Written by: BTSADV Survivor
I was almost 14 years old when the verbal and emotional abuse had started. It was when I was pregnant with my son that he began hurting me physically. He mentally abused me for months before it escalated, and I never realized that he was the reason I was harming myself. I thought when I had my son it would get better, that we would be a happy family. But it only continued to get worse until one day I was finally able to escape.
The first time he ever put his hands on me was when he threw an electrical cord at me while I was pregnant, and it shocked me. After that, the physical abuse worsened, and he started to abuse me sexually. He would choke me until I could only see blackness and scream at me to shut up. One time after he strangled me, I was crying and looking at my late sister’s picture. When he saw this, he told me “It should have been you instead of her…” and then proceeded to strangle me again.
The abuse happened every day we were together. However, we had good times as well – unless I would play around the wrong way, say the wrong thing, or try to talk to my family. So, I started isolating myself. I had to hide the marks around my neck. I remember playing the bruises off as hickeys and the bruises from hitting my arm against something. After he would calm down, I would take a shower. If he heard me crying in the shower, he would come in and strangle me while I was in the shower.
After I had my son, I became pregnant with my daughter. When I told him that I thought I might be pregnant, he hit me in my stomach. My kids were taken away, and I am currently in the process of getting them back home. After I gave birth to my daughter, she was taken away from me. When I went back home without her, I was severely depressed. He had to help me get in the shower, get dressed, and eat because I wouldn’t have done it myself.
There is one day that I remember so clearly. He was washing my hair over the bathtub, and it hurt. I was trying to tell him that he was too rough, and he told me to shut up. I didn’t stop, so he strangled me. My mom overheard us and asked, “Are you okay? Come out! What’s going on?”
I told her there was nothing wrong, that he was just washing my hair and I loved her. Still, I continued crying, so he made me sit on the toilet as he at first talked to me then yelled. I was listening, but I wouldn’t look at him, so he strangled me and then spat on me. He left me there just sitting on the toilet depressed with his hand prints around my neck and his spit going down my face.
Of course, every time he would physically, sexually, or mentally hurt me, he would try to blame it on my attitude or claim that he didn’t know he was hurting me. He made it seem like it was my fault, but he would also apologize.
For the longest time, I was only able to see the good qualities of him. He is the father of my children, and most of my family loved him. He was nice to me sometimes and did things like make me breakfast. I didn’t love myself back then, so I honestly didn’t think twice about what was happening.
One day, I was “lucky” enough to be hospitalized with conversion disorder. My mom and I watched a movie, and it got me to open up to her about everything that had happened. I still remember her reaction clearly to this day, and there are still things people don’t know that he did to me.
My family, for the most part, has supported me through this. I will admit that leaving him was extremely hard because I only saw the good parts of him. I didn’t want to believe that I would allow someone to do this to me – make me weak and vulnerable. I had reached out to him many times since then, and every time he says he doesn’t remember or tries blaming it on something else. He has admitted it to some of my family but refuses to admit it to me.
I am still trying to recover from the emotional damage he caused me. Just recently I have begun to wear scarfs and necklaces again, although some days I can’t. I don’t see the bruises that used to cover me anywhere near as often, but I do still suffer from night terrors and flashbacks. I still suffer a lot. However, a year ago I didn’t think I would be alive now, but here I am standing healthy and happy and still going strong.
I am getting my children back while he decides he doesn’t want to be around for them. I am setting goals and achieving them. Here I am alive and working toward becoming a future doctor. I am facing my abuser and not letting him hold power or control over me. I am alive, and that is the important thing.
The doctors told me if I stayed with him that I would not make it out alive, that I would be another victim killed because of domestic violence. I am not a victim, no. I am a survivor.
Love should not hurt. Please if you are in a domestic violence relationship seek help immediately.
**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.
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