I want to talk about something I’ve avoided for a while not just on here but in my regular life.
Violence, specifically domestic violence.
A relationship I was involved in for 5 years ended due to domestic violence. I was choked and hit. This is something I still have a hard time talking about and something that still has an effect on me. Everything I have written about what happened was written from the mindset of saying goodbye to the relationship. I have done that and I’m now ready to talk about how this has affected me.
The first thing I want to say is I really don’t believe violence is ever the answer to an argument. I don’t believe using physical strength to overpower and scare someone weaker is not acceptable. If violence is being considered as a serious option in an argument or as a way to express emotions the relationship is over. I don’t believe in giving second chances after that line has been crossed. I did give another chance and all I really did was give that person another chance to hurt me and he did.
What happened to me terrified me. In that moment when his hands were on my neck and they were squeezing I knew fear in a way I had never known it before. I was in shock and I became afraid of this person I once loved. As much as I wanted to leave I also feared leaving, I feared what would happen and if violence would again become an option.
I did leave, I was gone for 3 months and then I came back. I let myself be hurt again by allowing him to blame me for his actions, by allowing myself to believe it really was my fault. The fear I developed stayed and it affected the way we interacted, it affected my mental health and when violence again became a way to end an argument I knew I was wrong to come back.
I left again. For good. I thought being away from it would make the fear and the sadness go away. It didn’t. For a long time it intensified, I still dislike being touched unless I specifically allow it. I thought saying goodbye to the relationship was enough to say goodbye to the emotional and mental scars I was left with. I’ve learned it’s not.
I also learned some valuable things about what domestic violence does to a person inside and why so many victims choose to stay. For months after I left I was harrassed and called names and so many times I thought going back would just solve everything. I was made to feel guilty for leaving, for choosing myself. My interactions with men changed, I saw everyone as a potential abuser and expected violence during even the smallest arguments. In some ways I was comforted when a man reacted in the way I was used to, that began to scare me.
I had to force myself to be aware of the behaviors of those around me and I had to force myself to say it wasn’t ok for me to be with someone who behaved in an abusive way. I had to keep putting myself first, to keep choosing myself.
I still am uncomfortable talking about what happened and admitting that it did happen. I hate weakness in myself and for quite a while all I saw was weakness. I finally realized it took strength to leave, it took strength to choose myself.
I’m still learning how to be ok. How to move past what happened and let the internal wounds heal. It’s not easy but I realized I needed to talk about it, I needed to admit it happened. So here it is.