The Moment I Realized I Left My Self-Worth With My Abusive Relationship

The Moment I Realized I Left My Self-Worth With My Abusive Relationship

Do you ever feel like there is a recurring theme in your life; whether it be a word, or a color, or a saying? Everywhere you go you see it, or you hear it. It’s just begging to be noticed. Well I recently had that happen to me when the word “worthy” entered my life. It took me an entire week to come full circle and finally understand what it meant, but when I did, it was a feeling I had never experienced before.

It all started when I was scrolling through Instagram, as I always do (way too frequently). I ended up weeks-deep in an account that I follow (also happens way too frequently...seriously, Instagram is like quicksand!) called The Giving Keys.

If you aren’t familiar with The Giving Keys, let me catch you up to speed--It's an organization that takes old keys and re-purpose them as jewelry with hand-stamped words on them. The goal is to get a key (or gift one) that means something to you. When that word no longer serves a purpose in the life of the owner, and they come across someone who needs the word more, they give the word away. Hence, The Giving Keys. It’s a super awesome concept.

As I was going through their Instagram account, I came across a picture of a key with the word “worthy” on it. It immediately jumped out at me. I thought to myself, “What a great word. Not one I really see or hear often.” It made me smile, and I then I dove back into the abyss of my social media scrolling.

Recently I have started walking every morning. I walk around my neighborhood while listening to gospel music and spending time in nature. I’ve listened to the same playlist for the past couple of weeks, but during this specific time, I suddenly heard something new--I heard the word “worthy.”

I had never noticed it before, but now I was hearing the word loud and clear. Not only was I hearing the word in songs during my walk, but I was reading it in books, and hearing it in on TV and in movies I was watching. I was clearly supposed to be paying attention to this word, but why?

Soon afterward, I began to understand why I could not get away from this word.

I logged on to Facebook (OK, I might be a little addicted to social media, but who isn’t?) and I had a friend request from the ex-boyfriend. I only have one, and this guy is bad news. He was both emotionally and physically abusive for years. Not only did he request to be my friend (which the answer is hell no, by the way) but he also sent me a message. He’s sent me a few messages over the past couple of months, but I haven’t responded. There is no need to go there, even if everything in me wants to know what the heck he could possibly want.

Needless to say, I spent that evening a bit irritated.

The next day I woke up to go on my walk as I usually do, when halfway through, I decided to sit down on a bench and just listen to the music and think. Once again, the word “worthy” jumped out at me, but this time it was throwing a parade in my honor. Floats, bells, whistles, the whole shebang! It was determined to be heard.

As I sat there marinating on this word, tears began streaming down my face. I don’t know where they came from, but here I was on a public bench, sitting by myself crying. I’m sure I was a sight to see, but I honestly didn’t even notice anything that was going on around me. And I didn't care.

For the first time in my life, I began to think about my worth. I realized how low my self-esteem really was. I reached in to the depths of my memories, and it became clear to me that I stopped feeling worthy a long time ago.

I still didn’t respect myself very much and realized that I let my ex take every ounce of self-worth that I had. In this moment, I came to see that the way I felt about myself eight years ago when I dated my ex was the same way I felt about myself today.

I felt worthless. I had never taken back my pride after he took it from me. When I walked away from him, I left my dignity standing right there next to him.

Please don’t get me wrong--leaving an abusive relationship takes a lot of strength. More strength than I ever knew I had in me and that can never be taken away from me, or any other woman who leaves a situation like that, but I certainly wasn’t the same person in the end that I was in the beginning.

Every guy I’ve met after that has only known what was left of me at the end of that relationship. Sure, I put on this facade of being confident and outgoing, but the truth is, I was afraid to make a wrong move, or say the wrong thing. I was afraid they wouldn’t like me because I wasn’t good enough.

This resulted in me letting them treat me any way they wanted. I have been used many times, because when it comes down to it, I just didn’t feel worthy of the love and respect that one guy, eight years ago, taught me wasn’t mine to have.

But that morning, as I sat there crying on a park bench, I took back my worth.

I didn’t know why the word "worthy" crept into my life, but it did. It started out as a whisper, then it was relentless, loud, and at times a bit obnoxious. However, I am so grateful for its persistence, because I now have back what I haven’t had in years. Something that I had lost.

I finally have myself back, and I am worthy--worthy of all the love someone has to give one day, worthy of respect, worthy of everything my heart desires.

Worthy of a happy ending.

Brittany is a gypsy soul hoping to find staying power in California. She lives for funny dating stories but hopes one day there's a happy ending somewhere in there. Pizza is the way to her heart.