by Katie

Life threw a boulder at me, and I let it crush me. Into a million, helpless pieces. I'm a beautiful, university educated woman, who allowed a 300-pound man break me down to nothing.

I first met him back when I graduated from MSU. We are both from a small town, so I knew who he was, but not who he TRULY was. At any rate, not having the highest self-esteem at that time as I just graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree but was working as a server, I allowed myself to date this giant, ugly man. He already had two kids from a previous marriage, I was 23, and he was almost 30. This man seemed pretty together, was a decent dad, had an OK job. Hell, he was friends with some of my friends. I ignored the fact that others couldn't believe I was dating him. I was 125 pounds and pretty. He was pushing 300 pounds of fat and just not physically attractive, but there is more to a person than their outer appearance. He was excellent in the beginning - so proud of me. Then one night, he blew. He "caught" me talking on the phone with a male friend of mine. And instantly, without hesitation, I was a whore. Surely I must be fucking this man. Why would a guy be "just friends" with a girl, that was just an unheard of concept to him? He yelled at me for hours, telling me what a whore and slut I was, how I must have slept with every man I met. He pushed me up against a wall and was all in my face. After a while, he began to tell me how grateful I should be that he was going to forgive me and how thankful I should be that he saved me from becoming an even more prominent whore. Mind you; he had multiple female friends. That was OK. I soon realized he was an enormous hypocrite, more than ever walked the Earth.

A few months passed, I wasn't happy in the relationship but just kept dating him. My brother died unexpectedly from a snowmobile accident, and suddenly my giant ugly man became a saint. He was by my side and did everything one could ask in this time and situation. But as always, it faded.

A time came where I thought; I'm better than this. I shouldn't have to walk on eggshells to date someone. I shouldn't be afraid. Our most significant fights were about sex. I just was not attracted to this man - physically, emotionally. It made me sick to my stomach to have sex with him. Sometimes I would cave in so that he'd leave me alone. The times I didn't were blow-outs. He'd yell and call me everything but my name - whore, slut, cunt, bitch. I had had enough, and I was ready to be single. I was going to leave and found out I was pregnant. Pregnant - almost five months along, not only was I in denial about the reality of our relationship, I was in denial that I could be pregnant.

So I stuck it out, just like so many others in the domestic violence cycle. We had a healthy boy, and 11 months later we had a second boy. Two boys back to back. To this day, they are the most important blessings in my life - they are now 10 and 9. I love them more than I can express, as would any other.

Early on, I returned to college for my nursing degree. Shortly after our second son was born, I graduated. I obtained my RN license, and I worked at a hospital. I was making it. Throughout this time, our fights occurred on almost a daily basis. We had disputes about money, sex, kids, housework, dinner. Anything would trip his temper. I felt no matter how much I did, work 40 hours, pay bills, maintain the house, care for the boys, it was never, ever enough. But at this point, I was brainwashed. I believed I wasn't his equal, not his partner. I was worthless. I felt that other people thought this of me too. I was isolated from friends, even my parents. I tried so hard to be "perfect" while he took 1-2-3 days off of work a week because he manipulated a doctor to fill out FMLA paperwork to allow this. He would scream and push me around because we couldn't afford all the extras in life. It was my fault. I was his whipping post. Mind you, during this time he continued to gain weight; he was pushing 400 pounds. I, after two kids, was still maintaining 135 pounds. He would attack me because, as always, it was my fault he was so large. I bought the wrong food, made the incorrect meals. When I did prepare everything healthy, then I was a bitch because I never got him the food he wanted. There was no way to win. Ever.

Hating my life, I began to self-medicate with Vicodin. It started as a legal script because after a fight, my back was so painful I had to go to the doctor for some relief. It didn't take long for me to realize that not only did it relieve my physical pain, it also numb my mind. He'd start calling me everything but my name, and it just rolled off my back. I didn't care anymore. I could still take care of my boys. I was still a great mom. Once the scripts ran out, I was clean for awhile, and back to hating every minute in that house. As an RN I had access to narcotics. So I began taking one or two here and there, just to get me by and to deal with him. That's how I justified it. Wrong, so wrong, but he had broken me at this point. Verbal abuse was a daily activity. I had been shoved down, choked, had a gun pointed at me, objects thrown at me so hard they made holes in the wall, he even spit on my face a few times. That was my life. It sucked. I knew what I was doing was wrong, illegal- really unjustifiable, but I didn't know how to stop. It got me through. Soon I was taking meds every day, just enough to help me cope, never to be incapacitated. I was fully functional.
One day in August, we had our usual explosive fight, he told me to leave for the one-thousandth time, only this time I did. For good. I grabbed a suitcase of clothing, my dogs, and boys and went to my parents. Even as I was driving there, I was trying to convince myself they'd take my boys and me in. He had me convinced that they would never take me in. He was wrong. They let me in, no questions asked. I kept taking the narcotics for a while, just to cope with the stress of it all, but then came to my senses and quit. But it was too late. I was caught by my employer and lost my job, and my employer suspended my license.

So here I am today, over two years later, a single mom with two amazing, thriving boys. I bought a house a year ago. I pressed charges on him seven months ago, the last time he came to my place uninvited and unexpected and attacked me. He pled guilty to domestic violence. Finally, I had drawn the line. I'm working and making ends meet. I've been clean for over a year and have never felt better. I'm working on getting my license reinstated. It's been a journey. But I've never been better., even though I had to be broken to get here. Don't quit on yourself. Don't believe you are alone. You can pick yourself back up even after hitting rock bottom. Trust me.

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