Surviving Abuse-My Story
Countless men and women fall victim to domestic abuse each year, and while the numbers are staggering, not many chose to talk about. Shame, fear, and stigma keep people from sharing their stories, and I am here to break the silence. You see, I too was a victim of domestic abuse, and I am not ashamed to share my story. I never once hid what happened to me, because I refuse to be defined by it, but today, I wish to let you know the whole story behind the woman.
Growing up I did not have a happy childhood. My parents were abusive, both mentally and physically and being an immigrant, I had very few friends. I turned to other adults for help, but they refused because in their eyes I was a troubled child. I was even told by a guidance counselor that I should be ashamed for trying to say my “angelic” mother would ever lay a hand on me. Being left no alternative for escape, I turned to alcohol and started to run with the wrong crowd.
It was during this time I met my first boyfriend, who was a terrific guy, but my troubled life would ensure our relationship would not last. While I never blamed him for what happened between us, I was devastated, I felt as if I was let down by the first person I trusted in a long time. Following the break up I ended up in a string of bad relationships with guys who would further erode my self-esteem. Looking back on it now, I realize it was my fault for running away from any decent man who came into my life. I also realize I did it because, in the back of my mind, I feared getting hurt again. So I chose individuals who treated me the way I felt I deserved.
This is how at eighteen I ended up with a man who would end up almost destroying me. By then I was depressed, with virtually no confidence in myself, and I felt like the ugliest person on the planet. What I didn’t know is that it was this thinking which made me easy pickings for a narcissistic sociopath which he was. At first, the relationship was great. He treated me well and came off as the sweetest, most caring man on the planet. Then, it slowly started to go downhill.
It started subtly, with him slowly isolating me from my friends by insisting I spend every free moment of my day with him. At the time, I welcomed it because it meant I was out of the house and away from my abusive parents. Then, he started to dictate the way I dressed, insisting I was a whore if I showed any portion of my skin. I was to eat what he wanted me to eat. I wasn’t even allowed to dye my hair because in his eyes it would make me worthless. If another man dared so much as to look at me, my so-called boyfriend would remind me that I was nothing more than a slut who was lucky to have him love her.
I suffered for months being treated as nothing more than an object, hoping it would get better, but it never did. He started insisting on following me EVERYWHERE. He watched me pee, he watched me take a shower, and he scowled if some other guy dared to make me smile. Then, the physical abuse started. A push here, a shove there, but it quickly progressed to be more violent and brutal. He started abusing me sexually, insisting that if I couldn’t climax during sex, then he would have to force me. Eventually, the abuse got so bad that he damn near broke my arm while beating me with a PVC pipe because I accidentally knocked his glasses off his face. Still, I stayed, because, by that point, I was nothing more than a shell of a human being.
I went to school and work with cuts and bruises he left on me. And while people did notice, they did not think much of it because I always used an excuse to downplay the situation. Yes, I even used the dreaded “I fell” excuse which I think caused some suspicion, but not enough for anyone to intervene. Lucky for me, this guy insisted on me continuing my education, but with little options at my disposal, I decided to go to a tech school for aircraft maintenance. There, three guys saw something in me no one else did, and we quickly became close friends. They saw the shit this guy put me through and they gently pushed me in the right direction, far, far away from him. To this day, I think I owe these three guys my life as I would have surely ended up dead eventually.
Having escaped his hold on me, I suddenly found myself with the dilemma of rebuilding my life. With the help of my friends, I decided to take back control. I got the tattoos I always wanted, ones that he said would ruin my skin. I cut off my hair, partially because he liked it, and partly because I wasn’t going to allow someone else to use my locks against me. Slowly, I started living my life again and finding the confidence I had lacked all those years. I started to trust people again, even if I still struggle with it to this very day. I gathered the shattered pieces of my youth and rebuilt myself into the individual you know today, one who now knows that she is not other peoples opinion of her.
During the time I spent with this man I created a universe I could escape to when the pain started. I filled it with caring people whose shoes I could step into and forget the hurt. I filled it with hope and with love. It is this very universe I now bring to you in the form of my books. It took me a long time to have enough confidence not only to write down the stories but to publish them. I did this not because I think I’m a good writer, in all honesty I know I’m not, but I did it because there are other people in pain and they need to see that there is still hope out there. I wanted them to know they are not alone.
While I do regret the time I spent with him and the money I wasted on him, I don’t regret what I became after he tried to destroy me. I have managed to crawl out of the abyss and become everything he said I was never going to be. He didn’t win, because he never got the best of me. As a result, I am a better person now. I’m stronger, wiser, more compassionate. So if you can take away anything from my story, take this, you are not what happens to you, you are what you chose to become. Choose to become stronger, decide to become better, and never allow anyone to treat you as less than the wonderful person you are. Never let them win.
P.S: If the man from my story ever happens to stumble upon this, I have one thing I have always wanted to say to you: I forgive you. I didn’t forgive you because I was weak, or because you deserved it. I did it because I was not going to allow the hatred I felt for you control how my life was going to be. I forgave you so I could find the peace to move on, and because I was never going to give you the satisfaction of being anything more than a stepping stone in my life. And for what it’s worth, I hope you can find the help you need because no one else deserves to suffer at your hands.