Tanya’s Domestic Abuse Story
When I was eighteen years old, I thought I knew everything there was to know about life. I was young, determined, strong-minded, independent, and confident. I was determined to stay true to my beliefs and I was confident I could. I was very family oriented. I was close to my father and my older brother Rob, and the rest of my four brothers and three sisters. At this point in my life, I was not easily influenced by others. I had my own preconceived virtues that I chose to live my life by. I knew the difference between right and wrong, and because I was afraid of the consequences of my actions I usually chose what was right. In my eyes right and wrong were like black and white, I did not believe in the gray areas.
The main problem with this view I was so unbelievably narrow-minded. I was so opinionated in what my own beliefs were, and I did not care what other people believed. It was my belief that there are a few rules, that I was not willing to break nor did I think others should. I did not believe in doing drugs, teen pregnancy, sex before marriage, peer pressure, abusive relationships, and abortion. I also did not know that I would spend the next ten years of my life experiencing things that would totally derail my whole view on life. Nor did I think that these experiences would be influence by a boy.
A year and a half after I graduated high school, I met a boy, for this story his name is C. When I met him, I had no idea that he would be the person who would influence and change my life. I did not know that he would be the reason why I would break all the rules I chose to live my life by. I accomplished all of this in a year and a half after turning eighteen years old. But the main event in my life that really changed my perspective was meeting this boy. This boy was my first love, and the boy who took my virginity. In my eyes he was everything. Up until this point in life, I did not allow others to influence any decisions in my life. But that changed with this boy.
Everything began like a whirl wind romance. He was seemingly sweet, caring, cool, intriguing and most of all lived life on his terms. I did not know that I would end up living my life on his terms too. It wasn’t necessarily how I met C, but it was the way he could influence my thinking without trying. The first week I met him he didn’t amaze me through flowers, gifts, nice dinners, or by the way he dressed, but by the conversation we had. The thing that really drew me to him was the fact that he did not seem like he was just trying to get me to have sex with him. Three months later, I became pregnant and up rooted to his mother’s house. Shortly after moving in with him, he became abusive.
I always told myself that I would never stay with a man that was abusive in any way toward me, but I was in love so it was okay and love would make everything better. The abuse started out slow it was always mental first. He knew that he was the first boy that I had ever loved and used that fact to his advantage. He was the person who painted a picture of what love was suppose to be, because before him I was closed off to any emotion that would make me vulnerable. He was my vulnerability and I listened to everything he said and took it as truth. The mental hold he had on me, influenced the next years of my life. I spent the next seven years breaking all the rules I set for myself. He influenced me to start experimenting drugs, to have sex before marriage, he got me pregnant three times, convinced me to have an abortion, and inevitably to marry him because I could not do better than him. He had such a mental hold on me that I was okay with his physical abuse on me and would convince myself that I had done something to provoke him.
All the qualities I had as a person before I met him were no longer there. I ended up losing every aspect of myself to the point that my father, who knows me better than anyone, did not recognize who I was becoming. Those seven years, I spent feeling physically and mentally weak. No matter how strong I thought I was, I was never strong enough to break free from his emotional terror he reigned on my life. I spent those seven years in love with this boy, C, but lost the person, who I had spent eighteen years of life building. I allowed myself to be so consumed in this man that he influenced who I was.
During this time, I became introverted, had low self-esteem, and made decisions that I would have never made if I did not think that it would impact whether or not he would still love me. My family or friends did not recognize me, nor did I know who I was anymore. No one understood why I stayed with this man; they just knew that something wasn’t right with my behavior. The only thing I could see was that I love this man. I felt that as long as I did everything I could to make him happy, I would be happy. Through these years, he cheated on me a total of ten times or more, choked me to almost black out, gave me several black eyes, called me names, beat up my father, convinced me to have an abortion, and pulled a knife on me. Until the last day I let him lay a hand on me.
That last day was December 12, 2006, which just so happen to be the birthday of my dead grandmother and one of my best friend’s. The day began fine, because I did not see or talk to him. He moved out two weeks prior in the middle of the night, because he said that he did not love me and also he met another woman on the internet. He promised that he would come over every night to watch the kids so I could go to work and not have to pay a babysitter. But every day for those two weeks he made me late. To make matters worse he left and did not and would not help pay any bills that he helped to accumulate. On top the bills he used my car because his car broke down. Well that night around 5:30 p.m. I called him to find out if he was on his way over to watch the kids so I could go to work and to ask him if help me with some of the bills. These questions of course, started an argument. He and I began to argue, because his response to my questions was, “I have my own bills to take care of; you need to figure it out on your own.” This made me angry that he said this to me, in my mind I was thinking, “These are your children and you helped to create these bills.” All I wanted to do was rage. I wanted to punch all the walls and scream in a fit of anger, but all I did was cry and tell him, “If you do not help me with the kids and the bills I am going to call your commanding officer!!” After all, he was a Marine Reservist, who just so happened to be a pending discharge for drugs, but that is another story for a different time. Right after saying these words he hung and I began to get a little nervous, because maybe I just should not have said anything and figure things out on my own. Two minutes later he came flying in the apartment door and charging toward the living room couch where I was sitting. I would have tried to run, but he moved too quickly, and just like any other incidences with him he always grabbed me by the neck and dragged me across the couch. I could not see anything but blur, because while he was dragging me across the couch, he was punching in the face and anywhere else on my body he could inflict pain until I wounded up on the floor. While I was on the floor he continued to punch and choke me. At this point, I tried to push him off and scream for help, but no sound would come out. I could the sound of the television and my kids coming into the room. As the kids entered the room, C yelled, “Go to your room!!” The next thing I knew C was sitting on my chest, with one hand squeezing my throat and the other hand on my mouth and nose. I could hear both of my children beating with their little hands on his back yelling, “Get off my mommy!!!” It wasn’t until he realized that I was on the verge of blacking out that he finally got off of me. I tried to get off of the floor, but I struggled to get up. I finally got up and sat on the couch, because I had to convince him to let me go to work. In order to be able to leave I needed to find some kind of strength to calm myself down so that he would believe me when I said that I would not call the police. I ended up going to work that night and to the police station afterward. That was the night I put him in jail, got a U-haul, and fled to Ohio never looking back.
Four years later, I am still trying to find myself again. Looking back at those seven years, I have realized how I have affected my family, friends, and most of all myself. It breaks my heart that I allowed a person to impact me that jeopardized the relationships with these people and most all the fact that I let someone jeopardize my life over some skewed perception of love.
The person I was just entering adulthood and the person I was during those seven years of this abusive relationship are no longer who I am, but are part of what is molding me into who I want to become. I found that the gray areas of life are what help to build a person’s character and help them to find the strength deep within themselves. I made many assumptions at eighteen years old that were forever changed by these experiences, but most of all I now view life with my eyes wide open and my heart wide open to people that have had to make tough decisions. I am not sure of many things, but I am sure that I will never judge person’s character by the mistakes they have made, I will never be in a situation that compromises my own personal values, and I will grow into a strong woman my children will love and appreciate. I have a better understanding of what could change a person’s views on ideas that they thought they would never go against. I will also listen to a person’s reasons for the decisions they make before I make a statement of what is right and wrong because there is always a reason behind it.
I wanted to share my story of my life and let people know that you can break free if you want too!!