It’s funny, I never thought I would become addicted to anything. Not a substance, I had no real desire for hard drugs, alcohol was meh, and cigarettes I could pick up and quit as I wanted. I never stopped to think that you could become addicted to another person. Not until I began therapy a few years back. My counselor used to tell me, people that are abused as a child are more likely to be in abusive relationships. It’s such a simple thought and yet I had never considered it before. I had never stopped to consider that my idea of what is normal might be disfigured compared to other people’s view on a normal relationship. For some reason I had never put two and two together, so when she plopped a packet in my lap and told me to count how many lined up with my life I was a little confused.

I looked at the papers on my lap and saw that it was articles on verbal abuse. As I flipped to the page she told me to count the things that line up. So I started reading the 2 page list of scenarios and things to look out for that they do. I counted. Then I lost count. I read the pages and when she asked me how many, I said all of them. I had experienced every single scenario, comment, and risk associated with it. I remember feeling as though someone had punched me in the gut because it meant I wasn’t crazy. It meant there was a reason behind why I was struggling the way I was. I had accepted a norm that was not normal. I began to think of another way, another life that didn’t involve abuse and I couldn’t see one.

I saw all the warnings. I saw all the flags. I saw it all. Yet, I still chose to stay. There was a name suddenly for people like him. Narcissistic. I had all the information laid out in front of me, I finally knew what was happening and yet I stayed. I made the conscious choice to stay in a situation in which I was not happy with. I wanted a life away from him, free to do what it is I wanted to do. I wanted a life where I wasn’t belittled for just being myself. Where I didn’t fear the rage from the person I am supposed to feel safe with. I wanted all of that and yet, I stayed.

People always ask me why I stayed with him so long and went back to him so many times. They can’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that I stayed and even went back to him on several occasions. They say things like “If he really was that bad why did you keep going back to him?” The truth is the answer is not a simple one. If it was a simple one the task of leaving would have been simple and already done for good. So no, the answer is not a simple one to give and not one many will truly be able to grasp unless placed in the scenario through our eyes.