This survivor felt completely alone in what she thought was her ‘fairy tale’ romance with Prince Charming. Without any reference and new to dating, she struggled to identify healthy habits from abusive ones. She slowly realized that she was in an abusive relationship and is working to free herself from it. She has the power to be the heroine of her story – with all the support and love from her survivor family and domestic violence shelters and organizations.
Enter Prince Charming
54 months. That’s how long I was with this guy. I met him when I had just turned 18 and he was 24. I thought he was my Prince Charming, here to rescue me from my miserable life, and strict parents. However, it was an ill-fated tale from the beginning.
The first thing he did was limit my interactions on social media – I had to remove all males and any females who were lesbians. He thought I would cheat on him, and wanted me to remove all options… even though I was straight.
Then he demanded access to all my passwords, because he was still insecure about my faithfulness. I ended up giving them to him because I though this was a normal step in a loving and caring adult relationship – in fact it was my first adult relationship, so I had nothing else to reference.
He then locked me out every social media account, preventing me any technological access to the ‘outside’ world, because he said I shouldn’t need anyone else if I truly loved him. It snowballed and I wasn’t allowed to see my friends in real life either. I lost all connections with them as time went on.
My family time was also ruined through incessant arguments and tears. He then told me I was not allowed to play sports either, as that would prevent me from responding immediately. But he, of course, never abided by the same rules, and didn’t respond for hours or days at a time. He even chatted with women on social media; I just had to accept it because he made me believe I didn’t deserve a man like him.
My life consisted of school. I went to uni to study nursing where I had no friends, no social life, no extra-curricular activities. I would work, study, and then sit alone in my studio apartment, as I wasn’t allowed to live with other women. He told me this was because if they were single, they could influence me negatively.
Three years. I ended up alone, with no support, no family, and no friends for three years. I struggled…
The physical abuse started to get worse after I was at uni. He would strangle me constantly until I fainted, and squeezed my wrists so hard that they would swell up and bruise. Anything triggered him. It could be as simple as asking him a question or seeing a guy smile at me in the grocery store.
I wasn’t allowed to do anything without him. Not even to go on two weekly grocery trips with him, and that was it.
I constantly had black eyes, bruises everywhere: on my ribs, arms, lips… I know people saw them, yet no one said a thing.
He made me believe I had bipolar, depression, all sorts of mental illnesses. He even suggested that I admit myself for mental health problems as I was my issue in life. His tactic was to use my past against me and would constantly remind me that I should be dead right now. In between, he would call me fat and ugly, telling me that I was his last option. He was only with me because he settled for me.
When I tried to get help, his friends, family, and work would paint me as the abuser, even though I was not. He would blackmail me, threaten to hurt my family members, ruin my career as a nurse, and destroy my home and life. It got worse as he forced me into sexual acts. He made me give him things that he believed I ‘owed’ him, and would often count down from 5 for no reason – making me fear for my safety.
I felt like everything was a trigger. Honestly, I want to die most of the time because of how he makes me feel. I struggle to cope, and I’m so upset. I feel crazy because I want someone to believe me, and help me. I want out.
I want to be free and safe.
I want to be rescued.