My last relationship was simultaneously the worst thing as well as most transformative to ever happen to me. I didn’t come out cleanly on the other side, but I absolutely came out a stronger and more aware person. I can safely say that in the eight years in which it lasted, the only honest statement she ever put forward was that she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder twice, once as a teenager and once as an adult.
Hindsight is twenty-twenty, but I should’ve known what was to come when I had known her roughly a month before she was already threatening to fuck other guys as a punishment for me not following her orders. She demanded as complete obedience as a person is capable of, and I’m not really capable of much. Any disobedience was met with similar threats as to the above mentioned, or she would scream at me for hours on end. Quite frequently the screaming would last well into the night, and it was used as a form of torture. I would attempt to shut the lights off and sleep as she lost her shit, and she would just continue to lose her shit screaming at me in bed as I had earplugs in and a pillow over my head. She didn’t like that much at all, so she would go to push me off the bed or hit me in response. These battles were constant, and I never physically retaliated.
One particular instance happened while I was still living in a one bedroom apartment. She was trying to push me off the bed and I told her I would simply leave, to which she started physically throwing herself at me and then intentionally hurt herself, trying to insinuate that I was being violent with her. I was absolutely floored by this, I’ve never seen such pathological insanity before. She wound up with a bruised ankle and insisted we “not speak about it” for the longest time, as though it were some dirty secret of our relationship. I never once got violent with her no matter how much she screamed in my face, pushed me, or punched me. I simply would leave, which would instantly trigger her “Why are you abandoning me?” borderline response.
She would grow angry at random and I walked on eggshells for eight years. Eight fucking years.
Life was hell at this point, and it was then that I fell into favoring traveling heavily for work. There would be opportunities to leave and I would absolutely jump at them, while telling her I “had to” for work. I lied, but I needed to lie, she was fucking awful. Being around her was unbearable. Pretending to be fine over text is a great deal easier than pretending to be fine in person.
I’m pretty sure she cheated on me way more than once, though I don’t have direct evidence because she was incredibly secretive and lied constantly. She demanded total transparency from me and kept everything away from me. It was the unhealthiest power dynamic you can imagine and far from what constitutes a relationship. The verbal and physical abuse were consistent over time with very little breaks in between. My daughter from my marriage witnessed a lot, I will regret this forever. She didn’t deserve to be put in that awful situation and I’m sure she suffered a great deal as well. My ex is fully untreated and absolutely is in the depths of the disorders she was diagnosed with, but of course- she will lie to maintain her public image. I won’t name her, I don’t need to. This post is therapy for me. I need to be free of this period of my life. I need to let it go. I need to let the fear go. I still get panicky around this person. I have never feared another human being more than I have feared this person, and it’s not rational fear at all. It was beat into me, screamed into me, instilled in me with force and violence.
The psychological abuse is the reason that fear doesn’t just go away. It wasn’t just physical abuse or screaming, but interspersed with the screaming would be the “idealization” and “love bombing” that borderlines are well documented for. The intermittent reward that would be dangled randomly and without prompt like a carrot. The worse she was, the less she had to do to “raise the bar”. She knew full well how to beat down and break a person because it’s a core part of her instincts. It was what made her the person she is today.
I’m grateful to have had the psychiatrists and psychologists help me with the aftermath. I’m grateful that I can look back at the past and guarantee to myself that it can never happen again. I would be lying if I told you that I have no fear. I won’t let it happen ever again, but there is still fear. I’m only human. But I’m growing, I’m healing. A setback is only a setback, and I’ll return stronger than ever.