If Only You Knew
I Nearly Lost My Life, and the Life of My Child
TRIGGER ALERT: Extreme Domestic Violence
When I was 13, I got into an abusive relationship. I was young and naïve. I didn’t understand what healthy relationships should look like. I thought it was normal. I thought this was how relationships should be.
I thought he loved me. I know I loved him. I gave him 7 years of my life that I will never get back. I wish I knew then what I do now. He took advantage of my inexperience with relationships and told me it was normal. He realized because I was so naïve he could use and manipulate me and he took full advantage of that.
He told me this was all a normal part of a relationship. He told me it was normal for couple to fight like this. It was normal for him to hurt me when I disobeyed or made him mad. He told me it was normal for him to constantly put me down; all couples fight. I didn’t know any better and I believed him. I tried to leave a few times. He would harass me to the point my parents would have to call him and yell at him and let him know if he ever called again the police would be contacted. He threatened to kill himself if I ever left, and when I tried to call him on his bluff, he took a whole bottle of prescription muscle relaxers that his mother had provided him.
The more I tried to leave, the more violent he became. The longer I stayed, the more violent he became. He told me I wasn’t allowed to leave him and I wouldn’t have the guts because I was afraid of him. He told me this meant he didn’t have to be nice anymore. He set my hand on fire with a can of axe and a lighter, he hit me, he kicked me, he screamed, and said horrendous things.
He continued to get more and more violent.
The first time he tried to kill me I was petrified. I didn’t know what to do. He tried to strangle me and all I remember after that is waking up on the floor being scared to death not knowing what to do or where to run. He could have killed me. I was 16. At this point I knew it was not normal. He told me if I went to the police they would not believe me, because I had no substantial proof and he also said if I left that he’d finish the job.
I was terrified and I didn’t know what to do. I knew I couldn’t tell my parents because they would immediately call cops, and I worried if they did that he would come after me. So I decided to talk to his mother. She would never call the cops on him, even if he did almost kill a 16 year old girl. She then proceeded to lecture me on how it was my fault for making him mad. What did I expect to happen if I did something that could potentially hurt his feelings? It’s not his fault he attempted to murder me because I made him mad. I continually got this response any time I came to her with anything. I started to believe she was right.
Then it all clicked.
For years he had been telling me how his mother would move in with an abusive boyfriend after knowing them for only a week and then the boyfriends would abuse him and his sister and his mother and they’d end up moving out and in with another boyfriend a week later. He told me his greatest goal in life was to live in the same place for one year. How sad is that?
He told me his mother let her ex husband physically and sexually abuse him and his siblings for years. She knew about it, but didn’t make an effort to get the kids out of that home and did not call police. He also said his mother was never really around to begin with and they were often times left alone to fend for themselves at a very young age. That’s what he had to base healthy relationships off of. Monsters are made, not born. He believed these behaviors were normal because that’s what he grew up around and that’s how he was raised. To him that was normal.
His mother continued to affirm to him well into adulthood that he was doing nothing wrong and that violence was okay. She told him it was my fault for making him mad and that he did nothing wrong. He took that straight to heart. When he would hurt me he would tell me if I didn’t want to get hurt I needed to obey him and not make him mad. He told me if I did make him mad then I deserved to be hurt. I believed them for a long time.
When I was 19, I became pregnant. This made him furious. He had made it clear that he did not want children and claimed it was 100 percent my fault because “I willed myself to get pregnant.” He yelled at me and told me I had to have an abortion. I refused. He told me he would make me have one and then tried to push me into a ditch. I started to realize that this was not normal. I was no longer that young naive teenager who didn’t know better. I tried to leave many times but he would steal my car keys and hold me down. He stole my phone so I couldn’t call for help. He made sure I could not leave and made it known that if I tried I would be greatly punished. I started to lose hope quickly. He continued to abuse me throughout my entire pregnancy and continued to try and make me miscarry. He punched me in the stomach and tried to kill me numerous times. He pushed me and hit me and bit me and punched me. I didn’t think the baby would survive. I prayed to God every single night to keep her safe.
And then God answered my prayers and blessed me with a beautiful baby girl.
He refused to help or even hold her. He got mad at me when she would cry. He wanted nothing to do with her. He told me since he wanted me to “abort the damn thing,” it was my job to care for her. I thought things would be different when she came. He would man up and stop being so violent. That’s what his mom and siblings kept telling me. But the exact opposite happened. He became even more violent, especially towards the baby. He threw a giant pack of diapers at a 4 week old’s head because I needed him to get diapers but he didn’t want to. And then got mad that she was crying.
A week later I was nursing her and he attacked me with the baby in my arms because I picked up his phone to move it so I could sit down. His mom yelled at me and told me that I have a baby now I need to quit making him mad and that it was my fault that he hurt my child. This is where I drew the line. There is no excuse to hurt a newborn baby ever. Period. I will not take the blame for this when I did everything I could to protect her. I kept telling him I wanted to leave, but he continued to not let me. He said if I ever did he would kill all three of us the baby included.
That was the night everything went wrong.
My daughter had just had her vaccinations and had been awake all day because we had made a long day trip to Tulsa. She had a fever and was cranky and overstimulated. I was trying to get her calmed down and ready for bed. The doctor said when she gets like this to use vibrations to calm her down. Her vibrating chair was missing batteries and she was nursing and freaking out so I could not go get them. I asked him to help, but he told me he was busy playing video games. I lost it and started bawling and said he didn’t care about us at all and I wanted to stay with my parents for a few days. At that point he snapped. He stormed in the room screaming his head off telling me how awful I am. He tried to take my daughter. I wouldn’t let him. I told him he needed to calm down and I was not going to let him hurt my daughter. He tried to grab her again and I put my arm in front of her. He twisted my arm, spraining it and grabbed the baby and locked himself in the bathroom with her. I pounded on the door and begged him not to hurt her. I asked if he was planning on killing her or harming her. I got no response.
He had left my phone in the bedroom and hadn’t taken it with him so this time I was able to call 911. I frantically called them hysterically crying explaining the situation. I wasn’t sure if I would ever see my baby alive again. It was the scariest day of my life. I remember the 911 operator asking if the baby was alive and if she needed to send an ambulance and just literally falling on the ground in a puddle of tears unable to breathe because I didn’t know. I didn’t know if she was going to be okay. The police showed up and arrested him and returned my daughter to my arms safe and unharmed.
My daughter and I were immediately granted an order of protection and have not heard from him since. We got lucky and found a way out and I thank God for that every single day. I have come to terms with everything I went through because without it I would not have my daughter; she is everything to me. But I really hope during this teen dating violence awareness month we can all sit down with our kiddos and explain to them what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like.
Teens are so vulnerable and naïve and easily taken advantage of. They need to hear from their parents what is acceptable and unacceptable in a relationship. Teach your children its not okay to be violent and that you shouldn’t stay in a violent relationship. Don’t make excuses for your kid’s violence. Don’t enable them. Don’t encourage violence. Don’t let them be around knowingly violent people. If kids see you condoning it or ignoring it, they will think it’s okay.
If you don’t talk to them about what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like, someone else will, potentially an abuser or someone else who condones violence. Don’t let bad people tell your children what is and isn’t acceptable in relationships. We need to make it clear to them that violence is never acceptable. We need to end this cycle now. No more taking advantage of our youth. No more violence. #timesup