This past Friday was a very emotional day for me, and I am not just talking about my reaction to the
Blue Eyed Devil is such a book, that after you read, you have such a visceral reaction to it. I was one of those readers, who after I finished reading, sat there as I could only stare off into space because Lisa had touched upon a very uncomfortable topic for me, which is abuse. And because of Ana, Thea, Christine and of course Lisa Kleypas, I have found myself to be brave enough to talk about my experience with abuse here. I was once a victim of abuse myself, much like the heroine Haven was. Not only does Blue Eyed Devil touch upon spousal abuse, but other forms not too many people may be aware of. There is emotional and mental abuse and of course manipulation. The abuser holds all the power because their victim becomes a shell, a person without individuality. The abuser has gone deep down in their victim’s psyche and ripped out their soul. I was once this type of victim.
I was never in a relationship where I was physically abused, but for ten years I was under the control of my abuser who used manipulation and emotional attacks to bring me to my knees. This person was my so-called best friend, who I had known since I was five years old. Our relationship spanned a decade from age nine to about nineteen. If it weren’t for me going off to college and finding a great support of people there, this person may still be in my life and I would be dead. I would be the walking dead and would still be that shell of a person who needed gratification from the one person who wanted to take it all away.
During this time I was friends with this person, her goal was to become the only thing that matter in my life. She tried to make me alienate myself from my family and others who cared for my well being. She would put these seeds of doubt in my mind, saying that she only cared because I was so strange and weird, that only she understood me. At the same time she would say how lucky I was to be her best friend. And she never failed to mention on almost a daily basis how stupid, fat, ugly, how no one cares if I lived or die, I was. She even gave me a nickname. She would call my her chunky chicken and would call me this in front of others. If I ever tried to stand up for myself, she would have others attack me or she would go on the attack in ways where I would almost be crawling back to her for forgiveness. This was a never ending cycle between us. I allowed her to have all the power over me. If she said to do something I would rush to do it. I agreed with everything she said and made sure I kept quiet because if I said something she thought was wrong, she would say in a scathing way how she felt.
Why I didn’t just walk away from this person? How did she have such power over me? The reason is because I had very low self esteem. I never felt I belonged anywhere and that even included in my own family. And because of this, a person comes along who seems to accept you, and you take any little crumb they throw your way. You latch on, allowing them to treat you the way they see fit. I let her take ownership of my soul. I basically handed it to her on a silver platter.
But I became a bit manipulative on my part, which helped damage myself, rather than hurt her. I thought if I became an ugly person on the outside, she would drop me. I began to gain weight, a lot of weight. I made myself so unattractive hoping she wouldn’t want to be seen with me. Well, that backfired because she was a very attractive girl and by her having this dumpy girl with her, made her look better. I had become a person I no longer recognized. I would look in the mirror and see a person who was a stranger to me. Instead, I stopped looking in the mirror all together. Not until a few years ago would I begin to look at myself in the mirror again. I had become someone who would keep her head down and not look anyone in the eye. I became silent, afraid to talk to anyone unless they decided to talk to me in return. I would sit by myself in my room and cry almost every night thinking of ways to escape this situation I have placed myself in. And it is pretty scary at the age of thirteen to think of suicide when a girl’s thoughts should be of happy things such as boys, bubblegum and makeup. They only thing that stopped me from harming myself was the thought of eternal damnation, because I am Catholic and killing yourself is the worst possible crime in my religion. Also my mother became a great source of inspiration to me. She helped me realize that I matter and no one has the right to decide who I am and where I belong.
Even though I knew my mother was right, I still stayed with this person for many more years. Not until I graduated from high school and would go off to college, would I break free from the chains she placed around me. I can’t say what made me finally decide to break away. I think it had to do with me coming to the conclusion that my abuser also had low self esteem who felt she was unworthy. Everything I saw in myself, I began to see in her. She slowly began to break down before my eyes. Her manipulations had become pathetic attempts, and finally I decided I would no longer allow her to control me. I became stronger and finally after ten years I was able to walk away. Also around this time I had found a great group of people who accepted me for who I was, one. My very first day of college, I met my closest and dearest friend. She changed my life in so many ways. She is the one, other than my family, who has known me the longest and to this day we are still very close. Funny how one person can make you feel so horrible, while another can raise you up and make you feel important.
Finally, I was able to look back at myself in the mirror. I began to do such simple tasks such as brushing my hair and putting on my makeup. I finally realized that I was beautiful and special, and no one would tell me otherwise ever again. I began to smile at myself in that mirror, hold my head up high and look people in the eye.
Now everyday I make it a part of my daily routine to take a minute to look at myself in some sort of mirror and smile because, I was able to survive .
I am a survivor.