learning to pause instead of pressure

The Story Behind My Smile

are you in an abusive relationship?

Not many know the story behind the girl who gives a hug to every stranger she meets, a smile to her friends, a laughter out of no where. While life seems beautiful on the outside, it is not for some people. I would like to share my story of how I lost myself and how I am finally happy being who I am today.

My story

I don't blame him for what happened, maybe it was out of frustration, maybe it was a lot harbouring of feelings resulting in him, unknowingly hurting me in this relationship. We were both young, maybe too young and inexperienced. It started harmless enough, then gradually it became worse. I didn't even know what was going on, I didn't know I was being emotionally and verbally abused everyday, I thought I was just getting nagged because he has OCD (obsessive compulsive behaviour). I gave reasons, maybe work stress, maybe it was his traumatising childhood, maybe he wasn't the caring or loving type, and yes maybe I wasn't good enough.

My self-esteem, confidence, dropped to an all time low. I became depressed, lost and afraid. My partner was constantly chipping away my feelings of self-worth and independence, while at the same time putting me down for being a useless woman, name calling me everyday, blaming and shaming me. It became worst when he emotionally isolated and distanced himself from me, neglecting me most of the time and with no reason at all and would be nice to me the next. The most hurtful was of him spreading rumours, intimidating and humiliating me in front of his friends. I bit my lip and swallowed it all in because I loved him so much. I believe it took dedication, hard work and patience to keep up a relationship so I compromised myself to pleased him. I thought he was the one and that I would be lost without him, I hung onto the good memories while believing some day he would change. I worked hard to make him happy, got him presents, brought him on holidays, be on his beck and call. I learn to cook, clean and be the woman he wanted but he still wasn't happy. If this was a movie, I would name it "Sleeping with the Enemy".

You're not alone

One time when I voiced out my unhappiness, he got angry and pushed me so hard I fell onto the bed shocked and afraid. For 10 years, I suffered silently but couldn't break free. I kept this away from my family and friends. My close friends could see what's going on, and they constantly advised me to break up with him. But because he was my first love and we have been together for so long and finally getting married, I ignored all the warning signs and let myself rot away. I put on weight, I started channeling my stress towards something else, I also kept myself busy so I forget the girl who is crying for help inside.

Second chance at life

When I found out he had an affair overseas with a China woman, I finally woke up and realise I couldn't live with this man anymore. I learnt a great deal from this experience, and while I loved him once, I do not anymore. Did I regret? Yes I regretted leaving Australia. I regretted the youth I lost. I regretted giving myself to him because he insisted and persisted. While I regretted a lot of things, I don't regret what happened because I live to share my story and survived a 13 years relationship. I am free now, happier and stronger.

Seek help

I may come to share my story in-depth but for now I'll keep it short and sweet because it's International Women's Day today and I want every women to know, you have rights and if you're abused in any way, be it physically, emotionally or facing domestic violence please seek help from Women's Aid Organisation Malaysia (WAO). No one should go through this alone, and if you haven't realise it yet that you are being abuse, read the following from Love Is Respect.
What is Emotional/Verbal Abuse?
Emotional abuse includes non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring or “checking in,” excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.
There are many behaviors that qualify as emotional or verbal abuse:
  • Calling you names and putting you down.
  • Yelling and screaming at you.
  • Intentionally embarrassing you in public.
  • Preventing you from seeing or talking with friends and family.
  • Telling you what to do and wear.
  • Emotional isolation, neglect, humiliation
  • Using online communities or cell phones to control, intimidate or humiliate you.
  • Blaming your actions for their abusive or unhealthy behavior.
  • Stalking you.
  • Threatening to commit suicide to keep you from breaking up with them.
  • Threatening to harm you, your pet or people you care about.
  • Making you feel guilty or immature when you don’t consent to sexual activity.
  • Threatening to expose your secrets such as your sexual orientation or immigration status.
  • Starting rumors about you.
  • Threatening to have your children taken away.

Is Emotional Abuse Really Abuse?
A relationship can be unhealthy or abusive even without physical violence. Verbal abuse may not cause physical damage, but it does cause emotional pain and scarring. It can also lead to physical violence if the relationship continues on the unhealthy path its on.

Sometimes verbal abuse is so bad that you actually start believing what your partner says. You begin to think you’re stupid, ugly or fat. You agree that nobody else would ever want to be in a relationship with you. Constantly being criticized and told you aren’t good enough causes you to lose confidence and lowers your self esteem. As a result, you may start to blame yourself for your partner’s abusive behavior.

Remember -- emotional abuse is never your fault. In fact, your partner may just be trying to control or manipulate you into staying in the relationship. Talk to someone you trust, like a parent, friend or teacher, about the situation and make a safety plan. You can also chat with a peer advocate for more help when dealing with verbal abuse.

If you think you're in an abusive relationship read the following:
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Domestic Violence & Abuse

Seek help from

I would like to thank my friends Cai Xiu Xiu & Kiersten Chaik for making me realise I should not be subjected to a life without love and worth. It took a long time, I know, for me to finally see. Thank you for being there with me, your patience and friendship means a lot to me. 

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  1. Hugs, he is so not worth it. Glad you are happy n strong now

    1. Thanks Sherry, I am so happy to be single now.

  2. Lol.....maybe you should not blame everything on the guy it takes 2 to tango

  3. thanks for sharing this, actually guys do have emotional abuse too~

    btw, happy International Women's Day~

  4. You've sacrificed so much for him and after all, you've made a right choice to continue your life without him. He's too ego, too selfish and too stupid to be any girl's man.. Because I know him.. I always believe in karma. How you treat people, people will treat you the same way too. He'll get his karma. All the best to you Tammy!

  5. Tammy, happy Women's Day! I'm glad that you shared to us. Let go and live out happily~~

    -Samantha Low-

  6. You're so brave and strong to have endured for so long, and to share your story with others. Here's to a fantastic life ahead of you! There are still countless amazing experiences for you to savour. :)

  7. Hi Tammy, thank you so much for sharing a part of you. It probably wasn't easy but I'm glad you came through it. In Shaa Allah may you be blessed with a wonderful partner that truly loves you, care for you and most important appreciate you for what you are hhuuugggzzz...

  8. HUGS babe! I knew he couldn't make you happy. Glad that you finally see it too and that you have your well-deserved freedom from such pain.

    Onto living to the fullest now!! Never change for anyone. You're great as yourself. Believe that there is someone out there who'll love you just the way you are. Because you're worth it.

  9. I think the reason I've been single my whole life it's because of what I've seen in others' (that are close to me) relationship - emotional and physical abuse mostly. I'm too afraid putting myself out there and been carefully standing on the side.

    Hugs. I don't know what kind of words that can comfort you but I guess knowing that you have my support as a fellow blogger and a silent reader, I hope that you'll always keep yourself surrounded by good people that truly and genuinely care for you.

    Lots of love, happy women's day and ganbatte!!
    Mira |

  10. You've been through a lot. I'm glad you're a tough woman facing this yourself and decided to move on :)

  11. I cried reading this. Just reminds me of my stupid past relationship. >_< Sometimes when I think about what has happened, I will be soooo mad at myself for being too stupid to notice and stand up and walk away. I let things happened. I let him abused me, used me. Sigh... I hate the fact that we women, always blame ourselves when this kind of things happen to us, not realizing that these people are abusing us mentally, emotionally and physically. But...... Being where I am today, (happily married and found myself a really great man), I am somehow glad that it happened to me. Because I did learn a lot and never ever will let anyone abuse me anymore... And now, I'm being very appreciative of what I have right now. I love my man very much. He is nothing like my ex. So chin up Tammy! Good things WILL happen to u! You're such a nice girl, I'm sure you will end up with a nice man as well! Just have faith ya! I guess this is my "reward" after suffering with a really terrible man. So I'm sure you will get yours soon! Be thankful that you didn't marry him! Imagine having kids together with this kind of man! Lagiiii lah susah for you to walk away...

  12. Tammy, been a long time since I last leave a comment. How are you doing? Just want to tell you I'm proud that you are able to walk out of this. I admire your strength and I hope one day, you will meet someone who brings out the best in you. Even if you don't (and that is totally okay), I know you are perfectly happy right now doing the things you love and being surrounded by supportive family, friends and your readers. Much love and support to you. Keep smiling! :)

  13. Tammy you're strong and brave! You're my role model, salute *bow*

    I believe the good on is on his way to you. The sun shines after the rain pours 😘😘

  14. Hi Tammy, I'm glad and happy that it's over for you...Maybe 13 years of being with him made you who you are today...And what you are today is someone that everyone adore...Look at the past and don't ever turn have a bright future ahead...I'm always going to be one of the person that supports you...reading your stories is such an inspiration and hope I'll be as strong and sucessful and beautiful inside out as you...

  15. Hi Babe, as we always mentioned before, the best things has arrived in your life after the separation ~ Yourself today. Out of the 13 years Love prison has changed you to a better person .. a new Tammy.

    Your Misz-ella

  16. hugzzz!!!
    cheer Tammy, you deserve someone 100 times better.
    stay happy, stay cheerful and be who you are!

    1. Ai Wei hugzzzz... pray for me to find someone better!

  17. Reading this brings back memories.

    Always remember that you are worth a lot. You are special in so many ways, and have countless good qualities that are unmatched by others.

    He tried to break you but as of now, he has no absolute power over you anymore. Because he failed to break you, he will have to sit back and watch how much fun you're having, living your life to the fullest while he pays for his mistakes. That my friend is the sweetest revenge ever!

    You're a strong girl, Tammy and will weather through this. If you feel you're faltering, lean on me and we'll go through this together. Hugs.

  18. Tammy, you're such a strong woman, he gave you shits instead of all the loyalty you had given to him. leaving him and move on was definitely a good decision, coz you worth so much more than a guy like him. You are precious, don't let anyone hurt you anymore...I glad you're happy now, the success you've built proved everyone that a woman is strong, despite all of these bad things you've went through! *warm hugs* =)

  19. High five, Tammy! Congratulations on breaking free from that guy! You deserve someone better - someone who treats you like the princess that you are! Hugs and kisses!

    1. High 5 Carolyn! we all deserve someone better!! and so happy you found yours :)

  20. FWIW, glad you finally DTMF. I don't claim to know you both personally or anything, but even from the pics of your ex posted here, I kind of got that a-hole vibe about it my misanthropy from years of watching SVU, etc.

    (PS. Sorry if I've offended you or what)

    Then again, it's things like this is why I'll be #foreveralone.. :p

    1. I didn't find anything offensive in your comment Synical, your DTMF made me LOL. It's the bitter sweet experiences of love that makes us appreciate life more. I'm lucky to learn all I can so I know what to expect next. Though coming out now, would consider me a late bloomer... and it might be harder to find someone as well. But regardless, I am happy to be single now.. so it's not too bad to be #foreveralone <3

      You'll find someone too and I hope it's an a-hole like mine.

  21. Oh, for some reason my first comment disappeared...
    Anyway, what I want to say is that your post really made me teary, Tammy.
    I'm so sad to hear that you had to experience such an abusive and damaging relationship in your life but I'm happy to see you speaking from the other side of it - and using your story to yourself to heal.

    You deserve so much better than what you suffered. I'm glad you realise that you're a billion bucks and more.
    Thanks for sharing your story - it can't be easy to revisit that part of your life but keeping your words here on your blog will help you and others too.
    You are amazing, girl. Cheers to you and all that you do for other women too.

  22. You're really a strong and inspirational lady. I really respect on how you strive to survive in this harsh world and make it a really beautiful place for yourself and others too. Keep smiling Tammy and keep reaching out to others because your post definitely reached out and touched my heart.


  23. Tammy I always thought that you were so happy and stuff, this made me realise that everyone is fighting their own battle. I'm glad to have read your story. Also, though I don't really know you personally, but I am proud of you for walking away from this horrible experience. Like you said, you may have lots a few things, but today I think you have gained a lot! And mostly it was due to your own endurance and perseverance!

  24. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience Tammy. It takes alot of courage and determination to bare it all in public. This will serve as good inspiration to others who suffer in silence or unconsciously living in denial. Take it in stride. There's so much happiness the world has yet to offer you babe. You Queen you!

  25. Love is blind. Somehow, you are getting out of there and live happily. I'm glad that you did not do something bad or wrong before it's too late. Cheer up! Hopefully, we can meet one day and befriend.

    1. I was suicidal at one point but thank goodness for friends :) yes Jay heres to becoming friends.

  26. Oh my gosh... I so feel you... I have been in such a relationship with a crook myself and was also a victim of child abuse... ,
    Bless you for finding the will to leave and carry on and bless you for the beautiful caring woman you are today as well....Hugs... stay strong always

  27. Glad you realize your worth and happier now ^_^ Gambatte!!

  28. Actually, you're beautiful. W/pun kita x pernah jumpa. Hehe. Lupakan segala kenangan lama. Suatu hari nanti, akan bertemu dgn lelaki yg lebih baik dari sebelum ni. Percayalah. Be strong. I know you can do it! We all support you. GBU. Hugs! :)

  29. I just read your story today.. b4 that was really curios on what happened to you when you post bits of infor in instagram. What made you walk off while in the mid of getting married.
    no relationship is perfect. it takes tonne of efforts to make it work. and lotsa patience! look at Kate! in the end she managed to get Prince William to ask her hand in marriage. lol
    but when ur partner put u down.. belittled u or even humiliated u, it'd already gave signs of unhealthy relationship. u should walk off from the start. but then what happened had happened. it was your choice to give him chance in the beginning, to make the your relationship work. but i'm glad u did not continue dragging the relationship. u woke up and gave a better life for yourself. bravo for that. I hope other girls out there who faced the same problem could learn from your precious lesson.

  30. It takes courage to share this, a dark part of your life that's over. I pray and believe you will find love again, one who loves you for you are and accept you as you are, because you are so lovable yourself! xoxo

  31. From a stranger to a reader and knowing you in person. Tammy, I must say that you are the kindest and most truthful soul on earth. Everyone loves you for who you are. Many HUGS !!

  32. I was suffering as you before for few years and even worst, but I couldn't share the story out, to be respected. I feel so great that you can stand up from your past and wish you all the best and stay happiness forever and ever. Cheers.

  33. You are so good on your own now.
    I'm glad you stay strong :)

  34. I'm so glad you got out of that relationship! It's very brave of you to share this story. I'm sure this will more women will be more aware of the signs of emotionally and verbally abusive relationships!

  35. Ijust read ur this post today, and I am looking forward to read more! I dont experience sth like this, but like what any other said, your story will definitely inspire others, make some one in lament to realise about this abusive! and the fact is you really look nicer from the photo that you posted online. Which means that you really make a true decision to break out with him!

  36. Tam, I kinda sensed something changed in the last few months (from your FB you look so much more cheerful and colourful) and only went through your blog today. I'm so glad it's over now and you truly look and sound more happy. You know CI, ever since you were a kid, you're one of the kindest and most thoughtful among the cousins. We didn't play together a lot but I still remember you sharing your toys with me and explaining what each one is or how it works. Even when I was too shy to ask you. What I'm saying is, you did great and it takes a very special person to deserve you. Love you, HW.


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