At the young age of 15, I found myself with a boy who I thought loved me more than anything. My parents had recently separated and I was left alone a lot. I felt less lonely without him. At first it was fun, we went to parties together, we were inseparable. Then he started to get really jealous. The parties we went to, he would always accuse me of fooling around with other people while he was looking the other way. So in fear of him leaving me or so he would not be mad, I stopped going out. He then turned all my friends against me, and as a teenager girl, this was really hard. I was now completely isolated and he was all I had. He told everyone that I moved out of town and because I never left the house, no one knew any different. I felt like I didn't exist. He would go out and party from Thursday to Monday, then be hungover until Thursday and leave again. It was when he started using cocaine that he became physically abusive. I felt like I needed him to survive so leaving was out of the question at this point. He would come home from his weekend benders and beat me up, not just throw me around, really hurt me. And then after he was done, he would have sex with me. He started to not want me around as much because I was putting a damper on his drinking and using and fooling around on me. I moved into a new place. He would go weeks without contacting me, so I would assume that we weren't together anymore, so I would start seeing other people. When he found out, he would come to my house and beat them up, thus leaving me updateable. I was no longer of any value to him because I was a shell of a person, no longer the beautiful, happy, energetic girl that he was proud to have on his arm, I was scared and timid and broken inside and out. He finally found another girl that he wanted to be with (all the others were tempts) and she was nice enough to tell me when I called his phone. I was devastated at the time, but now am grateful, because I wasn't strong enough to leave. Even after he started dating this new girl, he constantly threatened to harm me. I was afraid to leave the house and I was terrified he would come to my house. I wasn't safe anywhere. It ended 15 years ago and I still to this day am scared to go to sleep.

I went down a dark path of substance abuse to numb the pain and lesson the fear. It worked well for a while until it didn't anymore and my life and everything in it was a disaster.

I asked for help and admitted I was broken (I had a great deal of shame that I allowed someone to treat me like this for so long - I felt embarrassed) and I slowly learned about what I went through and learned how to heal from it. I did not do this alone, I have a lot of support from my friends and family and counselors and psychiatrist. I live a normal life and am able to function in this world.