I’m a very private person, I don’t let just anyone into my life. About a year ago, I met someone very sweet. We shared a few similarities, both of us are biracial-both of us have kids that are the same age, both of us are kinda quiet. At the time we met, I had no idea we also shared something else: we are both victims of domestic violence.
Many years ago, I was in an extremely abusive relationship. It was so abusive, that to this day, I still have nightmares about it. I got out of that relationship, and never looked back.
When I met my new friend, I could tell she was a good person, with a good heart. I enjoyed our conversations and just hanging out with her. Her significant other though, I wasn’t so sure about him. You see, once you’ve been in an abusive relationship, you are quick to pick up on things in others. At least that’s how it is for me.
Every time she’d visit me, he’d text her, asking where she was & telling her to get home. I could see if this happened one or two times, but not every single time she came over. There were other clues, the way he spoke to (rather ‘at’) her, the looks I’d see her give him sometimes as he was speaking, just little things that someone who’s been through that type of relationship would pick up on.
Then it happened: he struck her one too many times and she decided to leave. I was very proud of her for taking a stand and packing up and leaving. I cried as she left – knowing I’d probably never see her again. But I was wrong.
My friend returned a week later- but not before unfriending me- something she was probably forced to do. I have not spoken to her, although I have seen her a few times since her return. I’m quite sure she’s been told not to talk to me, how I’m a bad influence on her, etc, etc. All the same things my abuser used to tell me about the two friends I had.
Her child is no longer allowed to play with my child. My child doesn’t know about the abuse his friend’s mother has endured. He asked me the other day, “Are Susan’s* parents mad at me? Is that why Susan* can’t play with me? What did I do wrong?” I reassured my son that he had done nothing wrong, no one was mad at him and Susan* probably couldn’t play because of the weather.
I’m pretty sure nothing has changed for my friend. If things had, she’d be over here, with her significant other-telling me they were going to try to make things work. He would have apologized to her (in front of me) for hurting her and to me, for hurting my friend. He would have thanked me for being there for her. He would have told me that she could come over to my house as often as she wanted to, because he trusts her and knows she wouldn’t do anything behind his back. But none of that has happened-so I know things haven’t changed for her. And that makes me really sad.
I want my friend to be safe, I want her to be in a loving relationship. I want her family to get the help they need. I also want her to know that I’m still here for her- and I always will be… because that’s what real friends do for one another.
If you know someone that’s being abused, or if you yourself are being abused, please get help! Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (or have someone call it for you!) at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). There is a way out-there are people willing to help you.
*Names & locations have been changed to protect the innocent.