Counseling dating violence
One winter day during my junior year, I found out that he had cheated on me again. He became enraged as I walked away to my class but he didn't follow me. In that moment, I had two choices: I could either sit there and continue to be belittled in front of everyone because he wasn't going to leave, and nobody else was going to say or do anything, or I could walk out and be shamed anyway because I had given into his threats. As we walked down the hall, he spit in my face, pulled my necklace off my neck, threw it in the trashcan and he threw me up against the lockers. Mine is a story of emotional, psychological, and physical abuse.
After class had begun, I heard the door swing open, which was at the front of the classroom. He stayed at the door and looked toward the teacher and said to him in front of the whole class, "I need to speak to that fucking whore right there." He pointed at me, then he turned to me and said, "Bitch, get your fucking stupid ass out here now." Everybody turned and looked at me in shock but nobody said a word. It didn't begin immediately, in fact, there weren't any signs until we had been dating for almost a year.
I never imagined such shame and at 15 years old, understood it even less. It was those incidents that left long-lasting emotional scars. My story begins at the age of 14 and continues off and on until I was 22.
The signs weren't obvious, especially to a 14 year-old, but it began with him telling me he didn't like the shirts I wore, or that my skirt was too short; at the time, it was easy to mistake jealousy and control for adoration.
It soon progressed to name-calling, insults, unfounded accusations, degradation, humiliation, and isolation.
The first step in domestic violence is to charm the victim; the second is to isolate the victim. I began believing I deserved the abuse, and thought everybody else believed I was who he said I was.
The hell became so familiar that it was easier to stay rather than leave.
I was stuck in a psychological trap and didn't know where to turn, nobody could help me. Nobody knew I had been punched so hard I was almost knocked out.I tried to leave a few times, he would threaten to commit suicide, or worse. Nobody knew about the head butts each time he didn't agree with something I did or didn't do.The relationship took an emotional toll to the point where I was getting severe panic attacks. Nobody knew the reason my windshield had shattered was because he had punched it in a fit of rage over what I had worn to school that day. I knew if I stayed, all of those dreams I had when I was a little girl would never be realized. I broke up with him and moved out of the state a week later.I ended up in the hospital a few times and was put in counseling but I never spoke about the abuse. Nobody knew about the many deliberate close call, head-on collisions while he was threatening to "kill us both." Finally, after almost eight years of abuse, I knew I had to leave. I knew that if I continued on this path, I might never see the light through the darkness. I knew if I didn't leave I could fall back into the cycle.Not because of some fight or big blowout, I was just done. I knew if I wanted any life at all, I had to choose me no matter what the cost. It took many years to repair the mental and emotional damage, but I'm here to say that it is possible.I am not bitter or resentful, I forgave him the day I left, but I knew I wanted more out of life.Although I had been stripped of all remnants of self-worth, I found an ounce of esteem that told me I deserved better.Physical abuse is dangerous but psychological abuse is deeply-rooted.In those moments, I desperately needed somebody who understood.Somebody who could guide me back to myself, my voice, and my truth.But I chose to keep my secret hidden, I chose to protect the people I loved, I chose to find my own way. I found my voice and rebuilt my foundation on self-acceptance and self-love.