I was in a relationship for 3 years with someone i will call AJ. AJ was a sweetheart, everything was perfect for the first year but then things got strange. He would get mad if i liked any other males picture, i wasn't allowed to hangout with males either. No problem i thought, he is just jealous of males giving me attention. AJ would show up unexpected to catch me doing something, he would show up at 2 or 3 sometimes 4 AM and bang on my window to get my attention. All because he thought i was with someone else. I stopped wearing makeup and putting on nice clothes to deter men from looking at me. I walked with my head down a lot. I had never expierienced depression and anxiety before but it got so bad that i reached a point that i needed to seek help and thats when i started taking antidepressants. I remember crying when i could feel real solid emotions again. I was an empty shell carrying around nothing it felt like for so long. AJs behaviour would escalate and often alcohol use was the coping mechanism he chose. What i didnt know is that AJ was paranoid. He showed up to my house one night, banged on the window like usual, except i answered the door with a roommate at the time. He was drunk and begging me to talk to him after he just called me and screamed that the relationship is over. When my roommate left for 2 seconds to grab her phone as she asked him to leave his property, he grabbed my throat and attempted to physically pull me out of the house. After quite a struggle he let go and took off. He was arrested and charged with domestic assault. Our relationship was now over and not by choice. I wished all those times he got drunk and grabbed my throat over my phone that i had seeked help. I was alienated and my self esteem and self confidence were shot. I was lost, i was broken and i had to start learning to fix myself. Aj breached with a 9 inch blade in his sock and even years later i woke up to find him in my apartment. He knows what he had, he regrets it now and i can see that. It doesnt change a single thing. I was loyal and devoted totally to AJ who got weird after our first year together because he was being unfaithful. Projection is real and always follow your gut. I never left AJ because i was scared. He made me feel no one else would love me... i sure as hell love me though. It has been a few years since the last time i really saw AJ... its been quite a few years learnkng to love myself again but i learned who the type of man i want to be with. I thank AJ for teaching me to KNOW what i deserve.

C. Gordon