Hey guys! February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. So with that, I figured I’d open up about my experience as a survivor of a domestic violence relationship.
*Name changed to protect the privacy of the individual. Because I’ve gotten to a place in my life where exposing doesn’t result in healing, that comes from within for me.
His name was JC*. When I first met him, he was SO charming. He was kind, compassionate, funny, and overall a great guy. We started off being friends first and then we transitioned into a relationship. I was 16 when I first started officially dating him.
JC always complimented me and made me feel so special. However, slowly, he started to change.
JC started to become very jealous, possessive, and controlling. However, he would always make it seem innocent. For instance, he would tell me how I should dress and then make it seem as if he had good intentions behind it. He would say in a soft tone, “Hey babe listen, I think you shouldn’t wear a tank top so revealing because men stare at you and you deserve to be looked at for your insides, not the outsides.” It sounded nice, and although my tank top wasn’t very revealing at all since I dress very conservative, I would listen to him and believe his good intentions. Little did I know that it was a form of control that was going to take a turn for worse.
He would continue in his soft tones and good intentions, but he cranked his control up a notch. He started saying things like, “You should do your homework later so that we can have more time to spend with each other because I just miss you so much.” I believed and followed all of his wishes and suggestions. I think I did it because I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. I also had self-esteem issues and a twisted view of love, so I slowly became his puppet.
Then, his tone changed after a few months. Once he started to gain some control, he would then make himself a victim and I was the one who was wrong. JC started to say cruel things to me and started to make me feel terrible about myself. One time he said, “Ally you can’t wear that because you make yourself look like a whore and you have a boyfriend.” He went from being nice, to being rude. Then he would start to tell me what I could and could not do. Slowly but surely he started taking everything away from me.
The progression of his abuse became worse as time went on and I became almost possessed by him. Looking back, it was a lot similar to how addiction took over me too. I remember when he started to become more verbally abusive by calling me names all the time. He literally called me “cunt” as if it was my first name. I was constantly being called stupid, worthless, ugly, fat, etc. The worst part of it was that I started to believe it myself.
Then he laid his hands on me. That was a progression in itself. He would first grab my wrist and squeeze it, and then it turned into slaps, punches, and literally beating me up. I remember the humiliation that he would cause me. I hid the abuse, just like I hid drug abuse when I went through that too. I didn’t want anyone to know what was going on behind closed doors and I was also very fearful of the threats he would make me if I told anyone what was happening.
I remember trying to escape the relationship so many times. I was in the relationship for about 2 years until I finally left. He was the one that introduced me to narcotic drugs and brought trauma to me that the drugs helped me cope with. A part of me blames him for my addiction, despite the free will that I had.
It took me months to stop flinching when someone would touch me and accept respect and love from men and just people in general. Sometimes I still find myself flinching at a certain touch, even when the person isn’t trying to hurt me. The damage that the physical and mental abuse that JC caused held onto me for years and was mostly submerged with drugs instead of healthy ways to get through it. It wasn’t until I got sober that I decided that it was a chapter in my life that I had to address and work through in order to get full recovery from that. It was a tough process, but I got through it. God helped me the most along with professional help.
The one major thing that helped me with this was forgiveness. I had to forgive JC. I was sick at the thought of having to forgive someone who caused me so much betrayal and pain. PLUS HE WASN’T EVEN SORRY!!! HOW WAS I TO FORGIVE SOMEONE WHO FELT NO REMORSE?! However, I knew that I had to forgive him in order to help myself. So I did. I allowed vengeance to be the Lords. I felt so much peace when I truly forgave him in my heart.
They say what goes around comes around. Well, let me tell you, he reaped what he sowed. I didn’t get revenge. I didn’t get payback. I let go of the desire for that. JC ended up having some serious struggles shortly after we had broken up. He had lost all of his belongings, had 0 friends, 0 relationships, and many other struggles. Although I don’t wish pain and struggle on people, a part of me couldn’t help but think, “He got what he gave”. Everything that he took from me was taken from him.
Although I can comfortably talk about the experience I had with DV, just writing this makes my anxiety in full throttle. My hands are shaking, my heart is racing, and I’m sweating. I don’t know why this topic makes me feel this way, but talking about the depths of addiction doesn’t bring this, which was actually worse for me. I think I’m subconsciously still very angry about all that he did. I can’t help but wonder if I would have never become addicted to drugs had it not been for his abuse. I also hate the fact that some of the trauma and damage still stays in my subconscious. I hate that I still fear anger and tempers to the extreme. I HATE that an innocent touch can trigger the trauma too. However, I face the same thing with drug addiction triggers too. Thank God I’ve developed good coping skills that I resort to when these triggers come.
In the end, I’m a survivor. I have to keep the promise to myself to recognize the red flags and warning signs that I ignored if they ever come up again. I have to advocate for myself and most importantly, allow myself to be truly respected, loved, and cared for.