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8/19/14I didn’t think I was in an abusive relationship.

It has taken me many years to muster up the courage to write this post, but enough time has passed now that I have decided to open up and share a story of my past that is difficult and emotional for me to talk about. Something that I even still feel shame around.

I lived in Italy for seven years (from the time I was 20 until I was 27) and had the most incredible experiences, met the most amazing people, had many true, great friends and learned a lot. I would not trade that time in for anything. That having been said, while there, I found myself enduring one of the most painful and difficult experiences of my life.

He was older and charming and smart.  We were friends for a bit before becoming more than friends. He was romantic and knew all the perfect spots to introduce me to in and around the city. He knew all the flea markets inside and out (and loved visiting them just as much as I did). He would pick me up and put me on the back of his Vespa and take me up windy roads, wind in face, to the most incredible, out-of-the-way trattorias in Chianti where the pasta noodles were made on-site. He paid attention to me and took care of me in ways I felt like no man ever had. He cooked amazing meals for me, made my bed in the the mornings, took me on surprise trips to the South of France and London, and introduced me to so many new things, people…and I fell in love.

We had been dating for about three months and it was Christmas time and I felt it was too early to go to his family’s Christmas dinner (nor had I been invited). When I told him I would be going to a friend’s house for Christmas dinner he got upset and started yelling.  After the fight he didn’t call or text (or respond to my calls or texts) for three days. I was mortified at the thought that I had offended him and chalked it up to some kinda cultural misunderstanding?? I wasn’t sure what I had done exactly but I apologized to him profusely when he finally returned my call and eventually the whole thing blew over and a week or so later all was back to blissful normal.

After that hiccup, we grew closer and continued to see each other almost daily. Things were good and new and fun. We travelled and wined and dined. Then a couple months later another fight. This time he didn’t just get loud,  he got mean and even started calling me names. And again this time, I wasn’t sure what I had done to set him off, but imagined that we were having another cultural misunderstanding somehow. Italians are full of passion–especially when it comes to love…my Italian friends would tell me. This is how he was expressing his passion and love for me apparently.

I knew better than to think that love was expressed through yelling and name calling–But couples fight, right? I’d tell myself. And besides a little temper he was such a great guy. So the relationship continued and we went on like this–fighting every couple of weeks–over tiny nothings.

Soon I’d notice subtle gestures that made me feel uncomfortable. He’d hold his hand on the back of my neck instead of holding my hand as we walked down the street.  It felt almost like a collar.  I would shrug it off though, as though I was being irrational or again, justifying it in my head by imagining that this behavior was a cultural norm.

Then he started to get upset if he thought he saw me looking at another man. I was flirting–he’d say. We’d fight again. The fights would escalate. I’d find myself yelling back.  He’d call me a whore, then he’d disappear for days, sometimes weeks.  He wouldn’t return phone calls or text. His friends wouldn’t know (or at least they wouldn’t tell me) where he was. Looking back it’s very difficult to explain why I kept on coming back to him time and time again.  Why I even wanted to find him. I told myself that I needed closure.

By this time we had been together 6 or 8 months and I began to realize he had “issues” that he had to work through. He was moody, had a bad temper, or maybe he was slightly bipolar–I even did some internet research and decided that he had Paranoid Personality Disorder. I resolved that I was the only person in the world that could help him through these issues. He loved me more than anything, or anyone. I should stand by his side in good times and bad. “When we’re great, we’re amazing” I’d tell myself. THIS is love. THIS is passion. We’re in love and love conquers all.

We went on like this for another year. We were off and on and off and on, and every other week I was in a fit of tears, an emotional mess because he had had another ‘outburst’, and he had disappeared again and wouldn’t take my calls.

It got to be so bad that I stopped talking about him or the relationship with friends or family. “This was fun when it was a movie,” one girlfriend said “But now it’s a soap opera…” And frankly, I was tired of talking about it too. I was tired of making excuses for him, and for myself, and  I pushed my friends away.

At the time, I didn’t think of him (or the relationship) as abusive. I was a strong, educated woman. I was independent–a feminist even–a hippie! I didn’t have low self-esteem. I had travelled the world on my own, started my own business, I would never stay in an abusive relationship, so obviously I wasn’t in an abusive relationship. We were just more passionate than other couples.

It happened dozens of times. We’d be blissful, then he would find some reason to blow up at me. I was always treading carefully on thin ice. We’d fight. He’d disappear for days or weeks. Then he’d call, apologize, tell me he loved me and that he wanted to be with me forever, that I was an angel, that I was his angel. That I was the only person who really understood him. And then we would get back together and it would be magical for about three weeks until things, once again, would fall apart. Yelling in restaurants “How many men did you f-ck when you were in college..” He’d holler. “You’re a whore! All American girls are whores and you are no exception!” “I thought you were are Ferrarri but you’re a deflated bicycle tire…”

By the end of the two year stretch, getting back together with him was like getting a fix.  I was a drug addict and he was my drug. I felt elated the minute he was back in my arms after a fight, but I was also hurt, tired and scared.

But I love him. I’d tell myself.

This went on for two years. Then one day we were at my apartment with a few friends and we were all having some snacks and getting ready to go out. He was in one of his moods. By this time I could smell the ‘mood’ from a mile away. He came over to where I was chatting and snacking with friends and asked my why I was dipping my artichoke in mayonnaise. When I replied that I had grown up eating it this way–he looked at me and said “Yes, I can tell.” Embarrassed by his dig, I told him to f*ck off and he grabbed me by the wrist and dragged me into the bedroom. He told me never to talk back to him in front of my friends again and hit me in the face, hard, with a closed fist. Blood streamed out of my nose and dripped slowly to the tiles floor and I let out a scream.

As my friends came in from the other room to see what was wrong, he said that he had barely touched me and told me to stop being dramatic. Honestly, the rest is kind of a blur.  I had spent two years living on eggshells, not knowing what buttons I was about to push, not knowing whether that day I was his angel or his whore, his everything or his nothing.

Some of my Italian friends tried to justify his actions. “We are a passionate people.” One of my close friends told me.

I ended up leaving Italy that year for good. Upon reflection, I think a big part of my decision to leave was about making sure I was I was getting myself out of that relationship because there was a part of me that was afraid that I’d go back to him again as I had done so many times before–even after he hit me.

I learned a lot in that relationship–that it’s easier than I could have ever imagined  to find oneself justifying abuse–even for someone as ‘strong and educated’ as myself. I learned that ‘love’ and ‘passion’ are NEVER reasons to stay in a relationship that doesn’t make you feel good. I learned that you can’t be in a relationship to ‘save’ someone–it just doesn’t work that way.

Since this chapter in my life I have talked to so many women–including close girlfriends–who have also experienced abuse (physical, verbal or both) from men they were in relationships with. Because this is clearly not as rare as I wish it was,  I thought it would be important to share this experience with you. It can happen to anybody. It’s easy to make excuses for people. He didn’t mean it. It’s a cultural misunderstanding. He has a problem that he is working on…

Most importantly, one must love oneself enough to know when it’s time to let go of someone that doesn’t know how to love you back. Now, thank goodness, I have found a man that loves and respects me, without the crazy ups and downs, without the yelling, the berating, the name calling or the punching. He is gentle and kind, passionate and full of love without the the violence, disappearing acts or the escalations. He holds my hand as we walk down the street, not my neck–he is neither controlling, nor jealous. There is mutual respect and mutual love.

The good news is, each day represents a new opportunity for a fresh start, for growth and for love–the kind that doesn’t sting and ache and burn.

Justina Blakeney Justina Blakeney

Designer, artist, stylist & mama. Founder and CCO at The Jungalow. Crazy for color, pattern and plants!

65 responses to “I didn’t think I was in an abusive relationship.”

  1. vanessa joie says:

    you are such an amazing woman. thank you for sharing something so personal. you have nothing to be ashamed of. sending you love.

    • B says:

      I am 21 year old female. I recently just got out of an abusive relationship of 8 years.. And all I can say is thank you for posting this. I as I’m sure many other emales can relate. I had always thought the same thing “we are just passionate about our relationship”. But it took my 8 years and a bruise on my face to realize this wasn’t the case. Thank you again for sharing.

  2. Kari says:

    I need this today. More than you will ever realize. As I sit hear, tears streaming down my face, I thank you.

  3. irene says:

    good for you for sharing it, Justina, you are brave for doing it. I’m very happy for your man and family. I think that finding the right one is among many other things, also related to being lucky, and having some stars aligned, not everybody does. This will help women that read you. Cheers :)

  4. Carolyn K says:

    Thank you for this. Much love to you!!

  5. Katy says:

    Thank you for opening up about something so personal and difficult. Maybe your story will encourage another woman to leave an unhealthy relationship.

    I was also in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship at one time. He would refer to me as his, and I was young and thought it was romantic. Looking back, the way he used it was not romantic but unhealthy. He also would get drunk and call me names and break up with me when I stood up for myself. The next morning he’d always apologize and take it back and I’d allow it. But it always happened again, until one day I had had enough.

    I feel like this is one of those life experiences that, unless you’ve been there, you can’t understand why someone would stay in a relationship that sounds so bad. It’s those same justifications that you mentioned, though: all couples fight, I can help him be a better person, we love each other, etc.

    You’re very strong for sharing your story. Best wishes.

  6. K says:

    This morning, for the first time, I told my husband of 2 years that he wasn’t to speak to me in the way he had just spoken to me anymore. Harsh, mean, critical and disrespectful. This afternoon my aunt sent me an email about emotional abuse. Tonight I saw your Instagram photo and read this. My husband is British, he moved here to be with me almost exactly a year ago. It’s time I stop saying it’s “cultural” differences when he calls me names like whore, cunt and slut and when he stops talking to me for days at a time. It’s not cultural to put a barrier of pillows in bed between us to keep from touching me. And it’s not ok when he apologizes to the dog for my behavior.

    I am shocked at how badly I needed to read this on this exact day. I have counseling tomorrow and I think I’ve got some thoughts I’m ready to share out loud, finally.

    Thank you.

    • L says:

      K, it’s like we’re married to the same person. Only I’m the British one and he’s the American one. When I get upset with the name calling and aggression, and even him telling our dog that I’m “a bad Mommy”, I get told that he’s just joking and I don’t understand American humour. Good luck with your counseling. I haven’t quite been brave enough to get there yet.

      • Alisha says:

        No comment followed by “just joking” is justified. I’ve heard that one many a time! Hang in there you are braver than you realize.

      • K says:

        Last night, in front of our counselor, I told my husband I think he’s emotionally abusive. He was less than pleased and the counselor talked to him about his being quick to anger and why it keeps happening. I cried, he raged and we left the session torn to bits.
        I told him cultural differences don’t make it OK to treat me terrible and I won’t stand for it anymore.
        I felt good standing up for myself finally, FINALLY.
        It’s a long road we’re on and I hope we can come out happy on the other side, together or not, but I’m hopeful I’ll be happy because I choose happy.

        Love to you and much love also on your journey. You are brave and strong and worth it.

    • Alicja says:


      many, many hugs to you. Yes, you are in an abusive relationship.

      I remember when I first asked this question and started finally relalising how bad things were. How he left me on the street in the middle of the night with no money or jacket and sped away with friends in his car, because I looked at someone on the other side of the street. How it was not normal that he called other women ‘sweetie’ and ‘sexy’ (and it had nothing to do with English not being my first language – this is what he tried to tell me, that I don’t understand, that everyone here speaks this way).

      I still remember the day when I finally moved out, for the third and final time. The day I regained freedom.

      Hugs to you and all the best on your way to your freedom and strength.

    • net mama says:

      Wow it’s crazy to know other people experience the same situations. I always felt ashamed at saying little details like the one you just shared because I felt somehow it reflected on my sanity. Thank you for sharing my ex used to not talk to me for days too and sleep in a different room because he did Not want to touch me….

  7. Virginia Mulvaney says:

    Thank you. You just described something very similar to what I went through and put it together so beautifully even if it is a hard topic.

  8. lara jane says:

    You’re an incredibly brave woman, both for having the courage to say “enough!” and also for sharing your story. I hope you inspire others to love themselves enough to do take those difficult steps away from abuse and toward freedom and, eventually, true love.

    On the bright side, I chuckled about the artichoke. I thought that was just my family (half Filipino, half Oklahoman), but maybe it’s a California thing?

  9. I know you only through instagram and pinterest but you are amazing. Love you, your style, the beautiful way in which you see the world. So happy you found real love after such pain.

  10. Ardith says:

    Justina, I can only echo what these other women have said in response to your post. You are brave, gracious, and kind to share your experience, one that is shared by too many. Thank you for baring your soul here. Ardith

  11. Quinn says:

    I married an extremely intelligent, funny,talented, generous,compassionate man from Scotland. We fit musically, in humor, in politics etc. The problem was his volatile temper, his cruel sarcasm that usually bit under his breath for only me to hear. Hours in a vehicle on roadtrips were hours of emotional abuse and horrible name calling and cruelty.
    I can hear him saying similar things about American women…that I was a whore/ slut who was manipulating him….tricking him into a relationship.
    I was married for 15 years. I’m still not who I was. Will never be the open, trusting person I was. You were smart to get out before you lost you.
    He did get physical and that finally pushed me to do stop being his reason and excuse for everything that went wrong in his life from birth on.
    We had an incredible daughter, who thank God isn’t attracted to bipolar men.
    The best time with him was the 4 months he was on medication for being bipolar. The rest of the 15 years was eggshells, accusations, cruelty, blame mixed with moments of incredible tenderness, affection and love.
    I always said to him, How can you expect me to be sexually passionate with you, when you say the most cruel and hurtful things, with the mouth I am expected to kiss?
    Thank you for sharing. Maybe other women in relationships with volatile abusive men will realize they are not crazy and not reenacting a scene from the movie Gaslight.

  12. Paula says:

    Hi Justina,
    I’m glad you are past this painful time and yes, these relationships are more common than most people believe.

    I don’t know what to think of your description of yourself as opposed to what you think a typical abused woman is? Is this a common misconception? We come in all types and situations. I think perhaps some of us keep it a secret longer than others. 15 years in my case.

    I wish you happiness as you go forward.

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      I know NOW that we come in all types and situations. Before going through it myself I think that I was under the impression that if you were a ‘strong’ woman, you wouldn’t accept this type of treatment or behavior.

  13. Despicable creatures.
    Makes me so mad.

  14. Kiana says:

    Oh you are amazing Justina – we all hold these stories of hardship inside, some of us share, and some of us bury… But you, I am so proud that you’ve chosen to use your powerful voice to share, not only for your own final release, but for the sake of another who may need, but not recognize or realize her own power to free herself ( or himself for that matter) from a dire situation such as this… Thank you dear Justina.

  15. Thank you for sharing your story. It makes me angry — first, because I’ve been in relationships like this before (yes, more than one) and I hate that these situations are so common; and second, because I think your friends should have been there for you more than they were. I could be totally misinterpreting it, but it sounds like you tried to talk to your friends about it, and they either got sick of hearing about it (the “soap opera” comment) or told you it was a cultural thing and to suck it up. This upsets me because I’m Italian, from my father’s side, and I can’t imagine him ever being abusive towards my mother. They’ve been married 35 years, still kiss in public, still go on dates, etc. They have their ups and downs, of course, but he’d never lay a hand on her or call her names. I don’t like that your Italian friends chalked it up to being Italian, because that’s just not true, and they should’ve seen what was going on and intervened. At the same time, I do understand NOT wanting to tell people things, so maybe they didn’t know the extent of what was going on. Either way, I’m so happy that time in your life is over, and that you are happy. XOXO!

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      Thanks for chiming in Stephanie, and just to clarify, I had another Italian boyfriend for 5 years before this one that was a perfect gentleman. I know that not all Italian men act this way–but I felt it was an important piece of the story because throughout the relationship I kept on giving him a ‘cultural pass’ when, in fact, like you said, it wasn’t about the culture, it was about him. And my ‘soap opera’ friend was actually Croatian… xoxo (and I’m happy that time in my life is over too!)

  16. Mayeesha says:

    Thank you so much for sharing such an emotional and difficult time of your life. I truly wish from the bottom of my heart that this inspires and emotionally strenghtens the women who might be in such relationships to wake up and walk out. Much love. xxx

  17. What a brave post Justina, and it will encourage others to speak out. I, myself was also in an abusive relationship (my first marriage), and have never talked about it publicly. I think I should. I’m so glad you had the strength to leave. xo

  18. Esther says:

    I left him 6 years ago and am now happily married with a beautiful baby, but he still haunts me. “Cultural differences” or not, it still hurts. I’m still not who I was, but I’m halfway there. Thank you for writing this… It really hit home.

  19. Elisa says:

    I was so moved by your personal story of abuse. I know that women in an abusive relationship will find the courage like you to recognize it and leave the relationship. There is no excuse for abuse- physical or emotional. Thanks for sharing your story.

  20. Steph says:

    Thank you for sharing this story, Justina. Your bravery and courage, both when you left and now, is powerful. Sending love!

  21. lindsay says:

    thank you for sharing this, justina. i did therapy with survivors of domestic violence for a while, and sometimes it can change everything for a woman just to have someone point out that what’s happening IS abuse, and is not okay, even if they find themselves trying to justify or defend the abuser’s actions. it’s also really helpful when woman “come out” publicly as survivors of abuse, and claim that yes, i am a feminist, i am smart, i am strong, AND it happened to me. you can be all of those things at once. so thank you – i am sure that your post will help many women recognize abuse for what it is and, hopefully, seek out help.

  22. Tania says:

    You are not alone. I don’t have a blog but I wrote a book based on my abusive relationship. I did the same thing…I stayed to “help” him and to protect my family. People like that know how to “make” us feel like we need them and also “make” us feel like they need us. They do need us, for their own personal benefit-like their drug. Thank you for sharing your story. If you are interested my “story” is here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KALZUWW. In Time by Tania Lee Premo. I know, it looks like a shamelss plug, but it is not. My hope is if my story reaches and helps just one person, one that I may never know, then I did some good in this often cruel world.

  23. Kerrie says:

    Justina – this story resonates with me so much. I’m not quite where you are…not ready to tell my story, but thank you so much for yours. I hear you. I feel you. Thank you.

  24. Alisha says:

    Bless you. As many others have said thank you for sharing. My divorce will be final in September. 17 years. He even got mad at me because I was raped. He used to pinch the fat on my body and say, “what’s this?”. He isolated, humiliated and I too am a smart educated woman. As a chemist/microbiologist I could not be in an abusive relationship. And I still struggle with that to this day. I left 11 months ago and I am still crying. I have cried on this very day. I want to make good from this. I want to help others like you are by sharing your experience but I’m not quite ready. Thank you for your courage.

  25. Tamara says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your experience while painful is hopeful and will give so many others strength and courage. May you continue to live your life blessed, at peace and free.

  26. Paige says:

    Just saw this Justina. Your courage and generosity continues to inspire me daily. Hugs and love to you.

  27. Chedva says:

    Justina, how brave and strong you are. Thank you so much for sharing. Hugs.

  28. tula says:

    Justina, thank you so much for sharing your story. Sometimes it is difficult to see your self-worth and maintain your strength when you’re in the middle of the storm. Much love to you and may your story provide strength for anyone in the same situation. And may it bring solidarity to those of us who have weathered the storm. Love you :)

  29. alyssa says:

    Justina, this post is so pertinent and ripe for me right now. I was supposed to get married on September 6th of this year, but as of last week it has been cancelled. We had been together for 8 years and have a lot of love for each other, but there are just cycles and patterns of behavior that have been occurring and it all finally came to a head. I think the stress of the wedding planning (which you know about I’m sure) was a big catalyst for everything, but I woke up after a fight one day, and just said, I can’t do this anymore. He was physically abusive and I had forgiven him over and over in the past, and listened to his excuses and validation, but thinking of marrying him and not having a solid resolve of it all was scary.
    So, thank you for posting this and helping me to see that there is so much more to come, and that I deserve much better than what I had.

  30. Elaine says:

    Thanks to all of you for sharing. Giant hugs.

  31. B says:

    You have been and continue to be my hero. For your blog, for your baby and family, your creativity, and your honesty. Thank you for writing about this.

  32. Leslie-Anne says:

    Women helping women can only make the world a better place. Thanks for sharing this difficult story.

  33. carlene says:

    Me too. Me too. The physical damage from the hitting was temporary. The other stuff, not so much. Still trying to unbelieve all the things he said about me. Thank you for sharing, there are too many of us.

  34. Bubbie says:

    Therefore choose life, that you and your children and your children’s children may live and be a blessing.

  35. Natalie says:

    Justina, thank you so much for sharing your story. It really helps to know that one can heal from something so painful. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for 3 years and it took so much out of me to admit that the relationship was indeed abusive. I am on the road to recovery from that relationship and I thank you again for continuing to inspire the world with being authentic and beautiful.

  36. Donna says:

    Justina, I am truly sorry you had to go through this. But I’m glad you had the strength and courage to leave. As women, we need to speak out about abuse, share our experiences and help one another in the process.
    Thank you for sharing your story and being authentic. You are an inspiration to so many women out there and will continue to be.

  37. JM says:

    Thank you so much, Justina, for sharing such a difficult time in your life with all of us. I have had emotionally abusive relationships – justifying them for cultural reasons – but the most recent relationship had nothing to do with that. The comment “I thought you were a Ferrari but you are a deflated bicycle tire” really struck a chord with me – my most recent ex, who I have had to put a restraining order on – said things like that to me all the time. I have decided I am finally done dating men like this – and seeing your post on Pinterest led me to your blog, reading this wonderful post and affirming that so many of us go through these horrid situations with men. Sometimes we even need to go through it more than once until we learn the lesson the hardest way. Thank you for showing your strength.

  38. Sylvia says:

    Justina, thank you for sharing your experience. Your courage to be vulnerable gives others permission to become vulnerable. Strength is born from vulnerability you are the epitome of strength. It makes perfect sense that you rationalized and minized your ex-boyfriend’s behavior. It was beautifully veiled and hidden behind all of the other good, fun stuff, the culinary experiences, the travel, etc. However, love isnt supposed to hurt. The relationship you now have IS love. Please find a way to dispense with the shame. It adds no value to your life. The fact that you have expressed this experience is likely a beginning to expelling any residual shame. Again, thank you.

  39. thank you so much for sharing

  40. Monserratt says:

    Awesome story Justina,
    I went through a very similar one, and it took me 6 years and a divorce to realized that I was never going to change him and make him happy. I was sick too! Happiness is something you decide for yourself.

    I’m so glad for you!
    Now I’m happy and live life with a man who is happy too.
    Sometimes it takes falling into deep wells to realize what we are capable of and deserve.


  41. Sarah says:

    You have no idea how much I needed to read this tonight. I have been with my husband for three years now and have been through the cycle you’ve described many times with him now. For some dumb reason I always stay. I’ve heard him say on several occasions “we’re just more passionate than most couples”. As well as “this is nothing compared to how I grew up”. His father was physically abusive to his wife and children
    I on the other hand grew up in a house where I can’t even recall my parents arguing. I tell myself maybe this is how a lot of couples argue. He eventually apologizes and it goes back to normal. However, over the years the violence has only increased. Tonight he came home late and drunk when I confronted him about his behavior he found a way to make it my fault and the argument escalated. He put his hands around my neck and threw me to the floor several times. I only hope I can find the courage to leave. I hate to give up on my marriage and don’t want the stigma that comes with getting a divorce, but I want children someday and I refuse to subject a child to what has been going on behind closed doors at my house.

  42. […] + A bold, authentic and inspiring post: I didn’t think I was in an abusive relationship. […]

  43. Amanda says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, it really helped me.

  44. […] to you with a long name, which you may want to shorten. Change. And if he’s coming out of an abusive situation, a new name may represent a fresh start. But we’re lucky: dogs are extremely adaptable. And […]

  45. Antonella says:

    I’m Italian and I can guarantee you that calling names and hitting is not a prerogative of being one!
    You met an abusive ass…. and were brave to leave him. Yes, we are passionate and sometime raise our hands to the sky, but what he did to you is unforgivable. Unfortunately, esp. in the south or in smaller villages there’s still a lot of patriarchy going on, and such behaviour is considered acceptable.
    So glad you are now well.

    Antonella (from Milan)

  46. Ashlee says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I just got out of a physically and verbally abusive relationship of two years. This story really hits home and I hate that other women go through this pain

  47. H says:

    I was in an abusive relationship in my twenties. Mostly emotional but occasionally physical. The name calling always hurt more that the shoe. Years into this relationship I was so isolated, I worked and that was about it. I didn’t go out south my girlfriends to avoid to knock out – drag out fights that always followed. Because according to him I f*%cked someone else … And he wanted to know who! It wasn’t true of course, but we fought anyway.
    After one of our fights, I escaped with alcohol and then topped it off with a bottle of muscle relaxers. Needless to say I took an ambulance ride to the ER, had my stomach pumped, spent some time in ICU and then a weeks stay in the psych ward. Did I tell a single person there why I did it? NOPE.
    I almost lost my life because of this relationship, but I was discharged home to HIM. I could’ve gotten help – but I didn’t. We did go to couples counseling after that (I denied abuse there too) I think that along with my individual counseling helped me to get out.
    I live in a very small town and not many people know my story … I still protect him for some reason. Or maybe it’s protecting myself from the shame.
    Either way, judging someone is so easy, it’s easy to say you’d never be with a person like that, never stay. No one can say that until they experience it. You are all strong and brave!!!

  48. Kamilla says:

    I’m in one right now. I’ve never felt pain this bad in my life. I’ve been called a bitch and a whore. I got told I was 20 percent to another girls 80 percent. This was by far the worst comment for me. It hurts so bad it’s unreal. Having someone you love so much treat you like that. I truly wish I was dead. I understand your struggle.

  49. Alex says:

    Thank you. Thank you so much.

  50. Kell says:

    Hi, Thanks for posting. I got shivers down my spine when I read about him putting his hand on your neck – I used to brush my ex-partner’s hand off mine too. I too am educated, well traveled and an intelligent woman. After 10 years of abuse, 2 children (daughters, who I realised would continue into abusive relationships of their own if I stayed). I got out. I still cry when I read some stories, like mine. It is worth while to share our stories and help other women/men realise they can escape abusive relationships – finding the strength and courage to do so is part of evolving ourselves too.

  51. mollie says:

    im still in an unhealthy relationship that i cant escape just because i dont have anywhere to go. i have to sleep next to and smile at the person who destroyed who i was.

    he used to be my best friend…

  52. Joyce says:

    Thank You so much for this!! You are amazing and there are many of us out here. I just left a 2 year relationship with “The Same Guy” smooth amazing and BPD. I am also an educated business owner. The hurt is so deep but I know there is no hope for anything but pain.

  53. PacificChic says:

    Dear Justina, I had a relationship like the one you mentioned with an Italian man also. I would like to warn women about the dangers of italian men. They will always mask thing with “culture” he abused me, cheated on me, gave me an std, mentally, emotionally and verbally abused me and told me I was stupid, not educated, not cultured etc and let me tell you it was like cold water getting warm.. you don’t notice it straight away. I found out he was cheating on me and happened to catch him with the girl – he told me that “we had not been dating” as we were not sleeping together. He is still with that girl, but I think he is abusing her too. I didn’t sleep with him after getting the std – initially i didn’t know what was wrong with me, i had never had an std in my life. That was a year ago. He tried to message me that we should still be friends, but i cut him out for good. The trauma and shocks are finally falling off me, to all girls, STAY AWAY from cultures you do not understand so you don’t fall prey to abuse. DO not let yourself down.

  54. MERCY says:

    thank you prophet prince for helping me get a child of my own after so many doctors,pastors and prophet told me that i can never give birth in my life due to a damage womb just 48hrs after my encounter with this great man he gave me a solution and now i have a beautiful baby girl to call my own to also get your own help email at miraclecenter110@gmail.com or call +2348182260982

  55. susan thomas says:

    well my best friends sister was dating this muslim A@@hole like 5 yrs ago she lived with him for a couple of years with her daughter Lexi this guy use to tie her 8 yr old daughter to a chair as a punishment for waking him up in the morning i don’t know why but she got back with him in march and 2 months later married him shes very sick with crohns disease and a lot of other things we think hes trying to steal all her money he did it before he stole her credit cards and maxed them out buying apple products this guy has a big house and 3 mercedes but takes all of her money he gave her some BS story that hes some Arab prince.from the middle east we found out thats a lie we were told he is now trying to get paid by the government to be her caregiver and collect Ihss money on her also just found out he has an insurance policy out on her so when she dies he can collect
    the want to be prince lives in Lake Elsinore california and his name is Bahige El-Mahoud
    we have reported him to the police adult protective services and child protective services because he came to hemet where we live and tried to take lexi who is now 12 back to live with him again since he just married her mom now he thinks he owns both of them shes very afraid of him when he came he almost an us over then another time he kicked my car and was trying pull lexi in his car what can we do?
    thank you for any help

    scared for my friends

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