I have a story to tell. It’s a sad story, but out of that sad, came good. I’m giving you a trigger warning here, it’s a story of domestic abuse, addiction, and fear.
I was 24 when I moved to Florida. I moved to start a new chapter, have some fun, go to school, make some memories and eventually make my way back to Boston, my true home.
I could never have anticipated what was to happen.
I met him at a bar, I had only been in Florida for a short time, and had gone out with some new friends from a job I had just started. He was older, obviously trouble and I stayed away. Or I tried to. Someone had given him my phone number.
I did my best to brush him off, but I was young, naive, alone and he seemed like fun … I caved.
We hung out, and he essentially never left. I know, you are going to say “Jen, you could have stopped it!”. Well yes, if I had any shred of self worth, or been taught that I was powerful. But that wasn’t the case.
We dated for a few months, and it was fun. True identities were hidden, addictions were hidden, it wasn’t a solid relationship, it wasn’t real. Then one day, I felt off, my period was late… I was pregnant. I have never been so scared and unprepared in my life. I knew I wouldn’t have support from my family, and that this fun relationship was not family material. But I made a choice, and it was the only one I could make. I tried to make it work.
And then the real person came out. He showed who he really was, in small spurts. The addictions started to show up daily, he started to get more physical. And I was stuck.
The farther into my pregnancy I got, the worse he got. It was pills, then cocaine, then crack. He would steal money from me, buy as much as he could and lock himself in the bathroom. When drugs weren’t available, it was alcohol. And that’s when he got violent. I’ve fended off blows to my face, guarded my swollen belly as I was slammed into walls, listened to him yelling horrible things to me about being fat and a whore for hours from the bedroom in a drunken rage. I’ve climbed up to our second story apartment in the middle of the night, at 9 months pregnant, after he stole my wallet and house keys. I’ve called the police, and then retracted statements out of fear and to protect my unborn child.
I lived in this unending hell for years. Doing my best to make us look normal. I was scared that if I acknowledged and showed how bad it was, things would happen that would set him off and he kids and I would be dead. Yes, I said kidS. We had another together.
After the first few brutal years, he got clean of everything but the alcohol. But the alcohol was the catalyst for his abuse. It was what scared me the most. We moved to another part of Florida, I hoped a clean start would help, and of course, it didn’t and we had a son.
I worked as many hours as I could to support us, he barely worked, drinking away any money we made and sinking farther into his alcoholism. I was, or I felt, powerless. This was the life I made, I was going to have to live it until it’s over.
I’ve talked about how I broke one day, and ended it in a previous post. I couldn’t take it anymore. The violence, trying with every thing I had to shield my children, to keep up the fake life.
I’ll talk more about life after the separation and how the abuse kept on and what I did to stop the cycle, if anyone would like to hear more, and feel empowered.
I beg you, if you are in a situation that’s abusive, reach out. Hiding, pretending it’s ok, living in fear… there is more for you in this world. You are worthy and powerful, and you are loved.
I’m here for you.