The Lifelong Effects of Abusive & Toxic Relationships: How I've Worked to Love Myself & Recognize My Worth by Laurie Balles Simpson
Your face smooshed up against the car window, crying. Sitting in the car, in the high school parking lot, being told again how you’re a whore and slut. Being watched during the school day in your classroom, and being tested whether you talked to anyone. You’re a liar ... while he wraps his arm around your shoulders and pushes his forehead into your cheekbones, leaving bruises. No one will ever love you. You’re used up. You’re loose.
I am 15 and this is my first love.
The fear! The impossible feat of proving I’m committed, loyal, trustworthy, honest, sane, mature, healthy, loving, wholesome. My heart breaks for her. It’s been 32 years since that day and as I sit here today, at 47 years old, grieving the loss of yet another relationship, I again go back to ... what else could I have done.
I’ve worked my ass off! I've been loyal and committed, honest, loving and wholesome throughout every relationship. Just as I was then. These are my most cherished identities no matter what reciprocation I receive.
It’s interesting to me now. This many years later as I’ve experienced several relationships of which I give those things and my partner has not.
The fear. The words. The control. Who are these people? Why do I choose them? What in the hell did he do to me that I’m still trying to prove my worthiness?
It’s an incredible disillusion as I continue to flourish in my career and consistently step up to challenges with vigor and confidence. I’m well liked and loved by those close to me and acquaintances alike. I am distinctly powerful in many ways and most often I feel as though I’m 10 feet tall at 5 foot, 2 inches.
Yet here I am. Questioning my worthiness. Questioning how I could be rejected and used. All that I’ve put in and shown by action. As I sit, writing my thoughts, which is just another way that I’ve chosen to become a better person, I come to the story of the car. With my high school boyfriend’s hand on the side of my face, pushing me against the passenger side window. Holding me there while I cry and yell.
This is where the line gets drawn for me and I’m seeing now that the line needs to be drawn a hell of a lot earlier. Just as I finally fought back that night in the car, I will always fight back.
The thing is, my wholesome, committed, loyal, generous heart and being never wants to be in that “fight back” mode again. There is no more time for compassion for a heart that will make me get to that place. There is no more loyalty to it either.
I have always been all of those things that “he” made me question and that I’ve worked to prove even though I didn’t have to.
My love for my 15-year-old self is deep. She is powerful and smart and fun and loyal, considerate, beautiful, trustworthy and human. She never deserved what happened to her. And neither do I!
If you have experienced something similar or are experiencing it now, please know that you are not alone and it is NOT your fault. I share my story because I care and understand. Our roots run deep and eventually they just need to be pulled.
Plant your new story starting now. You will grow.
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