Survivor Story: My Abuser Isolated Me and Ruined Relationships with My Friends

Written by: BTSADV Survivor

I was in an emotionally, verbally, physically, and mentally abusive relationship for about four to five years. We met while we were both away at college. At first, while I was there, I was happy and having the time of my life with my roommates. However, both of my roommates were in serious relationships – something that I was longing for as well.

Then, going into summer 2012, I had started hanging out with a new guy who would become my boyfriend/abuser, and now my ex. My roommates went home for the summer while I stayed at school and worked. During this time, I drew closer to this new guy, and he became my main source of companionship. I started hanging out with him daily and only saw my friends occasionally. This was the start of the isolation, which came easily considering my roommates were not around for the summer.

Upon their return in the fall, his control had already taken over my full being. One of his control tactics was the use of the phone. He expected me to answer my phone when he called no matter the day or time. While I was at work, if I did not answer his calls, he would start calling my work phone.

He knew this was the most effective way to control me because it brought attention to me at work, and I would do whatever it was he wanted just to make the calls stop. I did not want my co-workers or bosses to know what was going on. I needed my job, and if he continued to draw negative attention, I was fearful of getting fired. I was constantly on edge and stressed out to the point I started losing some of my hair.

The one time I attempted to hang out with my boyfriend and friends at the same time, there was an explosion, and my roommate saw his true colors. Understandably, at that time she expressed that she did not like him. At this point, I was already “stuck,” and this was the start of the relationship with my roommate/best friend deteriorating. I couldn’t tell her the things that were going on, there was nothing she could do to ‘save me,’ and I was embarrassed that I was in this kind of relationship.

I found myself searching for new friends – friends who did not know him so they couldn’t NOT like him. I found friends whom I could hang out with and go out to the bars with, and I tried to hide what was going on from them. When one of those friends did end up meeting him, and there was, yet again, another blow-up. As his true colors came out, she became upset with me, and we cut off our friendship.

It was easier to cut off the friendship with her than it was to explain what was going on because she couldn’t save me. He would say to me, “No one can save you… not your family, not my family, and not the police.” I began to believe it.

As time went on, I started to figure out how to “handle” the situations. I became really good at hiding the things he was doing. However, inside, I was a mess. I would cry all the time. He left me feeling empty.

When we had good times together, I clung to those times in hopes that it would all get better and he could remain the charming, loving person I would see in those moments. Those moments were so amazing because I was able to escape all of the bad that I had been living. My best times were always with him because the only time I could truly relax and have fun was when he was in a good mood and having a good time. All of my joy and all of my pain always stemmed from what mood he was in.

While living at college, he broke several of my cell phones, spit in my face, threatened my safety, constantly threatened to get me fired from my job, punched a hole in my shower wall right above my head, and so much more. When I would stick up for myself, everything escalated, and things just got worse. I usually knew how much I could stick up for myself before it would put me in a dangerous situation, but once in a while, he would explode unexpectedly.

After college, we both moved back to our home towns but continued to date. The distance between us didn’t help too much; the control via phone just got insanely worse. The first job I got when I moved back home, he got me fired from by calling my work on many occasions. Of course, I lied to all of my friends and family and just told them the job didn’t work out. Now, his threats of getting me fired were no longer just threats; it was a reality.

I was so stuck in the relationship that I still was not able to get out. Not to mention the immense emotions that went into it! I loved this guy, and I couldn’t just stop the feelings that I had. On top of that, I knew he wouldn’t just let me break up with him. He again apologized and promised it would never happen again.

I found a new job and, although he did not get me fired, the calls definitely did not stop. I think I probably just found a better way to cover it. There were days I called into work because we were fighting so bad the night before that I knew if I went, he would be calling my work all day. We would travel to see each other on the weekends. About 90% of the weekend was usually amazing together, but there would always be that 10% of the weekend that something would happen, and it would be really bad with some sort of explosion.

His control affected my relationships with my friends and family. Luckily, I lived at home, so although I would isolate myself in my room most of the time, I was still surrounded by my parents/family.

Eventually, I was able to buy my own house in my home town. After a few months of me owning my house, he moved in with me. We lived together for about three months. He ended up cheating on me, and that was my breaking point. I was done. I completely cut off all ties with him in May 2017. Unfortunately, legal action had to be involved to be able to get completely away from him. I got a protective order, but he violated the order on multiple occasions; it started turning into stalking charges. All of the court hearings wrapped up in February 2018.

Today, I just want to shout my story from the rooftops. I want to break the silence! I know how difficult it is to feel so alone and depressed in an abusive relationship. If nothing else, even if someone isn’t ready to open up about the relationship they are in, I want them to know that there are so many others that are in this with them – so many that have fought the battle and are currently fighting!

There is a way out. It isn’t easy, but there is a way. And if I can say anything, it would be, please do not feel stupid or embarrassed! This is not your fault. I don’t care how many times the abuser tells you that no one can help you. That’s a lie. I know it truly feels like that because of how much power the abuser has, but I promise, there’s a way out.

I made it out with the support of my friends and family. I’ve also utilized therapy and got involved in a support group, which has been amazing. But most importantly, I found my comfort and peace amid all the chaos from my relationship with God.

**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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