I first met J when I was 13 years old, we went the the same high school and participated in many of the same clubs and events such as marching band, which is where I saw him most. I knew him, as well, through my best friend who had dated him for a short period of time (maybe 2 months). He was charming and funny, all-be-it very childish, but weren’t we all at 13/14?
It all began when J asked me to homecoming, and I said yes. From there we began dating and I learned about his home situation. He lived with his single mother who hopped the homes of different men. Eventually this turned into my mother inviting him to stay in a spare room in my home with me, my mother, my father, and my brother. Things were amazing, this was my first “serious” relationship, and we could stay up for hours talking and laughing, and having him so close at all times was a dream come true.
Things changed within half a year. J began telling me what I should wear, what color I should dye my hair, who I should and shouldn’t associate with… They were all passive remarks, but should I not take his suggestions I knew that I would be treated differently. As time went on this turned into verbal abuse. He would call me every name in the book. Around one year he began hitting me “””””playfully”””””” and saying that I was a wimp for being hurt. Then he began cheating on me with other girls (I can count about 11 different ones). When this began my mom became more involved, which made the turn in events.
My mom began spending A LOT of time with J, and became abusive towards me. I specifically remember a day after about the 5th time J had cheated on me where they sat me in J’s room, them sitting on the bed and me sitting on the floor, and told me that I needed to suck it up because relationships are about forgiveness. Long story short, J continued to live in my house until I was 16 because my mom wouldn’t allow for him to be kicked out, even after all was said and done. The last straw for me was following me coming out as gay to my family and J raped me, saying that “Since I’m gay now, it doesn’t count.” Finally my Dad and I stood together and banished him. And following that my parents divorced, which is when I learned that my mom and J had been romantically (and possibly sexually) involved for an upward of two years.
When I was 17, J and my mom “broke up”, and she apologized to me for putting me through so much pain, and that was pretty much the last time we spoke of it. I suffered trauma related memory loss for any time before 17 years of age and struggle remembering details of everything that went down. I lost all sense of identity and became deeply depressed, but didn’t seek help until around 2 years later. Today I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, and major depressive disorder among other issues, which can all be linked to these events. But I’m happy to say that my father has completely stepped up and today we stand together and are as close as ever. Every day is a battle, but I know that every day is one step towards healing.
Today, I am close with my Dad and step mom, I have built close friendships while I attend university, I have been out as trans-masculine for 2 years and began my transition 7 months ago. I am more comfortable in myself than I ever have been, and am slowly taking control of my healing process. My loved ones have truly pushed me along this journey, and I wouldn’t be here today without them.
To anyone experiencing abuse… My advice to others is to always stay aware and remember that you are worth saving. It is scary to make a step towards change, but in the end you will find those who love and support you, and also will not require you to be someone who you’re not. Side note: You are not required to associate with abusive parents just because, “That’s your mom/dad! You only get one.” FUCK any abusers, even if they never physically hit you. Your. Life. Is. Precious.