My Body Told Me to Leave My Abuser
I wish I’d listened sooner.
We met at the farmer’s market. He sold honey at a charming wooden stand, tastefully decorated with sunflowers. The moment we locked eyes, I was captivated. Although not the bold type, that day I was. I walked straight over to him, and with a smile, I asked to sample his honey. We flirted for a bit.
Then I said, “Pass me your phone. I’ll give you my number.”
And so it began.
The beginning of our ‘relationship’ (more like hookup-ship) was exciting. We raced around town on his motorcycle. Cuddled at drive-in movies. Sexed it up in the most inconspicuous places. He was the bad boy to my good girl and I was completely enamored by it.
But after a couple of months, his behavior changed. He began to stand me up and respond to texts days later. My stomach churned. It was telling me to stop seeing him, but I wouldn’t listen.
When we did hang out we barely spoke. Our relationship became very physical, lacking substance. He groped me in public, occasionally grabbing my ass or boob even when I’d told him it made me uncomfortable. He’d try to take nude pictures of me without my consent. He’d lie to me on the regular. He’d discount my accomplishments and counter other peoples’ compliments. Basically, I learned to stay in my place.
As months passed, I became skin and bones.
I’d lost weight because my stomach was in a constant state of nausea. Food hadn’t been appealing in months. My anxiety and depression were at an all-time high and I knew why this was happening, yet I chose to ignore it.
Eventually, nausea turned into vomiting. Every time he was on his way to my house I’d run to the toilet and throw up. No, it wasn’t an eating disorder. No, I wasn’t pregnant. My body was physically pleading, “Subria, get away from this guy!”
The logical question is, “Why didn’t you leave?!”
Well, it’s not that simple. When I met him, I was in a dark place. Self-destruction and self-loathing were my norm and he validated that for me. Every time he cut me down, he confirmed my beliefs. I’d convinced myself I was worthless. And it’s nearly impossible to see clearly when you believe your life holds no value.
So, I continued seeing him.
One night, we were at the drive-in sitting in the back of my car. Our eyes were glued to the movie screen. Without even glancing toward me he says, “Hey, give me a BJ.”
I scoff, “No, I don’t want to.”
Then, he grabs my head with one hand while simultaneously trying to unzip his pants with the other.
I yell, “No!” grabbing his hand and ripping it off my head.
He pushes my head down toward his crotch again, “Come on, just for a second!”
“No!” I yell, ripping his hand off of my head, again.
He quickly grabs my head a third time and I yell even louder, “STOP!”
He finally let up, then acted as if I were at fault. I was disgusted but also felt a sense of guilt. It’s crazy how the mind works. Even after he almost raped me, I didn’t leave him. I wanted to though. Badly.
Months later, I got a job in a new city.
Physical distance was my saving grace. In my troubled mind, I finally had a ‘real’ excuse to end it. At this point, my body was in shambles both mentally and physically. When I made the decision to cut ties, it took the strength of every single cell in my body. It required a level of psychological willpower I can’t quite explain.
For the longest time, I told myself my experience wasn’t abuse. I told myself “other people have it way worse”. But I’ve found that every story matters. I’m constantly inspired by individuals who speak their truths. You all are the reason I speak mine.
Over time, I’ve learned to listen to my intuition carefully. She’s a quiet force that steers me in the right direction. She’s allowed me to reclaim my power. I only wish I’d listened to her sooner.