I didn’t really have an idea of how women got trapped in abusive relationships.
Not every sign was a red light in my eyes.
I didn’t know that abuse didn’t have to be loud.
Abuse didn’t always involve black eyes and bloody noses.
I didn’t know that abuse didn’t require the cops.
I always said, “I would never let a man put his hands on me.”
That same confidence, disappeared once one did.
That same confidence left with the first hit.
The next thing I started saying was, “How did I get in this?”
What I was calling fun, was actually painful,
What I called playing rough was actually violence.
And the crush that I had found so attractive, was really sadistic.
He never blatantly slapped me or punched me.
I thought because he didn’t hit me in the face that he wasn’t abusive.
But how come I didn’t think getting hit during sex was abusive?
But being bent over during sex, suffocated by pillows and beaten during sex doesn’t sound like an alarm?
You see, I grew up in an abusive household, I saw the fighting, the screaming, the arguing, throwing dishes, blood being shed, guns being pulled…
I knew that wasn’t right.
I knew that this wasn’t what a happy family looked like.
All the while, I would stay out late to stay away from the pain at home.
Running into the wrong arms for love. I knew what love wasn’t.
It wasn’t what I saw at home.
But when the devil knows what you’re looking for and you’re not self aware he can blind side you.
Ladies and Gents I insert here: Watch, Fight, Pray, but most of all Watch. Everything comes with a strategy.
Fast forward back to the age 19, I am still looking for love in all the wrong places.
Knowing all along I was just angry inside. A hurt heart ran into the arms of a predator.
A manipulative light skinned, 6’7 , 245 lb guy with tattoos, to fill the void.
He was charming. I fell for him.
He opened up to me, seeing what I thought was actual emotion made me think he was safe.
I was wrong.
I was deceived.
Later , I saw other sides to him.
Sides of anger, aggression, lack of empathy, signs of a true liar.
But I couldn’t leave, something kept holding me back.
In a weird way I began to need him.
I couldn’t just quite let him go. The feeling of loneliness, agony and shame I felt being with him.
I remembered being under my bed screaming “Who lives like this? Who gets beaten like this? It’s painful, but he uses the most intimate part of me to exploit the moment, Sex.”
I couldn’t understand why after sex, when I went to the shower I saw bruises on my body, bite marks on my arms and legs.
Why did he beat me like a dog?
How can you hit me?
I thought you liked me a little.
You use my body for sex and frustration?
When did I become the punching bag?
Why am I the target?
I would say No, I didn’t like this, but his response stayed the same, “You’ll get used to it. I promise you’ll like this better next time.”
But it never got better.
I never began to like it.
It only got worse.
I’d get even more depressed as the days went on.
Why did I think that love equated to being hit like an animal?
When was I going to wake up?
When was I going to see that this isn’t okay?
Briana wake up…
I was at my wits end, something had to give. I couldn’t keep having sex with him in fear.
My body was covered in bruises, welts and bite marks.
I remember God used a mother figure in my life to say, “You can’t stay here anymore baby. You gotta get up from here. You have got to get out of this. You have to live.”
When I had that dream I knew that I needed to leave but I couldn’t say no. I needed God’s help, he was the only one who could give me the strength.
I decided to stop texting him and delete his number.
After praying that God would give me strength, it was so simple. Like a gift, he did. He gave me peace and hope that everything would be okay. As long as I let go of this thing. This one thing that fills a void in one area but kills my soul in another.
I built this same faith up the last time we had sex. I wasn’t afraid, but more than ever I was aware that this wasn’t what I wanted anymore.
While he was on top of me I prayed , “God, how do I get out of this? I’m tired.”
He replied and said “Just leave.”
Then I prayed, while he was on top of me, “Father give me peace after this. Give me peace, give me peace after this tie. I lost myself but let me find myself in you again, give me the strength to walk in a healing like none other. Tear this down.”
In that moment as the guy, whom I was so paralyzed by, didn't seem scary any more. I began to just say in my mind, “Father help me, get me out.”
I just wanted out.
I wanted out.
I wanted OUT.
I needed to hear him as a daughter to tell me to get out of that relationship. In the next season of recovery I learned him as Abba to see his plan for me.
I took the relationship as a lesson and learned from the search I was never supposed to have.
But that part was necessary to break a cycle.
If you’re reading this and you’re like me, you’re someone whose had a hard time forgiving yourself, learn to give yourself grace and mercy. Give yourself time to heal and grow. Soon you’ll understand that when you know better you do better.
When you’re naive and young things don’t always seem so clear, but when you’re brought into the truth of yourself, you understand it isn’t your fault. You stop blaming yourself for what wasn’t taught.
If you’re reading this, please don’t give up on your healing. You can find healing. You aren’t damaged goods, you were never alone and you have an identity. You’re worth it. You’re loved.
You lost yourself for a moment, but you’re back now.
Here are some helpful resources if you or someone you know is in a domestically violent relationship-
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
Advocates are also available to chat 24/7.
National Center for Victims of Crime 1-855-4-VICTIM (1-855-484-2846)