A true story from an anonymous subscriber
I never understood why someone would stay in an abusive relationship; it made no sense to me. I knew about abuse, had watched movies about it and read books on it. I would sit there and wonder why and how anyone could stay in a relationship that was unhealthy, toxic and abusive? How could somebody be mentally or physically abused and consciously choose to stay with that person? I never imagined l would be in one. In fact, it took me a long time to realize l was an abusive relationship.
Before l met him (let’s call him X), I knew who l was and what l wanted from life. X was not my first relationship so I had broken a heart or two and had mine broken as well a few times. By the time l met X l knew l was done with the games, broken hearts and pointless relationships. I wanted the real deal, a love that was true and genuine for both parties.
My soul was ready, heart mended, career and life was on track and then we met at a friend’s house party. We started talking innocently enough and exchanged numbers by the end of the party. I did not give much thought to it by slowly we started texting and growing closer. I did not know it then but my life was never going to be the same again.
X made me feel confident and beautiful. Don’t get me wrong l was confident before l met him but he had a way with words that made me feel like l was a precious jewel that had to be put on display with armed guards and an elaborate alarm system. The type of jewel that thieves in action movies are always trying to steal. X wanted to know everything about me, my past, my dreams, my ideal husband, family, and future. I painted with words an elaborate picture of what l wanted in a man, for my future and he agreed with everything l said. He seemed like the perfect guy at first. He checked all the boxes on my list and we had a blissful relationship. We were always on the same wavelength and we functioned like one unit as if we had been cut from the same cloth. Everything felt too surreal, too perfect but l brushed it off. If only I had known that this was all a show, you were the magician and l was the oblivious participate.
I started to realize it was a show when the unexpected happened one day a few months into our relationship, you were shouting at the top of your lungs at me, calling me everything else besides my name while driving like a mad person. You were so upset because while we were at a friend’s barbecue a male friend was talking to me. Something l did not see a problem with after all he was my friend and had been my friend for a long time. In fact, we had met at his party just three months earlier and he was your friend as well. It made no sense to me, to be honest, but l was speechless and in shock. I was not accustomed to being shouted at and the reckless driving rendered me powerless.
I slept that night praying that it would never happen again, praying it was a bad dream, but it was just the beginning. Maybe it happened more often because you were accustomed to me or because l did not walk away that night. I don’t know why but it’s a question I have asked myself time and time again. Why did you change? Why did you never seem to be happy? What happened to the man l loved? Was l such a horrible person that l deserved to be shouted at, pushed around, have my possessions thrown away, have holes in my walls and constant broken glass on the floor? What could l do to make you happy again? What would l do to make us happy again? Jesus, where are you?
For months l asked these questions, l tried to please you and prayed that this nightmare would end. I held on to hope like a button being held in place by a thin thread. I never knew what would set you off next, what could cause you to belittle me next or to slam the door in my face. Yet when anyone asked about you and about how we were l lied. I lied to protect you, to protect us, to protect the image of perfect my friends and family knew from the beginning and most importantly to protect me from the reality. I was in the situation but l was oblivious to it. Even now there are some things l do not remember, I think my mind deliberately forgot or blocks the memories, they are too painful and in order to heal l had to forget.
I hoped things would change but there only got worse, when X started to hit me that is when l broke and opened up to my mom. Thank God for my mother. She was the first person to tell me l was in an abusive relationship. I did not believe her; l did not want to believe her. I wasn’t in an abusive relationship; we were just going through a rough patch, right?
So I did what any young women would I searched domestic violence. I sat for hours, reading articles, signs, and stories. It was all there in black and white on every website l visited and there was no denying it. I had been released from the spell of the magician and l would see X for who he really was and for what our relationship was.
Now l knew but l still found it hard to walk away. How do you walk away from someone you love? I knew I wasn’t perfect and I made mistakes too, so how could I give up on somebody that I was supposed to be there for? I would not see a way out of the situation. Things only became clearer when l left and the day l blocked you on all social media platforms so you would not have any access to me. There were no more constant calls, texts, and tagging. It was hard to let it go. To let this magic act go but little by little but l did.
I was depressed for a while and l had to make a conscious effort every day to surround myself with friends and family that loved me. I had to get up, dress up and show up even when l was too weak. I had to forgive myself because l believed it was my fault. X made me believe it was my fault l was being abused. He turned everything around on me.
For a long time, I kept everything a secret because I was scared of what people would think. I was scared they would judge me for staying and scared that maybe some wouldn’t believe me. I was afraid of being labeled the same way l used to label people. If l had never been through this situation l would have never understood. You used to call me weak, but I want to thank you for making me strong. If it had not been for you, I could never share my story so that others could know they’re not alone, and that there is a way out. So thank you, for making me a survivor and not a victim.
For anyone reading this, please don’t judge anyone going through this nightmare or abuse, instead support them and help them to see the light and to break the magic spell. For anyone going through this be strong, gather the courage to move on and you are not alone. You can also be a survivor and not someone’s victim.