'I Dreamt of a Fairytale Ending and ended up in a Nightmare' by Stella Summer
I grew up thinking meeting someone would complete me. I longed for picture book endings which resembled stories of princesses and perfect partners walking off in to the sunset. My attachments to these ideals nearly cost me my life. Today I know that first and foremost I need to be content with myself. There is no partner that will rescue me, and I don't want to be rescued either. Whatever decision I make today is about being true to myself.
My first encounter with abuse started when I was in high school. I was 15 when I met my high school sweetheart. We were perfect together. I never thought I would want another and we planned our picture perfect life together. But then a series of incidences started to tarnish the love between us. He showed his true colours after I experienced a miscarriage 3 years in to our relationship. Neither of us knew how to handle the grief. While I suffered and was hurting, he piled on by becoming angry and abusive. He tormented me physically and mentally and I couldn't believe that someone who declared their undying love to me would hurt me when I was feeling so vulnerable. A year later I had an ectopic pregnancy that almost killed me and the baby. This is when the abuse really got out of hand. I shut down emotionally as he became more and more volatile. All I wanted was for us to go back to our happy place. When we got pregnant again things were in domestic bliss for a while. I now know this is referred to as the honeymoon part of the cycle of abuse. This was followed by a torrent of physical attacks which hospitalised me. The minute I could physically get out, I did. I had to leave for the sake of my baby and I. I knew that next time he'd probably kill me.
A few months later I met someone. Once again he seemed perfect. He was 14 years older than I and wanted children, and I was 20 years old and pregnant. I couldn't believe my luck that someone would want to build a life with me. I told him why I had to leave the baby's father and he assured me that he would never hurt me. We were going to raise this baby and everything was going to work out perfectly. It didn't take long for my guard to come down and I fell head over heels for him. I was addicted to his charms and felt I couldn't breathe without him. Once I was unequivocally obsessed he showed his true colors.
It started with fights over little things. Everything was always my fault. He would constantly criticise what I did. He seemed angry a lot and would express this anger by throwing lamps or ash trays at me. He would break light fixtures and intimidate me. At this point he didn't physically hurt me, although his actions did scare me. After behaving abusively he would always cry and make me feel terrible for him. As an empath I have a great capacity for empathy and he knew exactly how to take advantage of this. Despite his abuse I'd be the one holding him and hugging him, and telling him that everything was going to be ok. It was exhausting and one-sided.
The abuse intensified when he started acting paranoid. He accused me of sleeping with others and his paranoia escalated. He questioned everything I did and demeaned me frequently. One day I walked into the bathroom, not realizing he was in there, and heard him having sexual conversations with other girls while smoking class A drugs. I immediately knew I had to leave, packed my things and loaded them in to the car. He came out as I was starting the engine and hit the window with the bat, shattered the window which directly hit me. He dragged me back in to the house and beat me for what seemed like an eternity. He told me that either I smoke these drugs with him, so that he knew that he could trust me, or he would ensure the pain would never stop. After being beaten for so long I eventually broke down and used with him. This started a serious drug dependency which nearly cost me my life. I was now addicted to crystal-meth and to him.
After the incident he I woke up to arrows taped on the floor leading me out of my bedroom to the living room where he had made me my very own stuffed bear, a handmade necklace for me. He handed me a handmade necklace for my unborn child, an apology letter, and a cup of coffee and breakfast. All was to be forgiven.
A couple weeks went by without incident and we were served an eviction notice. I wasn't working due to my high risk pregnancy and unbeknownst to me he stopped paying rent. Apparently he had quit his job and was out with other women during the days he had told me that he was working. He blamed the eviction on me and told me that I wasn't doing my part. He told me that I should have been screwing our landlord to ensure we weren't homeless. He violently beat me every day. To the point that when we were moving out I was barely able to even walk. I tried to leave but he kept me prisoner in our own home and had done something to the car after he shattered the window so I couldn't leave him.
We ended up staying with some of his friends for a couple weeks, which kept him from hurting me during that time. His friends thought he was an upstanding person and he was very concerned with keeping up that facade. We found a trailer and moved in. The first thing he did was screw the back door shut from the outside, and the windows. And put a double sided dead bolt on the front door so only he could open it. Whenever he left he would lock me in the house with no escape. It was winter by this point and he would beat me often. And when I wouldn't be intimate with him he'd rape me. He was beating me one night and forgot to lock the door and my dog broke his chain outside and barged through the door and bit his genitals. My ex kicked him in the head so I commanded my dog to run knowing he would listen to me. He continued his torrent of violence until I passed out. When I regained consciousness the door was open and he was nowhere to be seen. I took this opportunity to run.
I thought that perhaps this time I would escape but it turned out he was just having a smoke outside with the neighbour. He saw me and dragged me back inside. The neighbour watched and didn't call the police. A few days later he was beating me again. It was 9 am and there was a knock on the door. The police had a warrant for his arrest for domestic violence against his previous girlfriend. They took him in and didnt even look twice as I was bleeding from my nose and mouth. Later a friend stopped by to see how the pregnancy was going and I asked her to hide me.
He had been gone for a number of days before he showed up while my friend was at work. He kidnapped me and took me back to the place we had lived. I'd just gotten a new phone so I tried to call the police. He smashed the phone over my head and threw it out the window. It was at this moment I gave up trying to run. I had run out of energy to fight him.
A couple of months later I gave birth. He was nowhere to be seen during this time. After my daughter was born he looked at me and said "now I can ask the Doctor to add a few more stitches so you can finally be tight enough to enjoy". He got mad when the Doctor told him I didn't any stitches at all. 3 days after giving birth he raped me. I hadn't even time to heal from the birth. At this point I had disconnected from the physical trauma and abuse. All I was focused on was staying alive for my daughter.
Each day went by and beatings just kept coming. One night he forgot to lock the door when he left. I wrapped my daughter up tight and grabbed her diaper bag and ran through the woods. About a mile away I knocked on someone's door and they took me and my daughter to my mother's home. He showed up there and was yelling through the door. He had a gun and said he would kill my Mother if I didnt come with him. I was terrified and believed him, so I left with him again.
Child protective services were called andI lost custody of my daughter. Now with no baby to act as a barrier the physical violence quickly escalated. We became homeless again, but had a car at this time. He'd drag me from the car in to the woods and would beat me with a walking stick. In one incident I tried to escape and drove off with the car before he could get in. I sought help from family but he had called the Police and had me arrested for stealing his car. Once again I was his captive.
The physical violence and rape was getting worse. I was pregnant again with my son. He'd force me to hike up mountains and would throw me against electrical wires, one of which nearly killed me. The days blurred. I can only remember days when the abuse was particularly bad. When he'd tie me to the bed and force himself on me in ways I can't even describe. I would be sick from it and he'd smear the vomit all over me while I was tied to the bed. The abuse kept on until it wasnt enough for him anymore. He started having other guys rape me for money in front of him. I had given up all hope. Finally one of the guys he had rape me had him arrested for stealing something and I ran. And I hid. And I've been hiding ever since.
I have been sober for years now. The day I escaped is the day I stopped using, as he was no longer able to force me to. I have custody of my youngest child whom I protect with my life.
To stay safe I have had to move thousands of miles away from him. I am now looking to rebuild my life. I can't afford trauma counselling but I am educating myself on the topic with the hope of studying and helping others. I want to dedicate my life to helping others - that's the only way I can make sense of my trauma.
Today I am proud to be a survivor.