Submitted by: BTSASDV Survivor
Writing letters that we will never send can help us process the hurt and trauma of past experiences. It can help us make sense of things that we struggle to understand. Survivors of trauma can also benefit from writing down our feelings or telling others how what they did affected us without having to risk retaliation. A survivor shares with us a letter she wrote to her abuser and comes to an understanding of how she deserves to be treated by someone who says they love her.
Abusive relationships do not start as abusive. I am not foolish for falling for you, even though most days I feel like I am. In the beginning, you made me happy, and I felt loved and wanted. We laughed together all the time, and I felt butterflies just from being around you.
Now I cannot stand to look at you. You did not like me talking to my male friends, so I cut them off. Then, you did not like me going out with my girlfriends, so I cut them off, too. You made me feel so guilty about going out without you that it was almost a relief not to have the burden anymore.
Then, it was just you and me. We spent every day together. Anytime I was with other people, you asked me who was around me or if any guys were flirting with me, and you made me tell you anytime I talked to anyone. I could not have a conversation with anyone besides you without feeling like I was doing something wrong.
Anytime I talked to you, I had to tiptoe around the subject in fear of making you upset. You always put me down and made me feel like my problems did not matter. You turned every argument around on me. Our fights slowly grew louder and louder to the point that I was scared the neighbors would call the police. Then you made me flinch. We were arguing, and you cocked your fist ready to punch me, and I flinched. You stopped as soon as you saw the scared look on my face and apologized, saying that it would never happen again. I believed you.
I remember every time you grabbed, pushed, and choked me and can still remember how your hands felt on me. I believed that you would change, that every time you hurt me would be the last. I believed that one day you would be the person I fell in love with. I remember every name you have ever called me and why. You called me a ‘disgusting slut’ for liking another guy’s photo on social media. You called me a ‘fat cow’ for posting a picture of myself in a bikini on the beach even though I only weigh 110 lbs.
After a while, I did not have any friends to talk to, so I kept everything bottled up inside. When my old best friend reached out to me to catch up, I felt so guilty for talking to him. But, for the first time, I felt guilty for dropping my friendship with him for you. I finally spilled the beans and told him everything. I told him how you cheated on me, and I stayed with you because I was too scared to leave. I even told him that you did drugs behind my back every day, and I told him how you hurt me.
As I talked to him, I thought to myself “Is this really my life?” I could not believe I put up with the abuse from you for so long or how ridiculous I sounded. Saying all these things out loud made me realize that I deserved better. I deserved more than that. I deserved to not live in constant fear. The next morning, I packed my backpack and left. I thought that was the end of it but was I ever wrong.
I moved back in with my parents and initially left all my belongings at our apartment. I went back a week later to get my things, and you were there. We argued, and you pushed me to the ground and choked me, but I wasn’t surprised. About two months later, you still called me names, and you threatened to kill me. Me leaving you was the worst thing that could have happened to you. You lost your ‘property.’ I thought this nightmare was over.
But, even so, I’m happier without you. I am happy I can do what I want, say what I want, and talk to whom I want without feeling guilty or scared. I know now that I am worth so much more. I deserve to be happy and to be loved by someone that does not constantly make me feel so horrible about myself. I cannot believe I ever loved a person like you.
**If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page.
What’s YOUR Raw Truth?
Sharing our stories can be incredibly empowering while also helping others connect with survivors who have similar experiences. If you are inspired to share your story with us, complete the form below. You can choose to remain anonymous.