I am 25 years old.
I am writing this to you with much difficulty because I really don't admit when I have been wrong.
But I just have to tell you my story.
I come from a strict Arab family in where my biological father hit my mother and then abandoned my mom, my grandmother, myself and my brother. I watched him hit my mother numerous times, drugs were involved, and it was hell. We ended up living in a van hiding from him because at anytime he could legally have taken us back to Iraq and never been seen again.
We lived in hiding our whole life from him, so much so that police officers would watch our every move. I was terrified, I always thought it was me that I did something to cause these fights. As I grew older in life my mother slowly started to tell me stories of her battered life with him and how she fought back to become the Godzilla mom I now love and respect. She became so tough that she was impervious to anything.
She was and is amazing.
My mother remarried an amazing hero. My stepfather, whom I call to this day Dad. He's earned it. He put my brother and I in the best schools, put us both in sports and participated in our lives. Karate, band, rc cars, go carts...He was everything any kid could dream of.
And he was our friend.
He taught us respect, manners, southern hospitality, courage, honor. He taught us to always think and double think. But jump with your heart. He taught us how to treat a lady, and how to act in times of stress. He treats our mother like a goddess, and respects our customs and our family ways. He loves her and us. He is my hero.
Ok now on with my story of love... This will be hard for me. Please know that in all this i am not trying to blame her or anything.
In 2006 I met the most amazing girl in my life. The cat's meow, worth the squeeze. We fell in love.
Within a month we were convinced we had to be with each other and we moved in together.
We moved in with each other miles away from her home and basically away from everything she ever knew. Our relationship was amazing, filled with adventure, amazing sex, awesome conversations and love.
But underneath it all, like in your book, things weren't the greatest.
First our fights were small, about little things, like decorating our new place, going out without calling. Then things got worse. The longer we were together the closer we got, the more open we were, the worse the fighting got.
I've always believed in not going to bed mad at someone. I've lost a lot of people in my life I wish I could just say "I'm sorry" to.
The yelling was horrible, the threats, the lies, everything was hurtful to the extreme.
Then it happened. It first started with a push. We were arguing and she wouldn't answer my question.
The next time it turned to a shove. Once again it was an argument that I had started and was stupid enough to pursue.
Then we found ourselves in the bathroom and I pushed her into the tub. Our fights and arguments were getting so bad.
I have had two black eyes, and a scar that reminds me everyday over my left eye. I was afraid at times if I was too drunk or something, what would I do to her if we fought. I mean it's genetically built in me to hit, right??
Our home turned into a war zone. It came to a point to where she was sleeping in the room and I was on the couch and we never spoke to each other. Things were bad, to the point where she had feared for her life and called the police.
I love her, I would never want to kill her. I never wanted to argue or fight but things happened.
We went to court, she placed an injunction on me and basically we weren't allowed to talk.
The judge said that I would be a beater my whole life because of my family's past. Nothing rang more true to me. He scared me. I had become my biological dad. I was him.
I cried and hated myself. I shut myself away from everyone and didn't even speak to my now ex-girlfriend. I realized I needed help. I needed control from my anger and my stupidity.
Our relationship is crazy, even though we've been broken up, and seeing other people, we still find each other. We keep meeting in random places, and things go off. In a good way, it's like we are drawn to each other. But the reminder of "I used to hit you" still crept into our
One day she was listening to NPR and heard your interview about your Crazy Love. Everything you describe in your feelings matched hers. She was crying in her car because everything you said that day was everything she was feeling. How can she love a person who hurt her so? How can love me after what I've done?
Immediately she went and got your book. It freaked her out.
Your story. Your everything. You and Connor are us.
After what a reaction she had to your book I read it too. I had to.
And just like her, I cried, I got mad, I freaked out.
Your book touched me.
Especially when you asked the PHd doctor when you were "interviewing him for an article" and excuse me if i butcher it, but when you asked if they ever change and stop and he said no. At that point i had to stop reading the book. It hit me hard. I cried. I doubted myself. Could I become a better man???
At that point I realized that i needed to shape up even harder. I realized a lot of things. And basically I was a monster.
I want you to know, I still have hope in myself and in "us." I want to change. I want to show the world that I can beat the stigma.
I want to show myself that I am not and will not become my biological dad. I want you to know this.
Your book made me realize that I was looking at what the situation was doing to me. All I cared and thought about was me. But after your book, I saw what I was doing to her for the first time. I see clearer now.
I realize all the things I caused in her life that made it harder for her. She lost her friends, her family was terrified and hated me, her friends hated me, and all i did was trap her. "Sorry" cannot replace my actions from the past.
But now, I walk away.
We are hoping to date regularly and actually have a real relationship instead of one that started so quickly. Yes, there are plans to try and live together again, but this time I will be different, it will be different. But that's far far away.
Your book helped me to realize that a change is needed and that it's all with me.
Thank you for writing something so honest, and amazing.
You saved our lives, our hearts, and our relationship. Whatever the future holds.