The panel on Wednesday was very difficult for me. For one, my bestfriend was pouring her heart out to everyone. She has shared her past with me several times and every time my heart breaks for her, but her being so open and vulnerable to essentially a room full of strangers...the only word I can use to describe how I felt was proud. Spreading awareness about this topic has only helped her to continue to heal and re-recognize her self-worth. Thank you all for making her feel so comfortable, she was very nervous to share her story and I am thrilled that It went so smoothly for her.
I myself was in an abusive relationship. I met him in class several semesters ago and everything seemed "normal" about him. Reflecting on it now, I know nothing was normal. He was very good at manipulating me and making me feel like less without using the typical abusive language. After a while he convinced me that all of the things that I loved: school, friends, family, exercising, eating healthy, my job, my organizations, were all unimportant. "If you love me why wont you spend time with me?" was his favorite thing to say to guilt me into doing what he wanted. During the entirety of our relationship he was physical three times. He was much more of an emotional abuser, which from my experience was far worse and left me with more damage than the physical altercations ever did.
(I am going to share my final altercation with him that will discuss a miscarriage. If any of you are going through this now or have in the past and are still grieving, please feel free to close out this blog.)
When I found out I was pregnant I was terrified but immediately began planning. Where will I get another job at? How can I graduate sooner? Where will the baby stay while I am at school? Where will all three of us live? Where will he find a job? How is he going to be able to go back to school now? You get the gist of it. Prior to me telling him about the pregnancy we had broken up (which we did almost every other week) so communicating with him was even harder. When I was able to speak with him in person about the pregnancy he broke me down to nothing. He told me about how he was going out smoking and drinking and how he had a date planed the week after we split and how he had a drug dealer and that since I left him, "He was finally getting his life together." He told me that there was no way that he would be able to support "the kid" and that he did not want a kid with someone he did not love.
The digs kept going for hours and somehow we both decided to just sleep on it and discuss it in the morning. Despite him expressing his hate for me he was more than okay with taking advantage of me that night and of course, me still being so blinded by love, I allowed it. After it was over I remember feeling so worthless, he wanted nothing to do with me or my child but he was perfectly fine using me sexually. I got out bed and told him to leave, when he refused, I pushed his chest and said that I would call the cops if he did not get out. He pushed me to the ground scrapping my arm on my dresser and rolling my ankle on the way down. When I was on the ground he made a kicking motion towards my stomach but I was able to stop him before he did. I don't know what came over me at that point but I started fighting back, I pushed him several times and slapped him across the face screaming, "Get out!" Unfortunately his strength out weighed mine and he ended up punching me and hitting my head against the door. Once I was on the ground again he left. It was the first time I had ever fought back and was too scared to call the cops because I did. 6 days passed and I bled every one of those days, I knew what was happening but I was too scared to face it, especially alone. I called him and let him know that I thought I was miscarrying and he said he would pack a bag and come over. Hours passed and I never heard from him, when I finally got ahold of him he told me he was too high to drive and that I had to go pick him up, but he "would not be needed until 11pm." Not wanting to be alone I listened. When we were at my apartment he was surprisingly caring...now I know it was because he thought the "problem" was no longer a problem. I called my doctor the next day and she told me that since it was so early in my pregnancy that bleeding was normal and not to be too alarmed. When I shared that news with him he was furious all over again. He was leaving me voicemails while at school telling me how he did not want to have a bastard child and that I was being selfish for not considering other options besides keeping the baby. I had not told anyone else about my pregnancy so I was essentially going through this by myself. After weeks of this back and forth with him I finally reached my breaking point and told my parents who ended up being incredibly loving, supportive, and understanding, everything he said they wouldn't be. I went to his job to tell him that my parents now knew and that we were going to the doctor that week. I told him that if he wanted to be involved at all that I needed him to be at that appointment. When I was discussing all of this with him his co-workers surrounded him and began to console him. It was in that moment that I knew no matter what he had done to me that he was never going to take responsibility for his actions and that he would never change. I knew that with my families support my child and I did not need him. Despite this, I still felt guilty not including him in any decisions regarding his child. I tried to reach out to him once last time via phone call, but he had changed his phone number. That was it. It was done. If he was okay with cutting off all communication with me he did indeed want nothing to do with "this kid."
Unfortunately I did miscarry. There are days that are still hard for me to even get out of bed but I am making it through. My mom recently sent this to me and I think it explains how I feel better than I could ever say.
"I know that you hurt and feel just maybe a bit hopeless over the pregnancy, but remember things always happen for a reason. Lets face it, I know it is terrible and a baby is truly a blessing in this world but it is not the best thing to bring a baby into a situation like this, we all know that baby would not have made him change--we witnessed it first hand. The struggle you would have gone through to raise a child essentially without its father and all the while fighting him for who knows what. That is not a dynamic you want to bring a baby in. Now I know this may not help but this is how I truly feel. It was not the right time nor the right person. You will someday be a wonderful mother, I know you will. But it has to be the right time and person. You will be out there helping those poor children who have been brought into an unstable environment. That is something you will one day be proud of and understand that all this has played an important part in the role you will one day play in a child's life. A lot of bad has happened over a long time period and It will take time to heal and you are doing great so far. You are living again and slowly coming into your own. You are making it. Give yourself time to grieve and give yourself credit for where you are now. You are such a compassionate, hardworking, selfless young woman and NO ONE can ever take that away from you. So long as we are in this world, you will never be alone in anything you do with your life. You are STRONG and you will survive. I love you and am always and forever by your side!"
I have not spoken with him in several months and am happy to say that I know my worth, and I do not need him. Although this situation was traumatic and heartbreaking I have gained so much from it and am stronger than I have ever been. I know many of you may question why I stayed as long as I did. The only thing I can say that may get you to better understand, is that when you are in a relationship like that you get brainwashed. You justify their behavior by believing that what they are doing is out of love. For those of you who read my entire blog, thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. If you are currently in an abusive relationship know that there are people out there who understand what you are feeling and are going through. I was fortunate enough to be able to leave, but everyone's situation is unique, always keep your safety in mind.