Love hurts. Admitting you were wrong hurts, too.

No one knowingly starts dating an abusive person. You start dating them because they’re attractive. They make you feel special. The abuse comes later when you’re invested.

You’re not a moron, and you’re not weak. You’re not gullible. You had a good reason for making the decisions you made early on.

You listened to his lies, knowing that your friends thought you were crazy for believing him, but you thought you knew better. It’s your friends who are deluded, not you, he’d tell you. I mean, just look at the crap they watch on TV and the books and newspapers they read – all full of lies. You were convinced you were the sane one, and then he started doing the exact things they warned you he’d do in time.

He’d say mean, malicious things about others. He’d spout racist, sexist, homophobic things, and you’d defend him. He knows more about this stuff than anyone, you’d say. He’s been around the block a few times, and he sees through the fog to the real heart of the issue. He would said things that even you had thought here and there. And then he would push a little farther, and a little deeper, until the things he said shocked and embarrassed even you, his defender and ally.

You gave him benefit of the doubt. You trusted him to protect you, and then he started “protecting you” by taking away your freedom to come and go as you pleased.

You’d get bold and stand up to him. You’d march right up to him and tell him that you’d had enough. And he’d push you down, and you’d push him right back. And he’d post pictures of you pushing him on social media to his friends and followers. “Do you all see why I have to be firm with her?”

But once you realize what you’re dealing with, you have to love yourself and your family and children enough to stand firm. You can’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it and defending it. It’s embarrassing to look back and realize you were duped. It hurts. Still, once you arrive at the decision that getting out is less painful than staying in and being complicit in his abuse, you have to fight through the embarrassment and pain and do what’s right.

And no one knowingly elects a dictator. You voted your conscience, and you liked that he said what was on his mind, critics be damned. You couldn’t stand the other candidate. You believed that his good potential outweighed his bad.

It’s not until later that he and his cabal erodes the very protections that allowed you to make that choice in the first place. It’s embarrassing to realize the guy you put faith in is exactly what his critics said he was. It’s painful to realize that you’ve been duped. But once you arrive at the decision that getting out is less painful and being complicit in his abuse, you have to fight through the embarrassment and pain and do what’s right.

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