The fear I’m feeling right now, is slightly paralyzing. I’ve been siting at this computer for over an hour, terrified of outing myself. Scared that the ones that were the closest to me had no idea at the time and still have no idea. I’ve carried this “thing” for almost 5 years now and the burden hasn’t gotten too heavy…yet! I’m outing myself today because after talking to someone close to me about the very subject, I found myself shocked that I didn’t see the signs, especially since I lived it. I hid the fact so well that no one knew that I was in abusive relationship for 5 years.
I met a boy and fell in love. He was amazing, he was funny and smart but most of all he was probably the gentlest of them all. He had a rough life upbringing and had several run-ins with the law, but when I met him he assured me that all that shit was in his past. And it was. We spent all our time with each other and eventually built a home together. Like any relationship, we had our ups and down and petty, little arguments but nothing that would lead me to believe that this man would ever hurt me or yet try to kill me.
Fast forward to 6 months into our relationship, we have our first big fight. I’m talking screaming and just all the way around nasty. Well, little did we know that his mother, who was just coming by for a visit, was actually on the other side of the door listening to all this go down. She then knocks and proceeds to berate him for speaking to me in a manner that all the way FUCKED up. She talks to me and tries to comfort me then leaves. You could say that’s all where it went to shit. This man proceeded to ask me why I made him look bad in front of his mother, why I didn’t stand up for him when she was attacking him. I’m pretty sure you can imagine the face I gave this man. And of course me being me, I wasn’t gonna let the opportunity to tell him that he did this to himself pass me the fuck by,so deep in the shitty rabbit whole I went. Well, he thought my answer was unacceptable and that’s when he grabbed the kitchen knife and tried to stab me. He locked the door and stood in front of it,as if to tell me that I wouldn’t be leaving alive or of my own accord. The screams that came out of my mouth scared even me and to this day I’ve never screamed like that, but it was enough to alert a neighbor that something was wrong and the police was called.
I would love to tell you that I had the common sense to walk away and never see this person again, but no. I stayed with him for 4 more years and the abuse became more emotional than physical over time, largely due to the fact that the police knew us on a first name basis, so hitting me wasn’t a smart option for him. I wish that I’d been strong enough to tell my family or my best friend, but I wasn’t. I wish I had loved myself enough to know that this isn’t love but I didn’t. I know this will come as a HUGE shock to those who know me. I know that I do not fit the “abused” profile. I’ve a big mouth my whole life and I’ve always been able to take care of myself, but all that wasn’t enough to save myself from him. I did eventually walk away not because I suddenly gained all this magical insight that I deserved love and much more. I left because I got tired of not sleeping, of walking on eggshells so that I wouldn’t upset him,of not eating, of my hair falling out from the stress of hiding an abuser. But I was mostly tired of having no voice in my own life.I’m not writing this for pity or for closure, I’m writing this because I know that there millions of women who seem to have it all, but are living a private hell at home at the end of some sadistic fuck who enjoys terrorizing them. I’m writing this because often abuse leaves no visible scars. Because sometime abuse befalls the strongest not because they’re weak, but because they’re human as well…
*Illustration by Brad Amorosino*