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The New York Times bestselling memoir of abusive love - available everywhere
26 stay-at-home and career moms face off on their choices, their lives, and their families.
ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP WARNING SIGNS
(from Dr. Phil Show)
- History of past battering
- Threats of violence
- Breaking items in anger
- Use of force during arguments
- Unreasonable jealousy
- Controlling behavior
- Over-involvement in the relationship
- Verbal abuse/​blaming others for problems
- Cruelty to children/​animals
- Abrupt mood changes

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE BEING ABUSED
- Call the police
- Avoid becoming isolated
- Confide in someone
- Fight the shame; no one deserves to make you afraid
- Keep a record (including pictures) in a safe place
- Develop an emergency safety plan -- keep spare keys, money and clothes in a safe place, and know where you can go in the middle of the night
- Consider ending the relationship as soon you can

The Crazy Love Project

Shared Stories of Surviving Domestic Abuse

Please Do Not Go Back to That Man

July 30, 2010

When I was 19, I too was in an abusive relationship with the man I thought I would be with forever. It amazes me how stupid I was at 19, even though I thought I knew everything! He didn't hit me until we were 6 months into the relationship, but alienating me from my family and friends had already begun. So had the arguments.

The first time he hit me, we were arguing in his mother's home. I said something he didn't like. He calmly walked over and punched me in my left eye. I remember seeing stars and hitting the floor.

The next thing I knew, he'd picked me up, taken me into the guest room and was putting ice on my eye. The honeymoon period had begun! I stayed in this sickening relationship for almost 2 years until the last attack, which almost sent me to prison.

We were, once again, at his mom's house having a heated discussion. He started beating the living daylights out of me. I wear glasses and he punched me in the face, around the head, the body, etc. Once he finished and I was lying in a bloody heap on the floor, he went in to the guest room and closed the door.

At that moment, I had an epiphany. I saw myself stabbing him until I was tired and I picked myself up off the floor and went into the kitchen and found the biggest knife I could. As I stumbled out of the kitchen, fate (or my angels) intervened. Clutching the knife, I picked up the phone and dialed 911. I told the operator the situation and also told her about me holding the knife. That made her take the situation seriously and I heard the sirens as they approached the street. I opened the door, calmly sat down in a chair and waited for them to arrive. They took one look at me, (bloody, bruised and swelling - I looked like the Elephant Man!!) and asked me where was the perpetrator.

The youngest officer, who was clearly upset as he looked at me, went to the guest room door and banged on it. When it didn't open quick enough, he kicked it in! They took my boyfriend out of the house in handcuffs.

His mother had the nerve to be angry with me. All the times she heard us fighting and me being hit, she never once intervened or told him to stop. She knew it was happening and it was almost like she truly didn't have a problem with it. It makes me wonder now if she was an abused woman herself.

I clearly remember that day 15 years ago. Two officers took me to Union Station to catch a cab (I forgot why they couldn't take me home). The oldest officer, a kindly gray-haired man with beautiful blue eyes, took me to the side. He put his finger under my chin and made me look squarely in his face. He said, "You seem like an intelligent young lady. You don't belong in that environment. Please do not go back to that man. You put him in jail and he is now angrier than ever. Get yourself some help and promise me you won't ever return to that neighborhood. I don't want to be the one identifying your body because he WILL kill you, if you allow a next time."

Profound words for me, especially coming from a complete stranger. I took his advice and never looked back. I then had to explain to my mom (by this time I was 21, but still living at home), why I was coming in the house with my head down. She took one look at me and completely freaked out.

To this day, I've never seen my mom so angry and hurt. She wanted to confront my ex, but I told her it wasn't necessary because I was never going to be with him again. And I kept my word to my mom, myself and that police officer!

I am now a mom to a beautiful little boy who will turn 10 next month. One day, I will share with him the big, black notebook that I still keep to this day. I don't know how we will talk about this, but we WILL talk about it. In that notebook, I kept every wrist band from every hospital stay caused by my ex (cracked ribs, cracked bone in my nose, chipped tooth, black eyes, bruises, etc.). He'll also see the death threat letters my ex sent me and all of my paperwork from my therapy sessions. I found a really great group of women who helped abused women.

Unfortunately, the group disbanded, but they helped me tremendously that first year after. He'll also see pictures of me in various stages of healing (purple bruise under my eye, ace bandage around my middle for the cracked ribs, etc.). I know this will make him angry, so we won't have this discussion until he's in college, but I'm already telling him now that there is never a good excuse to put your hands on a young lady. I don't condone physically fighting anyone, but especially a young lady. He already knows where I stand on that issue.

Thank you for letting me share a part of my story. I don't re-visit that part of my life often. Reading your book was a very cathartic experience for me.

Thank you for being brave enough to give abused women, especially those still in the relationship, a voice to be heard. You are living proof that there is life after abuse!

-- K

Comments

  1. June 1, 2011 10:05 PM EDT
    YOU are brave. You are my angel, my idol. Thank you for telling your story; it touched me VERY much.
    - Amy
  2. November 9, 2013 4:06 PM EST
    I did everything right, I went to the shelter and I was granted a restraining order and left my home of 20 years and well established business to move out of town and keep my 16 year old son safe. We lived in Naples, Florida and recently moved to central Florida. For 10 years I have owned a Crime and Trauma Clean Up Company where I clean up after suicides and murder scenes. I have helped countless families on the worst day of their life. Since I worked out of my home, it allowed me to be flexible with costs for these families and when I came upon a family that couldn't afford my services, I never walked away, I was able to charge them minimal fees. I am highly recommended in Southwest Florida and I knew leaving that area would be a huge financial strain on me and supporting my son. But after having a husband that held a gun to your head and waking up to hearing him check the clip on the gun.....nothing is worth staying for. Once we moved here, I was served with divorce papers and my husband wants joint custody of our son. My son has expressed to not only me, but his father that he does not want visitation with his father. My son often tells me of when we lived with his father, he would wake up every morning and look for me to just make sure his father didn't kill me over night. That is not a way for my son to live. For months, I emailed and called attorneys for free legal help. Legal Aide wouldn't help and no attorney would do a pro bono case. Finally I went on line and found this site called Gofundme.com and I stated a donation page. I raised $2,400 to retain a good lawyer in Cape Coral who came highly recommended. Now after just 30 days, that retainer fee money is spent. My son wants his voice to be heard. He wants the judge to know what he went through living with his father. My attorney informs me that this judge will not take testimony from the minor child. I am told in order for my son's voice to be heard, that I have to hire a child advocate for $3,000 and then they tell the judge of my son's wishes. I can't afford that, let alone more attorney fee monies. That's why I am writing you. We need help financially to keep my son safe from his father. I have a link on Gofundme.com at:
    http://www.gofundme.com/4g1nec
    - Alice Neary Jackson
  3. March 6, 2014 11:04 AM EST
    Hi, could you tell me whether your book has been translated in Dutch? I can't find it... We are sheltering a woman and 2 little children. She has been beaten by her husband for 25 years, he broke 3 of her ribs... she got away a few months ago, went to the police and to court, the judge decided that she had to drop both sons (5 and 8yrs old) at the fathers 2x month (unsupervised!) In the beginning she was frantic, but now she is dropping the kids every weekend (!!), taking a bath and putting make up on before dropping them, and finding all sorts of excuses for his behaviour, not even wanting to realize that he is only manipulating her. She says he is autistic, poor him, and is reading books about that and oh!! poor guy he really can't help it! Sorry for the sarcasm but as long as society will provide all sorts of excuses for not taking responsibility, it'll be very hard to fight these kinds of situations. It is clear that she now wants to go back, she is scared that he'd meet someone else and would like to have a relationship with him from a distance! leaving the kids with us and visiting him regularly...
    So... I'd like to give her your book, try to wake her up to the mechanisms that are pretty standard allover. You illustrate them very well, they do follow the same structure.
    I myself come from a very abusive environment, my father was an alcoholic and abused us in all possible ways both physically and mentally, my mother was very aware of that (I told her) but never protected us, quite the opposite, she would deflect his constant drunk raging to us, 2 small girls, we would take the whole blast. My sister was flattened by it and became an alcoholic, I fought, never stopped, never shut up, not even as a child, got beaten up for that by both my parents but I never did go to people outside our family, children are just too loyal. Then I found myself in a relationship where I needed to hide in cupboards for days, broke toes, lost teeth and was beaten regularly by this bloke who really really loved me. Got out of that after 3 years when I could not tell myself anymore that I was the one provoking him, and poor him was not verbal enough to defend himself against me, etc etc I do recognize every mechanisms you talk about. Frightful! Anyhow, I got out, teeth kicked out but mentally much stronger. I had not realized the impact of my "upbringing" on the way I was envisioning "being loved". I succeeded in reversing all that, especially because there was no way that I was going to repeat history! And I am now a happy mother of 2 near adult children, outspoken and willing to fight for their rights and those of others. They will never shut up about injustice or if anybody needs help, whether half the world is present or not. They are not followers or passive watchers. I'm very very proud of that! I'm too aware of the abused child becoming an abusive parent and the cycle repeating itself endlessly and growing exponentially.
    My story, however is not the reason why I'm writing, I'm ordering your book in English but would very much like to be advised when it will be translated (Spanish, Dutch, French) to be able to at least show people that they are not alone and that the end of their lives is not if they speak up, it's the opposite. I hope to hear from you. :)
    - Sakura-no-hana

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