Survivor Story: Don’t Let Happy Photos Deceive You into Thinking Everything is Okay

Written by: Annie, Survivor

Here I was waiting for my ex to come home from his deployment with our son whom he hasn’t seen since he was two weeks old. Our son was nearly ten months old when my ex came back to the states.

I spent the whole week before cleaning the entire house, and I made sure that I bought all of my ex’s favorite food. I also wanted to look my very best for him, so I went to get a spray tan, a hair cut, and my nails done. I bought that outfit and heels and even made a few different signs for him all in one day… Because I wanted everything to be perfect for when he got home.

This was a week or so before I found out about my ex cheating on me for the SECOND time during his deployment. Although it was extremely painful during the deployment, I felt at ease knowing I was safe – meaning that I didn’t have to worry about getting thrown around and beat on all the time. When he would call me nasty names on the phone and emotionally abuse me while he was overseas, all I had to do was hang up on him, and that was the end of that.

I had plenty of time to file for divorce while he was gone, though. Why didn’t I? I wanted to have a family for my son, and I thought that if I stuck it out, things would get better and we would be the perfect family I always dreamed of having.

I was wrong. People that abuse others – whether emotionally or physically – DO NOT CHANGE. That was the hardest pill for me to swallow. But once I realized enough was enough, I walked away.

My point in this… is don’t let cute family photos trick you into thinking everything is okay when it isn’t. Don’t pretend to be happy when you’re not, because that’s extremely draining, and you shouldn’t have to pretend.

Imagine being happy. You deserve to be loved. You deserve to not get cheated on, and you deserve to have a man who doesn’t hit you.

*This story is one from a series of four submitted by the survivor.

**If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence website at, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page.


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