He has told people I was the crazy one…
We met through mutual friends and things were PERFECT!! We clicked right away and he was so cute and charming. We’d stay up hours just talking on the phone, and eventually hanging out / going on dates. We had so much in common.
The changes started small and subtly in the beginning. He wanted to spend as much time with me as possible (which as a naive 16 year old, I thought was so cute!), then he started talking bad about my friends and saying he doesn’t trust them, so I shouldn’t hang out with them. From there it was, he didn’t trust my family so I should be around them as little as possible. If I did “rebel” and go out with my friends or hang out with my family, or what were left of them, he would want to dress me. He started telling me I was too pretty to wear make up, then it turned into “who are you trying to impress”, and finally to “if you wear makeup or dress up, you’re cheating on me.”
Within a few months, it escalated to full-on emotional, psychological, and some physical abuse. I had to transfer to his high school. I was NOT allowed to hang out with anyone but him. I was NOT allowed to wear makeup. I was NOT allowed to wear anything but athletic shorts and a t-shirt or jeans and sweatshirt in the winter. If I upset him, he would threaten suicide. The 3 years with him were kind of a blur. I think I have tried to block a bunch out but there are 2 memories I remember very vividly – 1. we had gotten in a fight while talking on the phone, he told me he was holding his shot gun to his head and was going to kill himself and it would be all my fault because of whatever I had did to get him to this point. I rushed across town to his house (we were in HS so he still lived with his parents and little brother but everyone was not home, just him), I went to walk in the front door but it was locked. I went to the side door, it was locked. I went to his bedroom window and started banging on it and at this point, I am crying hysterically and yelling at him to put down the gun. I go back and forth between his bedroom window and front door, banging on them, and begging him to not kill himself. After what seemed like an eternity, as I am banging on his front door again and I yelled to him I was going to call 9-1-1, which I think got him out of his bedroom and to the front door. Then his neighbor came out to see what was going on. As soon as he heard his neighbor, he opened the front door and let me in. He did the usual, threatened to break up with me and said I would then be totally by myself (which I had told him earlier in our relationship, during the good stage, that being alone was one of my biggest fears). I can’t remember how that fight resolved but I know I didn’t leave. He threatened suicide regularly. 2. We got in a fight about something he found on my phone. This was back before texting was a big thing and only a few carriers had it (mine was not one of them), so he would check my call logs daily, if not multiple times a day. He found something he didn’t like and started a huge blow up fight in his bedroom while his parents were in the kitchen, which were in close proximity. I didn’t want them to hear so I told him I was going home and we could talk another time. Next thing I know, he is running around me, slams his bedroom door shut and starts trying to wrestle my phone out of my hand. I have a death grip on it so he gets me to the ground, straddles me so I am pinned, pries the phone out of my death grip and chucks it across the room. I was screaming and hysterically crying and thinking his mom or dad will come in any minute and stop this. They didn’t. They did nothing. At that moment, I realized he won and I was truly alone.
There are many more examples like these 2 over the course of 3 years. On top of that, I was dealing with some other stuff at home with my mom, which he would use as weapon. I don’t remember what made me leave but around Valentine’s Day, I had had enough. I think I had caught him cheating on me. Not physically, but emotionally with a girl he knew from out of state, which wasn’t the first time he had cheated on me. He cheated on me physically and emotionally multiple times over the course of our relationship, but I decided he did it for the last time and I was done. But even after we broke up, he would not accept it. He would show up at my house that I know shared with 2 friends from my former high school, and was in denial that we had broken up.
During it all, I felt alone (he eventually succeeded in isolating me from all my friends and family to where I only had him and his family). I also felt worthless, and ugly, inside and out. I felt afraid (like I had to walk on eggshells ALL the time so I wouldn’t upset him).
Today, I know now that what I went through was not a “normal” relationship and that I was in a textbook abusive teen relationship, but I don’t tell my story to a lot of people outside my inner circle because he married a family friend and moved her cross country. If I post about it on social media or get to open about it, the family friends and his wife will see or hear. I know he has told them I was the crazy one. And I don’t want to cause his wife any problems. I feel like its almost a way of keep her safe. I don’t think I’ve fully healed from it. I did more damage in my relationships to follow because I didn’t know any other way to be in a relationship. The boyfriend I had after him, I always say I was horrible to him but he saved my life. If he hadn’t come along, I know my abuser would have physically hurt me very badly, if not killed me. In recent years, probably the last 2-3, I have been more open with family about the abuse, which just recognizing it for it is and not being ashamed about it, has helped a lot. But the wounds are deep and I am not sure if they will ever be truly healed. Now, my little sister is in the same kind of abusive relationship, so I try to help with that but they have a kid together so I know it’s much more complicated than my teen relationship.
To anyone experiencing abuse… YOU DESERVE BETTER!!! No matter how many times your abuser tells you, “no one will love you like I do,” or “no one likes you,” or how bad they make you feel about yourself. It’s a lie! A tactic they are using to keep you in their control. God says you are HIS and He made you in HIS Son’s image and Jesus is perfect. You are good enough to leave and want something better for yourself. You are worthy and beautiful and so much more than a victim. You are strong. You are a SURVIVOR!!