After having been with a habitual liar, who for the majority of the five years and 8 months I was with, gaslighted me, emotionally battered me, and physically attacked me causing severe physical and emotional damage that continues to impact my daily life, I have come to recognize how choosing to be open and forcing myself not to own the shame he has tried so hard to force upon me has been instrumental in helping me heal – None of having been with someone I loved, and sometimes I believe still do, and thought loved me makes sense when I examine his actions. It’s hard to stomach myself having been with someone whose actions spoke volumes in what I meant to him yet I listened to his words, which eventually stripped me of any self dignity and sense of self. It has been a long journey to finally be able to forgive myself, and accept that I am not at fault for having loved a persona. I had to accept that I spent more then five years of my life with a man who lacked empathy, compassion and integrity. The persona I loved was a cover up for the devoid, detached, cruel and dangerous that he is. When someone tells you over and over that they are earnest, honest and loving, after they lied, gaslighted or physically hurt you, their intent is really to avoid having to look in the mirror since they can’t face the truth of who they really are. Knowing your truth and being able to speak it, I have come to learn, sets you free.