Hey how you going?
This may seem very left of field but I just wanted to say thank you for your bravery in sharing your personal experience on your blog about domestic violence..
I did a session on this just last week during crossroads with my year 11 girls and they were so engrossed in your experience and relating it back to their own relationships, how they would go about setting boundaries in their future relationships to protect their identity, integrity and self worth.
They are all curious to know how you are doing now, what you are up to and how you approach your relationships..
I said that I would pass a big thank you on to you and here I am.. I sincerely hope you are doing well overseas and that life is going where you want it to go..
Your message has really touched me! Thank you.
I shared that piece for girls like you because growing up in a relatively normal Croatian household, I never imagined I’d find myself at the deadly hands of a boy that I absolutely loved. Yes, I am living proof that love is blind. I shared it as an example of how insidious abusive relationships can be and how by allowing someone to cross one boundary, you give them an incentive to cross more. I can’t say it was easy to write, I cried for two days while editing it. I also spent two days in bed crying as messages from all over the world poured in commending my bravery. I didn’t see it as brave, I considered it a no brainer and through facing my trauma, I began my healing process.
The past decade of my life since has been one alcoholic, drug fuelled and scandalous affair. I basically went from caged human to rebel, I never wanted to be restricted from living MY LIFE again. Sure, I have kicked goals, travelled, made my dreams come true in fashion styling and blogging but on the inside I have always felt sadness and never found joy in anything that I did or achieved. I never dealt with the trauma that relationship unfortunately brought into my life and this year as I began to sober up, I was faced with my demons harder than ever but this time round, I was alone in London. Substance abuse was my way of distracting my progress and I only noticed this year, a decade later, how dangerous this has been.
I know a lot of you like me, come from a European background and often problems are brushed under the table, don’t make my mistake, get help as soon as possible. Looking back, I wish I had gotten professional help right after that relationship ended. There is no shame in speaking to someone.
I recently joked with my best friend from Sydney while holidays in Croatia that I’ve essentially been dating the same guy over the past ten years. No, I haven’t been in an abusive relationship but I’ve found comfort in certain guys because they resembled the only boy I ever loved and this kind of toxic relationship was normal to me. The first few guys I dated after him were good boys, normal and I often looked at them wondering when they were going to hurt me. They never did, not everyone is bad blood and this is something I had to un-learn over the years.
I have never shared this but in two instances, I have had sexual encounters against my own will because I was intoxicated. One of them included several slaps to the face and while I felt tears run down my cheeks as I pleaded for him to stop, he kept going because it was fun for him to watch me so powerless.
I’m sharing this with you because I want you to see that I am not perfect, no one is. Perfection is an illusion we are sold from a young age. No matter how beautiful someone is or how “together” they appear to be, everyone is healing or dealing with wounds. The past decade I’ve been dealing with my wounds by drinking, using drugs and sharing my body with people I can’t even remember. It’s been one band aid after another but as we all know, band aids are only temporary. I’ve attracted so many wrong people for me and given them my most precious asset, my time.
In the last six months, I have begun the process of healing myself. I am sober, clean, no one touches my body, I meditate, I practice yoga and gratitude and I SAY NO more often. I don’t put myself in situations that could jeopardise my new path, I am tempted by nothing else but being the best new version of myself that I can be.
I spend time with people who value me for who I am and are there for me when things get rough, usually in my own head. This is going to be one long road but at least, this next decade onward, I’ll remember my life.
I’m telling you this because I now see my behaviour and choices over the past decade as a reflection of my low self worth. I never felt worthy of love, I never felt like who I was on the inside, was enough and I found it impossible to forgive myself for allowing myself to make so many stupid mistakes. This meant my life became one big hangover in high-functioning depression.
True abundance isn’t based on our net worth, it’s based on our self-worth.
I’ve only been in one serious relationship since my first and that lasted 3 years. Sadly, he didn’t receive the same love my first one did, I was scared to open up again and it ended with me hurting a man who loved me unconditionally. He wanted to grow roses in my flaws and I took that for granted. I approach all my relationships with caution and fortunately know a psychopath when I am in the presence of one, however as mentioned before, I have often found comfort in these types of males.
There is nothing comforting about being with someone who doesn’t treat you like a human. Full stop. There is nothing cool about being with someone who belittles you or who highlights your flaws. We all have flaws, no body is flawless. If the respect isn’t equal, the imbalance will defeat you. Don’t put yourself in my 18 year old shoes.
And also, if he doesn’t respect the women in his own family, he will never ever respect you.
The idea of ‘loving yourself‘ used to have a bad connotation while I was growing up but let me tell you now, loving yourself is paramount to your entire existence. So say those words at any opportunity you can, especially in the mirror every morning- I-LOVE-MYSELF. If you don’t love yourself, no one else will know how to love you and you’ll be hanging from the hands of those who pretend to love you in order to gain pieces of your soul for their own sick satisfaction.
I can’t tell you much about integrity but I know it’s who you are when all the monetary elements that are supposed to define you are removed. It’s about how you get up in the morning even though you don’t want to. Sometimes it’s just ‘showing up‘ to life with an open heart. It’s about how you help those around you who can’t give you anything but a ‘Thank you‘ in return, that should be enough anyway. It’s your inner dialogue that tells you, “I am enough” instead of “You’re not worthy,” or “You can do it,” instead of,”Why try?” It’s that piece inside you that says, “Tell your truth & own it,” because you never know who it can help. And it is that voice that tells you when you should walk away from those that are no good for you and never looking back.
Everyday is an opportunity to contribute another page or two to your story and only you are in control of making sure yours is a best seller.
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