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I'm Trapped in an Abusive Relationship

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It started quite innocently. He and I were chosen to host an event in my undergraduate years so we had to hang out to get to know each other. I thought he was fun to be with, and after a while I started liking him and we became an item. We were friends, real friends, doing everything together. It was easy to be in love with him. There were times when he would say mean things like, “Your stomach isn’t flat enough to wear that shirt” or “I wish you could be like (insert name of random friend) because she’s smarter than you are.”

I took it all in stride because I was used to hearing criticisms like that. My own stepfather would remind me of how worthless I was on a regular basis and how I would only be used by men for sex. I believed him.

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So when my boyfriend would tell me I wasn’t worthy to wear his name I figured he was right. And when I got pregnant from him and had his son, things didn’t change. By the time I had his second son, things had gotten worse. He wouldn’t put his hands on me but he wouldn’t help me, refusing to even give me a ride to the hospital when I was in labor.

I had to be quiet about it. I still do. Now that my sons live with him I just have to shut up and take whatever he dishes out because he is more financially capable of caring for our sons than I am. When they lived with me I could barely hack it. Working a 9 to 5, with two kids, a crummy car and a $1000 rent to pay was too much for me when he completely stopped paying his child support payment, which at the time was less than $200. Can you tell me how an attorney with two children can arrange something like that? I have no idea. Every time I went to the pro bono lawyers asking for help, they said they could not help me.

Ever since I met him I have had to deal with his taunts and harassment and watch him try to convince my sons that I am not important in their lives.

Everyone I knew blamed me for not being strong enough to get help.

As I prepared to move to a new state to search for employment, he asked to care for the boys while I did my job search. Two days after my move I found a job and called to ask for my boys. I made him sign an agreement that he would give my children back, but he wouldn’t give them to me. Instead I received paperwork from his law office stating he was filing for custody and I could not remove them from his home or I would face jail time. So I left the boys with him waiting for our court date, which never came. He lied.

Why do I even share this story? I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me or to laugh at me for not being smart enough to handle this situation by myself. I can’t. And ever since I met him I have had to deal with his taunts and harassment and watch him try to convince my sons that I am not important in their lives. I hurt so much and I know I’m not supposed to. I am a Parenting writer and I read all of the stories on this site about movies to watch with your teen and ways to bake cookies, and I wish for a moment that I could have those experiences to write about — but instead my life reflects this.

No one will believe me because he receives awards all the time and he’s on the cover of magazines.

I have children I can barely support financially. I have a baby daddy who abuses me emotionally every chance he gets, threatening me with jail time because of his status as a lawyer and my inability to pay all of my child support. I can’t even talk to my children unless he allows me to, and if I text him to ask him to let me speak to them, he says no. He says I have to pay their phone bills or I can’t speak to them at all. I can’t afford it, I tell him. I made $18,000 last year. He says he doesn’t care. My foot is broken, I tell him. I can’t work as a waitress anymore. I don’t have any income. He says he doesn’t care. Claim them on your taxes, he demands of me, because he knows any tax return I get will be sent directly to him and he wants me to receive more money. I can’t. They live with you. It’s illegal. He says he doesn’t care and that I am a loser.

And no one will believe me because he receives awards all the time and he’s on the cover of magazines. No one cares about how I feel because I am not physically raising my children, so I do not matter. I try to keep my pain inside, enduring all of the cruel text messages and emails alone. Why do his words even matter so much? Why do I hear his voice in my nightmares?

Because of him every man I meet becomes my enemy. I am abusive toward others, including my friends and even people who want to befriend me. In every man, I see his face. I see his face reflected in the world and I hate the world, most days. I wish for death, his or mine. I don’t believe in God anymore. How can I?

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I figure life is a punishment and I’m stuck here, and it’s hard because I don’t know what I did to deserve to be punished. So I try my best to give love through my empowerment projects, hoping maybe something I create through all this pain will offer relief to someone else.

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