He never hit me, but the scars he left were deep. The words he said cut deeper than any sharpened blade, but he wasn’t always like that. He started out kind and loving, and he was everything that you could dream of in a partner. He would open doors, and he would tell me how wonderful I was, and how lucky he was to have me in his life. Then, like a flip of a switch, my whole world was turned on end. Those sweet nothings that he once whispered in my ear turned into threats screamed in my face. How lucky he was changed to how lucky I should feel that someone would want me as “fucked up” as I was.
When he found out that I was pregnant, he was excited and couldn’t wait to start a life and a family together, but that didn’t last long. It quickly turned to “If you ever leave I’ll take that kid, and you’ll never see it again”, “You’re not fit to be anyone’s mother”, “Who would want their child turning out like you?”
Why didn’t I leave?
Why did I put up with it?
It’s called psychological manipulation.
It’s easy to say that you’ll never let anyone treat you like that, but when you have been broken down to rock bottom’s basement, you start to take everything they say as the gospel. It didn’t happen all at once, though. It started slow: Like, him getting annoyed that I talk to my family everyday, or getting mad that I’d text my mother just to say hello and that I miss her. Then it starts to grow: I couldn’t talk to people at work or having any kind of social media because it’s just “glorified dating sites so I was obviously cheating on him.” Finally, instead of sticking up for myself, I just stopped so there wasn’t a fight, because let’s be honest, just because he hadn’t hit me didn’t mean that I was not afraid of him. He was way bigger and stronger than me, and it didn’t take much to make him mad.
At that point, I had lost everything: my job, my home, my friends. I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone, and he’d blow up if I did. So, one night he left me alone in my car while he went to a home I wasn’t welcome in. I had nowhere to go, and I couldn’t see how to get away from him. If I tried to leave, he’d kill me. If I called someone and he found out, what would he do? He had already left bruises before from grabbing my arm so tight I thought it would break. How bad would it be next time? So, I sat in the darkness of my car, thinking about what I really had to live for. Why should I keep going? Would a life like this really be worth living? Would bringing this baby into the world, with a father like that, be something I could live with? What if I did have the baby and something happened to me, or he got mad and snapped? What would he do to my child?
I sat with a bottle full of pills on my dash in front of me, barely lit up by a single street light. My eyes were clouded over with tears. The only thing that kept me from taking that bottle of 60 pills was this small voice that rang in my ears “He deserves a chance at life. Don’t take that from him before he even has a chance to live.” I knew at that second that I needed to do everything within my power to keep my growing baby safe. He had a purpose, and at that moment, his purpose was to keep his momma alive, even though I had never in my life felt more alone or more afraid. This went on for about two more weeks. I struggled to keep going, but I kept hearing, “He deserves a chance at life,” so I kept going.
On October 18th, it was my mom’s birthday, and I was thankful to have had a “legitimate” reason to call her. I had never been more thankful for her to pick up the phone in all my life. I tried to keep it together and not break down, but I lost it. I started crying, and I told her everything. She told me I needed to get away from him and go home, even just for a few days. I told her that I would try, but inside I knew that he would never let me leave.
The night that followed was long and scary. I told him that I wanted to go home for the weekend, and he started screaming. He told me that if I left, he would take the baby, and that I would never see or hear from them again. My mom texted me in the middle of the night, and said to stay put, and that my dad was going to come get me. My parents were afraid that he would kill me if I tried to leave. I knew he would. I was lying in bed next to a man that terrified me. I couldn’t move. Surely, if I slept, he’d kill me then. I was scared to breathe. I just kept praying, “God please let him sleep, and let my dad get here, fast. Please, let me make it through the night.”
Morning came quicker than I wanted, and with it, he woke up. Everything I said made him mad and caused him to yell and make threats. I managed to talk him into letting me go walk the dog down the road and get something to drink. So, I drove less than a mile down the road and waited on my dad. Meanwhile, the police were dispatched, and they got to me before my dad did (he had a 6 hour drive from Ohio to North Carolina), and they stayed with me for about 15 minutes until my father pulled in. I’ve never been so glad to see Dad or to be wrapped up in his arms. For the first time in months, I was safe, and I didn’t have to worry what was going to happen to me or the baby. We were going to make it. My son was going to have his chance at life.
He never hit me, but even three months later, I wake up sobbing and terrified and in that he’s going to be there, and hurt me, or take my son. He never hit me, but I still have flashbacks, and I am scared to let anyone in. He never hit me, but I’m still so emotionally guarded and frail. He never hit me, but the scars are plain to see. He never hit me, but sometimes I think the damage would have been less if he did.
I am healing. I am strong. I am driven, and I know what I want out of life. I know who I am as a person and whom I can lean on. He never hit me. . . now, he won’t get the chance.