You Don’t Abandon Someone You Love (rubbish!)

Photo credit: Jon Ly

I saw a post this morning on an ex’s Facebook site. Yes, guilty as charged for stalking him on social media but truth be known I don’t do it very often and, following a final and rather seething argument we had on that particular day, I decided to see if he’d posted anything.

It was a public post and it received more than 30 likes and comments. Someone said ‘amen’, another ‘so true, brother’, then there was the array of thumbs ups and acknowledging emojis. What I found disturbing is that no one really knew the power of the post. It read: ‘If you love someone, you’ll never abandon them’.

It’s been three weeks since I went no contact with my ex. Did I abandon him? Yes. But why? What the post failed to acknowledge is that in some cases abandonment is not as straight forward as people wish to believe. I chose to abandon a man I loved because he was abusive. Not only did he push me up against a wall once – with such force I was actually terrified. Not only did he call me a fu*cking whore and told me I open my legs for any man. Not only did he say my kids were brats and I was a terrible mother. Or that my parents were arseh*les. Not only did he break my belongings, or publicly humiliate me because a stranger spoke to me in a bar. Not only did he arrive one night at my house and proceed to pack all the gifts he’d ever given to me during the course of our relationship into the boot of his car and told me I’m not worthy of receiving the love of any man. Or the time he threatened to circulate a naked photo of myself I’d sent to him while we were together if I didn’t pay back money he’d given me when I went through a hard time. There were also all those times he’d left me stranded and I’d have to uber my way home. Not to count the amount of times he ghosted me when we had a fight and told me I was a piece of trash. Or the fact that I’d been getting streams of messages from another woman claiming to be his side dish.

Abandonment has many definitions.

Abandonment is a subjective emotional state in which people feel undesired, left behind, insecure, or discarded. In a nutshell it makes one feel that they are not important. That they are not of value. That they do not matter. Abandonment experiences and boundary violations are in no way indictments of a person’s innate goodness and value. Instead, they reveal the flawed thinking, false beliefs, and impaired behaviours of those who hurt them. In some cases, however, the shoe fits the other foot. I was in a relationship and never before in my life had I ever felt more abandoned.

Relationships are hard and yes, some are worth fighting for but there are so many women (and men) who, after a failed relationship, claim their partner simply abandoned them. They claim that true love never walks away. They claim that love always prevails. But in some cases, abandonment is the only answer. It’s not enough for someone to say ‘I love you, I will stick around forever’, and expect you to put up with the continued cycle of abuse. There are many bad reasons to leave someone, but there are also a few good reasons to move on. There is a time it’s excusable to abandon.

After my break-up I had to really sit down and think of what had happened between us. I had to ask myself those really difficult questions. The one thing I couldn’t answer straight off the bat was the question, ‘how do I deserve to be treated?’ It took me over 15 minutes before I came up with an answer – ‘with respect’. I deserve to be respected as a human being and I deserve to be loved for being the unique person I am. There’s no reason to allow yourself to be with anyone who makes you feel less than who you are. There are people out there who will love you for you. You just need to find them.

So yes, I abandoned him. I chose not to be used, abused, mishandled and mistreated. I chose instead to do the right thing for myself. Emoji that.

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