Domestic Violence: When I Thought I Deserved The Abuse (The Moral Of The Story & Help For Other Victims)
Domestic Violence: When I Thought I Deserved The Abuse (The Moral Of The Story & Help For Other Victims)
My beautiful forever family is complete, and our beautiful twin girls are 4 years, 2 months & 4 weeks old.
I had been recommended to see a domestic abuse counselor when I was roughly 20 years old, and I thought it was crazy, but I went along with it. I had been to a regular therapist for years prior, who became a great friend to me. She helped me deal with the struggles of my teenage life, dysfunctional family, bullying and losses. I was open to seeing what these ‘specialists’ if you will, had to say. I saw no shame in having one more person to open up to. After all, talking itself is therapeutic, and it’s hard to find a good lending ear out there, friendship wise. I never saw anything bad about therapy like some people do with their huge egos and massive amounts of pride. HOGWASH! Most everybody needs it at one time or another.
Anyway, I remember sitting in my domestic violence counselor’s office that 1st afternoon. I was slightly uneasy there to start with. I felt out of place. Why? Because she wasn’t walking in my shoes. It felt like she was trying to say too much too fast. What did she or anybody really know about me? How did they know anything about my relationship, what was right, what wasn’t? I was a victim? Me? That was a word I didn’t like hearing. Surely I was tougher than I was feeling like I was being given credit for at the time. Oh how I look back and shake my head at my former naivety. They knew more than I had given them credit for. The mind-set that I had, it just wasn’t right.
I remember telling my counselor about an incident that had happened between me and my ex. I was about 17 years of age at the time that it happened. He had rummaged through my purse, most likely looking for money to take (maybe for drugs I later learned) and maybe to be snoopy also..I don’t know. I had been trying to break up with him at that time (numerous times, he just wasn’t getting the memo), and I had really fallen for somebody else that never laid a finger on me and told me I was beautiful for the first time in my whole life. He became the love of my life, to that point.
The sad part of the situation was that he was being threatened by my ex because with all of the stalking he did, he quickly found out about him. This guy’s life was threatened, property damaged, his car destroyed by a bat with a note saying, ”Stay away from my girl or you’re dead.” I loved him so much that I had to step back a bit in order to keep him safe, but we were in love, and I know my abuser knew it. However, he continued to believe that we were together and always would be in his head. Sometimes I still wonder if in his deranged mind if he still thinks that we are a couple to this day. It wouldn’t shock me if he never truly moved on. He was a true-blue, delusional psychopath.
Let me get back to the story.
Anyway, in trying to keep the man I loved safe in a small, buzzing town, I had to be secretive to stay safe or we might have both ended up dead. (My ex had brothers and a lot of friends in our town. That made things worse for me.) So I was staying at a friend’s house a few towns over. One evening he barged into her home, pushing her out of the way. He rummaged through my pocketbook, as I stated above, and he found a note to this guy in my purse. Before I even got the chance to say a word, he knocked me so hard in the side of the head with a closed fist, that I felt myself slipping in and out of consciousness on my friend’s pull out sofa bed. (I had stayed a few days.) My eyes stayed closed, as I heard little pieces of what they were saying. I had no idea how much time elapsed, maybe minutes or less. What I do clearly remember was my friend screaming aloud and him hovering over me holding my head in his hands crying, ”Please don’t die. Please don’t die. I’m so sorry. I love you.” Not a very uncommon thing to hear, sadly.
But it does!
I came to enough to open my eyes and sit up. I had trouble hearing in that one ear for some time after that, but like most abuse victims, I told my only a VERY select, couple of friends, but I never went to get treatment. Now I’d be running to a hospital, but my abused mind believed that would cause a lot more trouble for me. My friend, she knew the truth. He even came after her once and was choking her in my family home. How many times I made up excuses for bruises and such, I couldn’t even count.
I thought in my once jaded mind that somehow his reaction wasn’t abnormal. I started off my story to my counselor with, ”Well, sometimes I did deserve it, like the time…..” She had to stop me right there. She looked like she might cry. I kept thinking, ‘what did I say?’ She further assured, ”No matter what you NEVER deserve anybody hurting you. There is nothing that you could do wrong that would make an abusers actions right or justified.” It was so impossibly hard to see that at the time. I thought that note he saw was in some ‘off’ way a valid reason to strike me? I still can’t get over that, but that is the way many beaten down women think.
All of these years later my blurry vision has cleared. I don’t understand how I ever thought I could have deserved anything he ever did to me. How did I ever feel sorry for him, and why did I keep taking him back when I was clearly so miserable? I mean when he got me pregnant just before my 19th birthday it was an absolute, clear-cut case of date rape. At the time I had been away at college and was home for the summer. FINALLY for one short, 10 month school year I had been enjoying my life and some freedom.
Public safety was made well aware of my ex, and the one time he did show, they took care of it. Only once that I found out about, but there could have been other times. I felt so much safer, hundreds of miles away from home. Also, the guy I couldn’t see freely had moved there to be with me. His parents coincidently owned a home nearby. It was a love story, but without a happy ending.
I moved back home after the school year was over, because my boyfriend’s parents had divorced and his mom came back down to where we had met. He was very close with her, and they got an apartment together. He begged me to return and I did. Unfortunately, the torment started up again. One night my ex be-friended me, or so I thought. He told me he understood that I had moved on and just really wanted to be friends, nothing more. My naivety made me trust him and those words, and that night I was raped. My beautiful son was a result of this, and I never had any regrets about his presence, for he is a big reason that I am alive today. I’d never have had the strength on my own to finally and fully disappear from this man’s life forever and never look back, which is what I eventually did do for keeps. It took awhile, but I did do it in the end. All on my own..no family or friends helping me out. If I can, so can you!
Sad thing? I never considered my ex as having raped me. I was clearly raped at 15 by a stranger, and I knew what it meant to be clearly ‘RAPED’. And so I saw a massive difference in the situation, one vs. the other. I couldn’t compare the two at the time. I told my abuse counselor about the incident, and she explained to me that it was rape, but I didn’t see it that way. We had been intimate in the past, even though at that time it was completely non-consensual, and I was basically kidnapped (long story), I still made excuses for his horrible behavior. WHY? I never really loved him. I was starting to realize that. I guess I didn’t realize that date rape IS a form of real rape, despite having had sex with someone before in the past. I don’t think that fully sunk in until I was like 28 years of age, with a great man beside me, starting our own family, seeing how I should have been treated.
I don’t think it was until about 31, 32 years of age that I stopped looking over my shoulder for the ex I left behind. Before that I moved from place to place numerous times out of fear, and I was happy when he gave up all parental rights, but yes I still feared him, despite rumors that he had moved away. Your mind, it still haunts you. I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, OCD, high anxiety, Body Dysmorphic disorder. I didn’t get away with a clear mind. I had to fight and work hard to escape the past and what it left me with. The scars. It’s a battle, but one worth winning.
Let me tell you friends….RAPE IS RAPE, NO MEANS NO, AND ABUSE IS NOT TO BE TOLERATED.. NOT EVER! IT IS NEVER DESERVED! This I now know. If anybody touches a hair on one of my children’s heads..God help them. I’d be happily in jail praying the judge had children him or herself. But I didn’t have that kind of family backing growing up, like my kids have. I may have not been in such a situation as this. No, I take that back, at only 15 I KNOW I would not have been in a situation like this. I do forgive though. A hard heart keeps you bitter for life. I have learned to be very forgiving, and slowly I’ve let go of the resentment and pain I once held on to for TOO long. I hope one day everyone reading this can also get to such a place, but do give it time. Time does help heal.
The guy that first introduced me to love, whom I thought was my destiny and my soul mate passed away in 1996. He was 21. It was only one year after my beautiful 1st child was born. It devastated my world because I thought one day things would change and we’d reunite again, but obviously that was never to happen. It took some 5 years from then before I met my TRUE destiny after a lot of tears, therapy and only after finding some self-love, which is very hard to come by after being put down so much, for so long.
With my now husband I realized that even the ‘good guy’ didn’t treat me exactly the way I deserved to be treated. He was much improved, but he broke my heart and cheated on me with a girl who turned him on to drugs. Over the years I blamed the girl/ drugs more than I ever blamed him. Weird I know, but I know that they changed him. I did hold on to him after that happened. He still told me he loved me, and I fought to keep him because I loved him so, but you can’t change anybody I’ve learned, and you can’t save anybody who doesn’t want to be saved. Sometimes I’m like, ”What was wrong with me? I’d kill my husband now if he oogled a girl much less cheated” (and he knows it.) I have had massive trust issues due to the past, but my husband is my angel. He’s put up with so much emotional baggage, I couldn’t even tell you. He’s never hurt me, and I do not believe after 14 years that he ever will.
My husband…he was the one. The good guy, the one I never felt I deserved and even avoided because I guess I was not used to someone loving me so kindly, so perfectly, no lies, no cheating, no psychological, verbal abuse. Those things almost always hurt worse than the fists ever do. They did to me. Love with no strings attached. It may have taken till 24, almost 25 years of age to find him, but now I see….what my ex did was wronger than wrong. It was UNACCEPTABLE!
If I saw him on the street now I can finally say I would be completely unafraid. I’d stare him right in the eyes, I’d not run and hide or look away. I’d feel NOTHING for him! There would be no empathy, no old stirred up feelings, only anger. Anger about what he took away from me and the almost 6 years of my life he stole that I can never get back. (OK, I forgive for the most part.) I am stronger now yes. But if I can help one girl or woman avoid the horrors I once knew and be strong without having to suffer for it, my work here is worthwhile.
As a mom now with 3 daughters of my own I know the signs. And I will praise them every day of their lives so they feel worthy of only good, and I will do EVERYTHING that I can to make sure that no man like this ever grabs their attention. My own mistakes will help be their guide. And my son, he has grown into a wonderful young man who would NEVER lay a finger on a woman. I’m always honest about where I have been in order to raise awareness, even among my own children. Love should NEVER hurt!
The morals of the story are:
1) No relationship at all is better than a bad one.
You may feel like being with someone, anyone is better than being alone. IT IS NOT! I used to need somebody else in order to leave another person because I just could not be alone, when what I actually needed WAS to be alone and get my own head on straight so I could attract the good guy. So I could have time to right the wrongs and ensure my future safety in love. A bad relationship hurts you far worse than loneliness ever will (believe me). God has his plans in store for you. Like me you will find your prince, you just have to change your mind-set around. Don’t look so hard, don’t need so much. You need to find yourself and care about yourself first, in order to have a happy, healthy relationship.
2) Don’t believe his lies. These people are insanely convincing, but their words are RUBBISH!
Don’t believe he’ll kill himself if you leave. (I heard that one over 1,000 times.) Don’t buy into it because he WON’T! He is a narcissist and a con artist. Don’t fall for it please! Also, don’t believe his words, his lies that you can’t get anybody better because you can and will when the timing is right. You are beautiful, special, smart, incredible, desirable. Don’t stand for any man who makes you feel like you are anything less. He’s just trying to tear you down to keep you with him. Don’t let low self-esteem guide you into these horrible arms, for one day you may not live to get a second chance. I almost didn’t.
3) Get help PLEASE!
Talk to people you can truly trust. Seek out a counselor, an abuse victim advocate on YOUR side to help you along. Don’t let the fear stop you from doing this. Like I thought at first that ”you are the crazy one. You don’t know me. You don’t know OUR situation.” They certainly do. They are trained to, and some of them have even been there themselves. I learned mine had been. Please go and please listen. If you have a good family..confide in them.
If things are really bad and you are really scared (I did this once myself) locate a battered woman’s shelter. They will not let him get to you, contact you, nothing. You will be protected. You don’t want to end up dead. And if you are pregnant or have children, which is one of the huge reasons I went looking for shelter, save them. Please do something!
4) Think of all the time already wasted. Time that you can never get back, precious time.
If it hasn’t been that long you are lucky, get out now. These people brainwash you more and more as time goes on, and it only makes it harder to set yourself free. Don’t look back in regret of the years wasted and the horrors you faced that need not have been. Fight now to replace the bad from the past with happiness in the present and for the future, and get the heck out of there any way that you can. Move, do whatever it takes. If you have children, put them above yourself if you aren’t able to do it for you, do it for THEM please. Abuse affects them to, even more than you may realize at the time.
5) You are NOT loved. He doesn’t love a soul but himself.
You are being manipulated and controlled like a possession. That is all that you are to him. He doesn’t know what love even means. His words to you, they mean nothing. Don’t fall for the lines. You need to know that love should never, EVER hurt. Love is beautiful. Love is kind. Love is not abuse.
Need more help than what is written here?
I know how hard that it is…write me directly please. I feel it is my duty in life to help others – firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a lot of years of knowledge, therapy and life experience at now 38 years of age. I met my abuser near my 15th birthday, so it is a long time gone by. Come to me if ever need be, and please do know that you NEVER deserved it. And you are NOT weak. You are just hurting and scared and wanting to be loved. Don’t we all want that? To be loved? You can’t blame yourself. You are stronger than you know, and you by far are not alone. I know it feels that way, but millions of other women suffer along with you. Hang on!
I have more stories than I can count, but this came to mind last night, and I had to share!
Can you relate?
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I hope this touches somebody out there today.
You are loved!