Nuffnang Code

Monday, September 1, 2014

REAL TALK: When black and blue are not just colors: A Confession of a battered (ex) Girlfriend

Disclaimer: These are real stories and has happened a few years back. I am now married to a loving and understanding husband and we have a bouncing (literally) little boy. Been married for more than one year and I’d say I have found my perfect match.

But before I have found my happy ending, I was in a serious relationship and today I telling the world a story I kept and as I write this down I  am declaring that I was once a battered girlfriend.

This is a story four years or so ago, and you might be asking me WHY NOW? WHY JUST NOW? But I tell you this story now because I feel I have the responsibility to tell people what it means to be in a violent relationship. It is also about time that I speak more about the experience so I may reach other girls or boys who are or might be in the same violent relationship that I was in. I feel there is no reason for me to be silent anymore, and that my keeping quiet about it will hurt other people or even some people I may now. Now, I am trying to be a testimony that anyone in a violent relationship can break away from it and get their lives back.

Here is the love/hate story:

I met him in as project based work I did back in 12007. I was not searching for as partner that time, because I just came out of a relationship. Then I met him. I did not know that it would turn to anything serious, but we lasted 3 years. It was my first serious relationship.

The first year was not easy, we would fight often about little things. A friend of mine told me that fighting in the first few months or year in a relationship is normal. She said “It’s either you have your honeymoon or fighting stage”. So I thought and believed it was normal and that it will eventually end.

But the fighting never stopped. It became more frequent, more petty, and more violent. But none, of my friends or family knew about it. They never even noticed it because we were happy together in front of them. But as soon as we were alone, the violence starts. It ends, but not for long.

I was a battered girlfriend. I did not receive any slap, or punch or any physical injury until the last week in the relationship. What I had to endure in the first two years of the relationship was worse than any bruise or affliction I was battling with emotional and psychological violence.  

He hated my friends. Well, except for one that he had a crush on. He thinks all of my girl friends were flirts and cheaters just by hearing our girl talks or chikkahan. He would say all of my guy friends liked me even if they were already married. And to tell you honesty I only have a handful of boy friends because I came from an all-girl school and had only a few college guy friends.  He did not want me being with my high school or college friends or even with my workmates. He wanted me only for himself.

He hated my attitude. He had trouble understanding that I was an empowered woman, that I was not submissive. He would tell me that women should follow or obey men because that’s just the way it is. He wanted me to be like that, but I would always tell him, I was nothing like that when we met  so I am not going to change.

But I did change. I had to change and be one so the fighting would stop. I was getting tired of all the yelling and fighting so I decided to do just as he pleases. I couldn’t meet with my friends, or spend time with my family without him, or I couldn’t just spend time alone with myself because I had to be with him. I became a please, I did what he wanted me to do, or don’t do whatever displeases him, I had to accept everything even if it was against my will. 

My self-esteem dropped the lowest when I was with him.

He would make me remember all the bad things I did in my previous relationship, and blamed me for however I was treated back then. He would take my past mistakes against me and make me feel bad about myself.

He succeeded. I believed him. I never talked to any of my friends about it because I was ashamed to be wrong. I was ashamed to be unworthy to him. All our families and friends saw him as the better person in the relationship. They never knew how I felt and the struggle I had to face just to stay in the relationship.

But I did not remain weak. I started disobeying and lying to him just so I can meet with my friends and sometimes even my family. I fought the way I knew how. I wanted to get my life back.

The last straw was when he suspected me for cheating...with a person I didn’t even know. It was the biggest fight of my life. He threw a cellphone at me, got a knife, tried to jump off the building, and tried to choke me. That was when I finally knew that only two things can happen to us if we stayed in the relationship: I die or he dies. I did not want that to happen.  

I hid myself in the bathroom and did not come out until he fell asleep. He was crying, begging, then yelling and angrily knocked on the door. It was only after hours that I went out. In the morning, he left without a word.

With his leaving, I regained my strength and freedom. I fought hard and in the end won. It wasn’t an easy battle. As he did a lot of other things after that incident. I told him I did not want him back and on the 24th of December I had my closure with him.

So I am writing this NOW because today is the day that I want everyone to know and to share what I have learned from that experience. 

As women, we don’t have to settle for less. A relationship that does not let you grow or make you feel low or bad about ourselves is not and will never be a relationship worth to stay. If you feel that your partner is becoming possessive or that you don’t feel appreciated and valued, re-evaluate the relationship. Think about why you are in the relationship and if you can spend the rest of your life with this person. Think about how you generally feel about your relationship and your partner. Is it a good feeling or a bad feeling? Do you feel happy or do you feel imprisoned? Lastly, how do you feel about yourself in the relationship, is it the same when you are alone or when you are with your partner? Whatever your feelings are it is always valid.

Talk to someone. Letting other people know of what’s happening can help you reach a better perspective of things. To correct misconceptions or to remind you of what is right from wrong. Don’t be ashamed of feeling that there is something wrong about the relationship. There is no point pretending everything is okay about the relationship and being silent about violence. Violence in whatever form should be condone.

A person who hurts you does not love you. Don’t be blinded by love. When you are loved you don’t feel pained or hurt or small about yourself. Love and being in love is a decision. But deciding to love ourselves first should be our primary decision. A person cannot give love, one does not have. Love starts with ourselves our partner should also love oneself first and everything else will follow.

There is an escape. There is always an escape. You can always say no and stop. Staying in a relationship is a choice, getting out is too.

You will find your perfect match. This relationship and the person you’re with at the moment might not be the perfect match. Do not ever think that this is the only relationship you’ll have and that you can never find another person to love you. You will find that person and you will be happy and loved

I wish to bring this message to everyone.

To girls/women experiencing violence in their relationship, decide to let go and move on now. There is work to be done and although there will be ups and downs in this journey, trust that you are strong enough to pass through it.

To boys/men who hurt their girlfriends, stop and respect women. If you cannot respect them as your girlfriends, respect them as humans beings then let them go. Fix your insecurities and stop feeding your ego by feeling superior over others.

To parents, that you or we may be able to talk to our children about these things. To educate our children regardless of gender to not uphold respect in any relationship and to not keep silent about any kind of violence.

To everyone, that we may condone violence against women and violence in general.

 If you are or you know someone who might be in a violent relationship, know that you can be heard and that there are a lot of people who will support and help you to get your life back. 

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