Trigger warning **** abusive partner, self harm, substance use ****
I honestly don’t even know where this story even begins.
Thinking back to specific events brings up so much trauma and negativity. I try to avoid picking at these wounds, but I am about to rip off the biggest band aid and let everything finally air out.
It started after graduation.
I was convinced I was in love; completely and utterly obsessed, head over heels in love with this man. He did everything right, said all the right things, made me feel so special and loved. I was living in a fairytale world, and he was my Prince Charming. I still remember the first time he told me he loved me and wanted to marry me. The sunset that evening is something I will never forget. He never did anything wrong, always made me smile, had the best personality and I was completely smitten. He was perfect, or so I thought.
We had a big age difference and I remember my friends and family being concerned about it to the point where it did worry me in the beginning of the relationship, but I didn’t care because I was in love with him.
Nothing he did was ever wrong, even when it was.
That’s when it started. It happened slowly and eventually progressed into full out abuse and my life was miserable. Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine lying in bed with your partner, talking about the stars, space, clouds, whatever and all of a sudden you notice his tone of voice change, getting more and more aggressive. For absolutely no reason. We would get into a conversation he was so passionate about that his face would light up with what seemed like anger. He didn’t know how to process any of his emotions. This is the first time he hit me. It was over a conversation about stars or something pointless. I was so drawn back by it and he instantly apologized, saying how much he loved me and how sorry he was. Promising it would never happen again. I accepted his apology and we both went about our days. He comes home from work with flowers, chocolate, a beautiful card, and alcohol. I still remember exactly what the card said “I’m so sorry I hit you and threw you into the wall. I love you so much.” I started crying, he hugged me and promised it would NEVER happen again. That was the first time he had ever lied to me.
He started gaslighting and manipulating me – avoiding important conversations, not letting me see friends, taking advantage of me in the bedroom, and hating on my family so hard that I started to hate them too. It all came out of nowhere. I wish I knew what triggered his behaviour to change sometimes so I could go back and maybe approach things differently. I remember one night I had spent a lot longer in the shower then I usually did, and he came in to find me self-harming. He freaked out at me and punched the wall so hard… I was so scared that I was going to die.
He was screaming, he called me so many nasty things and demanded I got out of the shower. He ripped me out by my arm. I was crying so hard and reached out to him for a hug and he pushed me down to the ground and called me an f***ing idiot. How did my perfect Prince Charming relationship turn into this trap I couldn’t escape? It didn’t make sense. I could have left at any point, but I was terrified that he would hurt me more if I did – share my secrets, lie to people about what had happened, etc. I feared everything at this point. I held my breath at night some nights so he wouldn’t hear me crying myself to sleep… but I would miss him when I woke up. I’d be so happy when he got home from work, just to have the same routine happen over and over every single day. I was broken. I did everything around the house – cooked, cleaned, laundry, bills, took care of the pets, everything. He never had to lift a finger. I served him his meals, made his lunches. Not once did he ever thank me or show any appreciation. He stopped caring about me, didn’t notice all the damage he had done.
I remember one night I had too much to drink, but he continued to ask me to drink more. And more. And more. I listened out of fear. I was so drunk. Everything was blurry and I told him I was tired. Asked him to help me to bed. He took me to bed and took off my clothes and started kissing my neck and chest, I had no idea what was happening. I told him to stop and he covered my mouth and said “Oh stop, you love it.” and continued on. I don’t remember much else after that besides crying and trying to push him off me, he was so heavy on top of me. I could feel his breath and sweat. He pulled the back of my hair so hard I swear he ripped out a bunch of hair. He smacked me around, and just kept repeating that I was enjoying myself as I cried, begging him to stop but had zero strength to do anything to stop him. In the morning, I had so many bruises and looked over to him and asked him what happened. He said “We had a good night, that’s what happened. You’re fine.” I was so sore. My entire body hurt. But he was my boyfriend, so I accepted it as a “good night” and never thought much of it after that. This was normal, this is how relationships went. I was drunk and he was horny. Whatever, it happens to everyone right?
A few months later, I was at a point where I had enough and finally stood up to him. I called him out on his behaviour, told him how it made me feel, and told him if he didn’t stop that I would leave him. His response was, “Where would you go? I’m all you have. Shut up. Don’t talk about impossible shit.” So, I stopped talking. That conversation ended abruptly. Another year passes, he tells me for the past two years he was using me for sex and had absolutely no feelings for me anymore and wanted to break up. I fell to the floor and begged him not to do this. He started packing my stuff, told me to leave immediately with my pets and to block his number. I was so scared but couldn’t stop crying, I remember sitting outside with a bag of clothes and my pets, crying for what seemed like hours. I was broken and had no idea what to do.
It has now been 2 years since we split up and I am doing so much better than I ever thought possible.
Shortly after we broke up, I realized that he was holding me back and what we had was never love. It was manipulation and when I stopped letting it happen, he got bored and wanted nothing to do with me anymore. And that’s his loss. Because I have finally discovered my true worth and it has nothing to do with him and everything to do with how I feel about myself.
I’m far from perfect, but I am starting to believe in myself, believe my voice matters, and understand the true meaning of what it means to be me. Now when I see photos of us or remember things from our relationship, I don’t cry, I laugh. That’s how I know I have healed. The behaviour he showed towards me doesn’t make me sad or angry anymore, it makes me laugh. I was so in love that I let him abuse me for almost a decade. I laugh because I finally realize how immature he was, how bad he treated me, and how much better off I am without him. I laugh because I know I deserve better.
If this story can help you in any way, my hope is that it will keep you optimistic about your future and if you have any similarities to my story, I strongly encourage you to reach out to someone you trust and ask for help. I wish I had, I know it would have made a world of difference and I would have been able to flee the abuse so much earlier. Please remember that your feelings are valid, you are loved, you are important. I believe in you. If I can do this, anyone can. Never give up on yourself because you are worth it.