Everlast Don’t Have Nothing On Me

14 08 2011

I was a human punching bag.

Ok, not literally but I might as well have been. This is what I became while in my last relationship. I thought because I was strong both physically and mentally I would be able to endure whatever my girlfriend’s personality disorder wanted to throw at me but I was ever so clearly wrong.

I went from being strong and independent to frail and lost. It was so bad that I was lucky to get out of that relationship with the clothes on my back. I had lost almost everything, most importantly myself.

I can name a few things I did wrong in this relationship besides getting into it in the first place. I was in denial that my girlfriend had a personality disorder and I looked past it, first because I blamed our alcohol addictions on it and then secondly because of a newly developed handicap that occurred a year after we got together. She went blind due to a hereditary disease that was active in her family’s genes.

Losing something like your eyesight is definitely a devastating situation to experience. She was 26, a Paramedic that loved her work and was ready to expand to the firefighting field when all of those dreams were wiped away. Of course she had every reason to be angry and hate the world. I empathized with her and my heart broke to watch her drift away into depression.

I should have researched more about my girlfriend’s problems and educated myself on how to handle a person of her caliber. She showed signs of being bipolar, although she denied that and took her anger out on the ones closest to her. Her mom, dad, and of course me. Because I knew she didn’t really mean the harsh words she spewed my way I took the blows. They started out weak but as the years passed they became stronger.

Empathy is something I have been practicing from an early age. I don’t know if it’s in my genes or someting I learned from my parents, my dad especially. I try to understand and relate to what people are going through to either offer help, guidance, to learn something or just to be there for them the best way possible. I tried everything I had in my bag to help my girlfriend but in the end the only thing that worked was walking away.

Did she mean the hateful words she screamed at me almost every day? I have to believe she did not. Was it okay for her to verbally and emotionally abuse me almost every day? Absolutely not. I know now that there is no excuse for treating someone with that much disrespect. I shouldn’t have had to take any of those punches. After each fight I would receive an apology and the words, “I will never treat you like that again. I didn’t mean what I said. I love you.” Those words became meaningless after hearing them for over three years.

I’m not saying you need to turn your back on someone experiencing this problem and run for the hills, but I am saying you need to do your homework. Listen to yourself and follow your instincts. Set your boundaries and limitations and don’t stand for any type of abuse. Then stick with what you know is right in your heart even if your partner says they’re fine and above therapy or medicine. There is plenty of help out there and plenty of ways to get it.

One of the things I remember reading about being in a relationship with a bipolar individual was that it wasn’t going to be a happy and easy journey. It helps when they recognize their problem and really want to work on it but if they choose not to then it’s best to walk away until they do.

I’ve heard several stories of people not making it out of these types of relationships alive. Just because the abuse isn’t obvious to the eyes doesn’t mean there isn’t any damage done. My heart and mind took the punches and thanks to a few angels in my life I was able to put them back on the road to recovery.

I didn’t give my girlfriend at the time any boundaries on the way she treated me. Well, I did try to at times but it was either too late in the game or I didn’t follow through with them. If you are going to be in this type of relationship you have to set some rules and you have to implement them every day. It didn’t do my girlfriend any justice by letting her walk all over me and others when I knew she was wrong. I didn’t stand up for myself or speak up enough. At the time, in that moment, I didn’t see that speaking up would help anything. I only saw it as causing a fight, which I spent every day trying to avoid.

A little advice from me to you – don’t cave in to the wrong way of thinking and acting because you want to avoid an argument. No matter what, it’s going to happen so you might as well do the right thing for yourself. If I had been more confident and believed in myself instead of listening to the negative talk and following her path I might have been able to do more good for her. I’m not saying I could have saved her like I would have liked to but you never know.

 

Lead by example and be true to yourself.

 If it is meant to be they will be right there beside you.

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