|Real Love Shouldn't Hurt|
Six years ago I was entirely a different person. I was fresh out of an abusive relationship with my psychotic and narcissistic ex-boyfriend. We had a year and a half toxic relationship that had ruined my entire view of who I really am. At the time, I wasn’t exactly aware of the kind of relationship I had gotten myself into. Prior to that, I was 13 years single and I didn’t have time to date out and get to know more of the opposite sex as I had my focus on raising my nephew whom I took under my care as a toddler.
So like most women my age at the time who can be considered naïve, it was easy for a guy to swept me off my feet right away after being wooed. To make the long story short, although my ex wasn’t exactly my type, we became a couple right away without getting to know him first.
During the first few months of being in a relationship with someone 10 years older than I was, I had no idea why my friends didn’t like him. For me, it felt like they were judging him that fast. In my mind, I thought it was only I who could see a different side of him. They failed to see the ‘goodness’ in him. Through time, I also learned the art of helplessness without meaning to.
I have never imagined that I would really fall for a narcissist guy, much more a psychopath. It was only after the breakup that I realized and understood everything that has happened to me. I had no idea I was in an abusive relationship for almost a year. And the only reason why I let him hurt me was because I loved him so much that I thought my kindness and love for him shall make him change eventually. But as you know, it’s not entirely what happened.
So when I stumbled upon this book called Break Free: How to Let Go and Move On by Charlyn June Fadchal Awing, I knew it was meant for me to meet her online. It’s my responsibility to my readers to share my story and review and recommend her book so that more people, particularly women will learn their worth and know that they can move on from whatever nightmare they might have been into.
|Charlyn June Fadchal Awing's book based on True Story entitled Break Free How to Let Go and Move On|
Being aware that the relationship you have gotten yourself into is the first step. You have to acknowledge it and do not be in denial about it. It is vital in protecting yourself from breakage. When you choose to stay in a toxic relationship, it is likened to keep your hand hovering over the self-destruct button and it will do you no good. Believe me, I’ve been through hell and back. I know exactly what I am talking about. Learn to be kind to yourself and know that it is not being selfish if you need to make yourself your number one priority.
I know that not all toxic and abusive relationships are easy to leave especially if you have to consider other people involved such as your kids. I thought back then, I’m willing to endure all the pain he’s causing me because I loved him & was willing to accept him wholeheartedly. But you have to understand that being aware of the signs and red flags in the early stages of your relationship [Important not to ignore them!] will make it easier for you to claim back your power and draw a bold heavy line or set a standard boundary stating what’s allowed into your life and what gets closed out. You have to learn how to draw the line and put your foot down.
At the time, I was verbally abused [my ex would have fun belittling me, gaslighting me, and then love bombing me.] Toxic behavior exists on a spectrum. All people and all relationships do some of these things at some point in time—but that doesn’t necessarily make all of them toxic. A toxic abusive relationship is defined by the consistency, the intensity and the damage.
Awing’s book, states that an abuser doesn’t choose whom to feel jealous of. I could relate very well as my ex would even make jealous if I spent time with my own family. He insisted that the only reason my family loves me is because I help them financially. There was one point he even presented me with the idea of giving my nephew to an institution because he felt I wasn’t fit enough to take care of him. It was a good thing I didn’t listen to him but instead heeded the advice of my well-meaning friends.
Just like anyone who’s been abused, I also felt unappreciated because he loved making fun of me and throwing me sarcastic jokes. Eventually, before he dropped me like a hot potato via SMS ( yes, he broke up with me via text alone), he made sure I felt devalued. I was too tired of the said abusive relationship. I was abused emotionally [he has tons of emotional blackmails], verbally [calling me names I knew I didn’t deserve] and he made huge money out of my connections and said bad words against me from some of my former clients to gain their trust and turned them into his ow clients.
The Republic Act 9262 or Violence Against Women is considered a crime. An abusive relationship is defined by consistency, intensity, and damage. With Awing’s book, allow me to give you some tips to learn if you are indeed in an abusive relationship, regardless if it’s emotional, physical, or verbal abuse.
Here are a few checklists based both on Awing's book and my experience on how to find out if you truly are in an abusive relationship:
It feels bad, ALL THE TIME
When you feel hollow and you wake up just as bad. When you look into other couples being happy you feel the sting. You begin to have that sense of wonder, why couldn’t that kind of love happen to you? What is wrong with you? It can, but you have to realize you have to clear the path first and get out of that abusive relationship for the right one to find you. Leaving an abusive relationship may not be exactly a walk in the park. Who says it’ll be easy? But it is like swallowing a pill. The pill may be too bitter for you to swallow, but in end, it can bring relief. However, staying for too long in an abusive and toxic relationship will make sure any strength, courage and confidence in you are eroded down to nothing. Once that happens, you’re bound to stick in that rut for a long time. So better wake up, get up to your senses and leave while you still can.
You’re constantly braced for the ‘gotcha’.
There are times when you see it coming. But you keep ignoring the signs. Questions from him start to become traps: “Would you rather go out with friends or stay home with me?”; “You seemed to enjoy talking to your officemate tonight. He’s probably trying to check you out.” Even if you have some thoughts, you’d rather keep your opinions to yourself due to fear that it might hurt him or outrage him. This my friend is where “walking on eggshells” begin. When this ‘gotcha’ comes, there’s no forgiveness, just the glory of catching you out. It’s impossible to move forward from this. While everyone makes mistakes, yours are used as proof that you’re too uninvested, too wrong, too stupid, too sensitive, too something. But let me tell you this, the only thing you really are too good is to be treated like this. YOU DO NOT DESERVE THIS KIND OF TREATMENT. This is not normal.
You avoid saying what you need because there’s just no point.
As humans, we all have different needs in relationships. Some of the big ones are connection, validation, appreciation, love, sex, affection. When those needs are mocked or ignored, the emptiness of that unmet need will resound like an old church bell. I once attempted to talk to my ex about what I needed in a relationship but it ended in either an empty promise or a fight. I was accused of neediness, insecurity, jealousy, or madness. So I buried that need or resent it which wasn’t a good thing.
When there's no effort at all
Being physically present in a relationship doesn’t mean there is an investment being made in that relationship. Doing things separately sometimes is healthy, but as with all healthy things, too much is too much. When there is no effort to love you, spend time with you, share the things that are important to you, the relationship stops giving and starts taking too much. There comes a point that the only way to respond to ‘Well I’m here, aren’t I?’ is, ‘Yeah. But maybe better if you weren’t.
All the work, love, compromise come from you
Nobody can hold a relationship together when they are the only one doing the work. It’s lonely and it’s exhausting. If you’re not able to leave the relationship, give what you need to give but don’t give any more than that. Let go of the fantasy that you can make things better if you try hard enough, work hard enough, say enough, do enough. Stop. Just stop. You’re enough. You always have been.
When saying 'No' is a mortal sin
Saying ‘No’ is an important word in any relationship. Don’t strike it from your vocabulary, even in the name of love – especially not in the name of love. Healthy relationships need compromise but they also respect the needs and wants of both people. Communicating what you want is as important for you and the relationship as communicating what you don’t want. Find your ‘no’, give it a polish, and know where the release button is. A loving partner will respect that you’re not going to agree with everything they say or do. If you’re only accepted when you’re saying ‘yes’, it’s probably time to say ‘no’ to the relationship. And if you’re worried about the gap you’re leaving, buy your soon-to-be-ex some putty. Problem solved.
The scorecard. Let me show you how wrong you are
One of the glorious things about being human is that making mistakes is all part of what we do. It’s how we learn, how we grow, and how we find out the people who don’t deserve us. Even the most loving, committed partners will do hurtful, stupid things sometimes. When those things are brought up over and over, it will slowly kill even the healthiest relationship and keep the ‘guilty’ person small. At some point, there has to be a decision to move on or move out. Having shots continually fired at you based on history is a way to control, shame and manipulate. Healthy relationships nurture your strengths. Toxic ones focus on your weaknesses.
Physical or verbal abuse. Or both.
These are deal-breakers. You know they are. Anyone with an I.Q. of two would know this truth. But why do women allow men to hurt them? Don't they have brains on their own? Of course, they do. But women are blinded to the truth because they thought their love for their partners will make them change in time. Some become addicted to their sadistic type of relationship. This becomes a cycle that evolves in four stages: building tension, an incident of abuse, and reconciliation and calm stage. An abuser will never change their behavior, but you can choose to change your response to it. Break the cycle, starting today. If you or someone you love is trapped in an abusive relationship, help is available.
Too much passive-aggressive.
Passive-aggressive behavior is an indirect attack and a cowardly move for control. The toxicity lies in stealing your capacity to respond and for issues to be dealt with directly. The attack is subtle and often disguised as something else, such as anger disguised as indifference ‘whatever’ or ‘I’m fine; manipulation disguised as permission ‘I’ll just stay at home by myself while you go out and have fun,’ and the worst – a villain disguised as a hero, ‘You seem really tired baby.
There’s a battle – and you’re on your own. Again.
You and your partner are a team. You need to know that whatever happens, you have each other’s backs, at least publicly. In healthy relationships, when the world starts throwing stones, the couple comes together and fortifies the wall around each other. Toxic and abusive relationships often see one person going it alone when it comes to public put-downs. Similarly, when attempts are made from outside the relationship to divide and conquer, the couple is divided and conquered as easily as if they were never together in the first place.
Nothing gets resolved.
Every relationship will have its issues. In a toxic & abusive relationship, nothing gets worked through because any conflict ends in an argument and abuse. There is no trust that the other person will have the capacity to deal with the issue in a way that is safe and preserves the connection. When this happens, needs get buried, and in a relationship, unmet needs will always feed resentment.
Whatever you’re going through, I’m going through worse
In a healthy & normal relationship, both people need their turn at being the supported and the supporter. In a toxic relationship, even if you’re the one in need of support, the focus will always be on the other person. ‘Babe like I know you’re really sick and can’t get out of bed but it’s too stressful for me because now I have to go to the party by myself. Next Saturday I get to choose what we do. K? [sad emoji, balloon emoji, heart emoji, another heart emoji, lips emoji].’
Privacy? What privacy?
The Hundred and Million Lies
Lying and cheating will dissolve trust as if it was never there, to begin with. Once trust is so far gone, it’s hard to get it back. It might come back in moments or days, but it’s likely that it will always feel fragile – just waiting for the wrong move. A relationship without trust can turn strong, healthy people into something they aren’t naturally – insecure, jealous, and suspicious. The toxicity of this lies in the slow erosion of confidence. Sometimes all the fights in the world can’t repair trust when it’s badly broken. Know when enough is enough. It’s not your fault that the trust was broken, but it’s up to you to make sure that you’re not broken next.
Big decisions are for important people. And clearly, you’re not one of them
If you’re sharing your life with someone, it’s critical that you have a say in the decisions that will affect you. Your partner’s opinions and feelings will always be important, and so are yours. Your voice is an important one. A loving partner in the context of a healthy relationship will value your thoughts and opinions, not pretend that they don’t exist or assume theirs are more important. My ex used to make me sit at the back of his car and not with him in front. Instead, he would let his niece sit in front with him instead of me. When I questioned this, he said, "My car is an extension of my home. Family always comes first. My niece is a family member, you are just my girlfriend--we're not yet married, so stay at the back." I believed in his words no matter how harsh it was. I just grinned, rolled my eyes, and bore all the pain. DO NOT ALLOW PEOPLE TO TREAT YOU BADLY JUST BECAUSE YOU LOVE THEM.
I think I might be in an abusive and toxic relationship. What now?
If it’s toxic and abusive, it’s changing you and it’s time to leave or put up a very big wall. Be clear about where the relationship starts and where you begin. Keep your distance emotionally and think of it as something to be managed, rather than something to be beaten or understood. Look for the patterns and look for the triggers. Then, be mindful about what is okay and what isn’t. Above all else, know that you are strong, complete, and vital. Don’t buy into any tiny-hearted, close-minded push that would have you believe otherwise. You’re amazing.
Toxicity in any relationship doesn’t make sense. In an attempt to make it make sense, you might blame history, circumstance, or your own behavior. The truth is that none of this matters. It doesn’t matter where the toxicity comes from or the reason for it being there.
Love and happiness don’t always go together. The world would run so much smoother if they did, but it just doesn’t happen like that. Love can be a dirty little liar sometimes. So can commitment. Staying in a relationship should never have losing yourself as one of the conditions. Bear in mind: You’re far too important for that.
|Charlyn June Fadchal Awing's book is a must-read by everyone|
Awing's book teaches women to value self-love, self-care, and self-worth. I understand that it may be easier said than done. But it pays to know exactly what you deserve and to not settle for anything less when it comes to standards. Break Free: How to Let Go and Move On is a powerful book with a very powerful message. I like that the author doesn't tell you "how to feel" as she helps survivors of psychological abuse work through their healing (by giving advice and offering journal exercises). This book helps survivors see that abuse was not their fault and that they are not alone. This book was very well written, is honest and holistic in approach.
I personally know abusive people like those mentioned in the author's book but somehow they are allowed to continue manipulating others while the victims patiently wait for them to change by some miracle from God all the while declining in physical, spiritual, and emotional and mental health. God is a god of action and wants us to take full agency in our lives in order to hold accountable/escape the grip from abusive people. Ms. Thomas clearly points out the stages of this type of abuse and how to change one's circumstance. I agree with her that it may not always mean zero contact, especially if kids are involved, but she will walk a reader through the steps necessary to stay safe if zero contact is not chosen as an option.
During those times when I almost lost my sense of self because of what my ex had said and made me believe, I needed to seek the advice of professionals. My friend brought me to this counseling center at their church, Grace Commission Fellowship near Robinsons Galleria who welcomed me with open arms like I had been an old member. The counselor told me, "People will always have something negative to say about you. But the power still lies within you. Do not let their words affect you. You know yourself well enough. You are amazing."
That became a wake-up call to me. Why do I love someone who has no regard for me and treats me like a speck of dirt? When you're in an abusive relationship, it's perfectly fine to ask for help. Do not be afraid. There will be people who will be willing to help you. There are online communities as well that might shed some light on you. You are not alone. Read up books on women empowerment as well as books based on true stories such as Break Free How to Let Go and Move On.
Violence against Women and their Children (VAWC) chooses no time or place. During the enhanced community quarantine, let us remain vigilant to VAWC that happens in the confines of the homes in our communities. If you are, or if you personally know someone being abused during this time of health emergency, don’t hesitate to seek help to stop the abuse. Psychological abuse is hidden, insideous, and it's effects are real.
Here is a handy reference that you can use during this time of community quarantine:
PNP Hotline: 177
Aleng Pulis Hotline: 0919 777 7377
PNP Women and Children Protection Center
24/7 AVAWCD Office: (02) 8532-6690
Email address: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO)
Hotline: (02) 8929-9436 local 106, 107, or 159 (local “0” for operator)
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and their
Mobile numbers: 09178671907 | 09178748961
Email address: email@example.com
Lastly, pray hard and believe that there is hope at the end of the tunnel. You will soon smile again and gain back the confidence you once lost. I was able to find a good man whom I eventually married. Someone who made me his priority and someone who had seen my worth. I will never allow being treated poorly again by anyone because, in the eyes of God, I am his princess.
I am thankful to Charlyn June Fadchal Awing for writing this book. She doesn't just talk the talk but has had to and continues to walk the walk. She is a living proof that God can redeem what was lost for those who suffer in abuse.