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What My Abusive Relationship Taught Me

And what you can learn from it, too.

Let me start this out by saying my experience is not everybody’s experience. There are many different types and levels of abuse. But, abuse is abuse. And nobody deserves to be in that situation. Especially when your abuser is somebody you love.

I’ll start out by telling you my story.

I was in a relationship that ended just a few months short of hitting two years with my best friend, Trevor. We were so madly in love with each other, but it wasn’t the right timing. The day we broke up, his best friend, Derek, started Snapchatting me while he was with Trevor, comforting him about the break-up. This should have been a sign to me. I mean what kind of terrible human being does that to his best friend?

Despite the fact that I should have known how terrible he was, I still got hypnotized by his charming ways. Less than a week after Trevor and I broke up, Derek asked me to hang out. I’d been talking to my friends about this the whole week, and their advice was to let him be my one-time thing and nothing more. The reason behind their advice was I was a “little miss perfect” and I never did anything that other girls were doing. So, I took their advice and Derek and I hung out. I went to his house around 11 and we drove around because that’s basically the only thing to do in a town of less than 500 people.

We talked for a while, and it was actually really nice being with somebody who did not know everything about you. After about an hour, he grabbed my hand and held it while he was driving. After another hour had passed he kissed me. A little bit later we made out. While we were making out, I stopped it and asked if he felt terrible for doing this to Trevor, because I sure as heck felt bad. Somehow, he convinced me it wasn’t a bad thing. A little while later, we hooked up. We drove back to his house and sat in the driveway talking until almost 4 in the morning. Deep inside me I felt like the worst person on earth, but that feeling was being drowned by the excitement that came with this something new.

I let that excitement make the decisions for me for the next few months. For about two weeks, Derek and I hid that we were talking. We would smile discretely at each other at school, and then stay out together until 3 or 4 every morning. I kept telling him we should tell Trevor, but he insisted we didn’t. Even when we started seeing each other in public, he would lie to Trevor and deny any interaction. I knew this would end badly, but I just trusted Derek had it under control.

The day I received the text from Trevor calling me a “whore” is a day that I will never be able to forget. Somebody had told Trevor the truth about Derek and I and he was hurt. He had every right to be hurt, because the two people he loved more than anybody else in the world had turned against him. Despite the terrible feeling in my gut and heart, Derek convinced me that this would pass and Trevor would convince us.

After about a month, Derek told me he loved me over text. And I can honestly say I loved him, too. But that should have been another sign. Then he started calling me his girlfriend and, when I teased him that he never asked me out, he convinced me it was unnecessary. That should have been another sign.

Our entire relationship was just as terrible as the start. It did not take long for him to start controlling every aspect of my life. I couldn’t talk to guys or smile at them or anything. Even if I had been friends with the guy for longer than Derek and I had known each other. We would get into screaming fights over absolutely nothing in public places. Let me remind you how small our town was and, because of this, everybody would know about our fights. They would almost always end with me crying. And, if I didn’t cry, he would start crying and say I didn’t care enough and guilt me until I cried.

After about three months, we decided maybe we needed a break. It lasted about a day and that entire day we talked and even spent time together. It shouldn’t technically even count as a break. Except he made out with another girl, Caitlyn. Of course, I didn’t know that they had until a few months later.

When we got back together, it seemed like things were better. We were happy and really supportive of each other and even more inseparable than before. Until we had our first argument. This was the first time he hit me. I had seen him get angry before and he would hit himself and threaten to kill himself, but he had never taken it out on me. I left his house reassuring him that it was okay and I forgave him. I was bawling and I didn’t know what to do, so I went to Trevor’s house and he gave me ice and talked me through it.

After that time, he would only hit me when he was completely upset, but not every single fight. We were happy, unless we were fighting. It was still a big deal for me to talk to guys. And he didn’t like it if I spent too much time with my family or friends. I made excuses for him whenever somebody would point it out. I made excuses our entire relationship.

About another three months had past and, by this point, it was summer time. I had a full time babysitting job and he didn’t really have a job. So, he started spending a lot of time at Caitlyn’s house with her brother. Of course, I was a little paranoid, but I didn’t really say much about it. However, after not seeing each other for two weeks when we lived a mile apart, I got a little upset. On our 6 month anniversary, I got him a bunch of presents and cute gifts, and he didn’t get me anything. He literally stopped by my house long enough to give me a kiss and grab the gift and leave. I broke up with him that night because he was finding time for all of his friends, but couldn’t even spend two minutes with me. It might have been sudden and irrational, but the combination of all of it was too much.

We were broken up for about 4 weeks. The first week I quit eating, cried all day and night (not exaggerating), and called in sick to work every day. We texted everyday, though. The 4th of July was this week and he was with another girl, not Caitlyn. So, I went to a party that night and he was upset, because he “knew” I would be with another guy. Hypocritical—I know.

The next week, I still wasn’t eating and I was purposely making myself sick, because I felt like I needed to be skinnier for him to love me. Trevor comforted me during this time, once again. That Friday, I went to a party that they were both at, as well as a bunch of other people. I was talking to this one guy who I had had a little crush on forever. This upset Derek, so he pulled me away and we talked for hours and he kept kissing me and telling me how much he loved me. But, since I had barely eaten in two weeks, the alcohol was too much for my body and I passed out. Trevor was doing everything in his power to help me, and all Derek was doing was crying. When I finally came about, Derek convinced me to come home with him, so I did. He then convinced me to have sex, even though I was nowhere near in the right mind to make that decision. After that night, we hooked up again on Monday. He was with Caitlyn during this time also.

The next week I took a pregnancy test that came back positive. Derek wouldn’t talk to me though, so I sent him a picture of it. He called me and chewed me out and said terrible things. I decided I didn’t need him and his anger in my life if I was going to have a baby. Not only that, but he had been with Caitlyn and lied to me about it. I quit talking to him. Quit answering his texts and calls. Completely said goodbye. This must have made him realize he had messed up, because he begged for me to give him another chance.

About a week after taking the pregnancy test and quite a few more I started bleeding a lot and I knew what was going on. I told him. He didn’t really respond. He came over the next day and begged me to have sex with him. It hurt so bad. It was one of the worst pains I had ever felt, but I didn’t let him know that because I had finally gotten him back.

When we were back together, things were finally back to being good again. Derek seemed to be crazy about me. He treated me so, so good. I thought we were finally on our way to forever. It stayed this way for only about a month and a half.

I had moved away to college about 2 hours away. He was starting his senior year of high school. We both cried when I had to leave. We called every night and communicated over every form of social media as much as possible. But, then a guy started talking to me and I told Derek and he texted the guy asking him to leave me alone. But that guy wouldn’t, so I told him we could be friends. When Derek found this out, he started distancing himself from me. I cut off all contact with that guy, but it was too late. Derek started talking to other girls and wouldn’t talk to me at all. About a week later, Derek broke up with me over text. I was okay with it, because I knew it was coming.

We didn’t talk that much during this breakup. I knew he was with a bunch of girls, so I just focused on school. I wasn’t going to move on, because I wanted to be ready when he decided he wanted me again. It didn’t take very long, bout three weeks. And he started calling me and texting me again. As embarrassed as I am to admit this, I did a few booty calls for him.

He finally asked me if we could be together again. I was so excited to finally have him back again that I did whatever he wanted me to. I had to be okay with him talking to other girls, and I had to keep our relationship a secret for at least a week. I had to delete every boy off of social media. I had to stay at his house when I visited and I could only see my family if he was busy with something else. I would come home in the middle of the week to see him and completely disregard work and school.

He would get drunk every Friday and Saturday night and drag me along to be his and his friends’ DD. I wasn’t allowed to “flirt” with his friends and it was preferred that I didn’t talk at all. At the end of the night, I would help him into the house and help him take his clothes off. When he was ready, we would have sex. He would choke me and hit me so much, I was sure I was going to pass out every time. He would force things on me that I didn’t want or like. The longer this went on, the worse it got. He would start yelling at me for everything, even if I had nothing to do with it. I spent the majority of my time with him holding back tears. His friends would tell him to leave me alone and that would result in my getting hit when we got home. He would call me terrible things: “worthless,” “bitch,” “slut,” “whore.” Tell me all I was good for was sex and that I would never amount to anything. One weekend when I was getting ready to leave he said, “Well I guess we need to go fuck.” And when I asked why he said, “Because it’s what he do.” When I had surgery, he didn’t go to the hospital and, when I came home, he only came and saw me because his mom got mad at him for not doing it. But I ended up having to take care of him and drive him home, because he was drunk.

Everybody could see what was going on, telling me to get out of the relationship. I would say I couldn’t, because I loved him and wouldn’t be the one to end it. Finally, almost two months later, he texted me saying something along the lines that he was going to breakup with me when I came home next time, but he wasn’t going to be the douche bag who did it over text. He was cheating on me with Caitlyn and I knew it, but I didn’t care. I came home late Monday night before Thanksgiving, which also happened to be my birthday. I cried and begged him to stay with me. He gave me “15 minutes of his time” and that was the end.

We texted each other for about half of the next day. He sent me sad pictures that made me feel worse. Finally, I decided I was done. I unadded him on everything. And, that was it for me. He called me drunk a few times throughout the week. I answered because I didn’t want anything bad to happen to him, because he had told me he was suicidal most of the relationship and was always drunk. On the phone, he would say terrible things and tell me it wasn’t fair that I was okay. Hours before he called me, he would be on other girls' snapchats.

I thought I was completely done with him. But three weeks after we broke up, I found out I was two months pregnant. I didn’t tell him. I told a few friends and did it by myself. Around 3 months he found out and started calling me and texting me terrible things, saying I was lying and trying to get him. I told my family that next week. But I had a miscarriage around 4 months. I haven’t told him. I just let him think I faked it, because it was easier than hearing what he would’ve said in person.

I know I am not innocent in everything that happened with Derek. I should have fought to see my friends and family. I shouldn’t have hurt Trevor the way that I did. I know that the apologies I have made will never be enough to make up for it. But I love a happy ending, so I’m going to share mine with you. My mom and I are really close because of everything that happened and how it made me realize that I needed her. The rest of my family has also forgiven me! I also got my best friends back. Trevor and I got back together! We are happier now than we even were before. He’s still my best friend in the world and I look forward to our forever.

I told my story so you would understand why I believe the advice I’m going to give you. I’m not a professional. I’m just speaking from my experience. I’m telling you, because I think you deserve a happy forever too. It might not work for you, but if it helps one person avoid what I went through, then this will be a purposeful message. Please, if anything, please know that you are not alone.

  1. Look for signs. Derek was a terrible person. He went against his best friend when he pursued me. He continued to lie to him and it didn’t even faze him.
  2. If he gets with somebody during your “breaks,” make that the end. It shouldn’t be that easy for him to move on if he really loves you. Don’t let him convince you that it was just a distraction.
  3. Trust your gut. If he is having to convince you to do things you don’t fell right about, then he does not care about you. You know what is wrong and right. He’s being selfish and you don’t need that kind of person in your life.
  4. It’s okay to fight for what you love, but know when to stop. I finally realized I had to love myself and that was what convinced me to let him go. I’m not going to say I was over him instantly, but I had to continually make the decision to not go back to him. If you believe that it will get better, then stay, but know that there is a higher chance of it not getting better.
  5. Do not let anybody tell you who can be in your life. Actually, don’t let them control you. It’s your life. There is a difference between caring and giving you advice, then controlling you. I am eternally grateful that I had good enough friends and family that they still loved me when I came back to them after Derek. Friends and family are forever. Boyfriends are not.
  6. Love and respect yourself before anything else. I would make excuses for Derek whenever anybody would try to talk to me about it. But, I would know what he was doing was wrong. I would tell myself I didn’t deserve what was happening, but I would convince myself to stay because I loved him. There were times when I thought maybe I deserved what he was doing to me, but now I know that nobody deserves that. You don’t deserve anything less than the best!
  7. If they get with somebody as soon as you break up, chances are that person was there all along. I knew that Derek cheated on me. But, some people don’t know. If they move on right away, that should be your sign that they don’t care.
  8. Stand up for yourself. Derek walked all over me and then turned me over and walked all over me again. I lost a big part of who I am because I was too scared of losing him. But our whole relationship would’ve been different if I could have told him no.
  9. It’s okay to rebound, but respect those people enough to tell them. I talked to a few guys after Derek and I told them right away, “Hey, I just got out of a relationship so I’m not ready for anything serious and I’m not completely moved on.” Honesty is always the best policy and the guys that were there for me completely understood. If they don’t understand then you don’t really need them anyways.
  10. Love isn’t supposed to hurt. It isn’t necessarily easy, but it isn’t supposed to hurt. If you’re crying more than you’re laughing, if you’re fighting more than you’re kissing, you need to get out, or something needs to change, because you deserve better.
  11. When you’re ready, open up your heart again and love even harder than you did before. It is going to be hard. You’re going to be scared and timid. But trust me when I say the right guy is waiting to love you the way you deserve.

I know this is not the best advice, but it is the real advice. I know that if you are in a similar situation that you are with that person because you love them. I know that other people are telling you to get out, but you’re not listening because you’re in love and they don’t understand. I’m asking you to please know when to get out. Please know that you deserve the best.

*Domestic violence is illegal. I never called the cops, but I probably should have multiple times. There are helplines out there for support and places for you to report it that will provide protection.

**The names have been changed to protect the privacy of those mentioned.

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