At first, I was nervous to release this book. It is my diary. It details my most personal moments and inner thoughts. Any embarrassing moment you’d want to keep to yourself, between you and your partner, or between you and your therapist—is in this book.
I transferred my diary from the notebook it was written in. As I typed it into a word document, I reflected on that time in 2014-2015 when I was 20 years old. My diary details the first year of a relationship that I was in. The abuse became more and more throughout the 6 years I stayed.
This diary would have never seen the light of day
At first I was going to give my diary to my abuser. I wanted him to know how bad he hurt me. But I thought, what if my abuser picks my diary apart, mocks, and uses it against me? So, I wasn’t going to give it to him... I was going to burn it. I thought burning it would release the pain I felt and in turn, I could release him. Before burning it I decided to read through my diary. I hadn't read it since I'd written in it. At first it was painful. I cried as I read it. I realized I couldn’t burn it because I would be burning a piece of me. It wasn’t fair to that girl—the old me. She didn’t know any better back then. I thought, if I could hug her, if I could go back in time and talk to her, if I could speak life into her, I could change years of heartache for her. Then I realized that I could do all of those things because that girl was still living. I am that girl and that girl is me and I have a story. I realized, there are many women like me who were in an abusive relationship and many women who are still in an abusive relationship. I wanted to tell my story, to share, and to support. I felt alone going through my situation. I want others to know that they are not alone.
Why did I stay so long?
During the 6 years I was with him, it was hard for people around me to understand why I was with him. The people around me did not know the extent of the abuse but they didn’t like the way he spoke to me and they didn’t like seeing my mood down or sad because of him. In my situation, I normalized a lot of the abuse. I trusted my partner whenever he said he would do better. I wanted to work on things with him. I kept what was going on between me and my partner because I thought I was in love. I was simply naïve. As time went on, in that relationship, I began to have more insecurities within myself.
After my breakup in 2020...
At first I felt stupid, I felt dumb, and I felt idiotic for continuing to stay with a man that so blatantly showed me who he was at the very start. I thought the abuse that got worse was my fault because I stayed so long. I was embarrassed. I never wanted anyone to know. But then I realized, this book needed to be put out there. This book is about the warning signs I missed.
I refuse to apologize for being human.
I was 19 when I got into that relationship and I realize when it comes to abuse in relationships—it doesn’t matter the age or stage. Abuse can happen in your teens, 30’s, 50’s, etc. People date at all ages. Many people miss red flags when it comes to companionship. People fail in marriages. People get into abusive situations that turn worse because they were not able to recognize the signs or they simply thought it would get better. It can be hard to leave, no matter the reason.
I want to give encouragement through my story for anyone in that situation to take the necessary steps to get out. I learned, the more you share, the more these situations can not be hidden. It can encourage others to speak out against abuse and to share their story. It can stop abusive behavior in abusers who need to be enlightened on their behaviors. Better yet, it can save a life.
I’m so glad I chose option 3. To publish my diary. This is my story.