I was with a man for years who physically and mentally abused me. Looking back, I believe it was the only way he knew how to love, so I don’t hate him for it now.

It began with verbal abuse and escalated from there. Eventually he was knocking out my teeth, blackening my face, and even caused me to have a miscarriage when he punched and kicked me in the stomach when we didn’t know I was pregnant. I could hardly say or do anything, as I was too terrified of “messing up” again. Soon the hits barely even hurt. I was numb to everything except the verbal abuse. That’s what really hurt me most, as it damaged me long after my physical wounds healed.

At one point I finally had enough and left him. The next guy I dated was handsome, charming, and treated me well. I felt like I didn’t have to be on my guard with him all the time, but after sharing that I had went to play pool with an old friend/ex of mine, he kicked me in the face. I was back to the same place I thought I had escaped. It didn’t take me long to realize that in a world like we live in today, there is no escape.

Years later and I still suffer from the effects of the physical and mental abuse. I haven’t had another real relationship since.