“My dear sweet baby girl,
I know why you stay.
I know you think he’s going to stop. I know you think you can love him hard enough he won’t want to hurt you anymore. I know you believe every ‘I’m sorry’ and every ‘I love you’ and I know you believe things will go back to how they were in the beginning. I know you beg him to just not be so angry and I know every time, you hope it won’t happen again. Because I know you don’t want to believe it happened at all. I know you wish, with all your heart, things were different.
But I also know it won’t be different. I know it doesn’t stop. I know it doesn’t get better. It doesn’t go back to normal and you can’t make him love you enough to not want to hurt you anymore. Because this IS his normal.
He’s laughingly told you about the intense relationships he’s been in. He’s jokingly told you, ‘You should fight back harder and stand your ground’ but all that does is fuel his anger and feed his fire. He’ll point out each and every single thing you’ve done to defend yourself and then manipulate your mind to believe it was your fault. The arguments are always going to be your fault. His anger, his rage, his hands being laid on you — he’ll twist your mind to somehow believe you made it happen, that you deserved it so you try to do better next time.
I know he showers you with gifts and kind words because he’s a good man. I know you’ll believe in your heart he loves you and it won’t be this bad next time.
One day, sweet girl, there won’t be a next time. Absolutely NOTHING you’ve done justifies being physically hurt by a man who is supposed to love and care for you. One day he’ll kick you so hard, it will crush your chest, physically and emotionally. One day he’ll pin you up in the shower, rip the curtain rod down, and smash it across the wall, screaming at you while you cower in the corner, begging him not to hit you. One day he’ll have you pinned on the floor with all of his weight, smashing your face into the carpet. You’ll realize you can’t defend yourself because he really is just so much stronger than you and fighting back just makes it worse.
One day, it will be absolutely too late.
I know you know you have to get out. I know you have isolated yourself from your friends and family because they won’t understand why you keep staying. I know you’ve begun to believe all the poison he’s put in your mind. I know you feel worthless. And I know you wish, with all your heart, things would just be normal. Oh, my sweet love, I know.
But I also know you can do it. I know you can hear that voice in your head telling you this just isn’t right. I know YOU know in your heart, this isn’t love. And I know you can get out. Stop trying to figure it out, stop trying to make a plan and just run. Take whatever you can throw in your truck and get the hell out. Run and don’t look back. Because I know that nothing, absolutely NOTHING you’ve done warrants the abuse you are choking down. Nothing justifies the bruises. Nothing justifies the fights.
I know it’s hard. I know it’s scary. But I know you are a warrior. And I know you can do it. I know you can save yourself and I know the pieces of your life can be put back together to build a future more incredible than you’ve ever imagined. I know you can survive this, and I know you can make it end.
I know there are people begging you to come home. I know there are so many people who love you and will kill to protect you. Run to them. Run to them with your broken nothingness and let them fill you up. You can do it, love, I know you can.
I know you can, my precious girl because I am you, too.
Please know this is, hands down, the hardest post I’ve ever shared. It’s not attention-seeking, I assure you. I am over a thousand miles from him and I’m safe. I’m alive. I don’t know why I had to endure any of this, but I do know I have to speak to it because my survival guide could save someone else. We, as women, we have to help everyone around us that we can. Please know, if you’re in this type of situation, it’s not your fault, it’s NOT okay, and people will love you unconditionally, help you get out, and offer no judgment. You’re not alone.”
[If you need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit thehotline.org to live chat with someone 24/7. Help is out there and you are not alone.]
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kristilin Thomas, 33, of Denver, Colorado. Have you experienced loss and are working through your grief? We’d like to hear your journey. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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