No One Knew What I Was Going Through, I Kept It Silent

Dear Deanndra,
I want to tell you somethings that I learned from my experiences with Domestic Violence. I was scared and I was afraid. I didn’t think I had a voice. I blamed myself for not paying attention to all the signs from verbal, mental, emotional, financial abuse to eventually the physical.
I didn’t think that it would happen to me because I was always told I don’t hit women. I love you I would never hit you. I thought those words were true. But they proved false. With all the verbal, mental and emotional abuse, I would tell myself it would just be easier if it would hit me because a scar doesn’t last as long as the words of manipulation did. But that wasn’t true. It started with so much attention from him, he would want it to just be me and him, from the time we started dating. I thought that’s how you get to know someone, one on one, which I later found out was his manipulation to isolate me. We moved 40 mins away from my family, then an hour, then 10 hours away.
I’m thinking we are building and growing together helping each other through our own issues and not repeating history of our parents. But I was oh so wrong. I had always known he talked to me in a condescending way, never wanted to hear about my childhood or past relationships whether familial, romantic or friendship, if he did he shut it down quickly making me feel my thoughts and feelings were trivial and I should grow up and focus on other things, really just pleasing him. It was our 3rd anniversary and we went out to eat. He bought me a pretty dress, earrings even told me what shoes he wanted me to wear. We go out and I didn’t drink much because I knew we had to drive home but that didn’t stop him from throwing them back, I figured I would drive. And he fought me and took the keys and told me to get in the car. I didn’t know what to do at that time? It was after midnight I didn’t have friends in the DC/Maryland area so I got in the car scared we would get pulled over or worse crash. He started to drive very erratically, switching in and out of lanes, so close to cars, had anyone else been drunk it would have been over for us.
I begged him to at least slow down, he laughed as if he enjoyed me being scared and screaming and begging for him to stop. I even punched him asking him to stop but it just fueled his enjoyment. When we made it home I ran in the house scared but thankful that we made it safely. I took my knife out that night and stabbed a pillow preparing myself to do the same to him. He came in and passed out. Which allowed me my time alone. I never told anyone because he used his power of manipulation to make me feel like nothing would ever happen again.

That was the last time he drove like that but that wasn’t the last time he acted eradicate.  Even in that time I told myself that I didn’t want to be a 25 year divorcee because how would that look to others. I’m still forgiving myself for this person I became and being patient with her because she was just trying to survive. You aren’t alone in this, you have a voice, just trying telling one person. If you can’t do it face to face, try a text or email, a DM, a voice message, please let someone know. It could save your life one day. You have nothing to be ashamed of, it’s not you that needs to carry the burden of shame or feel disgusted when they use you as if you aren’t human. Your voice matters.

So I had to learn to protect myself from the abusers that I had using me. I told myself when I was younger knowing that my mom experienced domestic violence in both of her marriages, and that if I experienced any sign of it I would leave immediately, but I was only paying attention to the physical signs.

Telling myself I could endure a lot and not have to show it was me being strong in my eyes. But I knew that what I was going through wasn’t right. So I had to decide for myself if I was going to continue to allow myself to be treated any kind of way and let my daughter think that the treatment I was receiving was normal and what love looked like. So I made sure I could take care of myself financially by letting my boss know that I needed more hours because I was going through a divorce without hesitation he said yes. I also let him know that I was going to be moving and wanted to know if he could assist me with a transfer. He did just that. I then made my decision to leave and it was one of the hardest yet best things I could do for myself. I made my why about my daughter. She is who I looked at and didn’t want her to repeat my mistakes. I wanted my experiences to benefit her, my mom didn’t really talk about the red flags, so I want to be what I didn’t have so it doesn’t have to happen to her.

So if I could tell my younger self anything, I would say speak up for yourself. Tell someone else and tell the police. You never know when the situation will escalate. It’s important to use your voice because all they want to do is silence you.

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