January 15, 2020
The bar in my home town where my friends and I cut our teeth is unconventional. An antiquated building, the Tram & Socialwasour place to cavort with men who thought that we were older than we actually were, armed with fake names, low-cut tops and bottles of ‘shit mix’ for the queue.
My Emotionally Abusive Ex Made Me Feel Ashamed To Be Black
One night when I was 19, I spotted a guy on the dance floor, who had amassed a crowd around him. Tall, dark hair, blue eyes, tattoos, white – at the time, he was just my type. I went home with someone else that night, but a twist of fate a few months later meant our paths cross again. 
Scrolling through Twitter one evening, the anonymous dancer popped up in my suggested follow list. Known for always ’shooting my shot’, I slid into his DMs. After a couple of days of exchanging messages, he asked me out on a date. Within two weeks, we’d slept together, I’d met his family and he’d asked me to be his girlfriend. A month later, as I left to take the train back up to university, he told me he loved me — words that would ignite happiness in 20-year-old me, but should’ve really served as a major red flag. 
Over the course of our three-yearrelationship, the person who was supposed to love and support me instead worked diligently to crush my sense of self-worth. As is usually the case with emotional abuse, it was pernicious and covert — the balance between niceness and nastiness would tip sharply and without warning, and I’d be unjustly blamed for tampering with the scale. He’d ask exes for nude photos, and simultaneously tell me how me dressing provocatively embarrassed himThe time we spent together was fraught with infidelity, vilification and manipulation on his part. He’d ask exes for nude photos, and simultaneously tell me how me dressing provocatively embarrassed him. He once didn’t speak to me for a good few days because I dared to side with his mum in a family argument. He called me a “cunt” and a “selfish bitch” for wanting to spend New Year’s Eve with my best friend. This is typical toxic behaviour from an abuser – but an extra malicious layer developed when the colour of my skin comes into the equation.
As a woman of mixed heritage, I am used to people remarking on my ’exotic’ features. I’m lucky to have thick afro curls sprouting from my head, but it’s been a long journey of self-acceptance to feel comfortable enough to wear my hair naturally. Initially, my ex-boyfriend always made it known how beautiful he thought my blackness was –that is, until he weaponised my ’otherness’ against me. Throwaway remarks about having a “caramel” baby I felt sceptical about, but I thought they were coming from a place of innocence over ignorance. 
However, the rest of our time together proved otherwise. To him, the prospect of meeting my dad wasn’t nerve-wracking in the same way others are apprehensive about meeting their partner’s parent. To my ex it was because he was, in his own words, a “big scary black man” – a tired trope that people of colour are all too familiar with.Similarly, after claiming he had cheated on me because he’d never been introduced to my family (he conveniently forgot his resistance to meet them), I invited him to my grandma’s house for Easter. On the day we were due to go round for dinner, he cancelled. “I don’t want to go, there will be black people there,” he plainly said to me. After I texted him later to say it had hurt me and I was disappointed, he responded with mockery, then silence. It was as if he saw my black family as beneath him – whereas I consistently made an effort to see his family, meeting mine was a prospect to be balked at. I told my grandmother a white lie; there was no way I could tell her the truth. I felt embarrassed, let down and defeated – I kept offering to open up my life to someone who was so ready to treat me and those I care about with disdain. I routinely had to make excuses for his poor behaviour to those closest to me; I was wilfully living a lie because he had manipulated me so much that I was losing my agency.  
Of course, it wasn’t just my family’s blackness that he found so intrinsically repulsive — he detested that aspect of my being, too. I could cope when he said my breasts were too small or when he ridiculed the blue vein that’s so prominent underneath my left eye, but the comments that were tied to my ethnicity cut deeper. As we lay in bed one evening watching Guess Who – ironically, a film about a mixed couple struggling with acceptance – my ex noticed Zoe Saldana, of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent, and pointedly asked: “Why is your hair not neat and straight like hers?”Unlike most teenage girls, I was lucky to grow up without feeling insecure about my looks — now, in my 20s, this man’s constant criticism had undermined everything I had once thought of myself. Features that used to make me feel attractive suddenly became sources of shame; he had distorted my own self-perception to the point that I felt unsettled in my own skin. Abuse can take many forms within relationships, but it is essential to recognise when racism rears its ugly headCo-workers plunging their fingers into our hair or strangers trying to fetishise us over dating apps are sadly commonplace experiences for black women. While we navigate a world rife with micro-aggressions, misogynoir and self-hate within our own community, it is especially damaging when the person you come home to is actively working to undermine you. Abuse can take many forms within relationships, but it is essential to recognise when racism rears its ugly head. Subtle jibes aren’t playful and tender if their intent is to make you feel lesser — you should never have to apologise for who you are or where you come from. 
It took years for me to break free, but it began by seeing his comments as a reflection of his own self-hatred rather than anything to do with me. To begin to disentangle yourself from someone else’s toxicity is at once painful yet healing – it is a process of mourning the aspects of yourself that you have lost, but recognising that you have the freedom and self-love within you to grow beyond who you once were.
Being black is an essential part of my identity, and a person who truly loves me will respect and cherish that. I hope that if any other women are reading this and feel that they’re in a similar predicament, that they behave as I did: acknowledge your own black girl magic and do a disappearing act.
Lakeisha Goedluck is a freelance journalist living in Denmark
Have a compelling personal story you want to tell? Find out what we’re looking for here, and pitch us on ukpersonal@huffpost.comIf you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. If you are not in immediate danger, you can contact:The Freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership by Women’s Aid and Refuge): 0808 2000 247In Scotland, contact Scotland’s 24 hour Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline: 0800 027 1234In Northern Ireland, contact the 24 hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline: 0808 802 1414In Wales, contact the 24 hour Life Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800.National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327Respect helpline (for anyone worried about their own behaviour): 0808 802 0321More from HuffPost UK Personal How My All-Black Wardrobe Helps Me Through Borderline Personality Disorder I’m A Sex Worker. Here’s Why You Should Be An Ally To People Like Me ‘It’s Only Because I Love You’ – This Is What It’s Like To Survive An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Julia Fox defends viral ‘Uncut Gems’ interview moment: ‘I was stoned’ | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
4m-p0_-ePd8
Alexia Echevarria pushed ‘RHOM’ producers to show more of son Frankie’s recovery | Page Six
February 17, 2022
E-wTaN9NfkI
Pete Davidson rejoins Instagram amid Kanye West drama | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
SsC3dmsI6t4
Aaron Rodgers And Shailene Woodley Reportedly Break Up | TMZ LIVE
February 17, 2022
FoErdRE8Qe4
Chet Hanks Done Talking About Famous Parents, Becoming Personal Trainer | TMZ
February 16, 2022
5_UrULOkQ6o
Woman Stabbed at Foot Locker During Nike Shoe Release
February 16, 2022
TfuXMs1JdVg
Steph's Freaky Side, "Summer House" & "Love During Lockup"
February 17, 2022
9W_raO0zlA8
Tay or Nay, Offset's Sushi Anxiety & Nick on Monogamy
February 17, 2022
PauYHpJRA6o
Kim Kardashian & North West TWINNING in Matching Pajamas | E! News
February 17, 2022
b-_Oib6R108
Adam McKay - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
February 17, 2022
tYtzsHoOZzo
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and the Cast of 'Uncharted' Talk Most Challenging Stunts
February 15, 2022
d3ksX-SKi8c
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’, ‘Deadpool’, and Possible ‘Star Wars’ Role
February 16, 2022
5TxJsbJr9Dk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
04
May
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs
Seattle Sounders - Pumas
04
May
USA: Major League Soccer
FC Cincinnati - Toronto FC
03
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
02
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Brentford
02
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Fulham - Luton
02
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Real Betis
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - RB Leipzig
02
May
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Salernitana
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Mallorca
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Bologna
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Arsenal
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Chelsea
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Venezia
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Rayo Vallecano - Real Sociedad
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Bayern Munich
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bochum
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Atletico Madrid
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Espanyol
30
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
28
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
27
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Liverpool - Villarreal
27
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Inter Milan
26
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Manchester City - Real Madrid
25
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Juventus
24
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Everton
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - West Ham United
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Empoli - Napoli
23
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.