In a previous post, I stated that at one point in my life, I was broken. I think everyone has this experience but I want to share mine. I get asked a lot, “Why did you stay?”
So let’s start with the back story.
I always had a long-term boyfriend in high school. Hardly any of my relationships were casual. Most of them lasted 11+ months. When my boyfriend of one year and two months decided to break up with me, I was heartbroken. This was my junior year. He was my best friend at this point in my life, and I felt betrayed. (There’s a lot that I found out when he broke up with me, but it’s pointless to tell)
I had met this other guy who was in one of my classes. Let’s just call him Alex. He was a grade ahead of me. Shy. Quiet. Rebellious. The typical guy your parents tell you to avoid. 5 months after that break-up, Alex and I started dating.
This relationship was an addiction. Cancerous and Dangerous. It started out slow, not very aggressive. He would tell me to stop talking to this person, and then this person. Then it became all guys. He personally deleted all the guys numbers out of my phone. When it came time to sign yearbooks, he wouldn’t let any guy sign mine. I wasn’t flirty, and I didn’t give him a reason not to trust me. He was graduating, so I thought things would get better. Wrong.
We fought EVERY DAY. He would come up with these bizarre things that I had done. For example, he would say that I was flirting with a gas station attendant, waitress, etc. Then he would proceed to call me a whore. He would throw up my past (one that I didn’t have) and say the most hurtful things.
My favorite, “Noone could ever love you. You are a slut. Might as well just stay with me.”
This happened slowly as I said. At first, I thought it was just jealousy. I did have many guy friends.
He would tell me that if I ever left him or cheated on him, he’d kill me. (Or he’d hurt my family and force me to watch.) He even went into detail about the things he would do to them, especially my little brother, Dylan. Dylan is one of my best friends, and if anything happened to him, I would be extremely depressed.
I was scared to leave.
He cheated on me with my best friend, and made me feel like it was my fault.
He then became really distant, and acted like he didn’t care.
The farther he pushed me away, the more I clung to him.
I know, I was stupid. I shouldn’t have stayed. But like I said, this didn’t happen over night. Before the bad stuff came, he had to break my confidence. He had to break me.
Halfway through my Senior year, I had enough. I was sick of putting so much effort in, that I broke up with him. I started dating my now boyfriend, Spencer. Spencer showed me that I was beautiful. He was everything I could ask for.
But that wasn’t the end of Alex. He started texting me, apologizing. Telling me he would change. And I believed him. I honestly believed he would change for me. I was so blinded by “love” that I ended up going back to him.
Like I said, the relationship was an addiction.
Within days, Alex and I were fighting again. He made me change my cell phone number. Every day he would look through my phone. I got a job working at my local Little Caesar’s and he would drive by to see if I was talking to any of the guys up there. One time, I was leaving to go to work, and he literally pinned me down on the ground and told me I wasn’t going. He got angry and I ended up getting a speeding ticket on my way to work.
FINALLY, it was time for me to graduate. We fought before, during, and after. Well, I ended up moving in with him (and his parents) when I graduated. He took my keys, and hid them from me. Since I didn’t want my grandparents to worry, I’d tell them I was happy. (They knew, parents always know)
I didn’t leave his house for two weeks. Then on June 11th, 2009, I woke up. I was sitting in his room reading Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight series. I was ALMOST finished and I wanted to go to town to get the next book, Breaking Dawn. I told him I was going to go to town with his mother. He said, “Um, no you’re not going.” I stayed calm, and tried to explain to him why I wanted to go. He blew up. Then he became silent. The room had this awkwardness about it. I was sitting up on his bed, staring at the wall in front of me, when I felt this swift pain in my jaw. He had hit me.
I was shocked. I felt numb. It hit me then that I needed to get out, but I had so much stuff at his house. I was SCARED. I got up to leave the room, and he grabbed my arm and left scratch marks. He bruised my arm as well.
I stayed there. He went outside and started helping his dad work on this car. I quickly packed as much of my stuff as I could, and found my keys. I devised a plan to leave in the middle of the night.
He slept on the floor, while I slept on his bed. So sneaking out was going to be difficult, but I knew I had to leave. At about two in the morning, I gathered my things, tip-toed out of his front door, and to my truck. I didn’t leave a note saying good-bye. I just left my cell phone (which he bought me for graduation so he could look at the phone bill himself). I deleted everyone’s number out of it, then took the liberty of deleting my friends and family out of his phone.
I made it out of the house. It was the first time I had stepped outside in two weeks. The air was refreshing. Since it was summer, the air was moist. I could hear frogs and bugs humming in the night. I felt happy. I felt alive.
I went on to see a psychologist as to why I kept going back. He told me that I wasn’t a confident person, and that I was an easy target for Alex. Alex was emotionally and physically abusive. This took a long time for me to accept. I didn’t want to be the victim of one of those relationships. I couldn’t be.
I was Brittany, the outgoing, bright, happy girl. I couldn’t be the victim of abuse.
The psychologist also told me that not having my dad around had a huge impact on me. He said that I was looking for someone to replace him, and that I looked for that in boyfriends.
I always believed I could change Alex. If he would just listen to me, he could change. He would change.
During the year Alex and I were together, we broke up many times. We would always get back together though. We broke up more than 15 times. Alex used to keep count and then throw that up in one of our fights.
So why did I stay? Why did I leave a perfect relationship for something so piss poor?
I felt worthless. Alex accomplished making me feel this way. Alex sculpted me into this unconfident, scared, broken little girl.
I stayed because I was scared. I went back because I felt like I didn’t deserve happiness.
I felt the need to write this out. I felt like someone needed to know why I did the things I did. I am very proud to say that today, I am confident in myself. I am happy once more, and I know I am worth more than what Alex made me believe. My boyfriend has been trying for years to make me realize that I am beautiful. But before I could accept that, I had to come to terms with myself. I had to rebuild my confidence myself. I thank him everyday for saving me. I thank him for showing me that I was worth fighting for. He is honestly the best man I could ever ask for.
I’m sorry this has been so long. If you’ve stuck with me, you now know a small portion of my life. You know what my Junior and Senior years of high school were like. I wish I could help others out by sharing my story. I know so many women (and men too) are abused every day. I’m just one of the lucky ones I guess.
❤ Brittany MaShe’ Barnett