Janette experienced ongoing abuse from her boyfriend of 7 years, starting as a teenager.
Can you describe who your abuser was and how the abuse began?
I was 17 years old and, in college and began dating the most handsome, intelligent and amazing guy. Within a year of dating him, I noticed jealousy, controlling behavior, and slowly being pulled away from my friends and family. Sudden outbursts of violence when things would happen out of my control such as seeing someone out on the street that I used to date (even if I didn’t make eye contact)- the thought of me dating someone before him set him in a rage where I was uncomfortable and unsure if I was going to be hit. Smashing glasses, punching walls… but not me. Still scary. If I wanted to see my friends I would get guilt trips or yelled at when I came home I would rush home from work and school to avoid conflict. Soon I would start gaining weight from being depressed about the situation and was called chunky, fat and ugly often and he told me to go on diets and work out… He began flirting with other girls to make me jealous and if I ever talked about breaking up he would threaten to kill himself to keep me with him.
Can you share more of your story, if you are comfortable?
There were times when I was so exhausted from work that I would fall asleep on the couch while we were watching a movie only to be woken up by cold water being poured on me to wake up and spend time with him. I recall taking a shower and him coming into the bathroom and turning the water on scorching hot and not allowing me to move the handle as I screamed because he was angry about something or we weren’t spending enough time together. I tried to break up with him often and was threatened that if I did he would tie me to a tree where no one would find me.
I often felt embarrassed by the way I was being treated, alone because I had secluded myself from all of my old friends (only allowed to hang out with those he approved of), sad because I was so young and completely stuck and miserable. I gained 60 lbs, lost friends, didn’t see my family hardly, lost my self esteem and MYSELF!
I finally saw the light somehow after 7 years of mental torture and removed myself from the situation. Unfortunately I didn’t seek help because I was so young and brainwashed into thinking this was normal. I lost a lot of my life. I wish I would’ve seen clearly sooner. Time is precious.
What is life like now that you have gotten out of the abusive situation? How has it become better?
I learned to be a better judge of character and can see the signs when others are in similar circumstances. It took a while but time heals and then you have the opportunity to help others in as many ways big or small as you can. The healed become healers. Life is amazing now that I’m free.
What else would you like to say to any women reading your story who are currently experiencing domestic abuse?
The time never seems like the right time but you have to leave, get out, remove yourself from the situation permanently, don’t go back it will never ever change and you don’t have enough time to waste to see if it will because it won’t! They are not happy people, they are sick and killing you slowly. You can do this, don’t look back, your life will change and you will. Be happy and treated with the love, kindness and respect that you deserve. I promise.