Chapter 3: loving yourself

Continuing the story of my life...

We are always told that we have to learn to love ourselves before anyone else can love you. And from having been in an abusive relationship I can totally agree with this. Loving yourself is the only way that you will survive in this world. 

A couple of years ago I met this guy, and boy do I wish I never did. Anyways, I met him and we started dating. Everything was fine in the beginning until he slowly started to verbally and psychologically abuse me. In the beginning it wasn't that noticeable, small things like: "you look like a slut", "people hate you", "if it wasn't for me, people would not speak to you". It didn't really bother me in the start, I just brushed it off. However, as time passed, he took over all my social media accounts, he had the passwords to all of my accounts, including my phone. As soon I moved I had to let him know, if a guy (friend) would call me or text me, he would get furious and accuse me of cheating. The whole relationship was built up on the he was controlling every aspect of my life. The first year that we were together I already moved in with him so that he could control me 100%. He would go out and lock me in the apartment so that I could not leave. He took control of my bank account and gave me an allowance on my own money. I mean the whole situation was surreal. 

I've always seen myself as a strong woman, even if at this time I was only a girl and when I tell this story to people they all have such a hard time believing it, but when someone beats you down from the inside everything changes. This guy made me believe that I wasn't worth anything. He made me believe that everyone, including my friends and family, hated me. He made me believe that without him, I was nothing. To do this to someone is horrible. 

One day I decided to go out, since a bunch of my friends were going out that I had not seen (or had not been allowed to see) for a long time, he gave me a curfew. 3 a.m.. I came home at 3:15 since the taxi was late and he had already locked the doors and refused to let me in. Eventually he let me in around 4 a.m. when I had apologised about one million times, and he started yelling and pushing me into the walls. And when I pushed back he grabbed me by the hair and yanked so that a patch of my hair came out. 

I was living in a prison.

Anyways, so we started dating in September/October and in December/January I was halfway living with him. In April we went on our first vacation to Marrakech. This was amazing. I could walk around and nobody knew me and I felt that I could be myself, or the version of myself that he wanted me to be. So when we came back to Brussels we decided to move there by the end of the summer. This was probably the worst idea ever. 

I was in an abusive relationship and I willingly decided to move and further seclude myself from everyone to cared about me. 

Of course my parents were against thing, but me being me, I do not take no for an answer so they let me go, against their will. 

Morocco was fine in the beginning. I didn't know anyone so he did not have to worry about that. By now, when he left and locked me in the apartment, I thought it was normal. I had no privacy because he had access to everything. And I just lived with it. I was living in my worst nightmare without even noticing it. An important factor to keep in mind is that we also had a dog at this time. My amazing puppy that I still have, but she had to live through this with me. Every time the abuse happened I would take pictures, but since he had access to everything he would find them and delete them. It was always my word against his, and since he knew how to portray me as a crazy person, my word was nothing. And since I knew this, in the end I thought that I deserved to be treated like that. 

The worst fight we had which left me with bruises from head to toe was a week before my birthday. My mother and grandmother were suppose to come and visit me, and throughout their stay, I was forced to wear heavy makeup due to the fact that I had such bad bruises on my face. I thank the Lord that I managed to take photos of this and save them in a folder so that he couldn't find them, so that I had some kind of proof of what was going on. 

In the beginning, he said that he felt so bad and that it was never going to happen again, so as I did every time I told myself that if it happened again, then I would leave him. I gave him one more chance. 

The fact that he beat me to my core is no secret, but the message that I want to point out is that no one can decide how much your life is worth. No one is allowed to put any harm on to your body. I have to live with this every day. 

And in some ways I have over come it and some other I haven't. It is extremely hard to talk about this and I don't think I have even mentioned the half of it in this post. But knowing that this has happened to me, I know that this can happen again. Of course I know the signs of when someone is going to be abusive but it is so easy to fall into one of these relationships, and it's something that I wouldn't even wish upon my worst enemy.