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The Ugly Truth

A woman with a blindfold on

It can be painful accepting something that we wish wasn't true. Sometimes, we may find ourselves rejecting the truth in our mind as an attempt to protect ourselves from a truth that is too difficult to accept at the moment. Denial can be a defense mechanism created to avoid anxiety, the pain of grief, and other unpleasant feelings.

Denial can cause us to reject reality, while entertaining false expectations. False hope is expecting something that will most likely never happen. This can keep us from moving forward and leaves us stagnant. Hope is a great thing, when applied to situations correctly. It can give us the strength to endure and grow resilient. But the danger with false hope is that it leaves us stuck with this fantasy, or idea, that will never come to pass.

I was in a relationship for several years. I loved this person with all my heart. Yet, the love that I had for this person blinded me from seeing just how toxic they were.

I had allowed myself to believe that we were meant to be together and because of that, I put up with many things he said and did to me.

I lost my identity when I was with him and a major part of my identity was found in him. My worth was dependent upon his love for me, so when he ended up with someone else, I found myself feeling like I was worthless.

When he first came into my life, he was such a romantic. He literally wooed me. But there were red flags that I never noticed because I didn't want to. This was my first real relationship. I was 21 when I first met him. He was 10 years older than I. I found him to be someone whom I felt safe with. He would send me flowers, send me romantic messages, and buy me jewelry. He was very loving and affectionate. He made me feel special in a way I never had before. I felt truly loved for the first time in my entire life.

Then, at one point he completely stopped speaking to me without any reason at all. I was devastated. I did not understand what I did wrong.

Two years later, he came back into my life wooing me all over again. I had never gotten over the heartache the first time he left me so to have him back in my life again was like a dream come true. He never did reveal why he stopped speaking to me the first time, but this time around, he moved in with me several months later.

After he moved in, the trouble began. I had started working at my first job after completing school in a clinical trials facility. I loved that job. He began to act very strangely with me when it came to this job.

He had downloaded a spy app on my phone that I was unaware of because he thought I was cheating on him. Yet, it was several months later when I found out about his suspicions. All I knew was that he was acting strangely, yet I did not understand why. I didn't put much thought to it and remained oblivious. If I had the wisdom then that I do now, I would have caught the red flags.

When the accusations came out about me cheating, he showed me recorded conversations that he had of me while I was at work. With this spy app, he had the ability to record me no matter when or what I was doing. He recorded my phone conversations and private conversations I had with my mom, my sister, and anyone I interacted with. He was able to track where I went, he was able to gain access to every website I went on, and obtain my login and passwords. I felt so violated.

One of those recordings was from an afternoon when I was having lunch with my coworkers. My manager liked that we all sat together for lunch. At one point during the recording, I was drinking a beverage. He accused me of kissing someone in that audio. The reality of just how much he violated my privacy hit me so hard at that point that I smacked him. I felt so hurt and betrayed. I was bewildered that he would even think that my drinking a beverage sounded like I was kissing someone. He became physical in return.

Yet, I had this desperate need to prove to him that I did not cheat on him and that I loved him. I took a lie detector test just to prove to him that I would never cheat on him. He had such a low opinion of me and I found myself wanting to gain his approval. Wanting to rise to his expectations of how I should be. Yet no matter what I did, it was never good enough. I was never good enough. Even my appearance physically was not good enough for him. He preferred women who did their hair and nails, who wore dresses, and heels. I was a sneakers and hoodie kind of girl. He wanted a woman who was affectionate, I wasn't overly affectionate. I found myself feeling this pressure to be someone I wasn't and it was making me feel anxious around him.

It seemed like the more I tried to do what he wanted and be the person he wanted, the harder it was for me to do it. This caused him to criticize me even more. I was miserable and unhappy.

At one point in our relationship, we had separated and he moved out. But we continued to see each other. We did things as a family. The kids and I would spend holidays with him in his apartment. But whenever we were together, he seemed to always make me feel bad. He would criticize me or nitpick at everything I did or said and we argued a lot. He constantly invalidated my emotions and made me feel as if I was overreacting about his behavior towards me.

There were rarely any happy moments between us, but I still held on to the relationship because I had this hope that he would change and once he changed, we would be the loving family I always envisioned. And he would string me along, giving me this false sense of hope. He would be loving and kind one moment, and the next, this mean and cruel person who could cut me to the core. It did a lot of damage to my self-esteem.

When I discovered, at one of the worst moments of my life, that he was seeing someone else. I was devastated. It was such a shock. I was so hurt and I felt like when I needed him the most, he abandoned me. I received two hard blows back-to-back and found myself in such a depression. This led to my seeking comfort through a bible study group, which caused more damage than good for reasons I really won't go into right now, and I ended up being hospitalized.

Once the blindfold was removed, and I was able to see that he did not ever really care about me, hurt like hell. Coming to the reality that he did not love me the way I loved him was painful.

Even after he left me, I found myself thinking constantly that it was probably because I wasn't pretty enough. I became overly self-conscious and had this self-loathing complex. I began to hate myself. I also found myself angry once the love blinders came off and I saw the extent of how badly he mistreated me. I was so angry towards him and I would literally struggle in my soul not to hate him. Forgiveness was hard and its still something I struggle with. I find myself having to forgive him constantly whenever a memory comes up. It also isn't easy when you have a child with the person.

I think the pain goes deeper when someone causes you to fall in love with them, when they show you this beautiful love that is not even real, only to disappoint you.

However, the pain I endured from this helped me to grow and mature. I began to discover who I was. In the past, I often found myself living in denial of unpleasant realities to avoid the discomfort of experiencing painful emotions. Yet, all that did was kept me from being able to grow spiritually. It can be extremely difficult when we come face to face with the ugly truth about others and even ourselves. I learned a lot about myself throughout this process. He wasn't the only one who was toxic. I was, too, and that was an even more painful truth to acknowledge. I was co-dependent upon him and an enabler amongst other things.

But being able to face those realities, despite the pain, became the catalyst that allowed me to transform my ways of thinking, to grow, and mature. I had never realized how dependent I was on the approval of others. I became aware of my need to create boundaries, something I never knew how to do.

This became the beginning of a journey for me towards discovering who I am and what I truly wanted. No matter how painful it can be, we need truth to pierce our soul so that we can grow and move forward in life.

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