Laura P’s Story

I’d mistaken many red flags for love. And I confused the toxicity of the relationship for the usual ups and downs that every couple faces. I genuinely thought that the turbulence was a normal part of life and every couple has to endure the same troubles. 

LP
Laura P photo

I had an amazing childhood with fab parents, a little sis and great friends. But I spent most of my late teens and early adulthood hiding who I truly was; from those who loved me the most. 

I struggled with my sexuality and a sexual assault, which caused me to internalise a lot of my demons. 

Alcohol became a distraction for me for many years. Until I found someone who I thought was my soulmate. 

But my soulmate actually turned out to be my abuser. She taught me a lot about myself and what relationships should and shouldn’t be like. 

Holding all these feelings and emotions in is still something I am working to unlearn, through therapy and talking more openly about my experiences. Learning to trust myself, my emotions and feelings has been a journey. But it’s for sure still a work in progress. 

I’d mistaken many red flags for love. And I confused the toxicity of the relationship for the usual ups and downs that every couple faces. I genuinely thought that the turbulence was a normal part of life and every couple has to endure the same troubles. 

Everything started to make sense when I looked into manipulation tactics narcissists use. I couldn’t believe I didn’t know about this. And how it fit the description of my relationship to a T. 

I felt validated and relieved, as I didn’t understand why getting over that relationship was so much harder than anything before. 

And I wondered how many others could be in my situation. So, I needed to share what I’d learnt. I wanted my story to become a lesson for other women. A tool to help women not fall victim to the same subtle abusive behaviours that I did.

Around this time, on opposite sides of the world, my childhood best friend, also had an abusive relationship. 

We had kept in contact throughout her travels but communicating with her about our similar experiences further intensified our bond. We began to validate each other’s feelings and talk more in depth about the complexities of our experiences. 

The more we talked, the more we realised how little we knew about emotional abuse prior to the relationships we’d been in. And we wondered, that if we knew more before, would we have fallen into the same traps? 

I can’t emphasise the comfort it brought me to talk to someone who understood what I’d been through. It encouraged me to open up more to certain people about my previous experiences. 

Finding that common ground with others made me feel less alone. Finding myself again and doing the things I loved, which I had neglected to do during the relationship, really helped me towards feeling more comfortable with myself. 

But it shocked me to realise how many others were in the same boat without any support. 

So, I wanted to mimic a space for women to feel the familiarity I did. Because I know the power of connection and what it does for recovery. 

Together with compassion and empathy, we can help each other heal.