To my friend in an abusive relationship,
Trigger warning: This post deals with family violence and may be triggering for some readers.
We first met at school, when you were a blonde haired, blue eyed princess, and I was a mousy tomboy with scraped knees.
Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to watch you grow into a young woman who is not only physically beautiful, but incredibly intelligent, kind and gentle.
You’re the sort of person who adopts stray animals, gives money to the homeless and volunteers at orphanages.
So how did you get here?
How did someone like you – someone who could have been anything, done anything – end up in an abusive relationship with an ice addict?
Even now, months and months after your toxic relationship started, I can’t understand it.
The very first time I met him, I realised something was off. He was rude, jumpy and dismissive of us, your closest friends. I felt uncomfortable in his presence – he just felt dangerous, somehow, and I wondered what you possibly saw in him.
Soon, the late-night, whispered, teary phone calls began after you experienced ugly fight after ugly fight.
Then there were the stories of how he opened your mail, insisted on knowing your passwords and PIN numbers, deleted your male friends from Facebook, and demanded an explanation for your every movement.
You told us how he needed to know a backstory on each of your female friends, and how he would find excuses to stop you from seeing us.
And when we do get to see you for a rare dinner or movie? He either calls you every 15 minutes to “check in”, or turns up unannounced, telling you it’s time to leave.
Can’t you see he’s slowly isolating you from your family, your friends, your support network?
But worst of all are those times he’s shoved you, grabbed you, loomed over you while he screamed in your face. He’s even chased you through traffic, putting lives in danger.
Below is a TED Talk by Leslie Morgan Steiner on why domestic violence victims don’t leave. Post continues after video.
The police have been called more than once by horrified strangers, but so far, he’s stopped himself short of actually leaving you with any physical bruises. So far.