Untitled by Anonymous

#SurvivorStories are stories sent in by survivors affected by abuse in the hopes that individuals will get a sense of community and know that their stories hold value and ring true to so many, and for readers to understand the impact of Domestic Violence and that it touches us all. 

The story below was sent in to us by a beautiful soul who wishes to remain anonymous.

I left NY hoping to leave my past behind and start over. Leaving behind my scars and anxiety. Starting over with my little girls. But so far moving across the country left me little relief. I have spent months trying to build myself up, putting on a mask and acting like nothing is wrong in public while still waking up in the middle of the night crying. I am so angry. How can I not be?

He said he loved me. I knew him for so many years. He couldn’t possibly mean to hurt me. I wouldn’t listen to anyone. They didn’t know him. They didn’t know how much he loved me, what hell he had been through. He just needed someone to love him. I didn’t understand that you can’t fix someone. They have to want to fix themselves.

We were childhood friends but I had not seen him in years. I had just left my husband and was moving into a new home when I saw him again. He came over to help me unpack and catch up. We talked all night and had a great time. We always had such a great time together.

After he left to go back home, a group of men came to my street, which was a dead end. The downstairs apartment was empty. They were trying to break in to steal things. I called my brother but he didn’t answer. I was afraid to call the police because of a custody battle so I called my childhood friend. The men had now made their way to my apartment. They were trying to break in. If he didn’t come over right away and ran them off, they would have been able to hurt me.

My daughters’ father was no saint. He never treated me right and used my girls to try to hurt me. Anytime I needed a shoulder to cry on my new boyfriend was there. He brought us gifts and food. He took good care of us. I never noticed how much he was drinking, he would always hide his drinking from me, until one day when I tried to wake him up and out of nowhere he told me he was going to throw me through a wall. I quickly put an end to that conversation and told him if he spoke to me like that again he would not be coming back. He apologized and said he was just tired. It would not happen again.

As time went on his remarks grew meaner. He became more controlling. I honestly didn’t’ even see it happening before me. He was always so sorry. Sorry for telling me I looked like a whore, sorry for pushing me into the wall, sorry for spraining my wrist, sorry for choking me. He told me he was drunk. He didn’t mean it. I just needed to remember everything he had been through. If I had lived his life I would be messed up in the head too. I can fix him. He loves us. He is there for my girls when their own dad isn’t even there for them. Why would I leave him? They never saw what was going on when we were arguing.”

One day I came home from work to find the house decorated for Halloween. “How sweet!”, I thought. But when I walked inside I couldn’t find him. I checked each room, called his name but there was no answer. I finally found him on the bathroom floor. He was passed out, I assumed because he was drinking. He is 6’3″, it was impossible for me to move him myself, so I decided to let him sleep it off… after all, there was an 18 pack empty on the kitchen table and from my previous experience he was not a happy drunk. About an hour later he came out of the bathroom livid that I had left him there. After yelling at me he left the room and came back with an axe. I knew I had to stay calm so I softly asked him where he got the axe from. “I was cutting wood in the backyard all day,” he responded. He then tried to grab my leg and told me he was going to chop it off. I remained calm and got him to put the axe down. Once he was out of sight I threw the axe outside and got him to bed. When he woke up in the next day he claimed to not even remember the night before and that he must have been joking. He loves me and would never hurt me.

Things were better for a while until one day we went to out for some karaoke. I had not noticed that he had already been drinking long before we left because he was in a happy mood. We had a great time. We sang songs to each other and played around. Later on in the night he came up to me and punched me out of nowhere while screaming that I should not disrespect him. I told him not to touch me and hit him back. I went outside to try to get a cab and he followed me. When we were outside he hit me again so I defended myself. I was so angry and confused I hit him over and over again yelling for him to not ever touch me again. People came outside and this is what they saw. In their eyes I was the instigator. I told them I wanted to go home by myself, pleaded for them to not put him in the cab with me. “He hit me, he will hit me again”. They didn’t believe me because all they saw was me hitting him so they put us in the cab together. Once we were on the highway he attacked me. He pinned me down in the back of the cab punching me over and over in my face. I did everything I could to defend myself. I hit and scratched and screamed. He got so angry that I was hitting him back that he held my hands down and bit me in the side of my face. The cab driver pulled off the road and grabbed him off of me and called the cops. He went to jail that night, and of course, after it was all done… he was sorry.

He agreed to go to counseling for his drinking. He would do anything it took to keep me around. He loved me so much. “How could I take the family away from him?” We are a family now. If I ever need anything I could always count on his family as well according to him.

One day I accidentally locked myself out of the house after work. It was late, and cold, and no one was awake so I called his brother to pick me up until I could get a hold of the landlord with the key. His brother always creeped me out, but I was told I could trust him, and had no-one else to turn to. That night his brother raped me. Violence is normal in that family. And when my gut told me to stay away. I should have listened.

At first he was very supportive of me. He was felt so terrible. “Do I see why he is so messed up?” he asked me. How could his own brother do this to his girlfriend? He truly has no one. He held onto me and let me cry. He was there for me, until he got drunk again. One night he came over to my house after drinking, screaming I was a liar. He had heard the story from his brother and I wanted it. His brother never raped me and I am a whore.

I couldn’t take it anymore. How can the person that is supposed to love you hurt you in so many ways? That’s when I decided to move away. As long and I stayed in that environment he would never truly go away. I needed to start over.

I spent months in Florida just so very angry. It was hard to move on, until one day I saw a quote that read, “sometimes you just have to forgive people, not because they deserve it but because they are bat shit crazy.” Somehow this stupid quote sits with me. I was only hurting myself by carrying around all this anger so I forgive him. I forgive him so that I may finally move forward. I will never forget what he has done to me though. Time and distance maybe have covered up my scars but they are still there. I have a lot of work to do on myself but it will all come in time. I have everything I need sleeping in the other room. I do not need a man to complete my family.