Amy’s story.

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My name is Amy, I’m 26 and I live in Glasgow. I work for Ofgem during the day and my free time is filled with instructing at Kuk Sool Won™ Glasgow (where I am a 2nd Dahn Instructor) and volunteering my time for The Empowered Woman Project.
My dating history has been a who’s who of mouth breathers with questionable morals (and haircuts). First, let’s start with my first ever boyfriend; let’s call him Mr. K. We dated very briefly back in the day when Bebo was at peak popularity. He was popular, attractive, AND in the football team… ‘WHAT A CATCH’ said teenage Amy. I quickly became aware (and maybe slightly jealous) of a certain girl in his year who he shared an inside joke about David Hasslehoff’s classic hit ‘Jump in my Car’. Always trust your instincts ladies, because lo and behold, we broke up and guess who was next in line…?
A few years later, I became friends with Mr. S. Mr. S was the kind of person that EVERYONE liked, and it was a complete surprise to me (and the rest of the school) when we became an item. He was handsome, fun and played the guitar… WHAT A CATCH said teenage Amy. We did everything together, we had the same circle of friends and I was completely in love and happier than I had ever been at school. When I left school, Mr. S and myself went to different universities. In the middle of my second semester, of my second year at uni, Mr. S and I had a fight, one that we never recovered from and we split up. I was devastated and heartbroken. So many things became a cruel reminder of our relationship and I was plagued with self-doubt and an overwhelming feeling of worthlessness. I hated seeing him so happy with someone else so quickly but like a disaster, I couldn’t stop looking. I let the horror inside of my head unfold by my own doing. I fell apart and in hindsight, I never fully came back together.
Now, I’m going to use a scary word now. Abuse. This is not a word I use lightly and not a word I associated my next relationship until it had ended. My next relationship was 5 years long. We had lived together for 4 ½ of those years and had a dog for 4. My next relationship was also emotionally abusive and it almost killed me.
Now, I had never been taught about emotional abuse – sure I knew the warning signs of physical and sexual abuse, but emotional abuse? Surely that wasn’t a thing? Surely it was me overreacting, this boy loved me – surely he would never hurt me?
Before I go any further, if you identify with any aspect of what I am going to say, please message me, you are not alone and talking helps massively.
Over the course of 5 years, my self-worth diminished and I found every aspect of my life controlled by someone other than me. I spent years walking on eggshells, terrified of disappointing someone for expressing my thoughts and opinions. I was subject to psychological games, known as ‘gas-lighting’, where my perception of reality was distorted and I became submissive to his view of the world.
‘Amy – I didn’t say that’
‘Amy – calm down, you’re being silly’
‘Amy – it was a joke, you know I wouldn’t hurt you – stop being so sensitive’
‘Amy – you’re not remembering it correctly’
Cute ‘what are you up to’ morphed into harassing check-ins and having to send ‘proof’ of where I was or who I was with. I became removed from friends and family, scared that by visiting them, he would become angry at me. I apologised for every single thing I did – pre-empting the inevitable punishment of being ignored, or an argument. I became stuck in a job I hated because I was actively discouraged to achieve or follow my own dreams – my ambitions didn’t matter to him, and eventually, they didn’t matter to me. My job paid so little, I was financially dependent on him, and what little money I did have went towards paying ignored bills while he spent money on extravagant gifts for himself. I found myself doing anything I could to receive his attention – cooking elaborate meals, doing all of the housework, buying him gifts. But whenever it came time for sex – it was loveless, clinical and we rarely even looked at each other.
I had never felt so lonely in my whole life. I found myself spiralling unaware into a deep and unforgiving depression. I couldn’t see an escape from him, from the situation I had found myself in. I had alienated so many people from my life for him – I didn’t know what to do. The first time I had ever considered hurting myself was a product of fate, and presented itself as a way out. I ended up in hospital very briefly and even though I’d like to say that it was the wake up call that I needed, unfortunately, that was still to come.
A good few months later, I woke up and knew that it was the day I was going to leave him. I was terrified and hysterical but I knew deep, deep down that I had to. I completely fell apart. I was a shell of myself and I could not be more thankful for my friends and family who welcomed me with open arms and enveloped me with love and support.
Throughout the 5 years I was with him, I portrayed a vastly distorted view of our relationship on social media. We looked like the perfect happy family – me him and our dog, only those close to me knew how truly sad I was. Not one of my Facebook friends knew about the abuse I endured for years, they got to see the brief moments of calm and happy. Plastered over my pages, projecting what I WANTED the world to see of me, crying out for validation and acceptance. A few months after I left him, I posted my first ever ‘real’ post.
I shared parts of my truth with all of my Facebook friends and it was the most empowering thing I’ve ever done. The response was overwhelming, I was flooded with messages of love, people were messaging me with stories of their own mental health and I was told how ‘brave’ and ‘inspiring’ I was. I didn’t feel brave OR inspiring, I just knew that I didn’t want anyone else to ever feel as bad as I did at the hands of another human being.
If you asked me to describe myself in one word, that word would be ‘survivor’. I’ve survived a lot; bullying, cheating, abandonment, abuse, depression and anxiety. However, I am not defined by purely being ‘a survivor’; I am also an achiever, a dreamer, a hopeless romantic and a believer. I have ambitions to be successful in all walks of life and I believe that, despite my past experiences, I will surround myself with people who will look at me and accept every part of me, who won’t force me into something I’m not and who will support me to be the best version of myself.
I encourage you to be yourselves in all walks of life, you never know who you might be helping behind closed doors by sharing your own truth. Everyone travels their own path in life and how boring is it if we are all the same? Be YOU. Surround yourself with those who make you happy and those who inspire and show their own truths. Be safe and most importantly, be you – 100% you.

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