Here is the transcript of a therapy session with a client who is suffering from an extended abusive relationship. The next blog will attempt to answer some of the questions raised by her disturbing story.
“I fear change. I tried to prevent his explosions by going along with his abuses. He trained me to keep quiet while at the same time his viciousness escalated. I kept his secret, but I didn’t even know it. I thought I had some control and was trying through patience and education to help him, to improve him and help him heal. I was wrong.
I see clearly now that the entire relationship was not normal. What I thought was more positive in the beginning was actually an elaborate manipulation. Before I knew it I was hooked. When I started to see what happened I was in so deep that I had to hide it from my family and friends, even my therapist. It was all too humiliating and embarrassing.
I did this. I should have seen through the elaborate mask. This is my fault. Someone smarter or stronger would never have put up with what I did. He called me demeaning names, called me fat, ugly, no one else would ever want me so I was lucky that he put up with me. He hit me, and I still let him back in. The Fuck You have entered into every cell in my body now. I hold it. It is mine now. He has worked on me for five years, and now I am contaminated completely. No matter how much I wash, pray, clear, cleanse, I can’t get rid of the belief that he is right. I am nothing.
But then I go back and forth. I hate him. I want him dead. How dare you do this to me? Just die. I feel better only when he leaves. But then the minute I pull away, he senses it and he comes after me with constant text, emails or phone calls. If I don’t answer he comes to my house and demands entrance, only to give me more abuse and threats.
His ability to manipulate and control was far better than I ever could have imagined. He has attached himself to me and like a barnacle to a rock, I can’t get rid of him. I am helpless and hopeless.
No matter how many times we have gone through the charade, when I try to escape he pleads his love for me, and he just doesn’t understand how I could blindsided him like this. How could I be so cruel and stupid? What is the matter with me? How dare I manipulate and abuse him in this way? Don’t I realize how lucky I am? Who else would put up with my drama?
I’ve already blocked him on my phone many times. He comes back with a vengeance and he wears me down so I let him back in. For a brief moment I believe him, or even if I don’t, I am tired of fending him off. Exhausted. Each time I let him back in, the weaker I become.
I am not safe. I never have been. I don’t even know what safe is. I can’t have one day, one moment of peace. Everything I try to do is undermined by his penetrating evil. I will lose my mind if I don’t get him out of me. I am so mad at myself. I am disgusted by my powerlessness. I am trapped.
You know what shocks me? He knows nothing about me. He just wants to control me, make me his – without regard to how I feel, what I need or want. He has no love for me. He actually wants to destroy me, kill me – or even better, set me up to finish off the job he has started.
I am deeply ashamed and humiliated.
Can you help me? Am I beyond hope?”