My first real boyfriend was incredibly abusive in all ways, shapes, and forms. He was a serial abuser that left a long string of very smart, capable women absolutely crushed in his path. And I stayed for way too long because I didn’t want to see myself as a victim, because tv shows and movies and books had taught me that if I just loved him ENOUGH he’d stop being an asshole and come around to see how great I was and how great this love was and I didn’t want to have wasted so much time on him and see myself as having stupidly fallen for someone that was just so terrible.
All the red flags were there and I thought I was being so smart and careful because I asked him a ton of questions before we started dating. He isolated me from my friends instantly. Wouldn’t meet them. Wouldn’t introduce me to his. Prefaced that with how troubled he was and how I was the only one to ever reach him and he had NO ONE except for me to believe in him and what would he do without that? He love bombed me for the first month then literally turned to me after handing me a gift in the car and said, “So. Now what are you going to do for me?” because nothing was really a gift, everything had a price. Told me flat out once that I was too good for him so he needed to bring me down to his level, like he was doing me a favor.
ButI wasted at least five years of my life on someone that was never, ever going to change. We started like a little support group of ex girlfriends because his MO was to break us down, wait awhile, then come back with sweet apologies when he was bored of whoever he’d move on to next. But since we were all in contact, we knew he’d do it to multiple exes and we were able to move on.