The Big Question is.... Why Did You Stay?

by Maureen P
(New York)

The Big Question Always Asked Is; Why Did You Stay?

That question comes up a lot. No one who has never been in abusive relationship can possibly understand. First, I was stripped of who I was. Slowly, my abuser took everything important from me. Most of all, he took my freedom, and he alienated me from my friends. He actually convinced me that he was the most important person that should be in my life. He knew everything about my childhood, and he used the details against me. He wanted me barefoot and pregnant. He didn't want to understand the trauma I went through giving birth to my daughter. He would force himself on me at anytime, whether I wanted to or not. He made it that I had to be totally dependent on him. He controlled the money, who I spoke to, and he timed me when I went to the grocery store. So if I happened to meet a neighbor that wanted to talk to me, I would panic because when I would get home he was angry and sometimes a beating happened. He decided what we ate. He had to work close to where we lived so he could come home for breakfast and lunch. The meals had to be cooked fresh. I had to take care of my special needs daughter and infant son. He did nothing in the house. It was all up to me to clean, cook, take care of the kids, everything.. I couldn't think for myself.

You just can't leave a relationship like this because you are not a person anymore. You become a robot, just going through the motions and praying that you make it to the end of the day. When I look back I don't know how I did it. But, I couldn't leave. He always threatened to kill me or my family. I was convinced he would do it. Many times while in public, he would start a fight and a beating, and no one helped and this just gave him more power. It convinced me that I would have no place to go and no one to help me. So, the only option was to stay. It sounds crazy, but my life was in a crazy state.

It took many beatings and threats before he crossed the line. He started to interfere with my children's safety, so I had to make an exit plan first. I had to learn a trade so that I could support myself. He didn't like that idea and fought me tooth and nail, but my mind was made up. It was like a switch was turned on, and no matter what he did it wasn't going to deter me from my plan. I would work on my plan for a few years, and all the while he was getting worse. I wasn't letting him stop me. I finally realized I needed to get out, and I was working on it. I didn't know how it would turn out, but it had to be better than what it was with my abuser. We will see.

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