Why Didn’t You Just Leave?

Inspired by The Huffington Post’s “Why Didn’t You Just Leave” Series.

I thought this is was what a relationship with me was going to be like.

Ever since I began dating (14 years old) I was told that I was difficult to be with. My constant sadness, self harming and suicidal thoughts as a youth were cited as the reasons why boyfriends would break up with me. I carried into each new relationship the belief that if I could just get my sadness under control that they would stay and we would live happily ever after. It never worked. There was a lot of pressure in many of my relationships to change. “If you don’t stop self harming I’m going to break up with you.” I would then do my best to hide my cuts and scars because I couldn’t stop and I didn’t want him to leave.

While I know being with someone who was always sad, angry and hurt themselves wasn’t easy I can recognize now that it became an easy out for their abusive behaviour. They fed off of my vulnerability and I so desperately wanted their love. I found it impossible to love myself so I needed outside sources to give it to me.

With the ending of my most recent relationship I have realized the extent that my mental health was used as a scapegoat. I will never deny my negative behaviours and damage done to the relationship. In the end, I was ALWAYS trying to make my relationship better with someone who didn’t care to improve himself. His denial of needing improvement led me to believe that I was always the problem and that once I fixed myself our relationship would be perfect. If I could stop yelling, if I could stop being angry, if I could stop cutting, if I could stop thinking irrationally, then we would be perfect. A relationship full of screaming, yelling, being called names  and things being thrown around was the price I had to pay for not being mentally well and causing the one I loved pain. Or so I thought.

The day came when enough was enough. I didn’t care anymore what was my fault and what was his because I didn’t want to work at a relationship that felt so one-sided. I didn’t care if I was in the wrong in leaving because I was finished with it. It was like a switch went off in my mind. I was done.

Being with my new partner I am seeing that a relationship with me doesn’t need to be chaos. Being with someone who responds lovingly, shows affection, and isn’t quick to anger (well, isn’t abusive) is showing me that many things weren’t my fault, that I was with people who knowingly or unknowingly took advantage of me. I’m not as bad as I thought I was and was led to believe.

It’s amazing.



7 thoughts on “Why Didn’t You Just Leave?

  1. WOW! You echoed my experience with relationships exactly. My third (yeah, I know…) marriage ended like this. Although I knew I had serious issues, I worked very hard on myself and my end of the relationship. I even tried the doormat routine and addressed ALL his complaints about me and stopped bringing up my complaints about him. My husband at the time refused to acknowledge his side of it. Our marriage counselor told him he needed to get individual therapy, because she could see that all was not right with his end of things and that he was in denial. He told her, “I am fine. I had a perfectly normal childhood and I don’t need therapy.” She replied by saying, “Then I’m sorry, there’s nothing more I can do for you two.” Nonetheless, I continued playing the doormat for awhile, until our anniversary when he said, “I’m so happy that we stayed together. You have turned out to be such a wonderful wife!” A month later I stopped playing doormat when he yelled and cussed at me for something. I tried to speak my mind as gently and lovingly as possible, but he wouldn’t hear me at all. The arguing escalated until he called me a cunt – that was it – I was DONE.

    This scenario repeated itself a couple of times in the last 5 years until I finally woke up.

    What hurt the most was hearing from significant others after seeing me “go borderline” (triggered), that they suddenly believed that I had LIED about being verbally and physically abused by men in my past relationships. They completely invalidated my experience, made themselves and even my ex’s victims in their minds, and shunned me. That was the most painful of all.

    Now I know that I chose men and relationships that were unhealthy for me because I didn’t love and respect myself enough to protect myself from further harm. I just repeated the pattern enough times until I finally hurt enough to get it. Now, I’m staying far from men and relationships and working on my relationship with “ME.” And you know what… it’s not as horrible being “alone” as I thought it would be. It’s really nice to not have to deal with the stress of managing another person’s emotions, let alone my own! 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing your story!

      I also found myself with a partner that was happiest when I was unhappy. He’d want to be left alone to do his work for days and would become annoyed when I would tell him that I didn’t want to wait a week for his attention. Thinking you’re a liar because of a diagnosis is disgusting. I have had people think that about me as well. It’s extremely frustrating to be invalidated like that.

      Working on yourself is a great idea. It’s good to learn about yourself, what you want out of life etc. I hope whatever you end up doing makes you happy 🙂

  2. I’m so happy for you to have awakened with this epiphany of awareness. You are special and you do deserve loving, patient partner in this life. One that loves you not only during your happy days, but your moody ones as well. Early, like the first or second year in the institution, I printed out a certificate on the computer: It was a “Degree in Insanity” and at the bottom of it I put in a quote from myself: “They say I am paranoid, but the truth is THEY are paranoid of me.” Before I ever went of the deep end, I use to tell everybody, “Don’t call me normal!” That was my motto and I guess you could say I’ve lived up to it!

    • I am glad to have finally found a loving and patient partner. I just didn’t know it would be the person I avoided being with for 7 years 😛

      The quote you mention really rings true with me. I have often found that a large portion of my troubles are because of how other people treat me. I have been known to say that I was diagnosed with BPD because I am an angry woman. I often feel like those of us who are labeled as mentally ill have a certain something that puts us in touch with ourselves on a deeper level.

      • I agree. It’s like when someone tells you: you have it all wrong, it just makes it even more of a challenge to prove THEM wrong and to tell YOURSELF – hey, I can be angry. That is a “normal” emotion…just have to learn ways to vent in appropriate channels that don’t include breaking any laws, or dishes, or windows, or doors, or…

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