Survivor Story: Her Life Became a Prison

Submitted by: Nicole, Survivor

It is not uncommon for abuse to start or escalate during pregnancy or after the baby is born. Children who grow up witnessing domestic violence often have chronic issues with trauma, stress, and fear in addition to insomnia, self-harm and mental health issues, and behavioral, motor, communication, and cognitive issues.

In households where domestic violence combines with drug or alcohol abuse, the risk to the victim and their children increases. Survivor Nicole shares how she and her children were affected by her abuser’s drug use and why she ultimately made a choice to leave.

When Nicole first met her abuser, everything seemed perfect. She was living a fairy tale. A year after being together, they welcomed their first daughter into the world, and that is when everything changed. He started drinking, and that eventually turned into daily drug use.

One weekend, he threw Nicole’s phone at her and broke her nose, and she forgave him. The next weekend he scratched her face and left scars, and she forgave him. She even called the police and put him in jail, but then she bailed him out.

Why? Nicole said that she did this because when he was on drugs, he was scary and violent. Later, when his high went away he would be a completely different person. He was loving, and he would cry and apologize. He would manipulate her into thinking he loved her and he would change.

Five years passed, and they had two beautiful little girls. Nicole’s life became a prison. She was not allowed to work, because he would accuse her of cheating with every guy that came near her. Also, she was not allowed to own a phone because he did not want Nicole to plan to leave him. She was not allowed to go anywhere without him. If she tried to go out, he would lock one of the girls in a room and tell them that when Nicole came back or changed her clothes he would let them out.

It was a cycle that she knew she was living in, but Nicole loved him, and he was “the only person that was ever going to love her.” She was afraid to leave. Also, Nicole grew up without a father, and she did not want her girls to live without theirs.

That was until he started doing drugs in front of the girls and started selling everything they owned. Then Nicole noticed that she and the girls were missing meals and going hungry because all the money went to his addiction.

“I found the courage I needed to finally make a phone call to a family member, and I left. The last day I saw him, he found out I was leaving and pushed me down the stairs in front of my children. Three months later he still looks for me. I admit it is hard, but I have to tell myself that I can’t go back.”

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

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