I've told many stories about past dates. There is one that I haven't talked about really at all I don't think, at least not directly. And there are many reasons. Maybe I should.
We were together for more than three years, off and on. There were good times. Good memories. But those were also the darkest times of my life.
I've heard stories of women in abusive relationships and I've wondered what must be going through their mind that they don't leave. Why would anyone stay in a situation like that?
And I always said it would never happen to me.
So what is going through their mind? They're thinking, "I can change him." They're thinking, "If he's with me at least he's not hurting someone else." They stay because they can't think of any way out. They start to think maybe they deserve what they are getting. They think they aren't worth anything else.
How do I know that? Because it happened to me. Because those were my thoughts.
I was too blind to see it coming. It took me a long time to see it even after it was over. People might describe me as having a strong character, strong testimony, strong confidence and esteem. But it still happened to me. I was never physically injured, which might be why I didn't recognize it. My scars aren't visible.
I would get to the breaking point, ready to walk away. More than once I said I regretted meeting him. And then he'd be sweet again. He'd apologize so sincerely. He'd tell me how much he needed me and how he never wanted to hurt me. The next time the breaking point was even further down.
It was a spiral down to hell.
I think by the end he had actually broken me. I was a shell of who I had been. I'd convinced myself it was what I deserved and I'd brought it upon myself.
I don't think it was something he consciously did. I imagine it would completely floor him if he realized it. He still sees us as being good friends and has been surprised at how far I've gone to cut him out of my life now. He's not the person he was back then, he's better. But I don't know him now. And I don't need the memory of who he was in my life. Forgiveness is not a free pass back into your life.
Now that I see what he did, I also see signs that his mother did it to him. I never knew where I stood with her, and it seemed he never did either. She's sweet and loving one day, and tearing you down the next. It's what he knew. He was also dealing with some mental addictions that only exacerbated the problem and contributed to his state of mind and how he viewed women. None of that excuses it. But sometimes an explanation helps.
Pulling myself out of that hole was hard. It left me wary. I'm afraid of watching other people end up there and that they won't see the warning signs that I can see now. I'm afraid they won't listen to the warnings of others because I didn't.
Forgiving him was hard and went in jumps and spurts. Forgiving myself was even harder. Both were possible. The atonement is just that amazing. Christ healed my broken heart.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,