I didn’t recognize myself anymore…

I worked at a hair salon inside a Walmart and he worked as a cashier at Walmart. At first, he seemed great and genuine. He was funny and sweet. He seemed to really like me for me. When things changed, it was like someone flipped a switch when I moved in with him. I was about to be without a home and he said I could live with him. He started getting very angry over small things. He was a narcissist, controlling, possessive, manipulative, mentally, verbally, emotionally, sexually and physically abusive. He would call me names and grab my arms if I tried to walk away. He has had me backed into the corner of a closet. I tried to leave and he would take my bags that I started packing and throw them across the apartment. He would slap me. We had the cops called on us 3 times. I wish I asked them for help and to get me out. I wish I told them what was happening.

He made me have sex with him at least 4 times a day. Even if I didn’t want to, he made me. If we both had the same day off from work, we had to do it all day. He made me talk to him my whole ride to work, every break I took I had to talk to him the whole time, my whole ride home from work. I couldn’t go to my aunt’s house. I couldn’t have friends or a relationship with my family. Not even my mom who’s my best friend. When my mom was visiting, I couldn’t stay the night with her unless she stayed at his apartment. And I was so ashamed of my life at that point I didn’t want to subject her to that. I didn’t want her to see my life as it was. She would tell me, “You’re not even my daughter anymore. I don’t recognize the girl looking at me”. I didn’t recognize myself either.

I got pregnant by him and he would threaten me every day and he even threatened to punch me in the stomach until I lost the baby all because I would not give him oral sex. At that point, I somehow found the strength to leave when I was 4 months pregnant. He went to work one morning, my mom and my aunt came over, we packed some of my stuff and I left. I was receiving calls and texts for days after. I am thankful for getting out when I did. I did end up losing the baby when I was 8 months pregnant due to a chromosome disorder. I mourn for my baby every single day. I love him more than life. But he will never know pain or sadness or hurt. I find some peace knowing he is safe.

All that time, I felt scared, ashamed, embarrassed and so emotionally drained. Today, I feel blessed. I do suffer from anxiety and PTSD. I see a therapist every 2 weeks, but I’m feeling better. Of course losing a child is a pain no mother should ever feel and it’s a struggle every day. Some people have asked how could I love the baby considering how he came to be. It’s not the baby’s fault. The baby is innocent in all of it. He grew inside of me. I felt him kick, move and I felt him hiccup. It was an incredible experience. I have an amazing fiancé now and a wonderful support system of family and friends who have been by my side through all of this and I am forever grateful.

To anyone experiencing abuse… Just be careful. If you feel you need to walk on eggshells around your significant other, if you’re scared to say how you feel out of fear of hurting their feelings, it’s not a healthy relationship. If he says something so cruel, your heart sinks but then he cooks you dinner to apologize, it’s not healthy. He’s not sorry. Don’t let him put his hands on you, don’t let him get into your head. You’re stronger than you could ever realize. You’re not weak. You can get out and live a better life, i promise. Don’t let him define you.

Francesca C.