**Trigger warning, this contains instances of physical and sexual assault** If your victim, please either do not read if this trigger or take due care. This is my experience, not yours. Remember to stay in the present, you reading this on your computer or phone.
Also well I do sometimes respond, this is my story and I writing because lessons are important. I will not respond to questions like “How did the abuse feel..” or anything personal. I will not go into details that aren’t necessary and I will refer to F*ck Fear as it has the full story.
I am opening up here for those who cannot afford the book as the lessons will save lives.
Thank you <3
I was unhappy. I wanted to leave Canada.
I wanted to escape to the UK. I wanted to go to London.
In the early part of 2011, I was in my last semester in college. It was intense. I was really struggling. I was being criticized all the time, I remember feeling so alone in a relationship, happened as of yet.
I remember going out drinking with my girlfriends in March 2011 and we went to Brunswick House in Toronto. Any guy paying any interest in me I just wanted to run away with them and forget about the love my life. I learned that this probably the time my subconscious knew something was truly wrong. I was so hurt, of course, I did not do anything, but was tempted. I felt like I was on a roller cost for the last 4 months, he was doing and saying hurtful things then apologizes saying “I was so in love with you etc..”. I figured he was struggling and I was here to support him. So I stayed, I was losing myself in the relationship, so I made it appoint to get reconnected with my friends in late 2010 to get reconnected to my friends and never lose it again. The decision was the best one I made. I also started doing things independently that made me feel better and dressing more like myself. I was looking and feel good at 21, I just have issues with my relationship. Where was love? There was nagging feeling, in my gut saying to me “Emilia leave, you are in an abusive relationship.” Ignored it, there was no indication of abuse except we were fighting, I chalked it up to fear and was no be overcome by it. Then came that night, when I released maybe my inner voice was right. I remember that moment, after sex, I felt a very hard slap, taken when I was not looking. I was so angry, I yelled at him told him to never do that again. He continued until I yelled back loudly to stop he did but switched to laughter “I wanted to see the marks it would leave, relax Em.” I will never do that again, I was so angry, I told him he needs to go therapy or else I’m done. He agreed, apologized and it didn’t happen again until a few weeks later and then again and again. Each time he apologizing and blaming his depression. I was very confused, in my head I figure out this was abuse, but I had doubts because it had only been a couple of isolated incidents. if so it is too inconsistent abuse to really be abuse? Wrong, inconsistent abuse is still abuse and the more you ignore the more consistent it can become.
I really had no clue at 21 years of age about how abusive people operate. The abuse escalated the more I assert my boundaries but did not leave and became more consistent. One day I found myself pinned down on a bed, and spit on. It happened out of nowhere and was really upsetting. I was standing up and pushed down hard, I remember him laughing as he was doing this. I remember breaking free spiting back and hitting him in self-defence and he got so angry at me for disrespecting him. I remember crying that night, I was so confused, yet I couldn’t just leave him. He always apologized and he says he doesn’t understand what is going on his head. I was so torn, I wanted to help him battle his demons, but at what cost? I forgave him again, hoping that be the last incident. It was not, a couple weeks later happened a very scarier moment, one that realized that would be considered sexual assault years later. I remember his hands being put around my neck during sex, him laughing down at my face saying “It’s like fucking I am raping you.” I was shaking to the core after this, of course. I yelled at him, I should have left, but he used his mental health issues as an excuse again and by that, we booked a therapy appointment (on my demand) for me staying and we also had a trip coming up to England together that was non-refundable. I was sure, how to leave or what to do. I was feeling scared, embarrassed and I felt like no one would believe me. Here I was a confident young lady and I was allowing him to do this, for what Love? I was pretty sure healthy love was not this, he was trying to control. He always would apologize, I kept hearing my mama’s voice “Em, you don’t have to keep going through this.” I was not listening; I did not want to give up on us. I wanted to go back to 18, and feel that love. Weeks leading up to England, things calmed down and in England, things felt normal. He was kind of back to old self, but we were still fighting and he was still saying cruel things at times. I thought, “Right, we will sort out his mental health then work on rebuilding us.” I was committed to him for the long term. He asked me out to a Soulpepper performance upon our return to Canada. I felt things were getting better. I told him, as soon as confirm, I have the evening off from work I can say yes, he said he will wait. Well, I did get the evening off. I told him about 3 nights prior to when we were supposed to go, while I was over at his place. When I told him, he stopped me and mentioned he was going with someone else, because I took too long to respond. I asked him to tell me who he was going with since he was supposed to be working on repairing us. He wouldn’t tell me who and but allured it was another girl, I flipped at him. His response to my anger was “What, you not wife, or my mom, you do not need to know.” I responded, “No asshole, I am your girlfriend of 3 and half years.” He turned it on me saying I had having trust issues. I told him “Fuck off.” I was about to go home, he told me not to make a scene we had dinner with his family planned. I did not give two fucks at this point. I started putting on my jacket he stopped me as I was opening the door to leave the condo, tears threatening to spill and told me “I made this up, so I could get a true reaction out of you and now this proves to me you have trust issues.” I was angry, he playing mind games. This is not what I deserve. Later, I would learn what he did is that October night was called Gas lighting. I felt so violated, but still, I stayed ate, dinner and went to movies. This deciding factor was that evening, I had enough. The next day I planned to break it off with him. I wanted one nice night with him because of course he by end apologized and things were suddenly good. I asserted my boundaries once again to him that under no circumstances this would happen again, that you ask me directly, with no manipulation.
Later at the movies after a peaceful dinner, we made are way over to the movie theatre. We were sitting at a table in the waiting area with our drinks and all of the sudden when he grabbed my wrist hard and twisted it. “I am still so fucking pissed with you.” I knew right there how clearly in danger I was. I ran away broke away, crying, he laughed and said: “What are you fucking going to do, Em, cry?” I walked away with my bag to the washroom. I stood in the mirror my mascara running and said: “This is not me; I am not this girl.” I had a voice in my head say “Leave safely, Don’t let him know your plans, stay be safe. It’s not safe to just leave him.” So I watched the movie, kissed him goodbye and the next day we meet in a local coffee shop. I broke it off. I was done, he cried. I later learn was manipulation tactic, I felt horrible, but it had to be done. I ask for space; he wouldn’t let up. I was being messaged all the time, eventually, he was confessing his unrelenting love for me. I was confused, a part of me wanted to believe him. I was determined to find out his true intentions and to gather proof in of his abusive behaviour. I was not to be played a fool, I was no fool. I was beautiful, loving caring women. A friend told me set and keep setting boundaries that work in your favour, manipulators hate that and will accuse you trying to manipulating them. So I did, I swallowed my fear. So I took him back with the hidden intention, I manipulated the manipulator to break free from this hold he had on me and to get proof that I subconsciously I knew I needed. The final thought was “Not today, motherfucker, you will never control me.” Let’s just say this worked. Two weeks later I wrote “I’m done.” It worked, I blocked. No more second chances. He wrote this to me, “I think its best we stop hanging out until you’re ready to. Call me when you want, I’ll leave you alone from now on. I feel the more I try to connect to you and you respond in a way that disappoints me, the less I start caring and that’s not good. So to reiterate, don’t ask to hang out with me unless you’re willing to give it your all and want to be around me and you don’t have to worry about me contacting you too much.” I felt free, empowered. I walked away, and I could look forward. I wanted to move to London, start fresh. I was feeling pretty good, now I wish I was more prepare about leaving abuse, I did not realize how angry he was. He kept calling that day I wrote “Done.” It was November 5, 2011. I had 40 miss calls. Many texts, damning I talk to him. Then came it a voice mail of him threating to do something to himself or me, the only voicemail he left. I called his brother to get him the hospital, explained I broke up with him. I did not want him hurt. While I was on phone, I heard pounding on the front door. He was there at my home. His eyes, dead with emotions. Of course, I had I remember the threatening message. I knew if I open that door, I’d be dead. I called the 911, and his brother and told him to come to get him. His brother hummed and was stalling I said: “He is abusing me, and I have called the cops!” I screamed and hung up and called 911 again and yelled at them to hurry up. I was terrified, who the fuck was this monster. It lasted for 20 minutes, I was shaken up. I walked out of the washroom and yelled at him to “Leave me alone” and “Get off my property.” He eventually left, and I realized he knew everything about my house, where spare keys. The police showed up, I showed the female cop, the email. I kept it, something in my inner voice said: “Keep it.” I played the voicemail also. They went around and warned him.
He did not come around again but proceeded to cyber stalk me for months and continuously was contacting me, my family and friends. I was getting anonymous nasty letters in the mail. I was in living in fear, I was staying at my friend’s apartment for days, could not sleep in my own bed. As month and days went bay, the flashbacks, panic attacks were almost daily. I had to put on my brave face. I remember, I started to careless, felt alone, but I had the face that was handling it. I was applying for a work visa. I was hurting. I remember my mentor telling me on the phone, to think that I Fearless, Sexy and Fierce. I rearranged it, and that became my mantra. Even, if I did not believe it, I would say it, I had no clue what it meant really in those contexts, it just resonated with me. I was an emotional roller coaster between the six months after the break and before the illness manifest. The panic attacks, flashbacks, lack of sleep at the time were always around. The emotions of abuse and the incident always around. I was always on flight or fight mode.
He kept contacting me with nasty letters eventually they turned into apologies. Finally in order to overcome everything I contact him back. I sent that and we end up emailing each other, he was really apologizing, I was not sure if he was for real ( and he was for him of course not me, but he was doing a good thing) and eventually we met up in public place. I never stop loving him, I will always love him, but I never again wanted to be with him or want him in my life. I did want not to ruin his life, If I did I would have pressed harassment charges. We met for a coffee, here I was facing the man who I had become terrified and it was strangely okay, to quote Beyoncé “My torturer became my remedy.” We talked on and off for a year. In that time, he re-admitted the abuse he mentioned in the emails prior to contact in person, apologize for real and admitted that night he was angry he was going to hurt me. To stay away from someone who was like him back then and that I deserve the world, the most real conversation we had together. The fear of him dissipated. There was nothing to fear because I already faced him and won the battle of control of my life when I left, moved overseas, dated again. There was no reason for me too be afraid of him, I tricked him and left and escaped and he seems to be dealing with anger. The best thing, I did was leave, in his own words, “I am proud of you for standing up to your abusive boyfriend.” I told my abuser that he had no chance to ever do those things to me again, that I am happy he apologized, that even after all this I want you to treat your next girlfriend right and that I love you but I am so glad I left, see my love is unconditional and my trust and respect are not. I told him we would have been together if he had turned abusive and dealt with anger. I was so madly in love you, I gave up everything to be with you. I wish him well. I truly understand his pain, it not an excuse, but I felt compassion for him. Hurt people sometimes hurt others. I cut communication for good October 2016, happy we came to understanding and closure. It was liberating and I ceased all contact forever.
To my ex-boyfriend, I wish you the happiness of lives, that we both deserve. That you never hurt another person again and that you come to find peace for yourself. I’ll continue doing me and I am ready for my next stages in life, thank you for teaching me my greatest life lesson, “I am worth it.” Then the healing came in, I finally could let it all go. And it did, by the summer of 2017 end of 2017, I felt better. I now only look back on everything with gratitude.
To readers, boundaries protect you from people trying to take advantage, be kind and loving but have strict boundaries…it will allow you to be safe, form healthy loving bonds with others (that are equal) and it helps you determine who is leading you on in a friendship, etc. You are worth more than someone using you. But remember the person using you is hurting themselves, let them go but don’t hurt them ever. You can always give second chances if you think that person themselves have not dealt with trauma and use manipulation as a coping technique but really want love and SHOW you change.