In hindsight I think how the abuse started. There were many warning signs/red flags. In his actions, words, etc. Then there was me, there were the same amount of red flags in my demeanor, thought process, self image as to why I allowed abuse to enter my life. So, why did I stay? Why did I get married? Why did I ignore my instincts?
- I was pregnant and desired a two parent family for my daughter.
- I was pregnant and wanted to share my experiences with a partner.
- Religious beliefs of loving someone without conditions.
- My living expenses were more than my paychecks.
- He was a friend.
- My friends and family loved him.
- I had a whirlwind of relationships, and I didn’t want anymore.
- My self esteem in relationships was at a low point.
Religion and Right Living:
I wanted a family. I didn’t want to date anymore. I wanted to love one person without conditions. Religion teaches us to want these things, and with a child on the way I wanted to give my child the optimum. I wanted to give her as close of the right life as I possibly could. In my mind, she had been cheated a relationship with her biological dad, cheated from a two parent home. One of those two I could correct.
Friendship and Family:
He had been my friend for awhile. He was one of those friends who swept in and did above and beyond when I was in need. He was generous in gifts and time. In fact he started being there for me everyday. Everyday, even days I asked for time to myself, he still invited himself over. My “no’s” were weak and he didn’t listen.
He was a part of my friend group, and he charmed my family. He was starting to be viewed as “the prince riding up on a white horse”.
My finances had plummeted when it was just me. With a little help I was on top again. That was with extra side jobs like tutoring, and a seasonal position, as well as summer school. Soon it would be me and a child, without the extra time for side income. I feared finding myself living in the ghetto with horrible child care for my future child.
Poor finances, a rocky past in relationships, and a history of bouts with anxiety and depression. If I had all these “issues” who was I not to except his “issues”. Problem is I allowed myself to process the warning signs as issues. These two are not the same.
Before my child was conceived, I was involved in a Women’s Study at church about keeping a guarded heart. I was far off from this, my heart was open to men who did not earn it. I was involved with men who did not love me, guys who were not even in search of love or a relationship. I became pregnant unplanned, and the way he (he who helped me conceive) handled it, is a great example of who I allowed in my heart. Enough times of allowing the wrong person in my heart gave me the impression I was unlovable.
Red Flags, Red Flags, Red Flags:
- Wanting to be loved when it is too much to love yourself.
- Wanting to belong in a family, to create a family.
- Leaving your heart open to be trampled on.
It is positives to want to love and be loved, to desire a family, and to have a open heart. But to throw caution to the air, and want these goals above all else left me vulnerable.
Now, cleaning up the rubble in my heart has been a daily chore. It is not enough to know the warning signs an abuser emits, what are the warning signs in yourself that allow you to ignore them?