I can’t believe it has been 15 years since I meet him. There are days it feel like it was just yesterday. I knew his past – his Dad killed himself when he was young and he rebelled. He still did things that you would expect a troubled youth to do, but that stuffed seemed to stop once we started dating.

I can’t really complain about the first year and a half of the 3 years we were together. We were a normal, young couple in love. Everyone thought we were a happy couple. Then I got pregnant. It wasn’t planned, but I was young and “thought” I was in love.

That’s when you started telling me how worthless I was. It’s also when you started to hit me. A punch in the arm here. A shove there. Then you started with my stomach. Told me I was stupid and I wasn’t going to have this baby. You forced me to have an abortion, which in hindsight I am glad I did, mainly because I think if I had carried this baby longer, You would have made sure it didn’t survive.

I was no longer allowed to see my friends. I feel into a deep depression and was heart-broken when you broke up with me. What to do with all of this new found freedom? Take a trip with my BFF of course!  Well, once you got wind of that, you had to have me back. Could it be the rumor that I was planning on moving with her to Florida, start a new life? Foolishly I agreed to meet you for lunch. I let you make me think you were truly sorry and wanted me back.

Things only got worse.  I had a curfew, had to sneak out to be with my friends, could only do what you wanted me to do. The beatings and verbal abuse got much worse the second time around. I remember the time I picked you up from work at one in the morning in the city and you beat me in my own car because I was listening to a mix tape of songs that my favorite cover band played. A stranger came up to the window as you were banging my head into the car window. He said he was calling the cops and told me to get out of the car, that he’d help me. You stopped hitting me long enough for me to drive away, only to start punching me in the legs the whole ride home.

If I loved you enough, you’d stop, I told myself. You told me how much you loved me.

You were only doing this because it’s what your Dad did to your Mom.

I started sneaking out to go out with one of my BFFs. I started having fun again, feeling like myself again. I cheated on you.  I found a great guy, at my favorite hangout, who I had known since high school.  He worshiped me. He told me how smart, beautiful and fun I was. It gave me my confidence back.

I got the nerve to leave you. I made sure to do it when everyone was home at your Mom’s house.You proposed to me, told me you’d already asked your Mom for her engagement ring your Dad had given her. I took all my stuff out of her house and moved right in with my new boyfriend. I lived 10 minutes from you for 3 years and you never knew.

To this day I live with the scars you left me, physically and emotionally. I have been on and off anti-depressants for 10 years. I have panic attacks when I am reminded of a bad beating. I freak out when my husband tries to kiss me (like if I am leaning up against the counter & he blocks my way out). I feel trapped, yet I know he would NEVER lay a hand on me.

Luckily I found REAL love with my husband. I told him EVERYTHING you did to me and he still loves me. I am damaged goods, but he loves me anyway. You told me if I left you NO ONE would want me. I can count on one hand the number of people who know what you did to me, but I need to get it all out.

I was a silly, young girl who believed I could change you. I now know, that you were the one who changed me. Not because you loved me, because what we had WASN’T love.

You made me stronger, no I made me stronger.

I survived the hell you put me through.