You're reading this for my story and I don't know which one to tell. I am a 28 year old single mom. I am a lesbian. I am latina. I am also a survivor of domestic abuse. I feel like lately there has been such a movement with #MeToo and a lot of women, and men, that are coming forward and talking about their stories. Here is my story.
I spent a good portion of my 20's, which should be the best years of my life, in a toxic relationship that I couldn't see myself out of. I was in a 4 year domestically abusive relationship where my son grew up in that toxic environment and it has made his life going forward harder because I didn't get out soon enough. When I open up to people about my story, their first response is confusion. Granted, I have only told 3 people outside of my family. Their first statement is "I didn't know same sex couples have this issue." To which I reply, "We're people just like you. Being a lesbian doesn't mean that I am less at risk." Being an abuser says a lot about how that person grew up and what they were exposed to. Now, I feel sorry for my abuser and I hope she doesn't hurt anyone else. I wasn't so lucky.
We met online in 2013, my son was 3 years old. We began talking and she was the light of my life. She cared so much for me and my son. She would play with him and say that we were her family. It was a magical time. She supported me in anything I did or wanted to do. She lived in New Jersey and I lived in Connecticut. After 6 months of dating, we decided to move in together. My son and I moved to New Jersey with her. At the beginning it was great. Then another 6 months into living together it started going downhill. We argued at least once a week. I lost my job shortly after moving and I was unemployed for 6 months and that's when things got worse. I suffer from depression and anxiety so being home with no purpose really took a toll on me. It was the darkest time I have ever experienced in my life. She made it worse by telling me I was worthless and I didn't amount to anything. It was a trying time to say the least.
Over the next year and a half, I had found a job and was feeling better. Then she started pulling me away from my family. She would tell me things like my mom wasn't really concerned about what was best for my son and I. She kept telling me that my mom was going to bring me down and that she was controlling and only wanted things her way. I was in a tug of war between my mom and my girlfriend at the time. I felt like if I visited my family in CT, I would be betraying my girlfriend and she would get so upset. My family is my everything and they have seen me through the toughest of times and I didn't want to betray them. But then I started believing everything my girlfriend was telling me. I started ignoring my family's phone calls and texts and I saw them less and less. I didn't have any friends in NJ. I started resenting her for making us move. I never felt at home there. I lived out of boxes for the entire 4 years. I didn't want to put down roots. I guess in my gut I knew this wasn't what I wanted for my life. Love makes you do crazy things.
She started manipulating me. It started off small, sarcastic comments here and there. Then it became more apparent that she was trying to isolate me. No friends and family at a distance, she had all of me. If I wore makeup to work it was be an argument. If I tried something new with my hair then apparently that meant I was cheating on her. We could only do things together. She was able to go out with her friends and coworkers, but not me. It was also because I didn't trust her with my son. I never wanted to leave them alone together. I obeyed and when I didn't, that's when the hitting started. The first time she hit me I was in shock. She didn't hit me hard at first. Then it continued getting worse and worse. Until one time we were in a heated argument that I called my mom to come take my son to CT to stay with her for the weekend. She begged me to come with her and I felt like if I went then it would cause more problems, so I stayed. I remember walking back inside after seeing my son off. She didn't look like the loving woman I had fallen in love with. Her eyes were glazed over and there was no love or compassion in her face. I tried walking away and she pulled and pushed me right into the windowsill. She broke my nose that night. I remember hitting the windowsill and the instant pain and she pushed me on the floor and I just laid there, crying. I had my hand on my nose and when I pulled it away there was blood everywhere. I freaked out and started crying more. She saw all the blood and heard my screams of pain and reached down to help me up and I pushed her hand away. I yelled at her to get away. I was so afraid.. I didn't leave.
It continued to get worse. The police were called to our house multiple times. Every time they were called one woman police officer would always be there and she would pull my aside and ask me why I'm here. She would tell me that I was too young and I was a mother and I need to get out. She didn't get it, I couldn't leave. I was scared what would happen to my son and I if I left. Fast forward to the end and we had broken up, but were still living together until my son finished Kindergarten then the plan was for my son and I to either find an apartment or move back to CT. We were still hooking up and we had tried counseling and tried rekindling our flame during that time, but nothing worked. I think I was done by then. I had started talking to someone else. 1 week before his Kindergarten graduation, we were all getting ready for the day. My son was eating breakfast and I was upstairs getting ready for work and I started crying. She came upstairs and started yelling at me and asking why I was crying. I asked her to leave me alone and she continued so I walked downstairs through the office and she followed me. She got in front of me and threw a shirt at me and I had my bra in my hand and I went to throw it at her and the clasp got stuck in her hair and I went to try to take it out and she turned around and punched me straight in the face. I stood there in disbelief. That was it. She picked up her phone and call the cops herself. I told my son to go upstairs and I started crying my eyes out. They came, same police officer asking if I wanted to press charges and I said no. I took my son to school, thinking that would be the safest place for him to be and told the principal everything that happened and to not let my girlfriend at the time go anywhere near him. I called my mom and I went back to the house to get some stuff. I stayed with my boss, at the time, with them in their house until my sons graduation and the next weekend we moved all of our things out of the house.
I saw all the red flags during our relationship. I made excuses for them. I felt her jealously was because she loved and cared for me and she was afraid to lose me. I thought her never wanting to do anything without me was because she loved me and wanted to spend all her time with me. Every time she got angry with the way I parented, it was because she cared about my son and wanted the best for him. I should have stopped it and I didn't. I beat myself up about it every single day. My son was afraid of her and it showed in multiple ways and I did nothing. This is the hardest story to tell because it shows how weak I am and the danger I placed my son it and I don't want to admit it, but I also learned a lot. I learned that I was searching for someone to rescue me, someone to love me instead of me loving myself. I want other women and men to know its okay to leave. You need to leave. I wish I had someone to talk to, I wish I heard the story of someone else to make me strong. People in abusive relationships with children say they stay because of them. In reality, its better for our children if we leave. I know its hard, but you can do it.
Thank you for your time.