brave heart emotional abuse

To All the Brave Hearts Who Broke Up With Their Emotional Abusers

“Abuse can take on a lot of forms—you know too well that a person does not need to be physically assaulted to be the victim of an abuser.”

You’re refusing to entertain your old pain. Whether it was because of an addiction, a compulsive need to put you down or control you, manipulating you, treating you like property and not a person, trying to convince you that you’re too broken or damaged to ever be wanted by anyone else, always finding a way to twist the blame around to you even when you were the one who was upset, you took your life back from what broke you. You need to understand how much strength that takes.

I know that what you went through tattered your heart. You started to question your worth: Maybe, I really am too damaged. Maybe, I did behave too “slutty,” too crazy, too “emotional.” But then you reached your breaking point and said, No. Screw him and all his manipulative games. I don’t deserve this. You have learned that no, it is not your fault.

Abuse can take on a lot of forms—you know too well that a person does not need to be physically assaulted to be the victim of an abuser. I know that what you went through changed you. But what’s most important is that you got out. You need to understand how monumental that is.

I know you love differently now. You abandoned yourself once in a toxic love in the effort to keep the relationship and you’ve promised yourself, never again. You will never let your mood and happiness become entirely dependent on another person—you will never hand over your self-worth and significance again.

I know inside your heart is guarded. Opening up can be tricky—once you open your heart, you could end up letting loose a flood of emotions. You’re not ready for that; not yet. You question everything. You like to move slow. You’re afraid, but you don’t show it. So instead you have running shoes on stand by. You get too close, things get too real, and you have to fight that instinctive need to run.

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It will take time. But that pain shaped and taught you much more than a happily ever after ever could. When someone takes away your confidence, power and strength, in time you get it back tenfold, and realize that no one can take it away from you. When he tried to take away your power, that’s when you realized how powerful you truly are. As a woman you are powerful beyond measure. You’re learning to love yourself first, in all your glory and imperfections because those are the real perfections. All that pain produced understandings that have created a new level of living.

After going through what you did, you don’t put up with anything anymore. No bullshit, no games. You see toxic people from a mile away—you know the signs all too well. You may be guarded, but the right person will make you want to lower your shield. Your big, beautiful heart deserves to be loved all the way. Without controlling, or hesitation, or manipulation. You deserve all the magic that this world has to offer. Nothing can keep you down.

This article originally appeared here.
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Anna Gorman
Anna Gorman is a senior correspondent based in Los Angeles. She joined from the Los Angeles Times, where she worked for nearly 15 years covering health care, immigration and the Mexican border. She was a 2011 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, and taught journalism at Harvard University and at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Anna earned her bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and her master's from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. While at the L.A. Times, she was part of a team that won a 2004 Pulitzer Prize.

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