Elena’s* Domestic Violence Story
Emotional domestic violence is the most difficult to identify. I grew up struggling with self esteem and when I came across this guy who made me feel so terrible I thought it was my fault all over again. It was gradually that I withdrew from friends, I was sad, gained about 30 pounds, hated my self, and smoked cigarettes for the entire time we were together when he’d make me cry.
Me and this guy were not married, no kids, and the “option to go” was always there. What kept me hanging on was the ‘I love you’s’ –he would cheat, dated several women, I caught him with someone one time, and this went on for almost 4 years. I just recently decided to end it. I don’t want to go back. We have nothing tying us together but the history always keeps me asking – what if.
He would tell me when I wanted to go out, you need to go out to dinners by yourself, when I wanted to go on vacation with him that I should go on vacation by myself… He’d say you’ll meet someone there. He refused to bring me around his friends, family and tell me he wasn’t ready for that yet. I went on 3 vacations alone and went to restaurants and fast food places countless times, taking his advice. Trying to go on the journey to find what was wrong with me. He’d tell me I was a dark cloud, negative and that’s why would never be and a day later tell me he cares and loves me. He was hurt by his first girlfriend and that she’s the reason he can’t get it together. He’d promise me trips, dates, a baby together and each time he said this I thought it would be in the near future. Thinking ‘It’s been bad but this will turn out’.
Last January I made a promise to focus on myself. I lost the weight last year and have higher self esteem. A workout can do countless things for you outside you liking the scale. I started to challenge him and his actions.He’d play tricks on my questions were he would make me feel guilty to have even brought it up. And I got to the point that even with a clear mind, better self image- there’s no changing this guy. A few days ago, I told him this was enough. Walking away from this although hard is the best thing for me. No more.
I watched my mom go through physical abuse my entire life. I grew up with my mind made up, this won’t ever be me. But emotional abuse is so hard to pinpoint when you yourself struggle with what you are worth and think you deserve. I think we make it more complicated by saying ‘maybe its me’ if he makes you cry, if he can’t make you number one, if he can’t tell anyone about you, if he never takes you out, if you only see him 3 times a month for a date that turns to just sex, if…. I can go on for ever. I hope some of these signs help someone out there identify that they themselves also deserve better. Me – I’m trying to stay strong, someone pray for us.