At first, I didn’t realise, when you are that in love you don’t. You think they are the best person in the world and can do no wrong. They are your world and make you feel as though you don’t need anyone else, that no one else matters.

The people closest to you point out the signs, but you’re under control, under a spell so push those people away. Being made to feel bad about going out with your friends, so you stop. Secluding yourself from the people who have been there for your whole life.

The signs

After researching the signs of what emotional abuse was, I could relate to all of them. My story is in regards to an emotionally abusive relationship.

Intimidation: after we broke up, he came over to our flat to collect his things, bringing round two friends to help him out without even telling me. I was in the middle of watching something on the PS4 I bought him and he just unplugged it. I left the flat crying because of how intimidated I felt.

Criticism: It went from being called beautiful to being called vile, pathetic and disgusting, being verbally abused on a daily basis. Popping up on my screen were awful text messages.

Undermining: I spoke about my love of theatre a lot and how I wanted to set up a theatre company, he said that the name I had come up with was stupid, and no one would join a company with that name.

Economic abuse: manipulated into lending him £1,500 and I have only just been paid back.

Being made to feel guilty: he went through moments of not speaking to me for a week if I had done one thing that he didn’t agree with.

Telling you what you can and can’t do: I was accused of being an alcoholic for going on a night out, being slut-shamed for speaking to guys who were just my friends.

After making me feel like the bad guy, it turns out he was the one who was being unfaithful. He made me feel bad for his actions. My thoughts during this time were simply: when will it end?

When my best friend found out I was suffering from depression during this period she said to me ‘but you are the happy one of the group, how are you depressed?’ Well, as they say, I guess it can happen to anyone.

After our relationship ended I got into another relationship with a guy who treated me like a princess. Unfortunately, my ex was still around and in the same social circle as me. A lot of people close to me saw him as a good friend and I was internally screaming ‘WHY?!’ However, I am not the type of person to tell people they cannot be friends with someone because they did something bad to me so I stayed quiet.

My ex told me how much he missed me and made me feel guilty for being with my new boyfriend. Which in turn made me break up with the new guy on several occasions for no reason other than what the emotional abuse had done to me and the control my ex still had over me. To that guy who I am no longer with, I’m sorry.

4 years after this and I have detached yourself from the situation, and only then did I realise the mental torture and the pain that had been inflicted on me.

The aftermath

Today I am still affected by everything he did to me. Normal things that you would do with your partner in a relationship I can’t do anymore because my ex made me feel like when he was doing it, it was for a power trip and now I associate that action with feeling degraded.

One positive I will say has come out of this, is that I am stronger. I do not let men walk over me anymore or anyone for that matter. I have become very defensive should someone try to attack me and will always stand up for myself.

It has taken me 4 months to write these words. A month for every year that I was abused. The reason it has taken me so long to write this is because I got half way through and stopped. I was scared that my ex would read this and send me abusive messages, but now I want him to read this and know exactly how much he did has affected my life and how I do things forever.

Now I am in a happy relationship with someone else, I have been paid back the entirety of the money I was owed and I ended up setting up that theatre company with a stupid name, which has become more successful than I could ever dream of. Don’t let those people stop you from living your best life.

If you are in a similar situation, try writing it down, no matter how long it takes, even if you never show it to anyone. It made me feel a lot better and it might help you too.