“It got to the point where I started to realize my fear for my life.”
The Abuse Story
I was in the relationship for two years total, and the abuse did not start until we moved in together. The abuse lasted for over a year, and it involved physical, emotional, and financial abuse. He started out as the perfect boyfriend but quickly became overly controlling, jealous, and aggressive. He would control who I saw and talked to, which eventually became nobody except his friends. He controlled my finances and would yell at me when I spent too much.
I knew that what I was experiencing was abuse but I told myself that there were more “good times” than “bad times”. It got to the point where I started to realize my fear for my life when he told me “You’re lucky I only hit you because I wanted to kill you”. I knew then that I had to make plans to get out.
In order to get out, I had to call the police and file a restraining order against him. He would refuse to leave any time I asked him to, even though I broke off the relationship.
The biggest challenges were losing my “friends”, the fear of him coming for me, and the emotional manipulation that has continued to plague me for three years.
When Did You Start to Feel in Control?
I have only recently started to feel in control of my life, three years later. I have been going to therapy every week in a group and once a month with a psychologist. They have given me tools to see everything in a different light. Therapy has given me tools to get through any time I feel discouraged, anxious, or depressed.
Tips for Dealing with Flashbacks
Breathe through it and feel it all. Every emotion you feel is so important to work through and end up on the other side. Ask for support from friends/family/therapist, and know that the flashbacks are temporary. You will feel like yourself again soon.
What are some boundaries you've put up to protect yourself?
I have put up many many boundaries after escaping. I have only recently been starting to trust my significant other. I never trusted his word that he would never cheat, never hurt me, and always support me. I chose to believe it was not true because I was terrified to put my trust in someone else again.
What are some techniques you use to bring positivity into your life?
Personally, having my dog (who was also abused by the same man) has been wonderful in my recovery. He encourages me to get outside for walks and smile when we play together. Even when I am upset, he snuggles up to me and licks my tears away.
Advice For People in Abusive Situations
My advice is to seek support. Build yourself a strong foundation of loving people and take the leap of faith to leave. Also, remember your worth. You deserve so much better than this, and the world is ready to see you be your best self.
What Are Some Things That Would Have Made it Easier to Leave?
It would have been easier to leave if I had not lived with him. Also, if I was more financially secure, I might have left earlier in the relationship.
How Can Society Help You More?
Society needs to put a spotlight on domestic violence and show that emotional abuse is still abuse. There also need to be more safe houses for individuals to go to if they feel unsafe or threatened.
What Are Some Things You Enjoy Doing Now?
I enjoy playing with my dog, gardening, and hiking. Anything out in nature grounds me and keeps me humble.
What Helps You See the Beauty in the World?
Working with children with special needs helps me see that there is hope in this world. Their overwhelming positivity helps me get through even my toughest days. Also, when I go out into nature it shows me how beautiful everything can be if we just take the time.
What makes you feel confident?
I feel most confident when I am lifting weights! It makes me feel strong and powerful, which gives me a boost of confidence each morning.
What Makes You Feel Beautiful?
My current boyfriend makes me feel so beautiful no matter what I look like. He has given me my time and space to allow me to feel beautiful in myself.
What Makes You Feel Empowered?
I feel empowered when I volunteer for my local women’s shelter. It makes me feel so empowered to help other women who are going through similar situations and team up with them to fight against domestic violence.
***If you survived abuse and would like to use the story to help encourage others, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
*If you or someone you know might be experiencing abuse, please see my resource page for support.