From Being Abused to Feeling Alive Within Me – A Year’s Journey
For an entire year I was in an abusive relationship both physically and mentally. I was young and completely smitten with my then boyfriend, Marcus. I was extremely dependent upon Marcus and pictured him as the Edward to my Bella. At first, he was charismatic, romantic, funny, and exciting. He also came into my life at a time when things weren’t so great. I was juggling trying to be a young mom, going to school and dealing with a lot of bullies, and mostly handling painful family issues along with repressed memories from my childhood that were resurfacing.
I almost felt somewhat dead inside and when I met Marcus I started to feel alive again.
I still cannot recall the initial red flags that Marcus had during the beginning of our relationship; I’m not sure if the signs weren’t there at all or I was just completely blind to it. But he had a way of making everyone like him and I thought if everyone else liked him, they’d like me too. Eventually things between Marcus and I started to become intimate and we confided emotionally a lot more in each other. I trusted him entirely.
Then one day early in the morning before class started I saw a male friend of mine, Terry, down the hallway; he’s been out of school for weeks because he had the mono virus. In good spirits to see him, I gave Terry a hug. Marcus stood apart from us watching intently as I embraced Terry gleefully. The rest of the day whether we were in class, eating lunch, or walking down the hallways Marcus would not speak to me. I felt a deepening pain throb in my chest and almost frightened that he would break up with me. After classes were through, Marcus indicated that he wanted me to go home with him and so I did.
I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know the extent…
When Marcus and I arrived at his house and got inside all I remember seeing was his facial expression, apathetic eyes drilling into me and the slow rising hand coming towards my face. In that moment, a rapid sting cuffed my cheek. My vision went blurry for a minute and my only instinctive action was to cup my face with my palm and hold it there until my head stopped pounding. I became stoic to what had just occurred. I stood there for the longest time trying to grasp the situation and felt somewhat out of my body looking down as if this was happening to someone else. The problem was it wasn’t, it was happening to me. Fifteen minutes later (really what seemed like a lifetime) I started to tear up and Marcus expression quickly changed from indifferent to concerned. He groveled at my feet and pleaded for me not to break up with him. I was deeply confused.
Marcus began to explain how overcome with rage he was when he saw me hug Terry earlier but apologized for hitting me and didn’t mean for it to go that far. I wasn’t the only one struggling with family complications at the time, Marcus was too and because of those circumstances I excused his demeanor and forgave him. His apologies for the incident only lasted a week before he hit me again; this time on the back so no one would question my bruised face.
Believe it or not, I forgave Marcus a second time, a third time, the twenty-fifth time, until it just became routine and expected for me to get a weekly beating from him. The worst part was I didn’t tell anyone; I was afraid they all would turn on me and blame me because Marcus was so charming and popular. I don’t know why I let it go on for so long, or why I tolerated his behavior towards me. I guess deep down I thought I should accept this love because maybe it’s what I deserve. Maybe I don’t deserve a healthy relationship. Maybe I deserve beatings, and constant manipulation. Maybe I deserved to be put down every day and think less of myself because maybe the truth was I wasn’t really that great of a person anyways.
For so long I felt that way about myself. For so long I (again) felt half dead.
In life, most people will tell you as a woman that being married, or being in a relationship, is the ultimate goal to true happiness, and for some it is. For some people, they are lucky enough to have found someone who completes them in every way possible and truly is their better half. But having gone through a violent and very painful relationship with Marcus I have learned that it wasn’t the relationship with him that was severed and toxic, it was the relationship I had with myself that was harmful to me. I didn’t think highly of myself. I didn’t like me, love me, and I might have even hated me at the time.
I allowed Marcus to hit me because maybe his painful inflictions would mask the painful inflictions I thrashed upon myself.
I am happy and proud to say I am not with Marcus anymore. This one year was an extreme and painful lesson in growing into more of who I am. I came alive to realize he wasn’t some hot vampire dude coming to my rescue like Edward in Twilight. This isn’t a novel and my life cannot be carried out like a movie. This is real life and unlike Bella, my dream isn’t to give my life to someone else, my dream is to love myself better so that someone worthy can love me better as well. We attract the person we think we deserve and I’ve grown to learn that I deserve me. If I have a good relationship with myself then I can have healthier relationships with everyone else.
That should be a woman’s ultimate goal: to love yourself. No more teen lovesick stories for me, I have graduated to Fifty Shades of Grey (just kidding).
I want more young women to have the courage and faith in themselves to leave abusive relationships. Please share this with anyone who might be ready to hear “you deserve better”.