I was numb.
For the next few hours, I felt nothing but determination to remove myself from this incredibly toxic and consuming relationship. I had done nothing wrong and I knew it. Brandon knew it too, but he had become so comfortable disrespecting me because I had allowed it so many times before, and I had now become his personal punching bag. In a situation where he had become desperate, he had needed an outlet for his anger, and I was it.
I needed an outlet of my own though, and so, against my better judgement, I called his ex-partner, Amelia.
“You are kidding me!” she had said in disbelief when I’d recounted the evening’s events.
“Unbelievable!” I could hear her partner, Jeremy, fuming in the background as Amelia relayed the story. “He doesn’t deserve her.”
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I appreciated the validation. I felt as though I had lost touch with reality by this point and couldn’t rely on myself to recognise that Brandon’s behaviour was not normal or appropriate. I still felt that things could be different if only I tried harder. I believed that Brandon just needed more love, because obviously someone had loved him less than what he’d needed at some point in his life, and now he critically needed love in abundance. Who better to provide that than me?
This is where the importance of social support becomes apparent. I couldn’t rely on myself, as my own judgement was compromised by my idealistic views, and while Amelia was good for immediate validation, what I really needed to successfully remove myself from what had become a waking nightmare, was ongoing support.
The trouble was, the situation was so embarrassingly toxic, that I felt too ashamed to admit to anyone that I knowingly and willingly stayed in what I knew was an unhealthy relationship. I felt as though I was a glutton for punishment for staying and that, considering my awareness, I deserved everything I got.
My resolve lasted four days. This was a milestone for me as, previously, my willpower to stay away from Brandon had usually weakened by this point. I wondered why he hadn’t reached out to me. Usually, Amelia would contact him and tell him that I’d called her, he’d be infuriated, and he’d contact me to give me a serve. But he hadn’t even done that this time. It was almost as though he’d just forgotten all about me.