Growing up I lived every little girl’s dream. I had horses and attended horse shows every weekend. It was like a fairy tale, without the castle. I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood. I lived on a farm of 150 acres. I could run anywhere I wanted to. Usually I hopped on my horse if I wanted to go somewhere though. My senior year of high school my life change dramatically. I prayed and prayed it could go back to the way it was but unfortunately that wasn’t an option.

When I was 17 years old I got myself into a relationship with an abusive boy. Up to the point that we started dating I was very innocent and naive. He was someone who hung out with the same group of friends that I did. I thought he was nice but wasn’t actually even interested in him to begin with. To protect our privacy, we will call him Josh.

In the fall of 2001 Josh’s mother passed away from lung cancer. Since I did know him and we ran around with the same group of kids, I felt that it was right for me to attend her funeral in support of my friend. After the funeral service he asked me to go out with him that night. Although I wasn’t interested in anything romantic with him I also felt guilty turning him down, his mother had just passed away.

I went into town and met up with Josh. We had a good time hanging out and nothing at all happened. He took me to dinner and then I went home. The next day I left for a week to go on a trail ride with my family. When we returned Josh was eager to ‘hang out’ again. I guess I will say that I was too but in a different way than he. As time went on I started to see that he was expecting more from me than I wanted to give but every time I would try to pull away he would make me feel like he needed me and was upset. I was a good friend, I hated to see people in pain and I wasn’t used to having someone play games with my mind or my kindness.

Unfortunately, I let things go too far because I felt sorry for him. I started dating him and he told me I was all he had in the world. His mom was all he had had and he was so lucky to have found me. He couldn’t live without me and he would kill himself if I ever left. I think he knew from the beginning that this wasn’t what I wanted but he was scared to be alone and he preyed on my kindness and my innocence. I should have had more of a backbone.

About six months into this relationship that I knew was wrong from the beginning I had sex with him for the first time. It was my first time ever. It felt all wrong. I’m sure that every girl feels a sense of loss when they lose their virginity. I felt a sense of dread, I felt sick, I felt as if I’d betrayed myself and everything I’d ever wanted. I felt lost. I felt trapped.

It wasn’t even a month after we had sex for the first time that he started to become abusive. He treated me like I was scum. He would tell me no one would ever want me, that I was trash that he picked up off of the street and more. He threatened me. Not only now was I in a relationship that I knew I hadn’t wanted from the beginning, I was also scared to leave. Never in a million years did I ever dream that I would have ended up in a situation like this.

In just a few short months I found out that I was pregnant with our son. My dad cried. I felt like the biggest failure. I got married to this monster the September of the year I graduated high school, 20 days after I turned 18. It was one of the saddest days of my life. I felt as if I was forced into marrying him. I was scared not to. I remember standing in the bathroom at the celebration hall, looking at myself in the mirror, thinking “you stupid girl, what are you doing? Get in the car and leave.” I couldn’t. I was afraid of how he would react, I was afraid of disappointing my family.

A few nights after our wedding he punched me in the stomach, I was six months pregnant. He was very emotionally abusive and physical as well. I hated life. On several occasions I remember standing in the shower crying and begging god to let me miscarry. How could I bring a child into this? I guess I had a selfish reason as well for wishing for a miscarriage, I thought it would get me out of the trap I was in. I thought I would have an out.

In December I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He was the most perfect thing I had ever seen. How could something so amazing come from such a horrid relationship. Things got better for a short time but it wasn’t long before the abuse began again. One night he tried to shove me over the railing outside of our home. When we got inside he ripped my wedding ring from my finger and threw it at me leaving a large, very sore knot on my head, this was also in front of our son. When I tried to get away from him he would stand in front of me and not let me pass, spitting on my face.

After putting up with his abuse for four years I took our son who was three at the time and left. I went home. I didn’t care if they thought I failed but my son and I couldn’t be in that situation any longer. I knew if I told them how things had been my family would understand. They would let me come home and they did.

Josh and I continued to work at the same place. He would stalk me at work. It was really very scary. I tried to speak with the supervisor but no one would help me. I eventually lost my job because I couldn’t go to work everyday and deal with his abuse. There were several times after I left him that he was abusive to me when I took my son to visit him. I think he thought since he had been able to scare me into staying in the past, he could do it again. He pinned me against the kitchen counter, hitting me and spitting on me. He threw me against a horse trailer in the driveway. That night I wasn’t sure I was going to get away with my life. When I got away I vowed never to meet up with him again unless it was in a public place.

To this day he is a horrible father to our son. He never follows through with what he says he will do, rarely sees him and lets him down all of the time. My son is now 14 and knows what to expect but it is heartbreaking to see him in pain. Every time his dad tells him he will do something he knows the probability of him following through is small but he wants to believe that he has changed, that he will do what he says this time. The sad reality is that one day my child is going to stop believing anything his father says. I honestly think having him in and out of his life, letting him down and hurting him daily is worse than if he’d just walked away when I left. I think his reasoning for staying in his life part time was because he thought it may be a way to control me.

Luckily, my son and I have a man in our lives who has been a wonderful father figure since he was almost 5. I guess  I shouldn’t call him a father figure but he IS his father. He took us both with our wounded hearts and pride and showed us that not all men are the same. He showed us that we were worthy of love and that we weren’t meant to be someone’s punching bag. I am grateful that he is in our lives and I have been able to call him my husband for going on 9 years now.

I am so happy for what we found with my husband and I hope that my son always knows he is worthy. I hope that he takes the example shown him the last 10 years by my husband and has the confidence to know. that even though his biological dad disappoints and lets him down, that he has a mom and a dad that love him to pieces and will do anything in this world to see him succeed in life.

I hope that none of my children, anyone I know or anyone else has to endure what I did in my young life but I pray if you ever find yourself in a situation like that, you ask for help. I know now that if I had I would have gotten it. Don’t ever feel ashamed or that it’s your fault or like no one will understand because I promise, someone does. This was very hard for me to share. It brought up many feelings that I wish to forget but if it helps even one person to know that someone understands, my discomfort in sharing will be worth it. If you are in an abusive relationship ask for help.