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How do I cope with the aftermath of an abusive relationship?

I left my relationship in July after realising how abusive he’d been for the 3 years we were together. He was emotionally abusive and broke my trust often. He used my life and mental health issues as jokes to impress other people. He ruined friendships between myself and anyone who didn’t like him. He’d cancel plans without telling me then feign ignorance about it despite sometimes arranging to do those things the day before. I’d often find out that he either did those plans alone or with someone else. He inserted himself into every aspect of my life; I had to eventually stop telling him I was doing something so I could have something for myself to do without his presence.

He was sexually abusive in the fact that he rarely considered my consent as a deciding factor on what we would do. He was forceful and coercive and hurt me more times than he didn’t. In Jan and Feb of this year, he raped me several times in the early hours of the morning while I was sleeping. I’d wake up scared and in pain. I feel uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping next to someone now because he was the one person I could rely on and trust but he still hurt me.

He never apologised or took accountability for anything, no matter how bad, and in the end, he tried to manipulate me into staying with him by giving me four options on how we’d proceed after I said I wanted to leave; 1. We stay friends, 2. We become friends with benefits, 3. We stay together until I move away to another city for uni, 4. We make hard sacrifices and stay together no matter what. I wanted to never see him again.

I feel like I should have left earlier and I should have fought harder when he hurt me. I don’t know how to deal with the fear that he might try to reenter my life when I move back to the city in a month for uni. It’s completely overwhelming.

I have a long history of abuse and trauma that’s too much to go into now but I suffered sexual abuse and harassment from the age of 11 (I’m 22 now) in school but I was victim blamed and silenced by my teachers when I reported it. I don’t have a lot of trust in those around me or those in a caring position because of this and help resources in my area are unfunded and overwhelmed. I don’t know where to go or what to do.

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@cinnamonbun

I’m sorry you went through that. You did the right thing to end the relationship. You are a strong person. Don’t let the past control you. Walking around the park can be a good coping mechanism. If therapy helps, so be it. Do what you can to get better. You are beautiful, you are unique, you are loved. I hope you are doing okay and thank you for sharing. God loves you.

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@cinnamonbun,

Thank you so much for sharing all of this and trusting this community with your story. What you’ve been through has to be seen, acknowledged and respected.

You’ve been very brave by leaving this person. What they did to you, emotionally, physically… there’s not enough words to qualify that. He was, indeed, a toxic and dangerous person to live with. I can only imagine how much strength it required to get out of this situation. You are inspiring to me. Thank you for sharing.

I feel like I should have left earlier and I should have fought harder when he hurt me.

I understand why you feel like this. But you did what you had to survive. Really. There’s no shame or guilt to add on your shoulders. It can be so disturbing and complex to be involved in a relationship with both loving messages and destructive behaviors. With both expectations, projects for the future, yet hurt in the present moment. What matters now is that you’re not with him anymore. No matter what he could say to you or regardless of how the future is going to be, there is one truth right now: you are safe without him, and you own this right to be safe.

I am so sorry you were silenced and blamed by your teachers in the past, when you reported the abuses you were going through. That’s not fair. That’s not how it should be. I was confronted to a similar reaction with people who were supposed to protect me when I was young too. I can assure you: you did the right thing by reaching out. They were wrong by not listening to you.

I don’t have a lot of trust in those around me or those in a caring position because of this and help resources in my area are unfunded and overwhelmed. I don’t know where to go or what to do.

It makes sense to have a hard time to trust others after what you’ve been through. And you don’t have to trust everyone or immediately. You have the right to take your time and recreate a sense of safety that you need.

Do you have any family, friends or relatives who are aware of your situation? Is counseling something that you could afford or consider at some point?

I don’t know how to deal with the fear that he might try to reenter my life when I move back to the city in a month for uni. It’s completely overwhelming.

Not asking this to pressure you at all. But is reporting what happened to the police something you would like to consider?

This fear of having to face him is absolutely understandable. And it’s good to think about it before moving there. Though I have to ask: is going back to this city your only option? Sorry if that’s a lot of questions. There’s no obligation to respond if you don’t want to, by the way. I’m just trying to understand more your current situation. :heart:

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