Welcome to my “Share Your Story” page. It is meant for people to anonymously share how they overcame heartbreak. These stories will be about restoration. There IS life BEYOND a broken heart.
I encourage you to share your story-–especially if you have found happiness and true love again. If you feel that your story belongs on my page, please write me by clicking here.
Dancer Girl’s Story:
I met my ex boyfriend when he was my dance instructor. I had graduated from college, was living on my own for the first time in my life, and was hundreds of miles away from my family. Things had not gone the way I hoped they would after college. I hated my job and did not make friends like I thought I would. I missed my friends and family. I was very lonely. I had started dancing in college and missed it so much. I finally realized that I needed to do something to get out of my “funk” before I fell too deep into a hole that would be very hard to get out of. So I started taking dance group classes and a weekly individual lesson.
My instructor and I had a weekly lesson for about 7 months before we had our first date. He was almost 14 years older than me and divorced, so at first I would not even consider the possibility of dating him. But over those 7 months, he was so kind, patient, and funny. He would ask me about myself and seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me. He eventually started to be more flirtatious with me and we would text outside of our lessons. He kissed me on our first date and we were pretty much “official” from then.
For the first 6 months that we were dating, everything was basically perfect. I was so happy. He told me that he was a Christian, which was important to me, and shared his sad story of his ex-wife having an affair with a friend of theirs and eventually leaving him one day for this other man, who she then married and had children with. I felt so sorry for him. For those first 6 months of dating, he was romantic, kind, laid-back, patient, understanding…almost perfect. He did not once get angry or even annoyed about anything. We had a lot of fun together.
Then, one day, out of the blue, everything was different. It was like, someone had flipped a switch. Like someone else had taken over his body and the person I had known was gone. I had been out of town for the day to visit a friend and returned to his place to spend the evening with him. When I walked in, he was in a rage. To this day, I still have absolutely no idea why he was mad. His face was red, his eyes were completely black, he was shaking, he was yelling at me, and he would not look at me. Asking him why he was mad and what I had done only made him more angry, so I stopped. He kept saying that I shouldn’t need an explanation; I should just know that I obviously did something to hurt him if he’s that upset and I should be doing everything possible to beg for his forgiveness. So that’s what I did. I was so scared and anxious, I just wanted this monster that was not the man I’d known for a year to go away as soon as possible. I stayed over at his place that night and the next morning he acted like nothing had happened. I was so afraid to bring it up because I was afraid of seeing him like that again. I felt so uncomfortable around him and didn’t know what to do. Nothing was the same after that.
For the next 2 1/2 years we argued on a regular basis. He had many more “rages.” He would yell, curse, pace back and forth, turn red, shake, and threaten me. He would call me derogative names and tell me that he was going to “rip my head off.” When I tried to leave, he would threaten me. One time I did try to leave and he chased me down the hallway of his apartment building. He caught up to me and grabbed the hood of my coat. He pulled it down with the intent to get me down to the ground, but luckily the hood detached from the coat. On another occasion, he lifted me up and slammed me down to the ground because he was frustrated that I was crying. Another time, he grabbed both of my wrists and started to shake me; when I pushed his hands off of my arms, he started slapping me. I was so scared that he would end up seriously hurting me or even killing me during one of his rages. I remember making sure to protect my neck because I was worried that he’d start choking me if he got his hands there. Another time he was in the kitchen chopping something with a knife when he became angry and I remember being worried that he’d come at me with the knife. I was afraid to leave because that was one of his “triggers” that would make him angrier. I felt like a trapped animal. (Studies have shown that the most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship is when she leaves; it’s when she is most likely to be killed.)
He was also extremely jealous, controlling, and manipulative. He isolated me from my friends and family. He did not want me to work and could care less about the period of time that I was stressed due to being unemployed. He got upset when I said hello to a mutual male friend of ours as he walked towards us one day and said that I should not speak to other men around him. He became obsessed with convincing me that I was carrying around “negative energy,” which was causing our relationship to be bad, and I needed to be in counseling to deal with it. So, I started going to counseling. He insisted on talking to me right before my sessions to go over what I was going to talk about and again right afterwards to review my session. He used the word “provoked” all the time; I swear it must have been one of his favorite words. Any time he became angry, yelled, cursed, got physical, etc., if was MY fault because I “provoked” him to get like that. He never apologized or took accountability. He started to blame me for ANYTHING bad that happened to him – if he got a zit, had trouble sleeping, lost his cell phone, etc. It was all my fault because the “bad energy” that I was bringing around him was causing bad things to happen to him.
He finally admitted to me once that he had gotten physical with his ex-wife. On one occasion, he grabbed her by her hair, brought her down to the floor, and dragged her across the room. While he admitted that it was wrong, he still said that she provoked him to do it. (I eventually realized that his ex-wife did not leave him, she ESCAPED from him.) That’s when I knew that things could actually get worse than they already were. He also started exhibiting some sexual issues. He would watch porn and tell me about it afterwards, saying that it was my fault due to the “negative energy” that I brought around him. He started to say and text strange sexual things to me that I can’t even repeat as I type this. Afterwards, he’d take it back and, again, say that it was my fault.
I started to think that I was crazy. I thought something really was wrong with me. I thought that I was a terrible person. My self esteem plummeted and I felt worthless. I became depressed and stopped taking care of myself. I thought that maybe I wasn’t worth being treated well by a man; maybe I wasn’t good enough to deserve a happy relationship. It’s crazy how you can start to believe things about yourself just from one person saying them to you over and over again. I was afraid to open up to anyone about what was happening and hadn’t seen my friends in forever. I felt very alone.
Finally, after 3 years of dating, I decided I was done. I was visiting family and, while with my family, he started to send the sexually disturbing texts to me again. It was the last straw. But feeling like the other person was leaving him was one of his triggers, so I had to “ease” my way out. I stopped doing anything physical with him (no making out, no kissing, no hand-holding…nothing). I would sleep on his couch when I stayed over. I started to stay over less and less until I was not staying at his place any more. Then I started hanging out with him less and less. Eventually we were just texting once in a while and, finally, I cut him off completely. It was a long process that took several months.
It took me about a year to fully feel like myself again. It took me over a year to tell any of my friends the truth about my relationship with him. That was a very difficult thing to do. It has been 3 years since I officially, completely cut him off, and I still have not told anyone in my family. I think there is a sense of embarrassment because I had a wonderful father who was the furthest thing from abusive and I have always been an independent woman who has many feminist values. It’s difficult to try to explain this to others, let alone try myself to understand why I stayed in that relationship for as long as I did and put up with so much. I don’t know how to explain this to my family.
During the first year after I ended the relationship, I moved to a new apartment, started hanging out with my friends again, got 2 new jobs, took guitar lessons, played on a softball team, and went on a trip to vacation with my family. I started to exercise regularly and eat healthy. I was so happy and finally felt free. Over a year later, I wrote him a letter and finally told him the truth. I told him that he was abusive, that it wasn’t my fault, and that it was wrong. That was a freeing experience. For the first time, I wasn’t afraid to let my voice be heard and say what I wanted to say.
That does not mean that there are not residual effects. I have had a very difficult time forgiving him. Sometimes I’ll randomly start thinking about the relationship or something will trigger a memory, and I’ll feel angry. For a while, I would “tick” if I thought too much about it, especially when thinking back to some of the scary fights. My neck would twitch uncontrollably just thinking about it. That was scary because I felt like I had no control over it and wondered if that would ever go away, especially since I’ve never had a “tick” before. It recently stopped – took almost 3 years for it to go away. Sometimes I worry about running into him. I wonder how I would react and what I would say if he tried to talk to me. Other times I worry about whoever he moved on with. Does she know the truth? Will she be okay? What if it’s worse for her? What if she can’t get out like I did?
Prayer and talking to others about it has helped a lot. You can’t keep things inside. It just builds up and eats at you. We weren’t meant to deal with things alone; we were meant to rely on God for help and guidance; we were meant to rely on others. It can take a long time, but healing does happen. Relying on God and the people in your life helps so much. So, my advice to others in this – if you are in a bad relationship, tell someone. Reach out for help and get out of the relationship. You deserve to be happy. If you’re not sure if your relationship is bad or not, trust yourself; trust your gut and your instincts. If it feels wrong, then it probably is. If you’re recovering from an abusive relationship, get help. Pray. Talk to people. Go to counseling. Allow yourself to heal. Do things that are good for you and that make you happy. And once you’re ready, allow yourself to be “out there” again. All men are not abusive. There are so many amazing men out there. Don’t let any of them suffer for this person’s wrong-doings.
Don’t let that person define you. You deserve peace and happiness. It’s what God wants for you.