Hard facts and research data often cannot replace a true account of what someone has been through personally. We have asked those who have experienced abuse situations to come forward, anonymously, and share their story with us. Through the weeks, we have been focusing on a series of these personal accounts. This story is about a girl who was almost killed because she fell for the wrong boy.
Personal Account of Abuse
“It all began one warm summer afternoon in the parking lot of a grocery store. I was loading my friend’s car with groceries when I heard a male voice shouting, “Hey you! Come here.” Not realizing they were talking to me, I ignored the request.
The strange voice bellowed again, “I’m talking to you.”
Curious, I slowly turned around trying not to bring attention to myself in case I wasn’t who he was speaking to and noticed a car with a male hanging outside an open window.
We locked eyes and he motioned for me to come closer. I turned to my friend and asked, “Do you think I should walk over there?”
She responded, “Do you know them?”
“No, I’ve never seen them before. They don’t go to my school or at least I don’t think they do,” I replied.
She smiled and said, “I’m right here so go ahead and see what he wants.”
Excited but anxious, I walked toward the car and as I approached, I heard the other males snickering.
“Is this a joke?” I asked backing away from the car.
He shook his head no and said, “Hey guys, shut up.”
I was leery and unsure of this stranger but at the same time excited because guys never seemed to find me attractive. We chatted for a few minutes, he asked for my number and I gladly provided it, and before saying goodbye, he mentioned calling me later that day.
Most abusers show signs early on, though they can be difficult to spot. Romances often start with each showing their best self. If you find something amiss during this part, it is likely to get worse. Nip the bad behavior in the bud. #endingtheabusehttps://t.co/SfaZkHi37k— EndingTheAbuse (@endingtheabuse1) October 4, 2018
We began dating shortly thereafter but our relationship wasn’t healthy from day one. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that at the time. There were lots of red flags. For instance, he was expelled from school for fighting and drugs, didn’t work (not even a part-time job), and showed signs of possessiveness, but I saw that as him wanting to spend more time with me because he cared instead of it being a way for him to keep me from spending time with others.
As our relationship continued, his obsession of needing to be with me every minute of the day took a toll on me both physically and emotionally. I wasn’t used to having somebody check up on me asking where I’ve been and who I was with.
At sixteen years of age, I was supposed to be enjoying my time playing sports, spending time with my friends, and driving around town since I was of driving age. But, he consumed all of my time by making me feel guilty for wanting to do things without him. Eventually, I got tired of his nagging and whining and gave up everything that I loved to please him.
At first, I was okay with it but then I began noticing odd behaviors. My parents planned a family vacation and since I was a minor, I was expected to go along. But, he demanded I stay home. This was bizarre to me. Why would he be opposed to me spending a week with my family? He begged for me to stay home and he even cried about it. I was embarrassed to bring it up to my parents because they certainly weren’t going to fall for his shenanigans.
I went on vacation anyway but felt guilty for leaving him behind. We have pictures from that vacation and you could tell that I was unhappy being there but tried to put on a good show.
As his possessiveness began to escalate, my parents began voicing their concerns about our relationship. They didn’t like him one bit but I fought for him. He was somebody that I wanted in my life and they weren’t going to ruin it. Only now, it wasn’t just my parents who were concerned, my teachers and friends were as well.
At one point, he attempted to board a school bus that was loaded with band members. We were on our way to a band competition and he wanted to go along. Two problems with that were – he wasn’t a student at our school and he wasn’t part of the band. He was removed from the bus but went screaming and kicking.
Once he was off the bus, he shouted at me saying if I didn’t get off the bus, he was going to break up with me. I was mortified and hid behind a seat in the back of the bus.
The more my parents and friends told me to leave him, the more I fought to stay with him. When I would come to him about their feelings, he would comfort me with hugs and telling me that he loved me. That’s all I needed to hear!
Our relationship eventually became physical and after having intercourse once, I became pregnant. My life turned upside down. Being a teenage mom wasn’t something I had planned nor wanted but it happened. My parents were disappointed and had every reason to be because I should have known better.
They gave me an ultimatum, which was living with them and breaking up with him or staying with him and moving out. If I stayed with them, I would have their support during the pregnancy but they made it clear that he wasn’t welcome.
As a teenager, making that decision was incredibly tough on me because I loved my parents and knew they would be there for me but I also loved him and he was the father of my child. My parents and I went round and round for days about the situation and eventually, I decided to move out. There was just too much turmoil and I couldn’t stand the fighting.
A month later, I had a miscarriage and moved back in with my parents so I could graduate from high school but we continued our relationship except I was a little wiser. The last straw for me was when he showed up outside my classroom and grabbed my purse dumping it on the ground in front of my peers searching for something that would provide his suspicions of me cheating on him, which weren’t true. But, in his mind, if I wasn’t spending every waking moment with him, then I must be cheating.
I ended our relationship and just like every abuser, he didn’t like that at all. While out for a walk with my mom, we heard the rev of an engine and turned around to see if it was one of the neighbor kids. What we didn’t expect to see was a white van speeding toward us on the sidewalk. We quickly jumped into a neighbor’s yard as they sped by and to my surprise it was my ex-boyfriend and his father.
It was difficult to comprehend that a guy who I fell in love with could become abusive and attempt murder. We didn’t pursue charges. He never bothered us again and we just wanted to move on with our lives.“
Spotting the Abuse
What may seem like loving attention at first, can very quickly turn into something else. Most abusers will show signs early on, though they can be difficult to spot. Romantic involvements often start off in a honeymoon sort of phase and this is when people show their “best” selves. If you are finding something amiss during this part of your involvement, it is likely that this will only get worse as time goes on. Nip the bad behavior in the bud and if it is bad enough, you may want to consider ending the relationship entirely. Keep your eyes wide open BEFORE falling in love, as once you are in, it may be a challenge to spot the abuse until it becomes extreme.
When overcoming an abusive situation, it may be difficult to think clearly and come up with a solution to remedy the abuse, while trying to implement it may feel almost impossible. However, given the right tools and the will power to create change, it most certainly is possible, even more so– it is probable. Many may feel overwhelmed and may not know where to start, but it is important to start somewhere.
Please continue to check in with us each week for a new post about abusive behavior and how it can affect your life and the lives of those around you. There is always that first action to helping someone you care about. Let this be it!
Speaker, mentor and author Cherie Faus-Smith is a beacon for victims of domestic abuse. She shines a light on survivors and illuminates a path of prevention toward healthy relationships with an end goal of helping them recognize the signs of abuse.
With over three decades of real-life experiences, Cherie shares that there is hope after abuse. Her open heart has a way of bringing out the best in others.
Cherie’s book “The Cycle Ended: Saying Goodbye to Domestic Abuse” details the struggles in her past abusive relationships and how she found love after breaking the cycle of choosing unhealthy relationships.