As a young woman I was oblivious to the dangers of psychological manipulation. I was a people pleaser to the nth. I became victim to a man I married at the age of 17 and tried desperately for years to keep him happy, never realizing that his skills of manipulation kept me under his thumb for 20 years.
As I aged physically and emotionally I began to awaken to how often he would use words and actions to manipulate my life and self esteem. His comments were carefully crafted to keep me insecure and convinced that my friends and family were our problem and isolating me from those who truly loved me kept me from receiving the appropriate feedback and protected him from the true state of things.
My ex-husband kept me from meeting new people, going to college or getting a job. When I got a part-time waitress job he would convince me we needed my tips for household expenses.
The extent of how I was slowly and methodically brainwashed is a classic example of relationship control and it took 18 separations, one assault charge and five protection orders coupled with two one month stays at a domestic violence safe house with my children to see what I had allowed him to subtlety do to keep me isolated.
The story ended when I realized he was not for me, or our kids, but his narcissistic nature had only his wants and needs at heart. Manipulation can destroy a relationship and a person. I'm so grateful to have gained strength and faith to leave. This was a lifelong lesson and every day I thank God for His loving kindness in helping me to walk away with legal help.
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