Posted on December 27 2021
My story is like so many others, it started out happy and promising and ended with catastrophic pain and years of healing. I was 16 trying to grow up too fast. I found myself falling for what I thought was the love of my life, but only put my own life in jeopardy.
We met on Facebook. He was a “bad boy” but also a country boy. Had a lot of pain in his own life, but was a hard working fun loving guy.
Sadly he was arrested for an aggravated OUI while fleeing from cops on a motorcycle before he even turned 21. I looked past that because he was sober from alcohol and worked really hard to stay sober. He worked every day. I quickly found him sweeping me off my feet and taking me away from my family more and more.
I thought he was saving me from my parents, because all we did was fight. I finally moved out in the summer, still a minor and so unaware of what was yet to come. Little did I know he wasn’t saving me from my family, but isolating me from them like the narcissist he is. I just didn’t know that yet, let alone know what a narcissist is.
We lived with his mom and step dad. He worked in a mechanics shop and I would ride into town and catch a bus or rides with friends to get to my high school because I didn’t drive yet and he had no license due to the OUI. One day, he got metal in his eye.
One hospital trip and one prescription of narcotics later and that is when my life came crashing down. This sober, hard working man was hiding something so massive and I never saw it coming.
He was sober from alcohol but had an addiction to opiates and stimulants. That’s when it all came to head. At first it was just something he said he did for fun, when in reality it was all his life revolves around and I was too blind to see it.
I still remember the first time he choked me. We were still living with his mom and I argued with him about something silly, to this day I can’t even remember what about. He put his hands around my throat and I screamed and cried and he only choked me harder. From there, it happened every couple of weeks. He’d always apologize and say he was so sorry and I believed him. I kept telling myself it was my fault he did this to me because I made him mad.
We finally got our own apartment except I couldn’t be on the lease because I was still a minor, still only 17. I wouldn’t turn 18 for 3 more months after we moved in. We moved into this tiny 500 square foot efficiency apartment on the 3rd floor with paper thin walls, in a bad part of town. I thought a new start would fix everything, but the mounting pressure of affording the drugs and rent and bills, only made it worse.
He hit me more. Choked me until I’d pass out. I remember one night he threw me against the wall and choked me while the neighbors were on the other side and desperately crying for help, but no one answered my cries. It continued more and more often.
During all of this I graduated high school early ahead of my class and I worked at a gas station—I pumped gas at a full service station. That’s where I met the person who saved my life.
I was working and my uniform was a men’s T-shirt since not many women worked in the company, so the sleeves didn’t fit right and the shirt was big on me. One day while pumping gas, a customer who frequented the station saw the dark bruised hand print around my upper arm.
I didn’t mean for anyone to see my bruises. I wore makeup to cover the rings on my neck and the sleeves always covered any marks. However, it was too late and he had seen the marks.
At first I brushed it off, but over the weeks the marks became more apparent. During the weeks, this customer came in every few days to get their gas so we created a friendship.
He kept persistently asking me if I was okay, did I need help, and if he could do anything at all to help me escape. I always brushed him a side stating that I was fine and that my boyfriend loved me and I loved him. Soon he and a few others truly opened my eyes to the fact that this wasn’t love.
My newly found “friend” promised me that I didn’t have to be afraid. I didn’t have to feel alone. But what did he know? I couldn’t go back home. I had no where else to go. We stayed in touch between the gas station visits and texting in case I needed to ever escape I had someone who knew what was happening and could get me away…another six months go by and it’s only gotten worse.
Everything I did enraged my boyfriend. Every penny I made went to “rent and bills” but later I found out it all went to Percocet and Adderall.
The neighbors were always home and the landlords lived below us. During the daily attacks, not one person ever called 911 or tried to see if I was okay so I felt completely alone and deserving of the abuse. This was a pattern that continued for months. He’d get high, come down, and beat me.
Until that wasn’t enough anymore. He’d get high, come down off it nightly agitated, choke me, and then carry me through our tiny apartment by my throat and force himself on me no matter how many times I pleaded and cried and said no. At this point and with the help of my friend from work and my boyfriends two closest friends, I knew I just couldn’t take this anymore. Not another day.
The day I fled I fought so hard for him to beg me to stay. I packed a bag. It was a Saturday so he only worked until 12 noon. His best friends at this point knew how badly he was beating me because often we went over there to hang out. They’re the ones also told me to leave before he killed me.
His own best friend and best friends girlfriend who knew him over a decade through the highs and lows were telling me to leave before he kills me. It was a shock, but one that I needed. Other people were telling me I was going to die and that’s when it finally clicked and I believed it too. I packed a bag and I went to their house and texted him to meet me there to talk.
He had just choked me and assaulted me the night before and knew what was happening. He refused to come by. I sat there for 6 hours. He claimed he was going back to our apartment to “take a nap” because I hurt him so badly.
After 6 hours I walked the couple blocks back to our apartment. I stood in the door as he cried saying that I made him choke me and that I was breaking his heart and going to ruin his life if I left. We argued for a few hours and by 10PM a I walked out the door.
But I didn’t just walk out. I stood on the other side of the door because I told myself, if he opens this door to come rushing after me it’ll be like in the movies. Everything will be magical and everything will be okay. I so badly wanted it to all be OK! I waited 5 minutes, which was 5 minutes too long. He never opened that door.
I walked down 3 fights of stairs and out the apartment complex door in a snow storm. I called my friend that I had become close with from gas station and he picked me up on the side of the road and brought me to safety. It stung so badly. It hurt so badly to leave him, but it was so freeing. I finally was safe. I had a hotel room all to myself. Not under my name so he couldn’t find me. I was 18 now, just barely an adult but so absolutely broken.
I stayed strong and never went back. He relapsed on alcohol and his pill use got worse. He’d constantly call and text and even went on the crash multiple vehicles outside where I lived once he knew where that was. But it didn’t matter. I wasn’t his punching bag anymore. I wasn’t his victim anymore.
I wish I could say the healing was easy, but it wasn’t. I still suffer from nightmares and anxiety from what I went through. Now almost 7 years later I have my amazing husband and two beautiful children who have helped heal my wounds and make me the person I am today.
I went through so much more unimaginable pain and suffering. More than there are words on this page, but that chapter of my life is over. Now I will use that chapter of my life, to help others escape the similar chapters of their own lives.
I feel so blessed to be apart of something as beautiful as Army Pink. It was a ride away from my abuser that gave me the strength to not go back. That ride changed my life. That ride saved my life.
To be apart of such a beautiful mission, helps me to know that my struggles and my pain weren’t in vain. That my struggles and my pain, can help educate and empower others going through something similar to get the ride they need to save their lives.
You don’t have to feel alone, and there is always a way out. I’m living proof of it.
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