Survivor Story: My Abuser Used Threat of Suicide to Scare Me into Staying
Written by: BTSADV Survivor
Domestic Violence is not an easy subject for people to talk about, but I want to be someone who can help change that. By talking about the things in life that aren’t easy, we can help people who need to get out of abusive situations and let them know that they aren’t alone. I am a survivor of domestic violence and what I would have done to have someone to talk to or who understood what I was going through.
The relationship I was in for two years didn’t just start out abusive. When I met him, he was very charming, smart, and handsome. He had his degree in psychology and was working on getting his masters. When I look back at the relationship, there were a lot of red flags in the beginning. It didn’t just start out physical. A lot of the abuse began emotionally and mentally. He would question my love for him, isolate me from my friends and family, and always get after me for the smallest things. I began to feel like I wasn’t good enough for his love and that I could never do anything right. I was starting to lose myself.
The first time he hit me was when I asked him about girls he had been saving pictures of on his phone. He pushed me and slapped me in the face. Afterward, he cried and told me how sorry he was and promised it would never happen again. I believed him and stayed.
The abuse would end up getting worse throughout the relationship. He would get angry at me and would pull my hair, bite me, and punch me. I ended up losing the job that I had for five years due to being so emotionally and physically bruised; I couldn’t go to work most days. Now he had me home all the time just like he wanted, and he could control me completely. One time he was so angry he headbutted me in the face and split open my forehead. I was too scared to go to the doctors, so he cleaned up my head and bandaged my wound. There are so many accounts of abuse that it is hard to put into words.
One thing that made it so hard for me to leave was after he abused me he would always try to kill himself. It was another way to control me. He would take pills, try to throw in a plugged-in blow dryer, or do things to try to get me to save him from himself. The hardest time for me was when he hung a cord around the door and wrapped it around his neck. He was hanging, and I had to hold him up. He was 6’4 and a former college football player. It was so hard to hold him; I thought he was going to drop him. After a while, I got him down. He did everything he could to make sure I was scared to leave him. He was a master manipulator.
Finally, there was a breaking point for me, and I had to leave. He had gotten angry and choked me to the point where I thought I wasn’t going to make it out alive. Somehow, I was able to leave that night and went to my mom’s. I continued to keep in contact with my abuser because my things were still there. To be honest, it was so hard to stop loving him, even though he beat me so often. It was like getting off a drug. I still felt like I needed to go back for more. I still felt addicted.
After a day of texting, he told me to come over and get some things. I was trying to take my tv’s, and he got very upset. He took a hard book and hit me in the face. Blood gushed everywhere. Then he lifted me up and slammed my head against the kitchen wall and took the end of a broom and hit me over and over again. Then he grabbed a knife and put it up to my throat. I was able to slip under him and run out the door.
I drove straight to the police station. They took pictures of my bruises and had me write a statement; then they sent it to the prosecutor’s office. Two weeks later I received a letter in the mail from the prosecutor saying there wasn’t enough evidence to press charges and he didn’t want to put me through hell during a trail. I was devastated because the person who abused me was able to walk free. I decided that day that I had to do something because at the time I felt like I didn’t know how I was going to make it. I felt so sad, alone, and that the justice system had failed me. I’m so thankful that I decided to go to the Children’s and Family Center that day.
I started going to meetings with other survivors and shared my story with them. I had to let out all of the feelings that I had kept inside for so long. I did this for months. I had to start completely over with my life. It was time to find out who I was again. After six months I had started feeling more like myself and knew that what I wanted to do was help others who are going through domestic violence and connect with survivors.
I went to a domestic violence retreat in Colorado and connected with survivor sisters and healed even more. When I came back, I was asked to be a part of a panel of survivors of different kinds of abuse.
What I hope you take from my story is that if you are in an abusive relationship there is still help and you can still get out. There are people who understand what you are going through and are here to help. I know how hard it is to leave and I know how much you think you love him. But I promise you, love doesn’t hurt. Someone who loves you will never disrespect you and put their hands on you. Please reach out, you are important, and life can be so much better.
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