I drove by one of your favourite crack motels yesterday. At first I got this sinking feeling in my stomach because it brought back a lot of horrible memories. How could I have been so stupid to stay so long? How could I have let someone tear me down so far that I genuinely thought I deserved the way you treated me?
The abuse you put me through changed me. It started off subtle, so subtle that I didn’t notice it. As it gradually got worse, you kept me there by using the cycle of abuse. You always apologized profusely after something happened and told me you would never do it again. You would wine and dine me, treat me so special, so wonderfully that I believed your apologies. Every. Single. Time.
Now, I know it was just your method of keeping me around until the next time you felt like hurting me. Your weapon of choice was words, at first. Over four years, you systematically tore me to pieces with your words. By the end, I didn’t even know who I was or how to survive on my own or that it was even possible for me to survive on my own without you. You turned me into a weak, terrified, desperately trying to please you, but never able to kind of woman. The kind of woman I swore my entire life that I would never be. I always told myself if someone abused me I would leave. There was no way I would put up with that shit. But, I didn’t leave. If you had hit me right up front the first time, I would’ve been gone in a heart beat. But you were smart, devious. You broke me with words first. You tore me down so far that the first time you hit me, I thought I deserved it. You told me that I know better than to make you mad and that it was my fault. I believed you. It kills me to say that, but every fucking time you put your vile hands on me, I believed that I deserved what you did to me.
The cracked ribs, the hidden bruises, the walls that you damaged with my body, I truly believed that I deserved all of it, because why else would someone who loved me treat me that way? The physical wounds always healed. The emotional ones? I’m still repairing and healing from those.
But, after I thought about all those memories while driving through that part of town, I stopped and laughed. I fucking won. You lost. After I left you, you did everything you could think of to get your punching bag back. You were sweet. You were cruel. You were manipulative. It didn’t work. You told me that you were getting married and had a son on the way. After years of us never getting pregnant (thank fucking God, Allah, Buddha, and any other deity you can think of), you decided one last way to hurt me was to tell me you had gotten another woman pregnant. I admit, it worked. I didn’t think I could have children. But, ha, I fucking won. You did end up getting married to the very next woman you dated. I actually drove through by the town you married in on the day you married, flipping you off. I didn’t know until later that you were getting married when I did that, but I got a huge laugh out of knowing that I flipped off your wedding.
She’s already left you. You lost again. But, I fucking won. I’m happy. I have two beautiful daughters and a genuinely wonderful husband who loves me exactly the way I am. I’m going to graduate college in December and have a great future ahead of me. My life has turned out beautifully, not in spite of you, but because I had the will to survive AFTER you. I fixed my broken pieces. I am a strong and independent woman and because I worked so hard to become the strong and independent woman that I am, no one will ever be able to tear me down again. So you see, I fucking won and you lost.