Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bad blast from the past

Something happened the other day and I am having a hard time processing it.

I have been doing a lot of social and business networking of late, trying to promote my blog and my two businesses. I recently signed on with LinkedIn to try to connect with other business people who might be interested in doing business with me. I hesitated joining for a while because I was afraid someone from my past might try to re-connect with me.

You see, I have a dark secret.

I was in an abusive relationship while I was in college. For two years I allowed myself to be controlled by an awful man who seemed to take immense pleasure in belittling me. I often look back and wonder how I got involved in such an unhealthy relationship, but the truth is, it happened so gradually that I didn't even realize how bad it was until it started taking a tremendous toll on my health--both mental and physical.

I don't know how, but I managed to get out of it. It was a long, vicious cycle of breaking up, him promising he would seek help, preying on my then non-existent self-esteem, getting back together only to have his behaviors resurface again and again. I wound up fleeing, running home to my parents, like a wounded little bird. My last contact with him occured after my sister encouraged me to go on a date with a man whom she knew. I hesitated, but finally relented. That man treated me better in one evening than I had ever been treated by my abuser. I decided that I wasn't going to put up with it anymore and broke it off with my abuser for good.

It was no happy ending--yet. In my weakened emotional state I wound up going from one bad relationship to another, always being the doormat for the person with whom I was involved, never sticking up for myself. Not wanting to rock the boat, I endured abuses on a smaller scale. Finally, I sought treatment--six years of weekly therapy turned my life around. I had finally decided I would not tolerate anything but the best of treatment from a man--I DESERVED the best!

I had gotten involved with another man and after a couple of months, he started exhibiting controlling behavior. I was out of that relationship in no time. I told myself I DESERVED better and was perfectly content being single. Then, shortly after that, I met my future husband. My husband got the Real Me. Strong, confident, witty, with my own opinions that I'm not afraid to voice. The exact opposite of my former, abused self. He jokes that he sometimes wishes he would have gotten a little bit of the old me--but I know he is only joking.

My husband and I have been happily married for seven years, have three beautiful children, and are enjoying a healthy relationship. We have our ups and downs, but we respect and love each other and work through the rough patches.

So, what did I do when I received this request? If you're not familiar with LinkedIn, you receive emails from people inviting you to join their network. I did go to his page--out of curiosity and a little bit of incredulity. I was presented with the option of accepting the invitation or clicking on a button that says you don't know the requestor.

I clicked the latter. Maybe the Other Suzi knew him, but not this one. He doesn't DESERVE the privilege of knowing me.

If you have witnessed abusive behavior in your partner, please seek help. HelpGuide.org provides a wealth of information on domestic abuse as well as other forms of abuse, including alcohol and drugs. If you feel you are in physical danger immediately call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-787-3224.

4 comments:

Regina Bertrand said...

You know it takes a strong women to get through this. I am so proud of you to just have the courage to LEAVE! So many women stay. My mom was in a simular relationship. I am proud of you!

Pollyanna Jacobs said...

That is a cycle you consciously have to move yourself out of by breaking all ties with relationships and knowing you are okay single. That is exactly what I did (though it too four years and not just a few months) to rid myself of my feelings of low self worth. Finally, I got over it and met the man of my dreams just as I had realized I was worth it.

Suzi Homemaker said...

There are so many good women out there in these bad relationships. It does take a while to sort through the emotional trauma, but when you get through it, you realize how much better off you are and that you deserve to be treated as if you were a Queen. I applaud you for getting out of your situation and am so happy you have found the man of your dreams!

Dawn said...

As a witness to this crappy relationship with that FREAK of a "man", I have to say I am SO glad you got away from him. As are we all that knew you both at that time. To him I say "don't be a knob by bothering my Sooz..." :)