Back in December, I was sitting in my doctor’s office scrolling through Facebook, and came across this post about another woman’s abusive relationship revelations. Admittedly, I was in that office for a check-up to see how my anxiety and depression medications were working.
I read a paragraph or two and was called back to her office. I told her what I was just reading, because she wanted to know why I seemed so anxious at that moment even though my meds were working well.
She told me to stop.
This article is a trigger and I shouldn’t invest time into going back to that part of my life.
But to you think I listened?
I can’t just read 1/3 of an article. I don’t work that way. I needed to know how her story ended!
So, I read the whole thing in the car after my appointment. I shook, I cried, I flashed back, I could barely breathe. I wanted to share it. But then I remembered, 90% of my friends and family don’t know about that part of my past. How do you just go sharing a blog post about someone else’s abusive relationship experience without a reason?
Driving home from my appointment, I pretty much wrote the post below in my head. I got home, sat down, and started typing. This was the first time I had actually written about this relationship, and it all came out very rapidly. And then when I was done…
So, here it is: My “coming out” post about my abusive relationship.
*Note: Names and certain details have removed to maintain anonymity of my family and friends.
I’m struggling to find the words to go with this letter I’m sharing. You can’t exactly share a post like this without any kind of explanation of why it’s important to you. But this letter struck me and I’m ready to share my deep, dark secret that I’ve kept out of public knowledge for over three years…
I could have written this letter word for word.
In fact, I have, hundreds of times, in my head. It’s still hard to think about. And that’s why most of you didn’t know until you started reading this sentence that I was in an abusive relationship. I don’t avoid the subject because it’s hard to talk about. I avoid it because I don’t want your pity. And when it was happening I didn’t talk about it because I didn’t actually realize how bad it was. I thought I could fix it. I thought I could fix him, or me. And I didn’t want my friends and family knowing I was such a failure at being a good girlfriend. It’s actually easy for me to talk about with the people who know.
Only four friends knew what was really going on, and none of them had the full story. I don’t think any of my friends saw the bruises, or if they did they probably thought they were from the gym. Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t take their advice. Just like the author of this letter says, it’s like it doesn’t happen to you when you replay your memories.You’re watching some other naïve girl let her boyfriend say terrible things to her and strangle her. But after all is said and done, I survived. I got stronger. And if I hadn’t chosen that one specific night to leave, this great life I have not might not have been mine.
I have always believed EVERYTHING happens for a reason.
I used to plead with God to help me be better so my ex would stop seeing me as sub-par.
Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not loving enough, not independent enough, not perfect enough, not anything enough.
I told God that he put me in this relationship for a reason and I needed his help to make it work. Even after I moved out, I thought for a little while that God would fix this for me.
One day, he actually told me he said all of those nasty things because he knew I was too good for him and he just didn’t want me to realize it. He thought if he put me down enough I’d always want to stay with him. And it worked for a long time. But when he admitted it? I knew it was finally over. Any good feelings I had for him were gone when he told me he was intentionally killing my self-esteem.
I gave up.
And just a week or two later, I met my husband. Because God did have a plan. There’s a reason I moved out on a specific day. There’s a reason I lived in my friend’s basement. There’s a reason he had a roommate that was always insisting I date his best friend even though I didn’t think I was ready for that. The best friend was the man I married. So without my terrible, cheating, abusive ex-boyfriend, I wouldn’t have met my love, my daughter would not exist, and I would have never known my stepson.
My ex showed me everything I didn’t want in a man.
And when I met his complete opposite, it didn’t matter to my heart that I had just moved out two weeks ago. I knew that I would never love a man that made me feel weak and broken again.
I still have moments when I think back and feel like I’m re-living it. PTSD is real, and not just for soldiers. But life gets better.
I still pray for my ex that he realizes what he’s doing and that he sees the example he’s setting for his daughter. I pray that she never sees his ugly side and that he doesn’t do to other women what he did to me and any of the others.
This might be a sad message. And this letter was obviously a trigger for me. But it’s Christmas time. I’ve suffered through Christmas before and I don’t want anyone else to feel the way I did when I got a call on Christmas morning telling me to “Go F yourself.” If you’re my friend, acquaintance, person I met at a party, [reader of my blog,] whatever, and are going through this and don’t know who to talk to, please reach out to me. You don’t have to suffer alone.
I plan on expanding on this in future posts. But for now, I just wanted to share this info for anyone who needs it.
This information is shared frequently in my Stepmom support group. Please share it!