We met on Facebook, and in the beginning, I was so into him and so excited for any time we spent together. It was summer so we both were out of school and had more free time. We didn’t kiss for a few weeks into hanging out and I was so thrilled that he was so patient with me. I thought it was because he liked me so much. I think he was just trying to gain my trust.
One night soon after we met, I got really mad at him because of another woman and he took my purse and sat on it (he was a pro athlete; 6’7 and 250 lbs ) and wouldn’t let me leave. He kept pinning me down on his bed, acting like it was a game. I had no idea at the time how controlling it was. I thought it was because he was scared to let me leave. He would yell a lot, threaten to embarrass me, cheat on me when he was mad at me, spend my money, and generally push me to my limits.
Somehow I just stayed in love with him and it just always made me try harder to make him calm and happy. We moved in together after 2 years and that’s when things got more physical. He pushed me into a lamp, threw stuff, broke stuff, pushed me and ultimately woke me up one night choking me out. I only told one friend what happened because everyone loved my ex. It took a lot of time before I could find a safe way to have him move out, and I was in law school at the time. I remember days I would sit in fear that I would never see graduation because of him, either I wouldn’t be able to stay in school because I’d fail with all the stress or he’d hurt me too badly.
During all of this, I was scared as hell, ashamed, depressed, anxious to where I didn’t eat and didn’t sleep, worthless, helpless. I thought, there was no way this was my life. I was educated, religious, affluent and well liked. I disassociated myself from the identity of a victim and just thought this was what it took to keep this guy in my life.
Today, I feel angry still, anxious. I have started therapy 2 times since then I stop going because I cannot wrap my mind around it. The effects have been long lasting for me.
To anyone experiencing abuse… Do not sacrifice yourself for love. Trust your gut, listen to what you know you’d tell your best friend to do. Do not be ashamed, this is not your mistake and staying to stay alive until you can leave is nothing to be ashamed of. Love does not include hiding yourself behind a mask, and it does not hurt.