Life, Mental Health

From Unhealthy to Healthy – A Tough Transition

I have always been open with my past, experiences I’ve had, and the different issues I have stemming from it. I have put a lot of thought into this post and debated back and forth on whether or not to write it because it is probably going to be the most vulnerable you’ve ever seen me. I decided to type it up and share my story because what I went through, how I pushed through (especially at such a young age), and how I managed to find love might help someone who has been through this type of relationship or someone who’s currently in one. I do not hope to gain pity from this post nor do I want anyone to feel they have to treat me different or walk on eggshells around this topic because of me. I have had lots of personal growth since I went through this and I’m at a point where I am okay. I can talk about this without getting full on emotional (until I start talking about my husband and how he’s helped me tremendously) and I have come such a long way since ending my abusive relationship. I also have a post that’s an open letter to my abuser that you are welcome to read. That post is not nearly as in-depth as this one will be but it is another way I have shared and opened up about what I went through.

I was young, naive, and had no idea the amount of lies and manipulation I was about to go through.

At the ripe age of 12 I met this guy and we seemed to “hit it off.” We had a lot in common and being the new girl in town I wanted to get to know people and make friends. Too bad the word friend was not in his vocabulary. He was older than me but no one seemed to care that we had begun hanging out. The relationship between us took off really fast and before I knew it kisses had been shared and so had many I love yous. Again, young and naive.

I was over the moon about this guy, in “love” you could even say. Why wouldn’t I be? He was sweet, loving, and very gentleman like. Or so I thought. Fast forward six months into our relationship and these qualities only showed in front of my family. When we were alone or around his friends his true colors began to show. He would tell me “that shirt (tank top) shows too much, go change.” or “I don’t like ______ you can’t hang out with them.” That’s how it started. Then the sexual abuse started as did all the manipulation and emotional, mental, and verbal abuse.

I lost my virginity to him. Not because I wanted to or was ready. He was ready, he begged, and I gave in. I laid there helplessly time after time. Faking enjoyment every time. This is normal, right? I thought this to myself quite often throughout this relationship. Once we first had sex it was never ending. He lived diagonally from where I was staying and this made it even more convenient for him to control my every move. Before school, on my lunch break, after school, on his lunch break (he worked second shift), when he got off work. That was our daily schedule and sometimes it was more often than that. I dreaded waking up every day. But again, this was normal.. right?

One night I was over at his house and we were all watching a movie (his parents, us, and his brother). I had had a bad day at school and wasn’t feeling up to anything. After the movie we went up to his room and well. He wanted sex. I said “not tonight. I’m just not feeling it.” In that very next moment the wall directly to the side of my head had a huge hole from where he’d punched it. All because I declined sex. After that.. I never said no again. I didn’t want the next time to be my face.

So by this point.. he’s telling me who I can/can’t hang out with, what I can/can’t wear, where I can/can’t go.. and he’s scared me into having sex with him multiple times a day.

I lost so many friends. It eventually was just him that I hung out with and I know now that that was his plan all along. Not only was I losing friends.. I was also losing myself.

I heard over and over again how worthless I was, how I would never find someone like him if I ever left, and that no one would ever love me for the piece of shit I was. Not to mention the yelling and screaming at me for no reason.

I was called names that, at my age, I had no idea what they meant. Slut and cunt were two that he used most.

I remember the day I introduced him to my grandma. She loved him. But only because around my family he was a totally different person – a gentleman if you will. My grandma was one person I really looked up to so if she loved and approved of him then he was a good guy, right? WRONG. I didn’t know that, though.

I kept making excuses as to why he behaved the way he did, mostly to myself. Everyone else either didn’t see his true behavior or didn’t care. He was great at hiding behind a mask and I had become really good at hiding my feelings.

This went on for over a year.

A year and some change later I was told we were moving to Virginia. That night when my boyfriend got off work I told him what happened and that in the morning I was leaving and moving 11+ hours away.

“If you break up with me because you’re moving so far away I’ll kill myself.” At that point I had no intention of breaking up with him (I hadn’t yet come to the understanding that this was not a healthy relationship) and I was willing to try to make the whole long distance thing work if he wanted to.

That sentence was drilled into my head. I didn’t know it was yet another way of manipulating me. I didn’t know he wouldn’t go through with it. I didn’t know it was another way he could control me.

We get to Virginia, my mom and this new guy marry, and in a short time I’ll be starting school. After not being able to do anything all summer I wanted to meet some kids from my area and have some fun. I joined an AIM chat with kids that went to the high school I would be going to. (This comes into play later) and I began introducing myself to people in the room. I had started talking to a guy and a few girls that were in my grade and a grade above me and I was really enjoying the fact that even though I was new I wouldn’t be starting school not knowing anyone.

School was starting in a couple weeks and I wanted to forget as much about my boyfriend and what had been happening as I could. My stepsister and I decided to walk up town. As we’re walking I notice this Trans Am & Cavalier in a parking lot. It looked as if they were about to race so I told my sister “hold up.. I gotta see this.” So we stop and the dudes look over and wave. I wave back. They get in their cars, start em up, and after what seemed like forever they begin moving. MUCH to my surprise the cavalier won. I couldn’t believe it but whatever, we continue on with our walk.

Later that night I sign on to aim, after finally getting off the phone with my boyfriend, and see a couple of my new friends online. I guess for the first time I notice the dudes profile picture and I’m like HOLD UP! I call my stepsister over and I’m like “wait.. is that.. it can’t be?” We agree that the car in the background of this dudes picture is the trans am we just saw racing the cavalier earlier that day.

I message him and I’m like “weird question.. does your friend drive a blue cavalier?” He replies “yeah, how’d you know?” So I then tell him that I saw him get demolished by the cavalier, we have a good laugh.. and he’s like “yeah, my buddy thought you were cute.” I tell him I have a boyfriend so nothing can sprout from that information to which he replies “no problem. He’s too damn shy to say hi anyway..” 😂

Cavalier guys name is Chris & he’s 17. He will be starting college when I’m starting my sophomore year of high school.

We hung out for a few hours and I headed home. When I signed onto aim that night trans am guy messaged me right away saying once I left his friend wouldn’t stop talking about me. And asked if I was still with my boyfriend. I was, unfortunately. I was beginning to come up with ways to break up with him but hadn’t done it… YET. “If you break up with me I will kill my self.” kept running through my mind. I didn’t want to have that guilt over my head my whole life.

At this point my boyfriend was calling me numerous times a day and would get mad if I wasn’t home. I didn’t have a cell so a landline was the only way he could get ahold of me. I was getting really annoyed with his attitude and the fact that he kept repeating that he’d kill him self if I broke up with him.

School starts and I meet a lot of new people. I always hated being the new girl. Introducing myself in every class was annoying & I always just rushed through it. Trans am guy & I walk home together every day, along with a few of our other friends who all live in the same area. He continues telling me about his friend and how he still talks about me. Trying to drop a hint much? 😂

Two weeks into school I am on the phone with my boyfriend. He’s asking me a million and one questions about who I’m hanging out with and that there better not be any guys in my friend circle because he’d come down and take care of the situation. That was it. I was over it all. I told him that I had met some people and was having fun enjoying my friends. I didn’t want to be tied down to him anymore. That I was breaking up with him.

“No one will ever love the piece of shit person you’ve become. No one will ever love you like I did. No. One.”

Then came the phone calls of him repeatedly telling me he was going to kill him self if I didn’t take him back.

The next week I agreed to go on a date with cavalier guy. It was awkward. Really awkward. We were both shy but he was super shy and we barely said anything the whole time.

We all continued to hang out over the next couple months. And in December of that year we had made it official. We were dating. It wasn’t as awkward anymore.. even though we were still working on conversing with each other.

The relationship didn’t last long. I kept pushing him away because I knew eventually it would turn out the same way as my last relationship. In February he broke it off and for the next year and a half we didn’t speak a single word to each other. Trans am guy & I didn’t talk, either.

I dated a couple guys during the time we were split. None of them worked out for one reason or another. During this time there was more manipulative guys, more clingy guys, etc. Ya know, my comfort zone.

Fast forward to June 2005. I’m dating a guy who’s younger than me and was extremely clingy. I wasn’t happy but one of the issues I now had was needing someone. I couldn’t be single.

We were in Ohio visiting with family and I ran into my ex. He tried the whole “I’m sorry. I love you.” bullshit but I wasn’t falling for it. I had learned that what we had gone through was not normal and I was having a lot of issues trusting people and letting people in. It got me thinking a lot about Chris and how I missed just talking to him.

That night we were at my aunt’s house and I asked if I could sign into aim and see if someone was on to ask them something. I get on and he’s online. Do I message him? Will he reply? What do I say?

I finally get the courage to message him. “Hey. How have you been?”

I had a new aim name so he didn’t know who I was (or so I thought). I was hoping that because of this he’d reply and I could attempt a conversation with him. He replied!

Anyway, we do talk.. surprisingly. The conversation lasted about an hour and it was good conversation. I asked him if he’d be willing to meet up and talk once I got home. I didn’t think anything would come of it. I just wanted my friend back.

Two weeks later we meet up. It was almost as if we never stopped talking, aside from us not being affectionate towards one another. He asked if I was seeing anyone because he had thought a lot about us since we talked on aim that night. Again, I was seeing someone. It was a bad relationship.. on again off again. The whole time we’d been together.

We agreed to talk as friends but a week later I felt guilty. Old feelings were resurfacing. So I broke up with my boyfriend. There was something about Chris that just kept pulling me back in.

We made it official on July 5, 2005. Almost immediately after I’d broke up with my ex.

If you haven’t put two and two together Chris (aka cavalier guy) is my now husband. 💜

The next couple of months were hard for me because again, I kept wanting to push him away even though deep down I knew I NEEDED him. I didn’t know why I needed him, I just knew I did. He had no idea of my past and I was scared to let him in on it. Would he leave? Would he judge?

I ended up spilling it all out at some point and his reaction shocked me. He didn’t judge. He didn’t walk away. He got pissed and hugged me for the longest time. We talked about all the things I went through with my ex and how I was dealing with mental issues because of it. I explained to him that because of this relationship I was scared of putting my all into my relationship with him. At first he didn’t understand but the more we talked about it and how I felt the more he began understanding.

In July it will be 15 years that we’ve been together. In the last 15 years he has taught me so much. Self-love, self-worth, the true meaning of love, etc. There’s still days where I question what I did to deserve him.

He reminds me a lot of my grandpa. I honestly think he was placed in my life by my grandpa because of what I had gone through and to show me what I truly deserved. The timing is unreal. Even though the first time we dated we only lasted roughly two months and didn’t talk afterwards.. I still had this connection with him that I will never be able to explain. A part of me always knew I loved him but because I couldn’t open up the first time it didn’t last. I was not going to let him get away again.

He’s been my rock through this all. He’s walked with me every step of the way, holding me up when I didn’t have the energy or strength to hold myself up. He’s wiped away many tears and held me quietly for many hours as I lay sobbing into his chest. Not once did he get annoyed at me for taking one step forward then three steps back. Not once did he raise his voice, call me names, or expect anything out of me that I wasn’t comfortable doing.

We still talk about my past and how far I’ve come since then. He is always saying how proud he is of me for becoming stronger, standing up for myself, and not allowing people to walk all over me. It’s honestly because of him and his support over the years that I have gotten as far as I have. Because of him and what he’s taught me I will only continue to grow and become a better person. I am extremely thankful for him and I grow more thankful every day. I will never not be thankful for what he’s helped me through. Because of him I am able to talk openly about my situation. I am no longer ashamed or scared. Because of him I was able to contact my ex and share with him my feelings and get closure. All because my now husband had faith in me as a person when no one else did.

Cue all the tears.

My experience isn’t the worst that anyone has ever gone through but it wasn’t healthy. Any form of abuse needs to be talked about. It needs to be reported. I am always willing to talk about it if you need someone to listen. Don’t be afraid like I was. Don’t let them win. You deserve that victory!

Being in an abusive relationship has caused me to have severe depression, trust issues, flashbacks, issues with commitment, among other things.

I will educate my kids on what a healthy relationship is and I hope that they will see the love and happiness between their father and I and want that for themselves one day! I vow to place all the effort I possibly can on making sure my kids never experience what I did. From anyone.

Please know that if you are ever in this situation that you are worthy of love, respect, etc. There is a good guy/girl out there for you that will show you your true worth and then some. I promise.


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