My Experience with Relationship Abuse

Trigger Warning: This article contains topics about depression, abuse, anger issues, and weight talk. 

Relationship abuse can come in many forms, whether that be physical, emotional, and/or mental. It also doesn’t reserve itself solely for romantic relationships, they could be platonic as well. Some people don’t even realize that it is happening to them because many times, it could seem like “normal” fighting/arguing. I know that for me at least, I didn’t even realize that it had been abuse until I was out of the (romantic) relationship. My hopes for this article are that someone reads it and can feel less alone, whether they are currently in a relationship or not. 

I had been dating a guy, we will call him Dave. He went to a different high school and lived in a different town. I knew that I shouldn’t be dating him, but at the time I was in a dark place and it was nice to have someone who cared. The beginning of the relationship was fun. We hung out and we didn’t worry about anything other than that the other person was happy. Dave was grateful that I wasn’t like past girlfriends who wanted control over his phone or social media. I was just happy he thought I was pretty. It wasn’t until about three months in that I had my first red flag. 

Dave had been talking to another girl--nothing dangerous, just friendly chat. I asked him about it just because I hadn’t heard the other girl's name before. If he was honest with me, I could care less who she was. He told me she was a girl from school who he talked to sometimes, since I couldn’t text him while I was at school. First time something was my fault. I’m sure you can all guess that it wasn’t just a friendly conversation. But I was naïve and believed him. 

After that incident, Dave gave me access to his social media. I never asked for it, I didn’t want it. But he insisted that I should have it so I could know he wasn’t cheating on me. I never really used it, occasionally I would be curious and take a peak but never found anything. That was until I looked in his archives. I won’t tell you what I found, but there were not any girls that were just friends in there. I confronted him about it, and he told me that I was trying to spy on him, to control who he talked to. Now I never told him he couldn’t talk to another girl. All I ever said was "if you find someone else, then break up with me." However, I was still to blame for him getting caught, second time I was to blame. 

I should have ended it, but I didn’t. It’s hard to break up with someone when you have more good days then bad. When most of your memories are filled with laughs.  

As the months went on, he began to develop an anger problem. Always getting angry over simple things. I was going out with my family and he couldn’t come, I wasn’t being a good girlfriend. If I was hanging out with friends, I wasn’t being faithful. If I was hanging out with one of my guy best friends, I was betraying everything he had ever done for me. No matter what the argument was, it was my fault. I would apologize and cry. He would forgive me and tell me he was sorry for overreacting. That he trusted me, and it wouldn’t happen again. And I believed him. 

His anger continued to grow worse. If we got into an argument over the phone, he would tell me he punched the wall, or made a dent on a dresser. I would tell him to calm down and spend hours making sure he was alright. Then one time, he decided that he didn’t want to hang out with me anymore because he wasn’t having fun. I of course got upset because we usually only got to see each other once a week. He got mad that I wasn’t understanding where he was coming from, so he punched a hole in his door. I walked out of his house. 

He then slowly began to convince his mother that when things went wrong in his life, it was my fault. One time that will forever stick out in my head was when his mother told me that it was my own fault that Dave made a mark on my white shirt with a pen. He made sure to make it seem like I had nudged him, so he (purposefully) made a pen mark on my clothes. I hadn’t touched him at all, we hit a bump in the road. But I didn’t stick up for myself and that is something I will always regret. 

The most prominent abusive thing he did was constantly put me down for my weight. Going into the relationship I was an average size. I was happy with how I looked, and I planned on staying where I was. However, when Dave and I hung out he refused to eat anywhere that had fried food. If we ate at his house, it was junk. He would not bring me anything else, guilt tripping me by saying his mother made it and he didn’t want her to feel bad. At the time, I was shy and a people pleaser, so I didn’t want to make her feel bad either. I ended up gaining almost fifty pounds in two years.  

I would tell him I wanted and needed to lose weight, but he told me I was perfect. Then towards the end of the relationship, he began telling me I needed to go to the gym. That I needed to lose weight. That I should do certain things to my hair, so that it looked better with my round face. Maybe we should go shopping so he could buy me new clothes. I would tell him not to talk to me like that. But he always would. He liked seeing me weak, depending on him. He liked knowing that no one else would want me. Shortly after, he broke up with me out of nowhere. I found out he had been cheating on me the whole time.  

He liked having someone he could control. Someone who would listen to everything he said because he broke her down so slowly that she didn’t know it was happening. He never physically hurt me. But he broke me so much that when I came out of that relationship, I was more depressed than I had been going into it. He got what he wanted; at the time I was in my freshman year of college. Guys didn’t want the quiet, heavier girl. I was alone and broken and didn’t know how to repair myself. 

Looking back now, I know that I hadn’t been weak, I had been blinded. Because all I saw was the times that he did give me attention and it made me feel good. He is my biggest regret now, because I know how strong I had been all along. I never needed him. And he didn’t break me, he built me up into a strong woman who is more than happy being “thicc” and single. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing relationship abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline.