I posted this elsewhere on the site and thought I would bring it over here:
The hardest part of escaping is finding that self esteem which the abuser has been beating out of you (whether it's physically, emotionally, mentally, a combination or something else altogether) for what seems like forever and then some! It doesn't take a lot of self esteem to get out but it does take just a little bit. Most of us have to dig under years of baggage and shit to find even a half gram of it to fuel us in the right direction.
What it took for me was an online friend who simply talked to me, helped me acknowledge what I already knew, listened when I was having a hard time. He didn't judge, didn't berate, didn't do anything to coerce me into leaving. The decision was all mine. I just needed a friendly voice and a shoulder to cry on, someone to treat me like a human being rather than a door mat to wipe his feet on when he thought I was worthy of such treatment (which was all the time). We parted ways several years ago but I will ALWAYS be grateful to him for the HUGE part he played in my reemergence into the world of humanity!
I think it's about time I talked about my marriage (still married to the moron due more to lack of funds than anything else).
I lived with him for TEN years! Ten years I can't get back, no matter how hard I try. Good things came out of those years but for the most part the bad out weighed the good by a long shot.
He hit me once and ONLY once. The police were called and he still, nearly 15 years later, holds a grudge against me for it. The man (term used loosely as the only thing defining him as a man is that thing between his legs) never, NEVER forgives a wrong whether it's actually been perpetrated or was imagined--on purpose or accidentally.
He can't forgive the fact I was sexually abused as a child. He can't forgive the fact the police were called for domestic violence so he now has a criminal record. He can't forgive the fact that I finally came into my own and left him!
I was in such bad mental/emotional shape that I left the kids with him! They had a roof over their heads, their daily schedule stayed basically the same, they stayed in the same school and kept the same friends. They are 16 now and are doing fine. They know how to deal with their dad and have an escape if things get to the point where they can't deal with it.
He never had a kind word for me, only four times ever told me he loved me, did everything in his power to strip what self esteem and self love I had for myself from me so that I would forever be in his grasp to do with as he pleased. All my friends, the few I had, fell by the wayside because they could see what I couldn't acknowledge to that point.
Mental abuse is harder to get over. There are still things I need to work through, probably always will be but I am so much healthier now than I ever was while I was with him!
I joke that I lost 300 pounds when I left him but it isn't really a joke. My self esteem slowly started coming back, I started getting healthier, my headaches became a once a month thing rather than a daily ordeal. I became happier soon after I left and got over the shock
I love myself again, I've lost a little bit of weight (my own, not his), my kids are here as often as they're there. I will always be a work in progress but that's okay. As long as I'm always working toward a better met I'll be ok.