What if You Are In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship?

It’s like a dream. I always wanted to be together with an independent woman like you are. And now I’ve met you. He said this after we had talked intensively about our lives. And he was right. It had been a beautiful start for a relationship. I thought that he was honest. And this stage, I had no reason to doubt his words. When I met a friend, she said, you should see your face when you talk about him, it is full of light. She was happy for my luck.

The relationship seemed to continue in a good direction. We planned our future and made many activities together. Then, I went away for a weekend. I attended a wedding of a friend. When I returned, he picked me up at the airport. I was excited to see him, and saw a man with a different face. He started to argue. Each day, he found another thing I didn’t do right. First, I was confused. Then, I became angry because I didn’t want to be treated like this. I gave him a warning. He apologized and promised to change. The next day, he continued with the same manipulative game. My inner voice said, it’s time to go. This situation isn’t loving for you at all. And so I did on the same day.

The game of manipulation lasted ten dreadful days. I didn’t doubt my decision to leave him for a moment. There is one rule I have for relationships: No to any form of violence – and manipulation is violence. It took me years to learn the difference because my family relationships have all been emotionally abusive. I believed for many years that they were as relationships were supposed to be until I became a different perspective. As an adult, I can choose relationships, and I owe it to myself to choose relationships that are nurturing and loving.

He couldn’t believe it. He waited for me in a park where I volunteered to feed a colony of abandoned cats. He wanted another chance; he promised to change. Just give me a month, he said, and I rejected. The next week, I sat in my monthly training for healing techniques. The doorbell rang. My spiritual teacher went outside and came back with a huge bouquet of flowers. She had a smile on her face and said, It’s for you. I had just told her the story about him. And he knew that I loved her and that she had a big heart. I had never received such a beautiful bouquet of flowers before in my life, and it was the last thing I wanted to receive. I felt angry because he didn’t respect that the relationship was over. I felt humiliated because I had fallen in love with a manipulative man. I looked at her and said, I don’t want them. She looked at me appalled and said, you can’t do this. They are awesome. Her soft heart was speaking. I looked at her and said, you know that they come with the wrong intention, don’t you? Living compassionately doesn’t mean that I allow somebody to manipulate me. She sighed, you’re right. She took the flowers home, and I sent him a message that I didn’t want the flowers and that he should never contact me again. When he ignored it another time, I asked a friend who was a lawyer for help. She called him and told him to leave me alone. That’s how I got rid of him.

Even though I wasn’t responsible for his manipulative behavior, it took me a while to release shame, guilt and humiliation. I analyzed our relationship again and again, and I couldn’t find any signs in the beginning. They appeared when he felt secure of the relationship. The relationship lasted three months, but I needed about two years to forgive myself for having fallen in love with him.

You can’t choose who you fall in love with but you can decide whether you want to stay in this relationship. You have the right to leave. Emotional abuse leaves deep wounds on your soul, eats away your sense of worthiness and your belief in yourself. His promises may sound sweet and tempting but don’t fall into them. They are part of the game. When I told this story to a friend, she said, I admire your decision. I don’t know whether I would have been able to leave him. The thing is that it’s not about how much you love him. It’s also not about him and what he is doing. It’s about you and whether you respect and value yourself sufficiently to say no to emotional abuse. You may have had harsh experiences in your life. I had them. You can’t choose how you start your life, but you have a tremendous potential to heal and transform your reality. To tap into this potential, you have to connect with your inner voice and learn to appreciate and love yourself. That’s the best protection of violent relationships and the most empowering act for yourself. And it’s a sign of strength to ask for professional help if you can’t do it alone. Manipulation and emotional abuse is a dead end for love. And what if you love him? I prefer to love without having a relationship if the person is manipulative. This way, I respect and value myself.

How about you? I’d love to read your comments below.

Do you want to read more? Check the article How to become a modern heroine.

Natalie Jovanic

Natalie Jovanic is a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor and Shiatsu Therapist. As a counsellor, she passes on what she believes in, but it isn’t just knowledge, theory, and professional experience. It is also her wisdom gained through her own transformative journey of healing abuse. She is the author of A Brave, True Story.