The Spiritual Stain

The road to recovery after abusive relationships

Sayde Scarlett

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It would be easier to say he’d put a gun to my head. Then other people would at least know what I was talking about. He made it seem like acting out his will was my only rational option. Afterwards I would be left with guilt and discomfort at having behaved in a way contrary to my own judgement and character.

In the ten year period between 2010 and 2020, I experienced three romantic relationships that, in retrospect, were abusive. One mildly so; two massively so. On an intellectual level, I’m over it. On an emotional level, I’m over it. I’m no longer in love with any of these men. But the sense of violation I feel is still there.

I’ve blamed myself for being in these relationships, not getting out of them quicker, and taking too long to get over them. I worry about what it says about me as a woman. If it happened once — fine! But if it happened more than once, shame on me, right? I’ve had strangers question my relationship with my father.

But these men took advantage of things about my character that are undoubtedly good. Things that would have enhanced any relationship with a better man. My desire to please people. My natural inclination to assume good faith. My unwaivering fidelity. My unfettered optimism.

The pain was healed by time. The intellectual doubt and constant second guessing of my own mind was quelled by a few therapy sessions. But the sense of violation has never fully gone away…

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Sayde Scarlett

Author and poet by day; artist by night. Loves to tell stories and create art; loves to talk about stories and creating art.