This article contains references to domestic abuse and may be triggering for some readers. If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous. The feature image used is a stock photo.
As I sat crying on the floor, broken hearted, I asked myself, how can someone I love be so cruel and hurt me so much?
My four-year-old son comes to me, worried by my uncontrollable sobbing. He tries to comfort me, asking if I’m ok and gives me a hug. Deja vu hits me. Why am I here again?
The only difference this time is that my abuser is not my partner, but my teenage son.
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Fifteen years ago, I left my teenage son's abusive father. Leaving with my then two-year-old son, I never wanted him to experience that fear. I swore that my son would be different, that I was going to raise him to respect women and treat them as equals.
I was going to be a strong and independent female role model to him. I would educate him on domestic violence and the effects on families. He would never be an entitled man filled with toxic masculinity. But I failed.
Now I am once again trapped in a domestic abuse situation where I cannot escape. Having smaller children, I am again in the position where I am fearing for their safety, for their emotional and psychological wellbeing, as I did for him so many years ago.
How did I get here? What went wrong? It seems like no matter how hard I try to love my son, it is never enough, or I am too much. Once again, I find myself hiding the abuse, my feelings, my hurt.
17 years ago, when I had my son, I was just a teenager myself. I was so in love with his father and thought we would be together forever.
He played games with my heart, manipulated me and lied to me. He became involved with drugs and the control became overbearing, and physical.
I believed I could fix him but I couldn’t. For the five years we were together I told myself, “it will get better when… he gets a job, when the baby is born, when we have our own home, when...” It never did.
The day he threatened my life in front of our two-year-old with a weapon for my $300 rent money, I knew I needed to leave. I fled to a refuge with a few items. It was hard, and I was grieving the life I thought we were going to have.