Courage!

I was in an abusive relationship from the age of 16 until I turned 20.  He was my high school boyfriend.   It didn't start out being seriously abusive, it's almost as if he was setting the groundwork for it.  We would fight and afterward I would have red roses hanging in front of my window or a bunch of balloons would be sitting on my door step.  I always forgave him in the end.
Then He started emotionally abusing me.  He guilted/pressured me into loosing my virginity, but always complained that I wasn't good enough in bed.  He constantly called me fat and ugly and alienated me from my friends.  it was like that for two years until I graduated.  Later that fall, we got engaged.
We were engaged for eight months.  A month before we were to get married, he slapped me.  He told me that it was due to the stress from the wedding and I believed him.  Or course,  after we got married, the abuse escalated.  He took my car, and wouldn't let me leave the house.  He would hit me and destroy the house when he got mad. 

I left him 3 times.  Once with some of his friends who knew what was going on, another time I ran away after a fight, but the third time I left for good.  Every time I would leave him, I would hear his voice in my head telling me I couldn't survive without him.  That no one would want me.  That no one would believe me.  I finally left for good after he tried to kill me.  He got so mad one night that he strangled me until I passed out.  Disgustingly, after I woke up, I spent the night consoling him.  I knew if I didn't leave him he would kill me.  I told my parents (who were VERY supportive of me) and they 'made' me move out the next day (which was my 20th birthday).

It took a year for me to discover myself.  One of the ways in which my x controlled me was to throw away my art supplies.   So,  after I left him and everyone found out the truth, my family and friends contributed to buying me some paint and canvas.   Painting helped me with the pain, and nine months after I left him I had a one woman art show devoted to overcoming abuse and discovering my individual female spirit.

Abuse sucks.  It doesn't just affect you when you are in the situation, but for the rest of your life.  I still have nightmares that he is going to hurt me.  I still get extremely frustrated when I see that people  who knew both of us take his side.  I am still paying off my divorce (which he dragged on for 7 months!)  But being free of abuse is the best feeling in the world.  Having confidence, your own money, and your own boundries is amazing.  So to those of you who have been in an abusive situation or are still living with abuse, you can get out! There is life without that person, just like there was life before them!
East East
22-25, F
1 Response Jul 23, 2007

Thank you for your story. I've been through the same thing and it's so strange to see how similar the experiences are in almost every abuse situation! How things lead up, the post fight consolations, the escalation of the situation... my group therapy saved my life because they helped me realize I wasn't crazy... Seeing so many beautiful, strong women climbing out of the same hole I had fallen into empowered me with enough strength to start building my own ladder of escape.