My last relationship almost killed me – LITERALLY.
25 years old.
Broken and Bruised.
Everything hurts. The pain radiating all over my body. Like a bomb had exploded inside of me. It was on fire.
Slowly I make efforts to separate my eyelids. My left eye opens. But the right eye – it only sees darkness. Unable to open. Blacked.
Where am I?… How did I end up on the floor… on my back. Paralyzed.
I make contact with his eyes. He’s right on top of me. It’s all I can see.
His eyes are full of anger. His face covered in sweat. It’s running down his forehead. The sweat drips and fall on my skin – bringing attention to the scratches and scrapes on my chest. They start to burn. The wounds are fresh.
I feel the rough skin of his hands – like ice – wrapped tightly around my neck. His grip is getting tighter. I can’t breathe. The air can not escape.
My lungs begin to burn. Clawing at his fingers – trying to break free. Terrified at the thought of this being my last breath. I fight back.
I launched my fingers at his face. My nails dug deep. I was after blood. I felt a layer of his skin being scrapped off and crowding under my nails.
But his grip didn’t budge. It was tighter even. He was livid. Lifting up the top half of my body – by my neck. And slamming me back into the floor.
I began to see dark spots. Thinking about all the things I wish I’d done differently.
I give up. Flopping my arms down to the floor. Numbed. I feel the tears over flood my eyes and escape down the sides of my face. I’m helpless.
He sensed my defeat. He hurt me and he now he was satisfied. His grip loosened.
The pain was crushing. I begin cradling my neck. Struggling to breathe. Coughing. My lungs relieved.
But He was still over me. His strength concentrated in his hands to keep me pinned down.
I’ve got to get out of here.
I lifted my right leg and forced it into his stomach. I pushed him off with everything left in my body. He flipped over the table. Tumbling to the other side of the room.
I didn’t know my own strength.
This time he was gasping for breath. His eyes still angry – but also surprised.
Unsteady and weak. I’m stumbling to get off the floor. Getting help from the coffee table – I was up to my knees. I had to keep moving. I Crawled. Crawled until I could get up. And then I ran.
Not looking back. Ignoring the scrapes of the gravel against my bare feet. Afraid he would come after me. I had to keep going. I ran for my life.
How did it come to this?
16 years old.
We were in love. High School Sweethearts. Prom. Family reunions. The works. We were going to be together “forever”. But I moved away for college after high school. He stayed home.
23 years old.
I moved back home after finishing college. I ran into him at a store and it started up right were we left it. Dating and in love just like we were in high school. We spent every waking minute together. Before I made it home from work – he was there waiting on me. He loves me so much. I thought.
My little sister needed help moving into her dorm room. He packed all her stuff in my car. We drove up. He unpacked all of her stuff and we moved her in. Aww, he loves me that much. He even helps my family.
He sent me a picture of a wedding ring. So that means he wants to marry me. And I realllllly want to get married. Carina Pendleton! HE must love me so much.
There were so many things that I interpreted as love and There were some obvious bad things I ignored.
He accused me of cheating because I wanted to hang out with my friends. But then, he Cheated on me.
He said, “You know like I know that we are meant to be together. Let’s just work through this and continue our journey”
Me: Okay boo. We can start over. I forgive you.
It became extreme jealousy. Hacking into my Facebook and changing my relationship status. Because that makes it real right? And then he’d apologize.
HIm: “I know that I have done a lot of wrong doings. That’s why I’m asking you to be apart of the renewal of my life every step of the way. Just this once. I’m going to church. I’m really going to be better. Insert gospel song.
Me: Nope. This time I’m done with you. I don’t want anything else to do with you.
A few days later.
Him: “Hey baby, I got a better job. I’ve prayed and trying to be better. I feel like God is really with me. And I’m going down a better path.”
Me:Okay boo – btw I forgive you. I know you been trying. We can get back together.
I was planning to move away. I’d told him I didn’t think we should move in together. The rejection triggered his abuse. The already crazy behavior became manic. Hanging up in my face, obsessiveness, bad temper and controlling
It started with what seemed harmless – wanting to spend all his time with me – But It escalated to extreme control and abuse.
He was angry I was moving away and couldn’t have that control anymore.
There are different kinds of abuse. In that relationship it escalated. There were plenty of signs.
I just didn’t decide to see them until it became physical abuse.
Destroying my property. One day after an argument – coincidently my car tire was flat.
But he got it repaired. So of course (in my delusional mind) it couldn’t be him who did it right? Guess again.
He would play the victim. You know my mom died. You know what that feels like. Everyone leaves me – don’t leave me too. Manipulating.
There were periods of time when he was calm. but then it’ll eventually go back to old behavior. His abuse was over long stretches of time and I’d
forget ignore the past behavior.
Even if it’s only emotional abuse. He is still dangerous.
Anyone can be an abuser – I knew this guy for 10 YEARS. He wasn’t a stranger – or someone I’d just met. It can be anyone you know.
I didn’t see the signs until I was physically abused. I blamed myself. How could I let someone put me in that place. But it wasn’t me. He had low self-esteem. He felt powerless. He blamed me for the things he didn’t have and his ineffectiveness in the world. He felt inadequate.
After that experience, I knew I was worth so much more. It only took one time for me to know that – but it was one time TOO MANY.
I knew domestic violence was not love –
But emotional abuse is just as extreme. Cursing at you, possessiveness, controlling, stalking, name-calling – THAT’S ABUSE TOO.. If I’d recognized the emotional abuse early on, I could have avoided physical abuse.
Don’t wait to be physically abused to confirm suspicions. “We accept the love we thing we deserve.” NCADV can help.
After my escape – I have not seen nor talked to him since.
But there are some lasting effects and lingering emotions. The wall that I put up is not just a regular wall. It’s as strong as the wall of china. Stone and Bricks. And wrapped in barbed wire for extra protection. It not only keeps out abusers and creeps – but unfortunately it also keeps out the ones who could love me the right way.
I created unrealistic expectations.
That was my last “serious” relationship. And it
scared scarred me. Effects of my abuse has dictated what I look for in relationships and men. I strongly feel the need to be protected. I need someone to keep me safe. I need a protector. Honest and transparent. I’ve always felt like a damsel in distress – in need of someone to come rescue me. I had trust issues. I was afraid that someone could treat me this way again.
What would you do if you were afraid to love someone new but desperately wanted love?
Well I doubled back to ex’s who weren’t “abusive”. At least I can trust they won’t hurt me. Even though they aint sh*t – at least I know their intentions. I was wasting time. I knew those relationships weren’t going anywhere. It was Comfort. It was Fear.
I’m a survivor. It takes courage and strength to walk away – and stay away. I will give myself the love and respect I deserve. I’ve let those wounds heal and I opened my heart again.
Because my heart is open. I am – Loving again.
It feels uneasy. Nervous. Butterflies in my stomach.
It’s one thing to be loved but it takes courage to love someone else. It’s a risk letting someone influence my heart. But I’m trying. Good or bad.
Because if anything happens again and I’m starting to see the light – there will be no regrets this time.