TW: Intimate Partner Violence, Abuse
I was 25 years old with energy and ambition, looking to make it at my first office job. I met my abuser by coincidence at this job. I had a big crush on him, and found the courage to ask him out, and soon we were head over heels in love. I was bombarded with love, swept off my feet, and could hardly believe such a man existed. We lived in different towns on the island, but we were determined to make it work, but I mainly traveled to his town for weekends. I was beginning to realize quickly that the man who I was in love with was another person completely when he drank.
It started with drinking at his house. Then we went drinking with his co-workers. The more he drank, the more insidious he became. He would stare at me like a rabid dog on the verge of ripping me apart. He would berate me, and make me feel as though my presence was insulting him, in front of his colleagues, no less. They never did much to help either except to brush it off and just explain that "oh he's just drunk, he's not really like this". I wish that were true.
Some nights, he would get so drunk and start insulting me, calling me a stupid bitch, a cunt, an idiot, and then he would pass out in a drunken stupor, and then I would lay awake in the living room crying, or out in my car where I felt safe. The next morning, he would brush it off and claim that he didn't remember saying any of that. He would also accuse me of wanting to sleep with my colleagues because they were men, and the only way for me to climb up in my profession was to sleep my way through it. He was insecure about my position of power, and he made me feel worthless like I didn't deserve it, or wasn't smart enough to be in that field.
At his staff Christmas party, he got drunk, and wandered off into the night, and yelling at those around him, especially me, to go fuck myself, and that I was a stupid cunt. All of this was unprovoked. He bombarded my phone with messages that reiterated that I was a "stupid cunt", and his colleagues tried to help me call him on their phones to talk some sense into him, but it was hopeless. I was crying alone, in a shitty bar, in another town, with nobody to help me, and nowhere safe to go. One coworker offered to help cab with me to my abuser's house to make sure I would be safe on arrival. He was the only man that whole night who made me feel seen. When we arrived, my abuser was there, and started to drunkenly fight this man and others because they were defending a "bitch like me", and then he eventually passed out on the couch in a shameless heap. I slept in my car.
As soon as I was sober enough, I drove to my town, crying hysterically and went to my mother's work because I needed someone to console me, to see me, to understand what happened. The next day, my work responded by placing a ban on my abuser from arriving on the premises. The response from his work was insulting at best, and completely ignored the fact that he was verbally and physically abusive on company time. He faced zero repercussions, and I had to deal with the stigma, and the shame, and the trauma.
This tumultuous cycle of abuse continued for a few months afterwards, because it was so hard for me to leave. He would insult my physical appearance, including my genitalia, my job, my ability to be a girlfriend, and then he would suddenly become overcome with ostensible sorrow and regret, and love-bomb me into submission. I was so broken inside, the ambitious 25 year old me was an ancient ruin. I felt like a phantasm. I was vacant, alone, insecure, depressed, brainwashed, and I began to believe that this kind of love was the one I deserved.
Eventually I left him, which was both the easiest and hardest thing I have done. My next partner was an absolute angel, and I confided in him about my trauma, and how it affected me. I had so much insecurity and fear and depression. I began seeing a counsellor, and I started taking anti-depressants for the first time, and I have been on them ever since. My partner had to experience the second-hand effects of abuse, and I will always love him for believing me and being there for me all of those sleepless tear-filled nights filled with self-disgust and loathing towards myself. I wanted to die. I always wondered, "Why me? Why was he like this to me?" I felt defunct and discarded.
My abuser managed to creep my facebook page, and saw that I was in a new relationship, and he sent me a text insulting my new partner, and made claims that my relationship would only last a few months, and that I should go back to him. If not, he said he had "other girls waiting in the wings", one girl which I'm confident he is still with to this day. I blocked him on every platform possible, and I never heard from him again.
Over the last five years, because of this trauma, I have felt invisible. I have been holding this inside of me for so long. I have been suicidal, and a threat to myself. I have had to fight every single day to rebuild myself, and to restore my sense of self-worth.
Today, I graduated from University with a Bachelor's degree, and I'm planning to become a lawyer so that I can help victims of abuse so they never have to feel like I did. Victims of abuse, I stand with you, and I will always stand with you, to the end.