Everyone's story is different. The following is a true story from a survivor. 

I met my son’s father four years ago. When we first started spending time together, he told me about all of the bad things that had happened to him; he had been mistreated by people his whole life. I didn’t want to be another one of those people. I wanted to show him there are good people out there. I wanted to show him I was one of them.

The abuse started early. I thought maybe he was just going through something since he had been through so much already. But that was only the beginning. He would be loving one minute and abusive the next. I was torn; I wanted to leave because he was hurting me, but I wanted to stay to help him get through whatever it was he was going through, too.

He used my fears and insecurities against me. Everything I shared with him he turned into ammo. He didn’t ask questions because he wanted to learn about me - he just wanted to know what he could use to hurt me. Everything I told him I didn’t want to happen, he made happen. And he blamed me for everything.

Every time he hit me or yelled at me, he told me it was my fault.

When I got my own apartment, he came to live with me. As a result of the abuse, I lost my job, apartment, and car. I had to move back in with my mom, and he came with me because he didn’t want to be apart. A lot of people lived at my mom’s house, and he would constantly say insulting things about my family and our living situation; I told him he could leave if he didn’t like it.

But he stayed.

One night, we got in a fight there. He beat me up and slammed my head on the door. My brother and sister pulled him off of me. I had a huge lump on my head that kept growing through the night. My mom cried because the lump was so big. She told him he had to leave, and he told her my dad would have to shoot him. Eventually, his friend convinced him to go.

I thought having a baby would change things. But it didn’t make a difference. While I was pregnant, he dragged me through my apartment, hit me and choked me. His mom never helped me. Actually, she said I should have had an abortion. She thought I liked fighting with him, that I instigated every argument we ever had. I told her, “why would you like fighting with someone when you think they might kill you?”

One time, I was trying to leave him outside of his grandmother’s house in front of my 5 year old and 7 month old. He ripped my clothes and beat me up. I  tried to leave, and he followed me down the street. I asked his mom for help, to keep him away from me or to give me a ride somewhere else but she wouldn’t help. Eventually, I threatened to call the police, and he left me alone.

I felt like I was under his spell. Honestly, I didn’t know if I wanted to leave.

Now, I can see how dangerous it all was. I was following my heart. I wanted him to change, but somewhere deep down, I knew he wouldn’t. I am safe now. Sometimes, he still calls me to tell me he misses me, but I don’t fall for that anymore.

I know I am better off without him.