as me. Her modeling jobs were sporadic, too. Sometimes she’d take lower-paying jobs.

One day I came home and there was someone else at the house. I knew him, but not very well as I hadn’t grown up in that area. She had, so she knew quite a few people. After he left, I asked her why he’d been there and she said that she’d had car trouble and that he had stopped by to help. That bothered me a bit, but I accepted that answer. It did sit in the back of my mind for a few days. About a week later, I ran into him again, just as he was leaving the house. He said hi to me and said he was just dropping something off. That was the night things came to a head.

We talked and after lots of questions and a lot of back and forth, she confessed that she’d cheated with him the last time he’d been at the house, and this time he really stopped by to drop something off.

I was so into this woman that I could see us getting married someday. That night, I packed my bags and left her with everything in the house. We didn’t own it but had an executive lease on it. I left that to her as well. I stayed in the area for another few weeks, got some money together, and within 3 months, left the state. People that knew us and had seen our fights told me that I should leave and that one day, they thought she might really harm me physically. I didn’t listen until that day. I still have a scar from when she bit me in the arm because I wouldn’t (physically) fight back.

Toxic relationships are like cancer. They start to eat away at you. You don’t reason with cancer. You don’t talk to it. You can’t bribe it. You just need to cut the disease out and move on. That’s what I did.