The biggest question we all ask when we hear that someone is in an unhealthy relationship is “WHY DON’T YOU JUST LEAVE?!?!” I’ve heard “if that had been me”! I remember my grandmother saying “Baby I promise you if you let him go now, you will look back on all of this and laugh”! Little did she know nothing could ever be funny about being hurt physically, mentally, and spiritually!
My friends and I sometimes reminisce about old times and things my first love did out of acts of jealousy and we always say “we can laugh now, but back then it was not funny at all” but as all of the jokes end, I’m left bruised with wounds of memories I really wish I could erase. For YEARS I was in a relationship with a grown BOY I thought I was going to be with for the rest of my life. He was so sweet and caring! He was charming and downright fine! He was my everything! Although this man was not my “first” he was the first to really introduce me to sex. Before him I had done it but hardly knew what I was doing. I was only 15 and was told by the boyfriend at that time that if I did not do it he would leave me so I did it, (well he did it) and shortly after of course we broke up. Because of that I always felt in heart my first love was my “first”.
I got pregnant by him and had our daughter at 16. He was a great father as young as he was. We had our plans and goals all mapped out. Gosh I loved him! But as time went on things changed and the more he said he loved me, the more he would hurt me! It started with cheating, then just doing things to hurt my feelings and disrespect me. I remember calling myself standing my ground and breaking up with him. He could not believe it! As he tried sweet talking me I remained firm and I remember holding our baby and she was only about 3 months old. We were arguing and I asked him to leave. He grabbed me and my baby hit her head on the cabinet. Then he said to me “look what you made me do” and choked me with our baby in my arms. Eventually he left but sadly after a few begging phone calls saying he would never do that again, I took him back.
Of course that was a lie because that was the beginning of many episodes where he would hit me. He said that if he didn’t love me he would not do it. He said that because my father was not actively in my life he was the closest thing to a father so I needed to obey him. He said that he was the only one that really loved me and cared about me and after a while for some reason I started to believe it. Sometimes, I even thought I deserved what I got because I provoked him. Not to mention he had a so-called rough childhood and was mistreated by his dad so I often felt sorry for him. Most high school teens worried about making it to class on time, not getting caught in the hall but my worry was hoping he didn’t come to school mad. If so I paid for it. I could not talk to a male unless it was his friends and people he approved of.
This behavior continued throughout high school and only got worse in our adult relationship. I was always asked “WHY DON’T YOU JUST LEAVE?” However, it was easier said than done. I always found a reason to stay or give him another chance and as time passed, I really wanted out. I would leave but he would always find me. Soon I became afraid. He told me that if I left him again he would hurt me and if I was with another man he would hurt him too. He always kept his promises. One of his favorite lines was he “always wins!” And he did! There were times when he would fight me and my friends and family would hear me screaming. Or they would catch him fighting me and call the police. But, by the time he would give his side of the story, they would tell me I was lucky to have a man who cared the way he did. He was then the victim; a hardworking young man only trying to take care of his family and I was just a jealous girlfriend. He was very manipulative. He told me that I was trying to break up our family and because we had a child together, I had no choice but to only be with him. It was OK if he slept with other girls. Some I was even friends with and a few I was VERY CLOSE friends with. He once attempted to rape one of my best friends when she denied him (because NO ONE tells him no). Afterward he told me she was a whore and I could no longer be around her. He said if he caught me talking to her it would not be good!
Sometimes I wonder how I made it out. Nine and a half years and even after I thought I made it out he still had a major strong hold over me. I was still fearful of him but not as much as I was when I was with him. No matter who I was with he still intimidated me. He even got married and started a new life with a new family but never seemed to be able to just let me be totally free. I’m 40 years old with bruises still on my face and certain parts of my body, but I’d rather have those over the ones I have internally.
If you know or have a feeling someone is in an abusive relationship, asking “WHY DON’T YOU JUST LEAVE?” is only adding insult to injury! Help find a way to get them out! Some may say dang this is a long blog, but if I really wrote all of what I endured during this nightmare you would wonder how I’m still standing and able to say “Life is good!”