With October being Domestic Violence Awareness month, I figured that it would be the perfect time to finally sit down and write about one of the most intense and memorable experiences of my life. I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I hope that by putting my story out there I can help and, if nothing else, educate others about the real-life effects that domestic violence can have.
The term “domestic violence” is multi-faceted. In my case, in particular, I have paralleled domestic violence with various forms of abuse within a relationship. As for me, I’ve told my story in person a few times to those who have asked, but I’ve never been brave enough to share it openly. Maybe I’m scared of being judged, or maybe I’m scared of negative reactions from those who don’t understand. Either way, I’m learning not to care about what people think anymore. It is more important for me to at least attempt to have a positive influence on someone’s life by sharing my story than to be too proud to share it. So here goes.
When I was a freshman in high school in 2004, I met a guy named Robert. (No, that’s not his real name. For the sake of privacy and protection, he shall henceforth be known as “Robert”.) I was a 14 year-old socially awkward girl, who was just learning how to make friends. He was a 19 year-old hyperactive boy who happened to be my then-boyfriend’s BFF. My boyfriend at the time was a senior in high school, and looking back on it now I can agree with my parent’s hesitation to let me date an 18 year old when I was still so young.
Long story short, I ended up really falling for Robert. Drama ensued and I ultimately was responsible for the breakup of my relationship, as well as the breakup of Robert and my ex-boyfriend’s friendship. Blinded by “love”, I didn’t care about anything except being able to be with Robert. From what he told me, he felt the same.
Because of the age difference and the drama between our circle of friends, we kept our relationship on the DL for a month or two. As far as I could tell things were going great, until one day I didn’t hear from Robert at all. I didn’t hear from him again for two and a half years.
Those were some of the longest and worst years of my life (up until then, at least). I spent my entire junior year and the first part of my senior year of high school in a deep, deep depression from being neglected by the one person that I truly cared about. Finally, during my last semester of high school, I made the conscious decision to move forward, face reality, and enjoy my life for all it was worth.
I had a great summer and was so excited to move to Wilmington, NC to attend college. Once I arrived at UNCW in August, I was finally having the time of my life. I made so many friends, went to my first party, (had my first shot of vodka…ew), and even went on a date. Things were going so well until I checked my email one evening, about 6 days after moving into my dorm.
There it was, staring straight through the screen of my laptop, right back at me: an email from Robert. After all this time, what could he possibly have to say to me? My stomach churned and my face turned red with anger and anxiety. As I hovered my mouse over the “No Subject” line, all I could do was laugh in disgust. I opened the email, expecting a lengthy explanation for his sudden disappearance years ago, but instead was greeted with three, meaningless sentences.
“Best of luck in school!! College is great, make the most of it. NEVER drop out!!!”
It was sealed with his initials.
My mind was racing. I was experiencing an emotional overload. I couldn’t think straight. I made the bold decision to reply in hopes of finally getting an answer as to why I was abandoned years ago. I decided to play it nice, so as to not push him away. I wasn’t leaving this conversation without answers.
“Wow..thank you! Good to hear from you. I hope you’re doing well. It’s going really well so far…lots of new friends and things to do!! I love it =).”
A simple, kind reply. Little did I know, I had just inadvertently began the worst relationship of my entire life.
The conversation morphed into catching up and sharing life plans. In the following days, the emails turned into phone calls, but the answers I was seeking never seemed to come. Over the next five months, the simple conversations turned into Robert pleading for us to take a second shot at our relationship. But with all the fun I was having in college, the last thing I wanted was to dive back into a relationship that hurt me so badly already.
After months of pleading and tear-filled phone calls (on his end), I finally gave in and decided to give “us” another shot. I was hesitant, but I felt that if I could somehow rekindle the love I felt for him before, we could make it work.
Worst. Decision. Of. My. Life.
In January of 2009, after months of convincing, I agreed to officially date Robert again. He was so happy that he drove the four hours from Charlotte to Wilmington to see me.
The first three to four months of dating were wonderful. I was happier than ever and felt so lucky to have a guy that treated me so well. I give Robert credit for playing it just right, though – he was the “perfect” boyfriend just long enough to convince me that I was going to be with him forever and that I loved him no matter what. Unfortunately, my self-worth was just low enough that I believed him.
His first outburst was very memorable. I had traveled back to Charlotte to visit him for the weekend and we had plans to go shopping at the mall. We were leaving his parent’s house (he still lived with his parents), and I opened the passenger side door to get into his car. There was a piece of paper sitting in the seat, so I grabbed it and gently tossed it into the back. Oh, what a terrible decision that was.
“What the f*** do you think you’re doing? You just bent that paper and now it’s ruined. Are you stupid, seriously?”
For the next 30 minutes, I had to listen to Robert viciously bash my character, my family, my upbringing, and then criticize me for crying at his comments. I will never forget the shock and disappointment I felt at that moment.
All that for tossing a Certification of Membership paper into the back seat of a car.
Being so brainwashed already, I moved past it and tried to play it off in my head as a one-time thing. After all, he was so nice and apologetic later that day that it seemed like it truly was just a lapse in his judgment. I forgave him and the rest of the day went smoothly.
Over the next several months, his outbursts became more frequent. They went from a few outbursts a month to two per week, to five per week, to daily. I can honestly say that I don’t remember when exactly it was that I started walking on eggshells around him, but it seemed to happen overnight. My formerly healthy and happy relationship was very quickly spiraling into an inescapable nightmare.
I was stuck. I was still being so brainwashed by Robert that I refused to believe that I would have been better without him. Everything I did was for him – for the progress of our relationship, to keep him happy, and to be exactly who he wanted me to be.
As time went on, I grew more and more attached to Robert. I had planned on staying at UNCW until I graduated because I loved it so much there, but Robert had other plans for me. He convinced me that my course of study wasn’t a good fit, and that I should try something different instead. I blindly listened to him and transferred schools. I began my sophomore year at UNC-Charlotte – just 20 minutes down the road from where Robert lived.
Moving back in with my parents so soon after high school was definitely not the ideal situation for me, but I was willing to do anything to just be closer to Robert. Neither of us liked the fact that we lived with our parents so we made the bold decision to move in together, only a few months after the start of the fall semester. We found a small house just outside of my parent’s neighborhood and officially signed our very first lease together.
Living with Robert was great…for the first week. His outbursts were already becoming more and more frequent prior to the move, but never got to the point of actual physical abuse. About three weeks after moving into the house, Robert became physical with me for the first time. I really don’t remember what I did exactly to set him off – all I remember is feeling scared.
He began to scream at me. It was always the same – accuse me of cheating (which I never once did), call me terrible names, insult my family, etc. But this time, he took it a step further. At first, he would get in my face and threaten to hurt me. When I pleaded for him not to, he would instead grab my most valued items and destroy them. When I cried and screamed back asking him to stop, he grabbed my arms and threw me into the coffee table, which broke into pieces on the floor. I wore a “promise ring” on my finger that he had given me, he then grabbed my hand and very painfully pulled the ring off of my finger.
After much more yelling and crying, he walked out the door and didn’t come back for about 20 minutes. When he came back, he was extremely apologetic, but also extremely adamant about telling me exactly what I did wrong to push him to the point of violence.
I was very confused. I didn’t understand what I had done wrong, but I absentmindedly agreed with him and we moved on.
Many similar altercations took place over the course of the next 10 months that we lived in that house. Right when things would seem to be getting better between us, something else would cause an argument and we were right back to fighting again. Somehow or another, I convinced Robert that I really wanted to get back to my old degree program and move back to Wilmington to re-attend UNCW. He reluctantly agreed, and I was beyond happy.
I felt that moving to Wilmington together would solve a lot of our issues – it was a fresh start, a new life, and could be a new relationship.
Wrong. Things only got worse. About two weeks after moving into our new townhouse, we got into one of the biggest fights of our entire relationship. Again, I have no clue what sparked the argument, but it escalated very quickly. I was used to the screaming and insults at this point, and learned to brush them off and just roll my eyes. Unfortunately for me, I think Robert caught on to the fact that he wasn’t hurting me as much with his words anymore, and was forced to find another way to hurt me. He ran down the stairs, all the while, calling me a “bitch” and a “whore”. He grabbed the butcher’s knife out of the knife block on the counter and ran towards me.
I kept myself from screaming, but instead tried to calmly plead with him to put the knife down. He held it up to my face, less than two inches from my nose, and calmly said, “I’ll do it. Don’t make me do it.”
At this point, all I could think was, “I’m done. That’s it.” I debated calling the police, but then told myself I was crazy for even having that thought.
If I call 911, he would hear me. Then he would actually hurt me…maybe even kill me. Plus, what good would it do to call, anyway? Could I get in trouble, too? I don’t want to risk it. Besides, he really can’t help it. It’s his Bipolar…damn, I wish he would get some help.
**I should probably mention that Robert claimed to be diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, but would refuse to visit doctors or take medication. This became the main excuse for his outbursts. I have done my fair share of research on the topic, and I can honestly say that, as far as I believe, his Bipolar played a very small role in his progressively worsening abusive behavior. I would also like to note that I understand that many people legitimately suffer from this disorder, and I mean no disrespect to them when I say that Robert used it as an “excuse”. I believe that, in this particular case, the disorder was not fully responsible for his actions.**
That was my biggest problem. At the time, I believed him when he made the “mental illness” excuse. I tried to support him in his outrage, believing that it was out of his control, and even going as far to feel his pain. I hated to see him hurt, and I hated myself for making him hurt. I hated myself for causing him to feel anger. I hated myself for not being perfect.
After the incident with the knife, I finally had my first wake-up call. I realized that I could have actually been seriously hurt, or even killed, and all for nothing. I made the tough decision to tell Robert that I wanted him to move out – I was done. I still loved him so much, and wanted so badly for our relationship to work out. I gave him an ultimatum – either go to the doctor and get the help he needed or I was gone.
He left that same evening to stay in an extended-stay motel for the next few days. He called me in tears and sobbed over the phone for me to forgive him. He even had his mother call me and say the same thing. I felt awful for what I had done, kicking him out of his own house like that. That evening, I told my best friend, my sister, and my coworker about what had happened during our argument. I explained how I was scared and didn’t know what to do, because I still loved him so much. Each of their responses were the same – get out now. End the relationship, call the police, and leave.
I couldn’t bring myself to do it. When I finally came around to forgiving Robert a few days later, I let it slip to him that I told those three people about our altercation. I should have known better, since this alone sparked yet another violent argument, literally the second he walked back in the door.
I was stuck. I was afraid. After forgiving him and letting him come back home, how could I change my mind? I had to give it another shot. (At least, that’s what I told myself.) We lived in that townhouse together for the next 10 months, and the violence only got worse.
After all this time, all of the fights seem to run together. They all seem to morph into one giant nightmare that I can’t get out of my head. But there was one fight in particular that I do remember piece by piece.
Another problem that Robert had was alcoholism. It always seemed that when he was drinking, which was quite often, his violent behavior was much worse. One night, I remember stressing over an upcoming organic chemistry test that I had the next morning. While I was upstairs studying, Robert was in the other room drinking and playing on his computer. I closed my text book and popped my head into the other room to tell him goodnight.
“I’m headed to bed now. I’m just going to wake up early in the morning and study a little more before my test, but I think I’ll do well. Goodnight! Also, would you mind turning your music down just a tad?”
He smiled at me, turned his music down, and said goodnight. I made my way back to the bedroom and turned off the lights. About two minutes after I climbed into bed, I heard Robert making his way down the hallway. He opened the door to the bedroom, popped his head in, and began to inform me that he wasn’t happy.
“Alex, I’m going to kill myself.”
Unfortunately, this wasn’t news to me. He threatened his life often, and nearly every time he did, it would turn into an argument. Knowing this, I wasn’t at all happy that he chose this moment to bring up the subject.
The thought of Robert committing suicide was always in the forefront of my mind and had been for a long time. He had attempted in the past and still thought about it often. I did everything I knew to do to help him, but seeing as I’m not a professional, there was only so much I could do. I tried my hardest to get him to see a doctor or talk to somebody about his demons, but to no avail. Still, even though it frustrated me to hear him bring up the issue at that particular moment, I was concerned.
I turned on my lamp and asked him what was wrong. As expected, a major fight ensued.
When he was in such a vulnerable state of mind, such as on that evening, all I ever tried to do was comfort and calm him. But when I followed him back into the other room and saw what he had done, I couldn’t remain collected anymore.
I have issues with migraines and tension headaches. I have for years. Due to this, I used to have a few different prescription painkiller medications to take when I needed. When I walked into the other room, I saw that Robert had taken every single pill out of every single prescription bottle of mine and crushed them up. He dumped them into a glass of water, sat down, and began to stir them into the water with a knife.
I started crying and pleading with him to put the glass down. I knew that if he drank it, he would have most likely succeed in killing himself, and I believed that it would have been my fault. For the next two to three hours, he repeatedly told me how much I have messed up his life and how worthless I am. I was the reason he wanted to kill himself. It was completely my fault, and any guilt I would feel for him committing suicide would be well deserved. I told him that if he wasn’t drinking at the time, he wouldn’t be making threats. He then stood up, went downstairs, and headed straight for the half-empty bottle of wine. When I pried it out of his hands and poured it down the sink, I knew that I had made a terrible decision.
The look on his face was one I had never seen before. His anger and rage was more than visible, and I began to fear for my life once again. He screamed at me, threw me into the kitchen counter, and chased me up the stairs. I can honestly say that I do not remember the rest of that fight. I don’t remember how it resolved, I don’t remember what happened, and I don’t remember falling asleep. The only thing that I do remember is missing my class the next morning, and ultimately receiving a zero on my chemistry test, causing me to fail the class.
Throughout the rest of our relationship, we had many more similar nights. Our arguments would always take the same route – verbal bashing, Robert threatening suicide, threatening to kill me, Robert becoming violent, and somehow or another coming to a resolution.
Although we fought a great deal of the time, there were also times that were very good. There was the rare day that we wouldn’t fight at all, but instead would go fishing, go shopping, or just take a drive in the car and chat. I lived for those days. I prayed for those days. Those were the days that were keeping me invested in the relationship, that kept me believing that it was me who was truly the problem, and only I could make things right.
Well, I was right about one thing – only I could make things right.
Robert and I moved out of the townhouse and into a cute 3-bedroom home in June of 2012. Things were going really great for the first few weeks after moving, and Robert and I were getting along better than we ever had. Each day that went by without a huge blowout fight, the less I felt like I had to walk on eggshells around him anymore. Things were finally starting to look up. Until one day, out of the blue, the violence resurfaced.
It was Halloween night, and we planned on having my best friend and her boyfriend over for a horror movie marathon. About an hour before we expected our company, Robert and I decided to fix a quick and easy dinner so we could get the house cleaned up in preparation for the evening. I decided to throw some Hamburger Helper on the stove and began to cook. When dinner was ready, I brought his bowl to the table and as soon as I did, something inside of him changed. That look of absolute anger and disgust appeared on his face again, for the first time in a while. (And no, it wasn’t the Hamburger Helper…) He asked me a question about the portion of food I gave him, although I don’t recall exactly what the question was. He then proceeded to throw my bottle of beer onto the floor, soaking the carpet, the table, and even the ceiling with beer in the process. He grabbed his bowl of food, walked into the kitchen, and viciously threw it into the sink, shattering the bowl and getting food everywhere.
All he said after throwing this fit was, “Look, Alex. Look what you did. Clean this sh*t up before your fuc*ing friends get here. Actually, clean it up and tell them not to come. Plans are off.”
All I could do was cry.
Why did this happen? Why was this starting again? I thought we were past this.
From that evening on, I began to emotionally detach myself from Robert. I knew in my heart that this was not how a person was supposed to be treated, especially by the one who says they love you. I was finally opening my eyes and realizing that I deserved better. I wasn’t going to let myself be bullied anymore.
That’s a lot easier said than done, though.
When Christmas break rolled around, Robert and I traveled back to Charlotte to be with our families. Since he had to return to Wilmington before I did, we drove separately and each stayed at our own parent’s houses. Being away from Robert for much of the time over break, I was finally able to come to terms with what needed to happen – I needed to break up with him, for real this time. I needed to either find another place to live in Wilmington, or convince him to move out. Unfortunately, we both had already pre-paid our rent for the next 6 months, so we were basically stuck in the house together until June when our lease ended. At the time, I couldn’t see a way past this issue, and decided that the best thing to do would be to try to live in the house together as friends instead.
Since I was too scared to do it in person, I broke up with him over the phone. He screamed, cried, pleaded, yelled, and went back and forth from being angry to sad, then back to angry again. This conversation lasted about two whole days, until it was time for him to return to Wilmington. For the first time ever, I made it very clear to him that I did not want anything to do with our relationship anymore. I told him to move his things out of our joint bedroom and into the guest bedroom, and we would try to live together peacefully for the next 6 months.
Reluctantly, he moved his things. He called me multiple times every day threatening to kill himself, to kill our dog, or to “drink a fifth of whiskey, go driving, and see what happens”. It took all of my energy, physically and emotionally, to stick to my decision.
It was New Years day. When I woke up, I looked at my phone to see a text message from Robert. It was simple, short, and to the point.
“You won’t have to worry about me any longer.”
Thinking this was a suicide note, I freaked out. I called Robert over and over, but he never picked up the phone. I didn’t know anyone in Wilmington at the time that would have driven to check on him, especially not at 7:00 in the morning. I called 911 to see if I could have someone go check on him, but since I was not in the same county, there was nothing they could do. I ended up having to call the Sheriff’s office of Brunswick County (where Robert was), and they sent a sheriff to the house.
Not too much later, I received a very angry call from Robert.
“Why the hell would you call the police on me? To CHECK on me? What are you thinking? Do you know that our neighbor called the police on me yesterday because he heard me yelling over the phone and thought something was wrong? So now they’ve been out here twice thanks to you, Alex. Thanks, a lot.”
Believe it or not, I actually felt guilty. I felt bad for causing so much trouble. Robert told me that the only reason he didn’t answer the phone was because he took some NyQuil and fell asleep. I hung up the phone and began to cry. My mom heard me and came to see what was wrong. I finally told her about breaking up with Robert, but didn’t give her any details about exactly why I ended it. She supported me and helped me get through the next few days.
When the time came for me to return to Wilmington, things had somewhat calmed down between Robert and I. It was January 8th, 2013 when I returned and that night seemed to go by smoothly.
The following day, I woke up and drove to class for the first day of my last semester of college. Little did I know, I was about to have the worst day of my life.
Thankfully, I’ve always been an avid journal-keeper. About a month and a half after this incident, I recorded the whole thing down in one of my journals. Still afraid of someone finding it and reading it, I didn’t include every detail in my handwritten account, but I know that I will never forget anything that happened. I know my story is already pretty long, but it’s not been easy for me to write. Due to that fact, I have decided to quote word-for-word what I wrote in my journal in February of 2013. The only detail I will change is his name, continuing to refer to him as Robert. I will also include pictures of the actual journal entry, blotting out Robert’s actual name. I will also edit in some of the other things that happened that night, for the case of full disclosure.
Keep in mind, this was written very quickly and in an unstructured manner.
“Like I said last time I wrote, I broke up with Robert. That’s still true. On January 9th, the first day of class, I got up and went to class. Didn’t really see Robert that morning. I got out of class and went over to [my friend’s house] for a little bit. We ran to Wal-Mart and hung out for maybe 2-3 hours. Then Robert calls me asking when I’d be home and if I would mind stopping on my way home to pick him up some cigarettes. We argued about that for a few minutes…he said he couldn’t go get them himself because he was already drunk. He ended up going out anyway to get them. Whatever.
So I got home and he was a mess. For the next 2 hours or so he was so up and down – so annoying. I listened to him talk on the phone with his mom for like 30 minutes, then I went out to the living room to see if he would talk to me. He tried to talk to me but just started arguing (what’s new?). Then he started going really crazy.
He wouldn’t stop drinking, either. He went outside to smoke and said, “wanna see what I do when you’re not around?” I said, “what”, and he proceeded to jab his cigarette into his arm saying “this scar is for you. Every time you see this scar you can remember what you did to me.”
Then, for the next 6-7 hours he proceeded to beat himself up and tear up the whole house. He broke my candle holder thing and a ceramic teapot that my Grandma gave me. He broke the pictures on the wall over his head and made his face bleed. He constantly would slam his head into the wall and into anything he could. At one point, he had me up against the wall, holding me by my neck off of the floor. I couldn’t breathe. He spent a good while chasing me around the house with the butcher knife and threatening to kill me. He also had a rope that he fashioned into a noose, and tried to put it around my neck. Later on, he was lying on the floor next to his bed and banging his head against the wooden bed frame. To stop him, I had to literally sit on top of him and hold his head still. I was so scared that he would have killed himself, and I couldn’t handle that. At one point, he ended up in his car in the garage trying to drive off and “drive into the river”. Of course, I wouldn’t let him leave. So we went back and forth opening and closing the garage door. Thankfully I left the door cracked because he started to rev his engine up for the fumes. Oh yeah, he was in his underwear for all of this because he was in and out of the bathtub as well.
When I finally decided that it was time for this to be over (and it wasn’t ending by itself like it normally did), I decided to do something about it. He had threatened me multiple times that he would hurt me or kill me if I called the cops, so I was scared for a while. But I kept thinking to myself that THIS is how girls get legitimately hurt or killed – by NOT calling for help. So I finally got the courage up to call.
He had locked himself in the hall bathroom for the millionth time that night saying he was just going to drown himself. So I just let him stay in there this time and told him through the door that I was gonna go check on [the dog] in the bedroom. So I grabbed the phone and snuck back into my bathroom and called 911. I told them that I needed an ambulance and that I couldn’t stay on the phone for long. They asked me some questions about Robert and then let me go.
The house was completely torn up – glass all over the floor, scuffs all over the walls, broken things everywhere. He even shattered his own iPhone by throwing it at me and it landing on the floor. Before the police got there, I managed to sweep up the majority of the glass off the floor, though I pointed out to them that it was all still in the trash can in the kitchen. Robert’s room looked like a crime scene – his TV was knocked down onto the floor, his wooden bookshelf was broken (if I recall correctly), and all of his clothes and other belongings were scattered all over the room.
I went back into the bathroom with Robert to make sure he was okay. Then about 5 minutes later the doorbell rang and there were knocks on the door. Robert was still sitting in the bathtub, and when he heard the knocks he looked at me and looked angry and said, “who the hell is that?”, and I said, “I don’t know, Robert, maybe the neighbors called the cops again.” Then I went to the door and opened it to 3 or 4 cops. They said, “where is he?”, and I said, “in the bathroom, but don’t tell him I called you, ok? If he asks tell him a neighbor called because he’ll get mad at me.”
So that’s what they did. I was wearing my blue tank top and they made me stay out on the porch…it was cold! But then the EMT’s came and went into the house with the police. There were so many cars with flashing lights in front of the house – it was so embarrassing. Anyway, so the cops and EMT’s came back out to the porch and said that Robert was saying everything they needed to hear to not take him to the hospital unwillingly. So apparently (as Robert later told me) they gave him the option of going to the hospital or being arrested for domestic violence. So, he went to the hospital. I was too scared, and too proud, I guess, to admit that Robert was actually violent. I pleaded with the police to take him to the hospital instead of have him arrested.
Then, once he was gone, I called my mom. (It was 2:00 in the morning). I was in hysterics and couldn’t stop crying. I ended up staying on the phone with her for a few hours and she called out of work the next day and came to see me. Robert was admitted to [the mental illness hospital] and was there until Monday (it was Wednesday when all this happened). So mom made me go to multiple doctor appointments and get on some anti-depression and anxiety meds. I’m still taking them.
So I talked to Robert and he refused to move out and there was no way in hell I was gonna be around him again. So on Saturday, mom and I decided that I was gonna move out. Then dad came down, and I signed a new lease on Sunday, January 13th!”
A few days after this horrific night, I went to the hospital to bring Robert a change of clothes. I was expecting him to be apologetic for his actions, but instead he was cold. He thanked me for bringing him clothes with a blank stare on his face, and then proceeded to ask me why I felt it necessary to have him taken away.
Seriously? You’re asking me that right now?
I explained to him that I was scared for my life, and he didn’t understand why. I told him everything that happened, and he said that he was too drunk to remember anything, and it wasn’t his fault.
It wasn’t his fault.
Those words validated everything for me. They validated my breaking up with him, my calling the authorities, and my decision to move out.
I left the hospital, and haven’t spoken to him since.
I know my story is lengthy, and I want to congratulate anyone who made it the whole way through. I’ve decided that I don’t want to hide in the shadows of my past anymore. I don’t want to be scared anymore. I don’t want to feel that empty feeling of hopelessness anymore, because I’m worth so much more than that. I’m worth more than being called a whore or a waste of life. I’m worth more than being strangled, threatened, and made to feel guilty. I’m worth more than always taking the blame for things that aren’t my fault.
But it’s not just me. There are so many other girls and women out there – and even men – who are stuck in relationships they don’t know how to remove themselves from. My story doesn’t even compare to the horror of other stories out there, and that scares me. I’m still dealing with the mental and emotional side-effects of the abuse I suffered, and at times it keeps me from functioning. I can’t imagine what others who are in worse situations must be experiencing.
But let me speak from my own experience and say this: you deserve better. You deserve more. You deserve to be treated like a human being, not an ant on the sidewalk. You deserve somebody that will listen to you and accept you for who you are, and not try to change you. You deserve somebody who will not only accept your flaws and your baggage, but will embrace them.
The hardest part is figuring out how to remove yourself from the situation safely. Trust me, I know. I spent many hours, day in and day out, thinking of how to get out of this relationship without going to the authorities, my parents, and without using any outside help. Unfortunately, in many situations, it’s not possible to do safely alone. But it’s okay. It’s okay to seek help from the police, or a shelter, or friends, or family. It’s okay. I was scared of being judged, and I’m actually still scared of being judged for telling this story. But when push comes to shove, you have to do what’s best for YOU. I learned that the hard way. Please, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is absolutely no shame in creating a better life for yourself. I understand how it is embarrassing or can feel demeaning to be truthful with someone about your situation, but in the end it will all pay off if you are able to make your life better. Call a doctor, speak to a therapist (which is what I did), or confide in friends. Don’t be too proud to seek assistance.
If there’s one thing I ever want to do, it is to help other people who have been or are currently in my situation. I want to let you know that there is a way out, and there is a person out there who will treat you with respect. No, they may not be easy to find, but they’re out there. I promise.
One thing I can say with complete certainty is that I am not sorry for my experiences. I’m not sorry for being in an abusive relationship, and I’m not sorry for learning the hard way. The only thing I am sorry for is not realizing my own self-worth sooner.
Below is the journal text from my last encounter with him. I have also included one random journal entry I found documenting how upset I was after one of our arguments.