At the end of the toxic relationship I was in, the manipulator and I decided to consult a relationship counselor. The man rapidly figured out that I was trapped into an abusive relationship. We saw him a couple of times. He said something I shall never forgot: “The shame does not belong to you“. My friend, my sister, I know what it feels to feel dirty, repulsive and damaged by and because of the violence. Nevertheless, the shame does not belong to us. We did nothing shameful. We stayed far too long in a toxic relationship. Then, we had the courage to make the decision to leave. It was excruciatingly painful. It may have taken years to extract ourselves from the claws of abuse, yet we did it. May we be proud.
I am writing because I cannot keep what I learned for myself. It would be so dishonest. If one lesson I learned the hard way can spare you the pain of experiencing it, then all that pain would not have been felt for nothing.