Hurts More Than A Broken Bone

In Features, Mind, Body & Spirit, Pushing Forward by Sofia Brenes

Profoundly hurtful words can sear through you and unconsciously lower your self-worth over time. Some even argue that it is just as painful as being beaten. I must admit that this is a difficult topic to discuss being a verbal abuse victim myself.

Verbal abuse doesn’t get as much attention as other types of abuse but that doesn’t make it any less important or less painful. I’m not an enraged ex-girlfriend who wants to expose everything as revenge towards him. I just want people to realize the real issue of being ripped away from who you are. I hope that by sharing my story, some woman out there will be encouraged to find her own strength and leave her abusive relationship.

My story began in summer of my junior year in high school. The typical teenage love story occurred, 18-year-old boy meets 17-year-old girl. He was a senior and one of those “bad boys” types that intrigue most girls. I’m not going to state his name for the sole purpose of anonymity. We began to get to know each other better and he comforted me a lot, since I had recently broken up with another boyfriend of mine. He was sweet, funny, cute, artistic, and basically everything I wanted in a guy.

When he finally asked me out, I swear I felt like I was in one of those love movies with fireworks going off in the background as I kiss my “perfect” guy. I was so happy with him for the next eight months and slowly fell in love with him. He treated me like a princess and I felt so loved by him. Unfortunately, we broke up over a silly fight about not spending enough time together.

Three months later, we met up by chance at a store and began talking again. Needless to say, we got back together. He was a different person this time around. I guess in my own fantasyland of love and thinking I could “change” him, I chose to put up with 3 years of suffering and heartache that ensued. You may think it was the typical lover’s quarrel but over time it formed into something more sinister. Virtually every day we spoke, he told me everything that was wrong with me and what I needed to change in order for him to love me more. I believed him and tried to change in everyway physically and emotionally to make him happy. Whenever I “fixed” something, t he next day

he would mention something else that was supposedly wrong with me.

This horrible cycle continued until I became depressed because I thought that everything about me was wrong. I walked on eggshells around him and tried to never say the wrong thing and do what he told me for the fear of losing him. Many of you are probably thinking, “Why didn’t you just dump him?” Easier said than done, I was in love. As the saying goes, “Love is blind”” and that is true because we often times refuse to see the faults in our loved ones and hope that they will one day make a complete turn-around.

After a while of being criticized and put down, I felt so worthless. I couldn’t even fathom the thought of dumping him because I felt like he was the only one who would every want me, as he often told me.

The typical phone calls would end by him saying, “Sofia you have to stop being so emotional all the time. What are you going to do? Cry like a baby again?” My whole dream of being a doctor would be shot down by him as being ridiculous and that I would never achieve it. I was told countless of times that I needed to be a cold, hard person and that my personality was all wrong.

In the back of my mind, everything I accomplished in changing was one step closer to winning his heart. He would also constantly talk about all the attractive girls he would see that day and how I needed to be that way. Rarely would he take me out to a typical date at the movies or dinner because he was ashamed of me. I had to be the hottest looking girl in the area to go out with him, so I could make him proud to be with me.

Tears flooded my pillow every night after getting off the phone with him or getting home from being out with him. All I wanted was to simply make him happy for once. For the first time in my life I was ashamed to be disabled and wanted to be like one of those able-bodied girls he wanted.

My breaking point was one night when we were having one of our usual arguments and he mentioned that this girl who I thought was just his friend was someone had he had slept with as well. As if the cheating wasn’t bad enough, he poured alcohol on the wound by telling me that she was his perfect girl and that I could never compare to her.

She was more beautiful than I was and more worthy to be loved by him. That just broke me down, I couldn’t even talk at that point. I hung up the phone in total disbelief and ignored all his calls and text messages saying that he was sorry. I immediately called some of my girlfriends and told them everything that happened and they advised me to break up with him on the spot.

Being as stubborn as I was, I didn’t follow their advice exactly. What I did was talk to him and hangout with him less and less during the next few months. I wrote him a long letter, spilling out every piece of hurt I had inside of me because of what he had said over the years. I asked him to come over to my house one day, gave him the letter, and told him it was over.

I didn’t want to be controlled by him anymore. That night he must have read the letter because he called me and apologized for everything he did to me and wished that I could find someone better because I deserved it.

I can’t say whether or not he was being sincere but the one thing I did agree with was that I needed to find someone better. I want to be loved for me and not what they wished I could be. As horrible as that experience was, I truly believe that you can learn from every relationship you are in and apply it in the future.

It’s been five months since my ordeal ended. I feel so much better about myself and free from the constraints of others. I definitely learned never to let someone walk all over me and control me like that again. Why should we ever change so much to please our partners?

If their expectations of you are based on unrealistic standards and selfish needs then you need to reevaluate your relationship. Does he/she really love you? Love should make you feel complete and content most of the time. Love is never endless amounts of heartache and sorrow.

Never let anyone, especially your loved one to bring you down for who you are. People who criticize others are usually trying to mask their own insecurities. I still struggle with trusting men because I sometimes fear of the same outcome with them. I may never fully get over what happened but I do know that I AM worthy of being loved.
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