how psychotherapy helped me break my pattern of being in abusive relationships

A strong believer in love, I thought I had found my perfect match in Suhas and before we knew it, we were joined in holy matrimony. Within months of my love marriage though, my rose tinted glasses were shattered and my prince charming turned into a living nightmare. He started off with nasty verbal abuses, first in private and then to my embarrassment, in front of others. It didn’t take him long to start hitting me too.

I lived in fear with the person I thought I loved. There were so many nights when I used to stay awake, weeping, wondering what was wrong with me. Despite giving my all emotionally and financially, it was never really enough. As much as I wanted a way out, the feeling of being good-for-nothing and undesirable stopped me. It did not matter that I had a successful career or that others loved me. Inside, I felt empty and broken. I held on and had a child with him. Everything remained the same till it reached a boiling point where I just couldn’t take it anymore. So one night, overcome with madness due to all the tortured years, I just ran away leaving my child behind. As painful as it was to no longer have a relationship with my baby, there was simply no other option.

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I moved from Delhi to Mumbai and once again found myself going weak in the knees over a man. I convinced myself that this time, it was different and that he was different. But then why was it that I was going through the same torment and anguish of being made to feel worthless? Despite his behavior, I did everything in my power to be my best, helping him out financially and emotionally. We had a live-in relationship as he never agreed to marry me (there was always one excuse or the other, ‘my parents are not willing, I need to be more settled’, etc, etc). After 8 years of compromises and misery, I took the step once again of coming out of it.

Leaving my job behind, I took up another one. Disillusioned with the concept of a relationship and burdened with a very low self-esteem, I gave into a fling with a man from the hotel industry. It was like jumping from the frying pan into the fire as he too used to constantly hit me. Again, I lived in a frightened state of mind never knowing when he would raise his hand and violate me. The worst was when he was under the influence of drugs, the more I cried, the louder his sinister laughs would get.

While my fling ended there, my situation did not, I just got into a series of abusive relationships. My life became about dealing with one horrible man after another. I started growing afraid of the dark as it reminded me of being abused in the pitch of the night. Spiraling downwards in a world of depression, sadness, and anxiety, there was simply nowhere or no one to run to anymore. That is when I turned to psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy really opened up my eyes, making me see that the problem was with me as I had this intrinsic need to be with people who were dependent on me. For some reason, I had this warped notion that if somebody would need me, they would stay with me. And hence I kept on giving in every way I could. But the truth was that it was me who needed people in my life and not them.

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After coming face to face with my reality and undergoing several psychotherapy sessions, I am glad to say that I finally broke the pattern of attracting the wrong kind of men. I could also undo the damage that years of mental and physical abuse had done to my psyche and self-esteem. I really wished that I had taken treatment sooner as it would have saved me from a lot of misery.

Today, all of it seems like a distant past. I moved to Dubai, started working on myself, getting stronger and feeling complete without any validation from a man. Ironically, that is when I met a wonderful soul who supports me, loves me, and makes me grow as an individual.

Also read: How my inner conflicts almost shattered my dreams of joining the Merchant Navy – Case Study.