When I was 18, I started dating a young man who would become my first boyfriend. When it began, it was a fairly typical young adult relationship, but by the time I finally had the courage to walk away over two years later, it had became abusive and manipulative. The physical abuse was minimal, but the emotional abuse left deep scars. Both during and after the relationship, I searched for other women who had been in similar situations, for both comfort and advice, yet I found no one to turn to.
I have since discovered that many of my friends faced similar damaging relationship, some that had cross the line into physical abuse and others that were marred by jealousy and possessiveness, yet all left them with low self-esteem and feelings of emptiness, guilt, and shame. We all kept our experiences secret, but had we shared, there is a possibility that we could have prevented each other from getting so deep into the relationships, from staying so long in them. We could have helped one another see that as beautiful daughters of Christ, we were worth so much more.
Just last night, I was discussing my past relationships with a friend who had similar experiences. Although it has been years since I left that relationship and I have since married my husband, who treats me with respect and love that only comes from the Lord, there are still lasting scars. But I realized talking about them helped, having someone else share her experiences made me feel a little less alone, a little less shameful, a little more hopeful. With that in mind, I decided to start a series of posts for women who have had current and past damaging relationship (and hopefully by doing so may help prevent women from having future ones).
If you have a story to share, I welcome you to do so. I would be happy to change your name or make it anonymous, if you like. It doesn't have to be a personal narrative, it can be advice to women about avoiding these relationships, getting out of them, or for friend/family of women who are in such circumstances. You can write about the healing process or about how you found yourself in that situation. In essence, you can write anything you think might help someone in a damaging relationship. Please send submissions or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.