Dearest Family & Friends,
I know you are frustrated with the way my life has gone, the relationship issues, the fights and the emotions that we all feel about the situation. I know you have judged me for being in this relationship and are continuing to judge me and lose faith in me as a person every time I return to him after I leave. Most importantly, I know there are fewer and fewer of you to turn to when I need the support of a friend. Let me explain to you how an abusive relationship is, the start--the middle--the cycle. Maybe you can then understand and know that when you say it will never happen to you....that it could.
I was a normal 27 year old woman with the world at my doorstep. I had a brilliant future and so many friends!! Yes, I know some of you remember how I was!! I was so friendly, outgoing and didn't know a stranger--I made friends of everyone I talked to, and everyone I met. Then in walked him--oh my, what a sexy, gorgeous man!
I remember the first time I saw him, you should too, Sue--you were there. Getting out of his car and coming up the sidewalk to the video store we were just leaving. All 6' of sexy, muscular man, tight butt and masculine appeal. He said hello to us and in that second, I realized I had known him forever. We didn't see each other for a few months, but when we did meet again--the earth stopped, my heart was full and my new life had just begun.
We dated for a few months, and what an amazing experience! Meeting each other every chance we had, the butterflies and heart flips when I would catch my first glimpse of him and the kisses.....melted me to my toes!! When he told me he loved me, my heart sang and I felt a completeness that had been lacking in my life. I loved him too and we made the decision to move in together.
Yes, I did disregard your warnings and concerns, you guys did not know him like I do--his kindness hidden under his bad ass outer shell, the sober times when he did not drink and his secrets and insecurities he shared only with me. He is a wonderful, sensitive and very intelligent man hidden in a bad guy image. And I am the one he let inside his shell--I am the one who tamed the tough guy!
I mean, he had his moments, the time I was going to help a friend with his computer...when I babysat a friend's children while he went to court....when that guy asked me a question at the bar....well, the jealousy just means that he loves me and does not want to share me with anyone. I understand that and will make a point to not encourage any friendships with other guys. A small price to pay to make him more secure. And really, I do not have to wear as much make up anymore, I already have my guy--no need to encourage anyone else, right?
He had a good point about my clothes, I really didn't need to wear tight jeans, heels or the lower cut shirts...after all those were just for him now. And yes, after a few months I was agreeing that my friendship with you Kris and Shelly--well, you were single and partying, going to find your new guys--it was not good for me and my relationship to hang out much with you anymore. I had my man. Sara and Kelly, you were married with kids and we had none, so maybe it was time to back off a bit and find others like us with no kids. My brother...well, he was a bit wild and needed to grow up--after all, he needs a woman to settle him down as well, so I will back up a bit and let him find his own way. And still...there were more changes to be made.
After our first year together, I realize some of you didn't recognize who I was, but everyone changes when they are in a relationship. I just toned down and mellowed out. I became a lot quieter...and a bit more cautious. He had never loved someone as much as he loved me, so when he shoved me or hit me it was because I had pushed him too far and he thought I was going to leave. He cried afterwards and that tore my heart out and I forgave him. I hid my bruises, black eyes and cuts from everyone--they did not understand. He did not mean to do this--he was just drunk and mad. His temper got away from him and he would not do it again!! When he cried and apologized, he really meant it and I was so heartbroken to see him so hurt!
Your judgments hurt me and made me feel like I could no longer come to you and talk to you. The words you said against him made me mad at you and I could not forget them. I do love him--he is a wonderful person when he is sober and most of all, he is my soul mate. I started to see you look at me with little respect, treating me like I was stupid and naive. You do not understand that I love him. And I will keep going back to him. You are so tired of the same old situation, words and fights; I am too-but needed your friendship and understanding. You did not have to agree with my lifestyle, but could have just been there as a friend....
He has made himself my whole world, I have no means of supporting myself, nowhere else to live and if I leave him he will either kill himself or hunt me down and bring me back. He has shown me how stupid I am, how ugly I am and how no one else would ever want me. I used to be so full of myself...but now I know. And I am scared. I am scared of the wrath that I incite in him, that I bring out in him and there is no way out. He will find me. I can never be free of him, and yet I still love him. We can work this out, I know we can!!
If you think this cannot happen to you, think again!! These men are master manipulators; they take away your confidence and life so slowly you do not even notice. They are very intelligent and can play you and your feelings like a fiddle--you will not realize it. They will make their weaknesses and insecurities yours to nurture, fix and share--and you will gladly do it, you want to be there and fix the problems. They will isolate you, one small insignificant suggestion at a time until the break in friendship is your idea. They will make you theirs, one small part at a time until there is no escape. They will own you, but you will pay for it.
Do not judge me. Until you have walked in my shoes, you will never understand the glue and the need that keeps us together. The desperation that holds me to him and the fear that will not let me escape him. The years of going back to the abuser, the love still felt for when the abuser is nice....there are so many small but important details that are involved, such a complex and brainwashed situation and the fear that is always present.....
(This is in no way related to my current relationship, but has been compiled by my previous experiences and by helping other friends who have been in abusive relationships. If you or a friend of yours is in an abusive relationship, contact your local SAFE house or woman's shelter.)