My situation was sort of like Missy2U’s, except in my particular case, I still don’t think the situation was entirely my ex’s fault, and I don’t think he’s a bad person. If either one of us had been different, the situation would probably not have gotten as bad as it did.
We were very young. I was 15, and he was 16 when we started dating. I was shy and insecure (I still am actually ) and he had issues from being teased by classmates when he was younger.
He figured out pretty quickly, that I worshiped him, which gave him all of the power in the relationship (for the first time in his life), and he took advantage of it. It started out as emotional manipulation… I was stupid… my ideas were stupid… wasn’t I lucky to be with someone as patient as him… It took him less that a month to have me completely convinced that I was worthless, he was dating me out of pity, and no one else would ever want me. I’m still not sure how he managed that. I’d had other boyfriends before him, so obviously someone else had wanted me… but that never occured to me. He was an excellent manipulator, and I always believed him. After all, he loved me.
Within 2 months, I walked and stood a step or two behind him, I looked at the ground all the time, and I rarely spoke except to answer direct questions. He had to know where I was all the time. He knew my work schedule (often before I did) and would call the store where I worked to make sure I was there. I had to spend nearly all of my time (outside of work and school, or school activities) with him, because he missed me, and he wanted to see me. My friends could wait. We stopped going out much, because (he said) we got so little time together, that we should spend what we did have alone
Then the abuse turned physical. He had me conviced that he loved me, and he wanted to help me learn not to make a fool of myself. If I spoke out of turn, or disagreed with him, he’d hit me. Never in public, he’d wait till we were alone, and always where the marks would be hidden by my clothes. He was punishing me for mistakes I made, “bad things” I’d done. Obviously, I wasn’t smart enough to learn just by being told… so the punishments were necessary, and they were ALWAYS (at least by his logic) my fault. I always thought that if I could just get things together, and be a good girlfriend, everything would change, and our relationship would change into this beautiful perfect love like in the movies (hey, I was young, and dumb… what can I say).
But things never got better, I never could seem to manage to become a 'good" girlfriend. I did everything he said, without thinking. His slightest wish was a command I would do anything to fulfill. But I was never good enough. We were together for almost 2 and a half years. All that time, my parents, and most of my friends thought he was wonderful. They never knew a thing. What saved me was going away to school. I won an academic scholarship (obviously, spelling was not a factor), to a good private university, and my father would not let me turn it down, so we were forced apart. (he applied to the school I went to, but didn’t get accepted, so he went to a state school a little over 100 miles away). While I was at school, he would call me, and send me e-mail, explaining in detail exactly why I was not to leave my room except for classes and meals, and I was to sit alone at meals etc. He claimed to have people watching me, so I’d better ‘fess’ up and tell him what a little whore I’d been. He didn’t have to threaten me. I knew what would be waiting, and I knew it was worse everytime.
College saved my life. I made new friends, friends who asked my opinion. I met guys, who didn’t know I had a boyfriend, so they asked me out. With the help and protection of a very strong friend, who later became my boyfriend, I beat my personal demons, found my backbone (and the last remaining shreads of my self esteem) and got out of that relationship.
To this day, the evil bastard ex-boyfriend insists that I am the bitch who broke his heart. And pretty much everyone I knew in high school believes him. But I honestly don’t care. Evil-ex is married now, and I’m pretty certain his current relationship is not abusive. I’ve known his wife for a long time…and I know the way he works, if he was abusing her, I’d know. My current take on the situation is that I was a potential victim, and he was a potential abuser, before we met. If either one of those had not been true, our relationship would probably not have taken the turn it did. The abuse was all about power.