How I Found Myself in an Abusive Relationship
Going through the cycle
He had a dark look on his face, his nose was upturned and he was scowling down at something long and skinny in his hands. I cleared my throat and asked if everything was ok and that seemed to snap him back into reality. His eyes shot up to me and look of disgust crossed his face. His hand lowered slightly and I could see the positive pregnancy test in his had. He threw it down at my feet.
"I—I thought you would be excited." I whispered looking down at it, nervously twisting the engagement ring on my finger. He had proposed a few days earlier and to be honest the pregnancy test was the major reason I had said yes. He had finally brought up the topic of us having kids and we had begun to look at houses in the area.
A burst of anger shot threw him and he lashed out at me, planting his fist in my stomach and sending me back against the bookshelf. My head smashed against the corner of the shelf sending a warm sensation dripping down my cheek. His hand twisted in my hair, his hot breath was against my face.
"You dirty little whore!" He shouted, striking me in the face. "You've ruined my life! How could you do this to me? I thought you loved me!" He brought his hand back again, this time breaking my glasses and sending blood pouring from my nose. The blood only seemed to drive his fury and a dark look of hate twisted his face. He brought his fist down repeated on my stomach, cursing me and spitting on me.
I would spend the next week in the hospital. Alone. I knew before the doctors told me that I had lost my little bean. Nurses and officers would come in and out of my room, pushing me to eat, speak and tell my story. I would not speak a word for close to two years after my escaping. I didn't want to tell, I just wanted it to be over.
It wasn't always like this. When we met he was the most loving man I had ever met. He called me sweet names and showered me with little gifts. I was his Queen and he was my King. So by the time he called me a worthless piece of sh*t for the first time, I was already in love. The next morning he would realize how bad he had been and there would be an expensive gift waiting for me on the couch along with a single rose and this is how the cycle began.
The first time he hit me, we had been living together for three months. He had a stressful day in the office after dealing with an unhappy client and when I served dinner a few minutes late, I sparked his anger higher. Over the course of next two years, I had learned to see myself through his eyes: unattractive, unlovable, and stupid. I believed him when he told me that he was the best I would ever find and that I was not sexy or desirable. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that he was talking about himself, not about me.
I thought I knew all about abusive relationships before I found myself in the middle of one. I thought I was too smart to get involved with someone who would hurt me physically and mentally. I thought I knew what to look for and that it would be so obvious that I needed to walk away. I thought I didn't fit into the "stereotypical" mold of what a domestic violence survivor looks like. I'm sure that once upon a time, I looked down on women who were in abusive relationships and found them weak.
People are often baffled by how beautiful, intelligent women fall in love with and even marry abusers. The truth is that it happens very gradually. It starts with a sarcastic put down, and is followed up quickly by an apology. It may escalate to a kick or a slap, with more apologies and promises that it will never happen again. By the time I realized that I was in a bad relationship, I had invested so much of myself and my self-esteem had been chipped away so drastically, I was terrified to be alone.
It took me a year and a half after before I told my closest friends, I still haven't told my family and I don't think I ever will. You may know someone who has been abused, and you can't understand why she doesn't leave. She may be afraid that no one else will love her. Perhaps she has kids and doesn't know how to provide for them on her own. He may have threatened to kill her. She may be so ashamed that no one knows the extent of the abuse and suffers in silence. He may be someone powerful or well-liked in the community, and she is afraid no one would believe her. Be there for her. I cannot stress how important this is. If you can do this for her, or him because it is a two way street, then hopefully with time we can learn to heal.