A couple of days ago someone came to me with a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. They needed advice on how to help their friend who is going through an abusive relationship. This subject really hit home for me because I spent a couple of years in a verbally abusive relationship. I started to think about what I needed to hear while I was going through that season in my life. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and it was on my heart to be completely transparent and share my story with you guys!
Growing up, I always had very high standards when it came to dating, as many girls do. When I was in junior high, my best friend and I created a list of all the qualities we wanted our future husbands to have--funny, loving, handsome, etc. It wasn't really hard for me to stick to that list throughout high school, but the real pressure came when I graduated.
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While enjoying my new found freedom I had met this young man online ...lol so dumb.... (it was Myspace to be exact- that goes to show you how long ago this was). It didn't take long before we had arranged to meet up in person and soon after, we started dating. The beginning was, as it always is, amazing. I call it the honeymoon stage, when everything is wonderful. Yet it wasn't long before the red flags starting going up. I slowly began crossing out all of those qualities on my list.
When we would go out to dinner, I would pay. He started driving my car, using my cell phone and taking my ATM card. My friends warned me about his behavior, but like most girls in love, I didn't listen. I found myself lowering my standards just so this guy could meet them. And the next thing I knew, I didn't have any standards left. I would pray and ask God to remove this guy out of my life if he wasn't for me, but every time God would allow us to split, I would go right back. When I was with him, I felt like I could do so much better, but without him, I felt like I was nothing.
He would constantly remind me that if I left him no one else would want me. It got to the point where he pretty much controlled everything I did. My parents started to see this unhealthy behavior and warned me, but being young and naive I reminded them that I knew exactly what I was doing.
During one of our many breakups, he got into some trouble which resulted in him serving 12 years in prison. Despite the circumstances I was still so determined to make it work. For a few months, my Saturdays consisted of waking up super early to drive to Los Angeles, stand in line for a couple of hours, all to see him behind a glass barrier for a couple of minutes. During one visit we decided that everything would be so much easier if we would just get married. Yes! I was actually contemplating the idea of marrying a prisoner. I immediately went home and Googled all the information I needed to have a wedding ceremony...in prison!
But it was one visit in particular that changed everything. I remember it was another Saturday morning and I was waiting for the guards to call his inmate number. At that very moment, I began to ask myself, "What am I doing here? This is not the life I want to live...how did I allow this to happen?" I realized I had spent much of my time trying to save someone and had completely lost myself in the process. I knew it was time to end this relationship for good.
YOUR VALUE DOESN'T DECREASE BASED ON SOMEONES INABILITY TO SEE YOUR WORTH.
Anyone who has ever been in a relationship for a while know thats you have to go through a healing process. While going through this process I was spending a lot of time with my best friend and her husband. And it was through their friendship that I ended up meeting my husband. Because of my past, unfortunately my husband had to do a lot of damage control (bless his heart) but he showed me what real love looks like. I had to get used to the opening of doors and all the compliments. I had to get used to dating a gentleman. My husband now jokes that he has created a monster (which he totally has) but it was because of God using him that I realized I was worthy of love all along.
Some of you may not be able to relate to this story, but for those of you who do, know that you are so worthy of love.
You deserve to be treated like a queen. Never lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs. If you feel damaged you can always find your worth in the one who created you.
If you are going through a tough time and you need some encouragement or someone to talk to I am always here for you and I would love to hear your story!