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Becoming Stronger After Abuse

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I've been going back and forth between wanting to publish this and wanting to just put these memories to the back of my mind, where they have been this entire time. I have realized that sharing my story, sharing this painful experience has not only helped myself but I have the chance to help others in the same situation.So here I am, it's 8:34 pm on a Thursday night. I am sitting here listening to music getting ready to pour my heart out, to tell you the truth, whoever you are.

... This story begins with a boy I met right around the time that I started to find myself and move on from a relationship that was less than perfect. I was with this previous person for 3 years, and during that time I was miserable but I stayed because I didn't think that I deserved any better. Then I met this guy, who I shared a lot of interests with, we will call him "A". He added me one random night through Facebook, and because he attended my University I accepted his request. I immediately noticed that he worked with children, and so did I so I messaged him. Soon after talking to him I began to feel happy that I found someone who not only loved children but who also loved education as much as I did. I took a chance and made the hour drive to meet him, a stranger who I didn't know anything about. After my last relationship I figured that it couldn't get any worse and so I leaped, and I leaped hard. The moment I started talking to him I felt like I had known him my whole life. It seemed that we had so many interests and far too many things in common. From that night on we spoke almost every day, and saw each other at least a few times a week. He became someone that I could tell anything to, and someone that I considered to be one of my best friends.

This friendship lasted for 2 months. 2 very long, emotional, draining and exhausting months. This person who was one of my best friends started to change, he started to become controlling and manipulative. I can remember the first time that he asked if I was his, as he stared in my eyes. If I couldn't spend time with him he always seemed to have another girl handy, and he never let me forget it. He had this way of scaring me but keeping me pulled in at the same time. He would often comment on my appearance telling me things that he knew would hurt me. He compared me to girls that he had dated and on one occasion he told me that "guys won't like you here because of how you look". It still hurts to think about the night he told me that he would find me more attractive if I lost weight. One of our last nights together we were in a bar, we were drinking and having fun..until we weren't. I had mentioned that I helped a friend with homework after school. As this guys name slipped from my lips his face changed, he was no longer this person that I called my friend, instead he was a guy that I feared.

He began to shake his head from side to side in disapproval. He told me "you know I don't like him, why would you help him". I couldn't see what was wrong with helping someone in my class, someone that I saw as a friend. I sucked down my drink and ordered another, not knowing what to do. As I sat there I thought to text my friend to pick me up, and when I did this angered him even more. I had to show him a picture of this friend and tell him that I didn't like him like that. I did what I thought was right at the time and told him "I'll delete him off Facebook". So the friend that I helped with homework, that I saw as a good person I took off Facebook to make him happy, so that he wouldn't be mad at me. A few minutes later I went to the bathroom and when I returned I found that not only had he deleted that persons number from my phone, but he had also deleted 3 of my friends from my Facebook account. I knew that this wasn't right, I knew that I was in trouble, I now knew what kind of person he was. After this night we spent many days and nights, talking and then not talking. No matter how hard we tried to not communicate with one another, and no matter how many times my friends told me to not talk to him I just couldn't stop.

The night that changed everything.. He reached out to me, as a friend to pick him up from a party. When I arrived outside the house his friend was holding him up making sure he didn't fall because he was heavily intoxicated. She placed him in my car, I reached around him and buckled his seat belt. As we drove off he began to tell me that no one likes me because I won't go inside. Earlier that night he told me that he wanted to go there because "there's drugs and alcohol". I let him know that I am not okay with drugs and that I was taking him home because he had class later that day. Instead of returning to my house he said that he was hungry and so I began driving to McDonald's. As we drove there he began asking me if he could drive my car, because he didn't trust me. I began telling him no because he was really drunk, too drunk to drive.

As I was still driving he opened my car door and began yelling at me to stop driving. I told him no, but began to slow down because I didn't want to let him out into the road but I also didn't want him to jump and get hurt. I grabbed his arm to stop him from jumping.. then he unbuckled his seatbelt. I grabbed him harder this time trying with all of me to keep him inside of my car, because I was still driving down the road.

I stopped the car and buckled his seat belt then reached across him and closed the passenger door. As I was typing in the navigation to take him back to his house he grabbed my wrist with both of his hands and pressed it hard into the seatbelt buckle. I screamed out in pain, and told him that he had just hurt me. He sat there unaware of what was happening and still angry that I wouldn't let him drive my car. I began to drive down the road as he kept grabbing my wrist and yelling at me to stop the car. Eventually because of the pain I couldn't hold onto his seatbelt any longer and he unbuckled himself and after stopping he got out of my car. I followed him down the side road to make sure that he didn't get hurt. I began to contact his roommate through Facebook because this was my friend, I didn't want to call the police I just wanted him to be home safe. He came over to my drivers side window and began punching it as hard as he could. He started yelling at me to stop contacting his roommate. He began punching my window again and said "get out of the car Clarice". I couldn't believe it, that he had thought I was his ex girlfriend. Earlier that night he had known me, he knew who I was.

I drove down the road just enough to get away from him, until I finally got in contact with his roommate. I was hysterical and could barely breathe but told him to come get 'A' because I was scared and didn't know what to do. He ran to my car and began punching my drivers side window again, this time much harder than before. He kept yelling at me through the glass, telling me to open up so that he could drive. I started to slowly pull away from him, that's when he grabbed onto my car. I started to panic because I thought I ran him over. I got out of my car and reached down to him and asked if he was okay.

He threw my hand away, got up and shoved me against my car. He started to reach for my door handle but stumbled, so I opened the car door and jumped inside. He sat on top of me, I turned the car off and jumped out of the passenger side. As I started running away from my car down the road I didn't know what to do, I was terrified and felt more alone than I ever have in my entire life. I thought to myself what happens in movies, when someone is being chased. I looked at the house at the end of the road and noticed the lights were on. I ran to their window and looked inside, they were awake. I ran to the door and asked if they could let me inside, I ran in and began to shake and cry uncontrollably. 'A' followed me and eventually made it to the front door. He began asking for my keys and started saying "Do you know what you're doing Liz, don't do this".

I couldn't take it anymore, my body just couldn't handle it any longer, I turned around and faced the corner of the hallway that I was in and kneeling down I began to cry, covering my ears trying to block out anything he was saying.

After he was arrested I followed the police officer to the station where I stayed until 3 in the morning. At 9am I went to the court house to get my temporary restraining order become permanent. Later that day at around 2pm I went to my school, where I spent the rest of the day crying and being comforted by my friends.

Since this incident I have spent that past 2 months scared to be on campus, scared that he is going to find me, scared to see him. I have been fighting to get him removed from my campus for the things that he did that night not only to myself but also to the police officers. I have been fighting because my university is my home, it's the one place that I have found that completes me, the one place that I felt safe. Since this has happened he has controlled every aspect of my life. Every time I pass that road, every time I look at my mirror that he broke on my car, every time I see his name on Facebook I cringe. He has taken my confidence away, he has taken away my ability to trust, he has taken away every hope that I had in men. This has made me fall behind in class, and because we have courses in the same building I have stopped going to some of my classes all together.

Until now.

The battle isn't over and I am sure that I will have to keep fighting with the school but he won't have control over my life any longer, because I am done. I am done letting him take away any happiness that I had. I am done letting him steal my smile, steal the joy in my life. I am done letting him pop into my head just when I feel like I can start to move on. I am moving on. I am finished letting someone who isn't worth it ruin my life and my chance at success and at love. I am ready to move on, and to use this to become stronger.

Instead of being sad and crying I am going to use this as an excuse, to fight and to become someone that others can look up to. I am sharing my story because I want you, whoever you are to know that YOU ARE VALUABLE. You are here, you made it through whatever life has thrown your way. You are here for a reason and no matter what there are so many people around you that love and care about you. I thought that I was alone in this, but I have realized that I have an amazing support system. I'm not saying that I am 100% better because after all it's only been 2 months since the incident. What I am saying is that I can't stop my life based on someones bad actions, based on a bad person. I may still feel sad and occasionally I may cry but I am getting better, I am willing to move on and to stop being scared.

I vow to myself that I will open myself to love, because not everyone I let in will hurt me. I also vow to myself to allow someone else to love me as much as I can love them, I vow to allow myself to fall head over heels in love with him, whoever he might be.

I vow to myself to let my friends in when I am hurting, because they always make me feel better.

I vow to myself to travel this summer, to Greece to escape and to find myself.

I vow to myself to become healthier, to view myself as I did before all of this happened. To see the beauty inside myself as well as outside.

I vow to stay positive because my positivity has always gotten my through tough situations.

I vow that one day when I have a son or a daughter that I will share my strength with them so that they never have to experience this, ever.

I vow to share my story, because there are people out there going through the same thing who think they're alone.

Most of all I vow to fight, until I can't fight any longer for myself and for everyone else out there going through the same thing.