“He would give me a lot of attention, something I wasn’t used to.”
We met in 2009, but we didn’t really start dating until the beginning of the following year. It was a bunch of love bombing at first. Then his drinking started coming out and verbal, mental, and emotional abuse started showing up.
I would try to make friends but couldn’t go anywhere alone. Any appointments, he had to be with me. I wasn’t allowed to go around my family, which I was having trouble with anyway.
They’re also abusive in their own ways. I didn’t really recognize all the stuff that he was doing because it was normalized in childhood. It felt like home.
There were a few times I tried to leave. He would buy me all kinds of jewelry and flowers—doing the whole “I‘ve changed”—until I told him I didn’t want to have sex with him.
He started accusing me of poisoning him. Turned out he was doing that to me. I would get really sleepy and wake up with him raping me. When I finally said no more to the sexual abuse, it was way worse than before.
He had linked my phone to his, so he could see all my messages. He was trying very hard to buy a gun. I feel like he was planning on killing me. He threatened to kill one of our cats right in front of the kids.
My sister found out about this place. I got a DVO (protective order) for three years, no contact. He hasn’t shown up for any court appearances.
I feel all the love for the first time ever in my whole life. I’m soaking it in.
I’m starting a work-from-home job and we’re moving into transitional housing soon. I’m 32 and like, yes, this is what I deserve.
You don’t deserve to be abused. Even if it’s not physical, if you feel like it’s wrong, even if you’re told it’s not—leave. You don’t have to stay.
This is only part of Michelle’s story, in her own words, shared with her permission.