Before You Love Me: Life Advice From A Survivor of Domestic Abuse
Before You Love Me, You Need To Understand How To Love Me
I saw these words “Before You Love Me,” on Twitter and it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Recently several friends and annoying acquaintances have broached the idea of me getting into a relationship.
Here are some things you need to know before you date a survivor of domestic abuse and the PTSD that comes after the trauma is over.
My answer is “Hard No, Thank you, but no,” but the thing is…I don’t really mean “thank you” I really mean “fuck off already.”
After thirty-five years on this planet, I got really tired, really quick, of people doing shit that caused me harm. A lot of what I went through comes from white supremacist roots, but a lot of it is just that people suck a lot.
Growing up I learned very early that I wasn’t going to be protected, for a variety of reasons again, but mostly white supremacy and the patriarchy.
The people around me when I was growing up were mostly white, and most of them were conditioned to believe that their whiteness allowed them certain freedoms that my Blackness didn’t allow me. Namely being mean.
When the time comes for me to date, I may date a man but I just as easily might date a woman or a trans woman or man, I might date a bisexual transgender man who has pansexual desires, like who the fuck knows?
What I do know is that trying to push me into being in love when I’m still healing from the trauma of thinking I was in love is fucking dangerous and could genuinely get me killed.
If not by the hand of a potential partner, then by my own. My own mental health has to come before my desire to add another person in my life and if you can’t understand that you aren’t trying to help me heal, you’re pushing me into something I’m not ready for and that’s toxic as hell.
I’m Not Always Strong, And You Need To Let That Be Okay
I can remember exactly 1 time when two of my male friends defended me, and when it was over both of them were so shocked to see me vulnerably crying that neither one of them could handle it. We’re not friends anymore.
I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter what your gender identity is, people expect you to be stronger than the abuse you’ve experienced when you’re a victim of abuse. They expect you to get over it overnight, and they never stop to think about what “getting over it” actually means, or the work it takes.
When I was in NA I refused to date and made a public declaration that I was not there to date, and people made fun of me, but the problem that I was addressing, — the male belief that women exist for their pleasure alone regardless of the circumstances — went ignored, and I was laughed at.
Black Women are Never Taken Seriously, and It Kills Us Every Time
When my memories started to come back, I reported what happened to me no less than 4 times, at least 3 to doctors and shrinks, and not a single one of them believed me.
I have proof that my house has been broken into by my stalker, but still, the cops don’t believe me. The fact that I have mental health issues is more than enough to convince people that I’m crazy and therefore my concerns aren’t anything to worry about.
The thing is that Black women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than their white counterparts and the stats back that up. And it’s not always by Black men, contrary to your racist belief.
Interracial relationships have just as much violence and abuse as secular racial ones, and until we start noticing that we are going to continue to have a problem with domestic abuse, and the mental health issues and trauma that comes with domestic abuse.
You need to know this before you try to love me because this is the reality that I face every single day. I know at any moment my future partner can switch and hit me and there will be very little I’ll be able to do about it until it’s over and I know this because it’s happened too many times in the past for me to count.
Before you try to love me…Understand that these are the things that roll around in my head every single day. I am publically known as the Loud Mouth Brown Girl, when I am seen in public I am seen as a woman who survived.
I tout myself as a soldier, as a survivor, as someone who can stand anything and everything I need to stand until I get to the place where I want to be, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my weak moments.
All of this information that I’ve accumulated came at the hands of men who raped and beat, burned, and tortured me for years thinking that my only purpose on this planet was to sacrifice my life for their pleasure.
The Fight Back After Domestic Abuse Is A Bitch
It took me a really long time to stop believing that and to break the conditioning but sometimes I still break down and I have to work really hard to pull myself back, so if you’re going to love me you’re going to have to understand that I say all of this because I don’t know how to let you love me.
Learning to be independent is taking a lot longer than I thought it was going to take and now that I am on that path I refuse to let anyone derail me. I am utterly stubborn and it’s because I’ve been kicked, hit, and hurt in every way a human can hurt another.
My abusers have never apologized for what they did to me and they still have a list of excuses ten miles long for why what they did was okay. Everything from “It was God’s will,” to “She’s the sacrifice,” because that’s what our abusers taught us.
I broke the cycle but they never did, so if you ever try to convince me something is true when I know it isn’t, I’ll very much punch you in the face and I won’t regret it. I am in constant fight or flight mode, so if you want to love me you’re going to have to be patient, have to be understanding, and you’re going to have to respect my boundaries.
I spent far too long trying to impress people, trying to convince them to love me, and I’m not doing that anymore. And yes I’m trying to scare you away because the sooner you leave me alone, the sooner I can get back to healing and my much-needed serenity.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall