Groomed to be in an Abusive Relationship

One of the things he used to tell me, was I had no friends. No one could stand me and my very nature was repulsive. According to him I completely lacked manners and didn't know how to behave in civil society.


One of the benefit of our divorce, is that I have been reconnecting with those friends that I apparently didn't have. And even if you think you are are alone, I guarantee you have them too.



Once I started allowing myself to open up to the people that had been in my life, and all it took was being honest about my situation, my pain. My old friends came back without even blinking. I had no idea how much support and love I really had. I was alone, because I had done that to myself.


One of my biggest mistakes was allowing myself to become separated from my support system


They have been reminding me of who I was. And I can tell you, I truly had completely forgotten. They have a lot of good things to say about me. Their impression of me was completely different of what I thought of myself. I started to realize I was not a weak little pathetic excuse for a human. I had positive attributes. I am starting to reconnect with who I really am, that inner flame that was burning quietly inside. For far to long, I had bought into the whole "you are a complete piece of shit" narrative. I did try and keep what ever shreds of myself that were left, and if you had asked me even just a couple months ago, I would told you I wasn't really affected by the character assassinations'. Part of my healing has been a lot of self reflection and digging deep and realizing, I was deeply affected. The only way to heal those scars, was by looking at them closely.


The fact is, the trail to ending up in a psychologically abusive relationship started long before I had ever met him. I had been groomed for abuse. As I child, I was told constantly both directly and through actions that I was worthless. I remember how it felt. No one has ever hit me, ever, but I was assaulted constantly, and to me, those blows felt as brutal as if they were feet and fists. I remember noting once he said all the same things my parents used to say to me. It was a continuation of what I had already been trained to accept.


My mother told me how plain I was. She told me how I would end up married to a little Frenchman (which in my parents world was the worst thing you could be). I was told I had no discipline, and my only hope in life was to become a hooker. Shortly after that, my uncle was invited home for Christmas and he brought his street hooker girlfriend and her career and how she plied her trade were openly discussed. I was 12.


My uncle suffered with schizophrenia, at one point in my early teens he developed an obsession with me and followed a couple feet behind me every where I went for months. He was convinced that I was going to start doing drugs and turning tricks and he needed to watch me. My family thought this was hilarious, and didn't take it seriously at all. It should be noted that I lived in the middle of the bush, it would have been completely impossible for me to do either of these things. I took to locking myself in my room and hiding in the rafters of our garage to escape him. I wasn't until there was a knife involved, I cant remember how it happened but I remember using the knife to try unlatch my door, while my parents were away. He wasn't able to get in, and stayed in there for hours until my parents were home. I didn't come out until the middle of the night and I went and told my dad what happened. Finally he did something and my uncle was sent away. I remember hearing the gravel crunching under his feet as he left in the middle of the night. Even though I was being terrorized, I feel badly for him going out into the middle of the night like that. He was ill, and really not able to control his mind. Intervention should have happened long before I was literally afraid for my life. I am a very introverted person, I need my private time, to be followed like that constantly took an enormous psychological toll on me. And by followed me, I mean he was never more than 5 feet from me. If I went to the bathroom he watched the door. He followed me around the yard when I went out to play. He told me about what I would do if he didn't watch me. I was going to end up being a drug addicted street whore. A few years later my mother told me "R_____, was the only one who really knew you". She was telling me that the uncle that thought I was going to end up on the streets was the only one who knew me. No mom, he didn't know me at all. I am the exact opposite of that.


I was an ambitious child, I was an achiever, in spite of my home situation. I wanted to have a career and I had dreams. This ambition was countered by a constant reinforcement that I was a nobody. I would never achieve anything, I was going to end up on welfare, I was a loser. I had no drive or discipline. I was guaranteed going to fail. (My husband continued this same narrative, I didn't know what I was talking about, I was clueless, I was stupid. He was WAYYYY ahead of me. Several steps ahead of me, and of course he knew what I was going to do. He was so much smarter than me, he had me all figured out.)


This would affect me in later years, deeply. I was truly terrified of what would become of me. I was going to starve to death. I was going to be poor, I won't be able to pay my bills. I would end up homeless. I was terrified of poverty, it was something that would be used to control me later. The belief I cant cope, and I would be poor. Today, I know there was next to no chance this would ever happen to me. That's probably why I was always so viciously attacked. Because the opposite was true. This treatment also taught me to put up with shit. To expect it, it was just part of living. What ever bullshit gets shoveled on you, just put up with it. I always had my eye on the end game of survival. And that's what I did. And it trained me for later. When I came home from work early one day years later and found a demand letter for instant payment on a credit line I had no idea we had, I just sucked it up rearranged things and paid it. And while I was doing that I put up with him attacking me because he couldn't by this or that. I just kept spinning that hamster wheel, somehow thinking I could fix it. And for some reason thinking he was the key to me not ending up in the poorhouse. I was well trained, you don't deserve to respected or considered. You are nothing. Do not forget your place.


The most damaging thing I learned in childhood, was not to believe myself. I was imagining everything. I was miserable, I crazy, I was a drama queen making things up. What ever was happening to me really wasn't that bad. I had never been hit, no one was sexually abusing me, everything was normal. If I didn't shut up they would show me what bad was. I was always told how good I had it, I was spoiled and entitled. Your nothing without us kid. This whole idea that unless your are being hit or raped your not being abused, I was told this over and over. And it was reinforced by the complete lack of action in the community even though I showed up to school dirty, pants that were too small and had a rip in the crotch and no underwear. I remember always having to be really careful about how I sat in class.


Those years were pure hell, I remember someone once saying how they would love to go back to being a child, my answer to that was no fucking way. There was a period of time, I don't remember how old I was, somewhere between 10 and 13, as soon as I got home from school I went to bed. I would sleep until it was time to go to school the next day. That went on for months. I literally would walk in from the bus and climb straight into bed. My brother later told me he remembered this, and he remembered my parents thinking it was funny. And I also remember how they thought it was funny that my brother would worry when he could see the back of the cupboard, because he was worried about having enough food. I talked to him about this later, he said he used to worry about being hungry too. He was also sent to school with no lunch, in his case the teachers actually intervened. I guess he wasn't as good at hiding it.


I remember feeling really badly for my parents that they got me for a kid. They didn't get a good kid, they were stuck with the waste of skin that was me. I remember thinking clean socks (or socks period) was such a status symbol. Kids like me didn't get clean socks. Those years were filled with so much shame. I often didn't have lunch, not because my parents couldn't afford it. But they smoked the money that could have bought lunch food. (they were very heavy smokers) There was always suppers, because my parents would look after their own needs, and that included supper. Feeding us kids lunch at school wasn't the priority. I remember seeing other people eating and pretending it didn't bother me, I wasn't hungry. But I was hungry. In my mind though, that didn't matter, because I wasn't deserving of food. This is why the other kids had food and I didn't. \I remember eating Chapstick to stave off the hunger pangs, and in one case there was a plant with little sugar crystals on it at school, I ate those too. I could give a million examples of the way I was demeaned and belittled as a child. But it isn't really necessary. Its enough to know that the end result was that I internalized that I was basically worthless as a human being.


Schools and sports were my salvation. I was a very good athlete, actually to my shock I won athlete of the year when I graduated from grade school. In fact, I joined every sports team whether I enjoyed it or not as a reason not to go home. While I was at school I was treated like normal person, mostly. Of course I was bullied, kids do that when they see someone that is weakened. During this period of my life I perfected the skill of appearing I had it all together even while I was in pain. Last year, I went on a date with a custodian from a local high school. He told me there are kids who ask him if they can stay at the school until he was done so they could stay warm and not have to go home. I cannot tell you how sad that makes me. I don't know who these kids are, but wherever you are out there, I feel for you kids. I wish I could help.


Now that I have been reconnecting with the people who knew me then, I am learning that pretty much everyone knew what was going on. They might not have known specific details, but it was known in the small town I lived in that my home life was horrible. If the kids knew, I can't imagine that the teachers and adults in my life didn't know. But it was ignored.


For me the lesson was clear, I didn't matter. The treatment I got was what I deserved. I became really good at pretending everything was ok. I did tell adults what was happening, but they never did anything. I learned that speaking up just gets you in trouble and no one will believe you anyway. At that time psychological and emotional abuse was not really recognized.


I became the perfect victim for an abusive partner.


This blog is really about healing though, and if you read this and you identify with it. I want to tell you, it changes. This has been changing for me dramatically over the past few months. I am learning my worth. Actually I started learning before the end of the marriage, I think its been me getting healthier that lead to the end of the marriage. I became uncontrollable for him, I no longer took everything he said as gospel. It might have been shaky, but I started standing on my own two feet. And as time has gone on it just keeps getting better. Start moving in that direction, take whatever small step you can. Give it what ever you can right now. You will get there. It took me 5 years to get out, but I am out and I have the chance at life now. You can too.



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