Why You’ve Ruined Me: Why I Don’t Feel Like The Same Person After Your Abuse

Since September I have felt trapped in my own mind. My feelings have been kidnapped, yelling from inside my head, refusing to give up, but resisting my constant effort to bury them. A part of me that I locked away in a tiny corner of my own brain and refuse to let loose. I put a smile on my face, but inside I want to scream. I hear the same sentences repeated at me over and over. I start to feel numb when I hear the same words trickle over someone’s lips.

“I’m so sorry this happened to you.”

“I’m so sorry he was an ass.”

“I hope he’s going to jail.”

“Want to talk about it?”

“Didn’t you see this coming?”

“How did you not see this coming?”

Over and over and over on repeat.

I smirk at the common responses to my sob story. These words mean nothing once they hit my brain. I watch everyone’s mouths move but the words hit me and turn into alphabet soup. The reaction that appears on my face is merely the reaction I know is expected of me. I actually want to scream. I want to scream at the top of my lungs until the ground is shaking. But I smile. I smile and I take a deep breath that fills my lungs until I can’t fill them with any more of my warm breath. My reactions have purely been what I think is expected of me. How much longer can I go pretending that it doesn’t hurt when someone asks me how I didn’t see this coming? Every time I hear someone say how terrible of a person he is I cringe as if they were insulting me and not him. Does anyone realize that I’m about to explode?

The tears have built up inside of me like the water behind a dam. I’ve tried to force them out but they won’t budge. I continually sit myself down and try to cry in hopes that some sort of human emotion will leave my body but I can’t seem to achieve it. I sit on the cold floor of the bathroom and run through the night over and over. I play the night through my head trying to spark an emotion but no tears leave my body. I feel a dark hole in the pit of my stomach. My body shakes. My mind is yelling at me to forget about the darkness and pain. But I can’t seem to cry. For months and months, I’ve tried to get this feeling out of my body. It needs to escape but it is continually trapped in the dark corner of my mind.

It is eating me alive and I can’t seem to shake this monster from inside of me. It’s become a part of me. A parasite living inside that I can never shake free. Some days I feel like Sydney and some days I feel like this monster. This heartless, emotionless monster that will never to be able to learn to love. No matter who says the word love to me it slips off their tongue and into a rain puddle. Into a deep abyss. It’s a lie. No one loves me. Who could love me? This monster that’s grown to be who I am. No one can love that. I don’t deserve to be loved.

You convinced me I don’t deserve that. You convinced me love is not real. It does not exist. It is a figment of our imaginations that we teach ourselves to believe in. You convinced me I’m not worthy of it. Day and day again I get beat down. I wait for someone else to care about me but you’ve ruined me to a point of no return. There’s only so much you can beat something up until it’s damaged to no end. If you continually swing a bat at a helpless chair, the chair is going to cease to exist. It is going to fall into a million little pieces. Eventually, the pieces won’t be able to be placed back together again. The chair won’t be able to be sat in. It won’t be able to be placed in a classroom. It won’t be able to be cherished by another. The chair will be nothing. It will be thrown away. Tossed to the side of the street waiting to be taken away. You beat me down to a million little pieces. So many little pieces I won’t be able to be put back together again. When someone tries to cherish me, love me, use me for something good, I won’t be worthy anymore. I won’t be useful. I’m not a full person anymore. I’m only a million little pieces, waiting to be picked up and placed back together to be loved again. I’m scared I’ll never be able to be placed back together because of you.

I push people away because I no longer have trust. You stole it from me when you stole away my confidence, my strength and ability to love. You stole it all away from me. You stole away my ability to feel emotions. I try so hard to feel something towards you but I have no more feelings left in that corner of my heart. A piece of my heart that once held you has shriveled up and disappeared, ceasing to be a part of me. It has left a gaping open hole, that no one else can seem to patch back up again. The second someone comes along with a piece of a heart to pass along, my heart rejects it, turning away and turning it down.
I am happier, better and stronger without you. But something is not quite the same anymore. The part of me that knew how to love and the part of me that knew how to let someone love me. I lost all trust. Everyone is out to hurt me. That pushes people away. Telling people you don’t trust them from the moment you meet them, sends them running. No one wants to hear someone thinks they’re a terrible person when they did nothing of the sort. But that’s what I do now. I tell everyone that they’re the asshole, that they’re the bad guy, the untrustworthy one. But no one else is. It was you. Someone tries to hug me and I flinch, in anticipation of a fist coming towards my face. Someone tries to high five me and I duck in anticipation of a sort of pain I can faintly remember now. Someone tries to kiss me and I fall into their lips, but in the back of my mind, I’m scared. A tiny voice screaming inside saying “don’t trust them”.  A tiny voice trying to convince me that they too are going to hurt me. Someone tries to hold my hand and I pull away, not wanting to be touched by someone else who could use their own hand to hurt me. My body goes into shock when someone tries to show any emotion towards me. I don’t like to be touched. My body freezes and a rush of memories return to the front of my brain. I didn’t only lose my sense of trust, but my sense of security and safety. I don’t trust anyone to care about me. I don’t trust anyone to tell me the truth. I don’t trust anyone to not hurt me. 

So I walk through my days as Sydney on the outside, but deep down I am different. Deep down I am not the compassionate, overly-loving and kindhearted Sydney. I am cold, overly sensitive, scared and fragile. I used to have so much love to offer. I was so passionate about everyone that came my way. Now I’m scared to love. I’m scared to show compassion and emotion. This was a part of me. It made me part of who I am. But you stole this away. You stole a part of me that made me me. At this point of my life I have figured out who I am. I decided who I want to be and I’ve worked hard to become that person. You stole a piece of me that I’ve already decided I wanted to keep. I am no longer my full self and I want that part of me back. I don’t want to flinch when someone moves their arm. I don’t want to cry when someone tries to touch me. I don’t want to be scared to walk through life fearing no one can love me again. 

I am not sure if I’ll ever get this part of me back. The real me may be buried deep in my mind in a tiny corner. I’ve tried to reach in and pull it out, but I can’t seem to find her. You have morphed me into a person I no longer recognize in the mirror. A person who’s left eye is smaller than her right and who’s ability to love and be loved has been stolen away. You have changed me. I am scared I will end up pushing everyone away. But maybe I will reach deep down and find the corner of me that needs to explode. The corner of me that needs to release some deep emotion that was locked away. The part of me that doesn’t know if she hates you or not. The part of me that wants to hate you but gets confused. The part of me that still can’t cry about what happened that night. Maybe the real Sydney will come back one day and I won’t have to blame you for my unhappiness. But for now I do not see the lift of happiness approaching. 

I am not who I am and not who I want to be, but I do know I am better than you and will always be stronger than you have ever been, even when I’m not 100 percent myself. One day the tiny million pieces will be placed back together again, maybe not exactly the same as before, but still placed back together stronger than before. 

Being A Woman: Why Your Abuse is Only Making Us Stronger

Being a woman means being strong. It does not have to do with physical strength, but with emotional. You men may have the physical strength to knock us down, to beat us up until we no longer recognize who’s staring back at them in the mirror. But women, we have the emotional strength. We have the emotional strength to rise above your physical strength that knocks us down.

You may have the power to make us think that we’re worthless, ugly, sluts. But what you don’t know is your words, your scars, your bruises, they make us stronger. The pain you cause us is the fuel to our strength. You knock us down 9 times, we come back 10 times stronger. The more you beat us up with your words and your fists, the more we come together and the more we put up a fight. You’re building stronger more beautiful women. You think you’re ruining us. You think you’re getting in our heads. You think you’ve knocked us down one last time, but we will always come back a tad bit stronger than you.

So go for it. Call us crazy and obsessive for caring about you. Tell us everything is our fault when we all know it’s yours. Call us whores for having guy friends. Call us sluts for talking to one guy, meanwhile you’re talking to five girls. Make us think we’re dirty for kissing someone. Tell one girl you love her, and take the other out to dinner the same night. Make us think we’re not worthy enough to be treated like royalty. Make us think we’re less then you. Make us think we’re worse than you. I dare you.

Because you don’t know how much stronger you’re making us. When we’re 18 your words seem like the end of the world. They crush us and push us down and make us cry into the shoulders of our friends. But once we’re older, oh boys do I have a news flash for you, we pity you. We pity your worthless efforts at knocking us down. We know when you’re trying hard to make us feel like nothing. But we’re old enough now to have learned. We’re old enough to recognize the sad, pathetic efforts at making us feel like women aren’t worth it. We’re old enough to know we are beautiful. We are amazing. We are smart. We are courageous. We are warriors. We are worth it. 

Being a woman means recognizing your efforts at making us feel all these things, and rising up against it. Being a woman means being mature enough to smile at someone who’s done us wrong and then walking away. Being a woman means gathering up enough courage to tell you that it’s not our fault. It’s yours. Being a woman means not needing a man. Being a woman means standing up for your friends. Being a woman means loving yourself and your body. Being a woman means forgiving your abuser.

Being a woman means being a mother. A daughter. A sister. A cousin. A wife. Being a woman means being a teacher. A chef. A scientist. A doctor. An inventor. A mathematician. An astronaut. Being a woman means being an athlete. A soccer player. A volleyball player. A golfer. A basketball player. A football player. Being a woman means being a voter. A politician. A supporter. A protester. Being a woman means being strong. Having courage. Having physical strength. Having emotional strength. Having the strength to rise above. Having rights. Having dreams. Having confidence. Courage. Beauty. Grace. Power. Class. Patience. Love. Passion. Desires. Understanding. Strength. 

No matter what we go through we will always have strength. A growing strength inside of us that never ceases to disappear. No matter what we hear or what we feel. No matter if we’re hit with words or with closed fists. We come back as warriors. We haven’t given up yet. We’ve only grown stronger and more united. Your words and your scars and your bruises can’t knock me down. Your harsh words and scars and bruises and efforts to ruin me have not broken me. They have made me feel worthless and stupid and scared. But you don’t deserve to make me feel those things. You don’t deserve my pain or my sadness. You don’t deserve to break me. I am fearless and strong and powerful and you don’t deserve to take that away from me. No one deserves to take that away from any woman. We are warriors and we rise above anything that comes our way. You cannot break us. You only make us stronger.

She’s been through hell and came out an angel. You didn’t break her, darling. You don’t own that kind of power.

Why Being Your Own Valentine is Better Than Any Man 

valentines

Our entire life is dedicated to finding someone else to spend it with. We constantly worry about finding the perfect person and we sometimes forget to worry about ourselves and our own happiness. When we’re younger we don’t realize that we have to learn to love ourselves fully before we truly invest in loving someone else wholeheartedly. The panic of finding a partner for life sets in at such a young age, when really we should be focusing on ourselves. It truly takes hitting rock bottom with someone in order to realize that life is not about finding someone to love but learning to love yourself. If you have no love for yourself, then how can you be expected to fully love another? Our young lives are when we should be going out with your girlfriends, making mistakes, bonding with siblings and family and focusing on yourself. Once we’re older, we have to focus on jobs and making someone else happy. If you don’t take your young life to make yourself happy, then you run out of time once you do find your special someone. Once you find that person, your job is to make them happy. If you don’t take the time in your young life to treat yourself and your soul and your mind, you’re never going to get that time back. So why not perfect yourself as an individual before finding someone? Besides, if you don’t love yourself, then how can you expect someone else to love you full heartedly?

I don’t regret any relationships I had in my life. They have all taught me so many lessons about love, life, and relationships. However, I do regret being so obsessed with those relationships. I was convinced my first boyfriend in high school would be the one. We planned our future and worried about colleges and being close to each other. Little did I know it wouldn’t even last until Junior year. I invested so much time and effort into the relationship. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re in a committed relationship you should be investing time and energy and love into it. I just wasn’t ready to dedicate that much effort to someone when I was so young. Even my second relationship in high school that lasted until sophomore year of college wasn’t a mature relationship. To this day we still talk, and the level of maturity between us now after taking time away from each other to grow is incredible. We both have taken the time to learn about ourselves individually. We’ve both had different experiences that have changed us as people. Now we have a better relationship than I ever could have imagined. You should never regret your past relationships. They shape you and mold you and teach you. They help you grow and teach you lessons you could never learn on your own. They are part of you, just as much as those previous partners are part of your life forever. Just remember that it doesn’t have to work out. Some relationships are meant to be lessons. Some are meant to teach you what real love is. Some are meant to teach you what real love isn’t. Some are meant to teach you that you still haven’t learned to love yourself enough.

Taking time in your life to grow and focus on yourself is the key to being in a healthy relationship in the future. It is the key to living a healthy life in the future. None of us have found who we truly are by 21. I see myself change from day to day. I see my friends grow and change from week to week. We experience small things that can change our lives in the matter of a quick second. These experiences that we face on our own is what shapes us as individuals. We need to face these experiences on our own to truly figure out who we are on our own. What happens if later on in life you lose your partner? What happens if they’re not the one? You then need to face the world alone once again. If you already know how to face the world as an individual then you’re prepared for anything that comes your way in the future. We all constantly strive to find ourselves, but why not take the time to find ourselves now? We see adults still trying to search for themselves. Why don’t we take matters into our own hands when were young and find ourselves now so that we can experience life to the fullest, forever being content with who we are as a person. That gives us the ability to fully love life and anything that comes towards us. If we embrace who we are now, we never have to wish that we were someone different. Society wastes too much time on our image and trying to perfect yourself. We constantly worry about perfecting ourselves and making the best versions of yourself possible. But imagine how much time you will have to love life if you’ve learned to love yourself already. Love yourself now so that you have time to love everything and anyone that comes at you down the road.

This deep love and respect that you have for yourself will then reflect on anyone you choose to love in the future. If you enter a relationship with confidence in yourself and your ability to love yourself and anyone around you, then the lack of love will not be what holds you back. We’ve all entered relationships that lack so much love. But think back on them now and you may see that the lack of love may not have been with each other but within yourselves. You cannot fully love someone else until you love yourself. So take the time to spoil yourself. Take the time to discover who you are as an individual. Take the time to think about yourself for the last time in your life where you may have the time to only focus on yourself. Dedicate everything to yourself. Take yourself to froyo. Go to yoga. Buy that Kylie LipKit you’ve been eyeing for weeks. Find yourself. Make mistakes. Drink an entire bottle of wine because why the hell not. In the future, you might have to get red wine even though you only like white because your partner despises white. So drink all the white wine now because one day you’re going to have to share that bottle of wine. Take this day to love yourself more than you could ever love anyone in the future. You’re stuck with yourself for the rest of your life. You’re not forced to stay by anyone else’s side forever. But you do have to put up with yourself forever. So make sure you love yourself. Make sure you love yourself with every inch of your being because one day you will find that special someone when you’re ready. If it’s at 20, 30, or 75. Make sure you’re happy with who you’re spending the rest of your life with. None of us deserve unhappiness. So take the first step to loving yourself today. I promise it will be one of the best decisions of your life. Valentine’s day is a Hallmark holiday anyways. Also, go buy some red velvet swirled dove chocolate that will most likely be on clearance tomorrow because why not. You only live once, so love yourself because no one can love you more than you can love yourself.

Lots of love, XOXO

Sydney

If I Could Talk To You Right Now: A Letter To My Ex Boyfriend 

This was extremely hard for me to write. But one of the biggest things holding me back has been the fact that I have no closure. This letter isn’t meant for anyone else but him. It’s what I wish I could say to his face even though I may never be able to. It isn’t going to be the closure I need to move on, but it’s better than nothing. So here it goes.

Dear Jeff,

If I was writing this a month ago I would tell you that I hate you. I would be telling you that you’ve ruined everything. You ruined my senior year of college. You ruined my grad school applications. You ruined my eye. You ruined my ability to ever trust someone. I’d tell you how much I’ve been in a fog. How many times I wake up from having nightmares about you every morning before I leave the house and think about your crazed face all day. In class my head feels like it’s inside of giant grey cloud. Everyone around me is seperate from my little cloud. They’re all below it, where everything seems so much easier and so much brighter. But I’m constantly in this grey cloud. Some days it’s light grey and sometimes dark. It depends on the day. But I can’t help but feel trapped no matter how light grey the cloud is that day. I want to be down where everything else is but I feel physically trapped where I am. My mind is the center of it all. It’s a whirlwind of sadness and stress and fear. And in the center of it all is you. 

I wonder what jeffs doing right now.”

I step onto the streetcar.

“I wonder if he’s sorry.”

There’s nowhere to grab onto. I wish people would move over.

“I wonder if jeff is thinking about me.”

I get off the streetcar.

“I wonder if jeff is angry.”

I hate walking through crowds.

“What would have happened if I wouldn’t have gotten hit by him that night.”

I walk between student after student trying not to bump into anyone.

“I miss him singing musicals in the car.”

I hate passing by his old dorm. Brings back so many good memories.

” I miss him laughing at my jokes.”

That girls shorts are so short and it’s cold out how is she not freezing.

“I miss him holding me at night.”

I sit down at my desk and try to organize all of my pens.

“What if he never gets charged with anything??”

I need to pay attention today I NEED to do good in school. I can’t get distracted.

“Should I even be mad at him? Yea I should…he’s bad, terrible stop thinking about the good memories. Think about the bad. The bad times.”

For a second I remember that I’m in class and I need to focus. I try really hard to bring my mind back to the present. It’s so  hard to get out of my little cloud filled of you.

You’ve ruined every day of my life since that night. I don’t even feel like a human being anymore. One of the worst parts is that I still don’t know what happened. I don’t know why you hit me and that haunts me everyday. I don’t remember what I said. I don’t remember what you said. I don’t remember you hitting me. But I do remember trying to protect you. Begging them not to arrest you. Begging them to not tell anyone. I tried to protect you. And I will never know why I got hit in the first place. My story is a blury, cold night filled with black holes of empty time. I have no last memory of you. I have no closure. I have no idea if you’re sorry or not. I don’t know what you did that night. I don’t know where you went. I don’t know what you were thinking the next morning. I will never know. And I will have to live with that following me for the rest of my life.

I won’t have answers. And that’s your fault. This is all your fault. It’s yours. Not mine. I can finally say that with a hundred percent confidence that it had nothing to do with me. I may have not been the perfect girlfriend all the time, but I was pretty damn special. I bought you food when you couldn’t afford to eat. I cooked you dinner even after I got home from school and work. I did your laundry. I drove you everywhere. I took you on a family trip. I bought you clothes because you told me how sad you were that you didn’t have enough money to buy anything new since high school. I wrote you letters. I did your homework. I read over your essays. I always gave you massages after you had a long week. I went to all of your dance shows, three times a week. I paid for so much of your stuff. I tried to get you help for your emotional problems. I tried so hard. I did so much for you. So so much. And look where I’ve ended up. Look at what you’ve done to me after everything I’ve done for you. How? How could you have done this? I’m still trying to understand but can’t seem to wrap my head around it.

Are you sorry? Are you sorry for telling me how much you loved me. Are you sorry for building up dreams inside my head about are future. Are you sorry for all the money I wasted on you. Are you sorry for how much I spent trying to make you happy. Are you sorry for how much pain you put me through? Do you even know what you’ve put me through? Or do you think you’ll get away with it? Do you think it’s my fault? Do you think you didn’t do anything wrong? Or do you know? I hope you know how much wrong you did. I hope you know just how much you’ve ruined me.

But I didn’t write this letter a month ago. I’m writing it now. And now I’ve worked through this. Now I feel human again.

Now this isn’t your fault. But I haven’t felt human in years. My anxiety has weighed me down for most of my life. The cloud above my head used to not be filled of you. But was filled with irrational worries and fears. I’ve done bad in school and stopped trying to make myself happy. I can’t remember the last time I haven’t felt like my head was inside this cloud. While I was convinced you had ruined my life I was scared to drive in the car because all I could think about was how easy it would be to crash it. How easy it would be to turn the steering wheel a bit too far and drive off the side of the road. I secretly hoped the car that almost hit me had hit me. How easy it would be to finish all of my pills at once. How easy it would be to not wake up in the morning. How nice it would be to get rid of all the thoughts of you that had ever existed. All the bad memories and the good memories would just be gone. But about two months after I was convinced you had sent me into my last downward spiral of my life, I finally got rid of that cloud.

Thanks to you almost ruining me for good, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. I have never felt so alive. I wake up happy in the morning. I go to yoga by myself, for myself. Remember how we wanted to meditate and work on ourselves? Yea well I fucking did it without you. I take a bath every night and go to bed feeling happy and relaxed. I can actually fall asleep before 2am. I don’t stay up late at night worried to see your face in my dreams. I don’t go to bed panicking about school. My planner is organized for once in my life. I’ve been doing all of my homework and go to all of my classes. I actually wake up for class. I know what’s happening in class. I put my phone away and pay attention and enjoy it. I go to work and love it. I love working with my student. I care about those kids and it makes the hours fly by. I enjoy life more than I ever have before. I workout, I eat healthy. I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt like I was out of my grey cloud and down on the ground where everyone else is. I feel like everyone else for once in my life. And you cause that.

Instead of thinking you ruined me I can say that you brought me out of my cloud. I’m finally fucking human again thanks to you. I feel normal again. I feel whole again. I feel happy again. I’m close to my friends again. I don’t want to sit in my room alone. I go out and make myself happy. I finally can focus on myself. I don’t focus on anyone else’s happiness as much as I now focus on mine. It’s about me. And I’m so glad I FINALLY realized this. And it’s because of you! So thank you jeff. Thank you for bringing me back down to my lowest point in my life because if I had never gone that low, I would never know how to pull myself out. Way out. Out of the darkest and worst parts of my entire life. Not just the areas you impacted, but my anxiety in general. I can finally say I feel human again and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve never been this happy. And it’s not a lie. It’s not a fake feeling. It’s real. So thank you jeff. Thank you for bringing me down to my lowest point. But thank you for teaching me what real love is and what love isnt. Thank you for teaching me that I need to love myself more than anyone else. Thank you for teaching me not to give too much to someone, because they can turn against you in two seconds. Thanks for always telling me that we’re going to change the world. Because now I know that I can change the world. Not you. Just me. You promised me we were going to change the world together. But now I’m going to do it Jeff. I’m going to impact people in ways you could never imagine. Look how far I’ve already come. Take that.

I forgive you for what you did to me. Because look at what it’s done to me. I’m finally me. So I wish you the best in your future endeavors. Not sure how many future endeavors will be possible for you, but I do wish you luck. I wish for you to find the happiness I’ve found. I wish for you to find help and peace. I hope you find someone in the future to love as much as I loved you. I hope you learn from this what love is, and how to love wholeheartedly. I hope that girl gets treated as a princes. I hope you think back to this point in your life and learn so much from it. You do deserve happiness. I wish that you find it. But you do need help before you find it. And I hope you can realize that you need that help. Please get it. For you too can change the world in your own way. But for now I’m going to focus on my own happiness and be glad that I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s. Thanks for everything you’ve done for me. And thank you for pulling me out of my cloud. I’ll forever be grateful for how much you’ve ruined me because without that, I wouldn’t finally be me again. So as much as you’ve thought you’ve brought me down, you can never bring me down again.

You maybe tried to bring me down. But I’ve never been higher. Sucks to know that, doesn’t it?

“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.”

Gaby’s Story

I was a senior in high school and my parents had recently gotten divorced. I came from a good home in Southern California. My dad was a stock broker and had always provided for us and my mom stayed at home, and I had never once doubted I was loved. Unfortunately, things quickly changed once they split up. My dad turned to drugs and my mom was emotionally unavailable most of the time. Socially, I had a good group of friends. I was on the cheer team but I had always felt like the ugly one. I was bigger and most of my core group of girls were insanely funny and pretty. I had guys like me, but it wasn’t like my friends, where guys were chasing them. So low and behold my excitement when we get new neighbors next door who happen to have a son my age. We kind of just admired each other from afar at first. He would drive by fast in his huge truck and I would make any excuse to walk to the mailbox or be outdoors which is totally unlike me. As my dad and his mom became friends we started to see more of each other. He would come over and watch movies or we’d all have dinner together. I’d fall asleep on the couch and he would cover me with a blanket and rub my back. We made out a little and stuff but it was mostly being there for each other when we both had no one. However, the reality was I really didn’t know him very well. I had never met any of his friends, seen how he was socially, or any “normal” things people get a chance to observe in a relationship. I knew he had a really rough childhood, his mother was an alcoholic and his father wasn’t in this picture. He didn’t graduate high school, slept a majority of the day and played video games all night…he also smoked weed and relied heavily on Xanex. I didn’t care though, it was someone who liked me and listened to me and at that time I needed that. Eventually we started a seriously dating. I had never had a boyfriend before so I was unaware what was normal and what was not. He never came off as abusive at first, in fact I don’t even remember arguing ever. I do remember the first time he hit me though. We were sitting in his truck after running errands and I made a joke about how his big truck was “making up for something”, I was clearly kidding but he didn’t take it that way. He looked at me and slapped me across the face, hard. I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. I got out of the car and went into my room and the next morning there was roses and a card waiting. Like there always was, and I forgave him. What else was I supposed to do? He was all I had in my wildly unstable world. The next 3 years was quite a blur, I can honestly say when things like this happen you become so emotionally destroyed and find yourself blocking memories out. I don’t remember specific details of everything but I do remember how it felt. To feel like if I lost him I had nothing. How he must care about me even though he hurt me, how he needed help and I could “fix” him. Over the course of this “project” I got choked, I got hit, I got bit, scratched, kicked in the stomach, pinched etc. One of the last fights I remember was when he refused to wake up for Father’s Day brunch. We HAD to leave or we would be late and I didn’t want to risk that, let alone he didn’t even want to go. He was complaining about wanting to smoke weed and not having any money. He looked at me and asked me dead serious to steel money from my dad over lunch and bring it back for him. I simply told him he was crazy and walked out. I was so furious that A) he was making me late to this lunch B) that he wasn’t coming and C) that he was just an idiot. I walked out and I told one of his family friends that was staying at the house what had just happened. As I proceeded to walk out the front door he comes up and grabs me and says ” Did you just tell her what I asked you” and I bluntly admitted I did. He punched me in the face, grabbed my over night bag and ran into the street throwing my stuff everywhere. I picked it all up while he stood over me yelling. I got into my car and he rammed his knee into my car door, leaving a lovely $1,000 dent. After this things took a downwards turn for him. We had not spoken in a few days and his mom called me crying saying “he’s lost it, we lost him”. His sister explained he must have done something drug related, he was in the street naked and crying, saying he was in heaven. They called 911 and he was placed on a 5150 and stayed for about a week at the hospital. I came to visit one, he was beyond out of it, trying to leave and saying I was an angel there to take him. It turns out he had been taking 4 times his dose of Xanex and decided one day to stop cold turkey. Withdrawing off something like that and not being careful can make you exhibit signs of schizophrenia. I didn’t go back and visit, even though he put me through so much pain its still hurtful to see someone you love suffering. After he got out he was never the same, I went over a week or so later and went to lunch with him and his mom. He stopped the car on the middle of Sepulveda Blvd in Los Angeles and told us he was going to kill us. We had to pin him down and take the keys and he ran into the street sobbing. I told his mom I was sorry and I couldn’t do it anymore. I left and never saw him again. I don’t know that I have ever really faced what happened, sure I’ve talked about it in therapy often, but it still dangles over me like a bad dream. I think of him almost every day and how different my life is now because of that. If there is anything I want to share its that you cannot fix anyone. If you are being treated poorly you need to know you deserve better. We are all human and deserve the love and respect we give. XO, Gaby

Brittany’s Story 

Brittany has always been the friend you go to when you need anything in my sorority. No matter what it is, what time of day it is, she’ll be there for you in two seconds. I think I speak for most people in my sorority when I say she is a strong soul. She’s independent and radiates confidence wherever she goes. She was there for me when I went through everything with my ex and I know she’ll be there for me for anything I need in the future. That’s why when she messaged me with the idea to publish other people’s stories and told me she was willing to share hers I was shocked. I had always looked up to her and her bravery and confidence and never knew anything like this had happened to her. It just goes to show how well victims can hide their stories. We don’t mean to hide it from anyone we love, but damn is it hard to finally share.

I am so proud of your bravery and am so lucky to have a sister like you in my life Brittany. Thank you for sharing your story. We’re not alone and I know we’ll continue to spread awareness and strength to other victims. XOXO

I wanted a boyfriend so badly when I got to college, and despite all my friends and new sorority sisters telling me not to, I got a boyfriend my freshman year. We met through my friend from home, whom I’m still close to, and we started talking the first week of college. We started dating a few weeks later.
He was charming, to say the least. I fell asleep while we were watching a movie in his dorm room one night and he didn’t wake me. He set an alarm so I could wake up and get back to my dorm before my 9am, and then he walked me to my dorm across campus from his. He was funny and he made me feel secure, which is special when you’re in a new unfamiliar place.
About two months later, I turned 18. I was still a virgin, and I wanted to keep it for someone special (like everyone else). It was my birthday, and we had never really argued. We’ve had moment where we got annoyed with each other or whatever, but nothing major. My parents were in town and I wanted them to meet him. We all went to dinner for my birthday, but afterwards, I wanted to go out with my friends to the frats. I had told him the plan days before, but when the time came to go out he got upset with me. He kept saying how I was chasing my friends over him and I just wanted to go flirt and make out with other guys. I reassured him that it wasn’t like that, and that I just wanted to have fun on my birthday. He said it was fine, so I got ready for my night out and before I left, I went to say good bye to him. He closed the door and locked it, and told me how much he loved me and cared about me and told me to text him if I needed him. Then he started to tell me how I don’t love him and how I don’t want to be with him as much as he wants to be with me. He slammed me up against the door and made me promise I would come in before I went to sleep. I did. I was too scared not too,
About a week later, we were sitting in bed talking and he asked me if I saw a future with him. At that time, I did, I at least hoped for one. He then rolled over and got on top of me and kissing me. I didn’t think much of it because we had made out several times before, but then he started to take my clothes off. I don’t want to say I was raped, because he was my boyfriend and I really did care for him, but I didn’t want to have sex yet.
Months later I had strep four times in a span of 6 weeks, so I planned to get my tonsils removed after break. I told him I was getting them out new years eve day – Jan 31st. He offered to fly to Washington from Arizona to come see me and stay with me after. We were supposed to go home the 10th. I got them removed and I felt awful. Around day 7, I wasn’t okay. I was bleeding horribly, so I got emergency surgery. I couldn’t fly on the 10th, but that wasn’t okay with him. We were supposed to go back together. He made me feel bad for days, not that I didn’t already feel horrible with open wounds in my mouth. I took him to the airport on the 10th and he didn’t talk to me the whole way. He left and three days later told me he was sorry and he wished I would’ve come back with him, and then, after all of that he told me he thought I was faking it. After watching me bleed and sitting in the emergency room while I was in surgery TWICE, he thought I was faking it.
I forgave him, we all do. I got back to Arizona and started looking for a place to live for the next school year. I did it in secret because he wanted to live with me, but I wanted to live with my friends. I went out one night and met a guy in a frat who seemed really cool and we started talking, as friends. I came home after that night and went to his room to say good night like I always did. I had a shirt from the frat because someone gave me an extra one. He lost it. He started yelling at me and when I went to walk out, he grabbed my wrist and pinned me to the wall. Luckily my friends were in the hallway and they started banging on the door. He let me go, and I ran out.
Again, I forgave him. A few days later I came back from being with friends and I told him I was done. He cried and begged me to stay, but this time I was done for real. I left and went to my room. He called me and told me he was going to kill himself if I didn’t come see him at his car. I went. I got in the car and we started driving around the parking garage. He kept yelling at me, and then he started accelerating and told me that if he couldn’t have me, no one could as he drove his car towards a concrete wall. He decided against it but he couldn’t brake in time. His car collided with the wall, but that was it for us. He was removed from the University and I haven’t seen or talked to him since.

For the First Time: When He First Hit Me & When I First Thought He Was Savable

I’ve only ever told one best friend, my mom and the police about the first time I experienced physical abuse with my ex. They don’t even know the half of it. That is probably because at the time he convinced me that what happened was in fact, not abuse. Now if you look abuse up online you’ll read that it is “the improper use of something”. If you look up physical abuse, google says that it is any intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body. Sometimes abusive behavior does not cause pain or even leave a bruise, but it’s still unhealthy. Examples of physical abuse include: Scratching, punching, biting, strangling or kicking”. Trust me, I experienced all of those with him and it all started one weekend in Vegas.

The first time blindsided me. I guess that’s the reason that I let it go so easily. I felt that it didn’t really happen. It just felt like a bad dream that I woke up from. The first time was about 7 months into the relationship. We were on a trip with his fraternity in Las Vegas. The weekend started off right away with a huge fight. And guess how stupid this fight was. Insanely stupid. We were at the pool and I decided that I should socialize with the other dates. I’m usually pretty anti-social with other girls and wanted to branch out and be nice. I met one date who’s date was ignoring her a bit and so I decided to try and hangout with her. We were pretty sober and everyone else seemed pretty intoxicated so we decided to go to one of the bathrooms to drink some of our own alcohol. (since drinks in Vegas are $55 for a sip of alcohol). He asked where we were going and I told him ” Don’t worry, just going to the bathroom”. He automatically assumed that “the bathroom” was code word for something sketchy. He automatically was FURIOUS. Now if you know my ex, you know how his temper was. I continually reassured him that I were going to “the bathroom” with a new friend. We knew each other pretty well at this point and I assumed he knew that I was likely going to get a drink. Now when I look back I realize that he probably wasn’t comfortable with it being a new person that I was going with. He, like most emotional and physical abusers, are controlling that way. He followed us out of the pool area. I should say stormed out, not followed. Because he STORMED out after me. He grabbed my arm and began yelling in front of everyone. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I did know that he was going to ruin the rest of my day. He said that I was terrible and up to no good and that he wanted nothing to do with me for the rest of the weekend. When your faced with this situation, you just think “hey, he’s probably just really drunk”. So he yelled and yelled at me in front of all of our friends and their dates. He stormed up to the room and I of course I followed right up after.What followed afterwords was a full 40 or so minutes of yelling. All I can remember from the fight was how much I apologized. All I can remember was saying I was being careless and it was my fault I didn’t clarify anything to him. The girl I was talking to was watching the whole fight downstairs. I remember her saying that no guy should treat me that way. That he was an asshole and seemed a bit crazy. But I said it’s ok, it’s just how he is. He loves me a lot, we’ve just been together a long time and we fight. That it was my fault because I was the one who didn’t clarify where I was going. I look back now and realize that this is how he got me to stay. He would yell at me for hours and I would apologize and crawl right back into his arms. So i apologized and said how stupid I was, yet again and the fight for the day was over.

Thinking back on this day, I realize how manipulative he was. That’s how they rope you in and get you to stay. They find someone who is compassionate and caring. He chose me because I am everything he wasn’t. He was harsh, violent and brutal. I made up for all of the qualities he lacked. I made him feel like he was a better person because he was with someone that was sincere and understanding. I made him feel like a better person because he knew he was with someone he could manipulate. He knew that I would tolerate his abuse and I would be compassionate enough to try and fix him. I fell in love with a lie. I fell in love with someone who knew I would blame myself for his insane and abusive behavior.

The next, and final night was when it really happened. Now if you were there, you probably remember how he was acting that night. He was drugged out and drunk as ever. Nothing new. It got pretty late in the night and we decided to go explore the suite. He ended up leaving me asleep on the bed upstairs in one of the rooms (this may also be the time to tell everyone that I may actually have narcolepsy and that’s why I fall asleep in about 2 seconds). We were leaving in the morning super early and since I passed out without warning we had no alarms set. I knew that we would probably get left behind if we didn’t get up and moving. I woke up in a frantic that morning, not knowing what time it was and scared that the bus was going to leave us in Vegas. It was about 7:30 and I think we were leaving around 8/8:30 so of course, I panicked. I turned to him and tried to wake him up but he wasn’t budging. I continued to try and tap him to wake him up. I was quietly whispering his name when he flipped around in about a second.

Next thing I know I was pinned to the bed and getting pounded on the back of my head. Full fist and everything. I don’t even remember how I ended up there. I just remember being hit. I tried to stand up to run away, but he came after me. I was shoved to the floor with full force. I can’t even remember the details because it was such a blur. I don’t even remember if he said anything at all. I do remember the way he was looking at me. His eyes were wide open and blood shot but he didn’t seem to be in there. It was like in Zootopia when the animals get shot with the poisonous berries and turn rabid. He was the otter. He seemed gentle and kind, but in that moment he was crazed and confused. I continued to yell stop. Stop. Stop. But he kept going. Every time I stood up I was pushed back down onto the ground. At one point I stood up and my knees buckled under me and the world went black for a second. I’m still not sure if I fainted or if I was in shock.

After finally crawling away, with tears streaming down my face, he ran downstairs. I of course, stormed after him.

We returned back to our room in silence, me quietly wiping my tears away slowly following behind him. My head was beginning to throb and my back felt like I had been hit with a soccer ball in the middle of winter. When we got back to the room however, he was calm. It was like the entire thing had never happened. We silently packed up and went downstairs. The entire time I was holding back the waterworks.

Once we were on the bus I finally mentioned the situation. He seemed confused. Like he wasn’t the one who just beat me to the ground. “I did what”? He said. I still don’t know if that was his trick to get me to stay, or he really wasn’t himself when he was having an episode. He must have been a pretty good actor because he convinced me that he wasn’t fully aware of what he was doing. “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m so stupid” “I didn’t know what I was doing”.

I forgave him. Of course. He had a rough childhood, it must have been that, is what I told myself. He must have not been aware of what he was doing. He didn’t mean to do it. He told me it wasn’t abuse. It wasn’t an abusive relationship. He didn’t mean to do it, so in turn, it wasn’t abuse.

But that’s the thing. He always meant to do it. He knew exactly what he was doing. And who he was doing to. He knew I was the one who felt bad for him. 

And so that’s what began my mission to try and save the man that wasn’t savable. To try and save the man who would eventually almost ruin my life.