To my abuser..

This is something I wrote a couple of years ago and although I never shared it, writing it down really helped me heal and now I am happily married, trying to conceive and seeing all the brave women using this app, I finally feel ready to open up about my experience. Be it anonymously. I hope it might inspire others to reach out and begin to heal through their own journey as well. So here goes..

To my abuser,

I wish I could be the type of person who could forgive and forget but I'm not, I've tried. It turns out the saying is true. You can't forgive if you can't forget, and you made sure I couldn't forget. I will always remember. Maybe you didn't realise what you were doing then, we were young, stupid and at the time, I thouguht we were in love. It should have been a wonderful experience, but for me, it changed my life and not for the better.

I used to be optimistic and carefree, I always used to say what I was thinking. You said I lived in a fairyland and I want to go back, but you locked the castle gates and threw the key into the bottom lake along with the mermaids I used to believe in.

What you don't realise and what I never admitted to myself until now, is that you were jealous of me. You wished you were happy like me, so you stole my happiness and my personality away. I remember the harsh words you spoke to me, I still lay awake at night sometimes thinking about what I should have said, how I should have stood up for myself. It was emotional abuse, it broke me.

I live my life, 7 years later, still in constant fear of saying and doing the wrong thing.You told me I was fat, stupid, below you, you told me I was boring if I didn't want to drink, you told me I was pathetic if I did. You called me names too, a whore, a bitch, an ugly slut, nobody else would want me. I was good for nothing. It moved to drugs for a short time, your idea again of course, I was uncool, a prude, a killjoy if I didn't, so I took them with you for a short while, hoping it would keep the peace for a little longer. It worked for a time and I can't say I didn't enjoy it, as uncomfortable as it made me feel. I could be free, I could return to fairyland for a few hours. I didn't know then that it was you who I was trying to escape, not myself.

You had a way with words, I would believe anything you said to me. You'd make it all up to me in the morning, you loved me, you needed me, you were going through a lot, it was my fault you said the words that hurt me so much. I shouldn't annoy you so much, I should be more in tune with your needs.

The more you hurt me, the stronger you became, whilst the kicks you got from beating me down made me weaker. I defended your behaviour to those around me, I lost friends, I was brain washed.

I wish I could say I put it behind me, that I could say the experience made me stronger. It hasn't, I often still feel as if I won't ever be myself again. I wake up cold, sweating, shaking in the night due to anxiety. I am constantly battling low self-esteem caused by your actions. I panic in social situations in fear of others thinking I'm stupid, an annoyance, inferior, the way I felt with you.

Now I understand what a real, trusting relationship is and he's the one person who makes me feel safe, from you and your words and the world around me too. He's perfect and sometimes I'm still so scared he doesn't feel like I do. I can turn at any moment, suddenly doubting my instincts. That's because of you, I think of myself as unlovable. He reassures me, he tells me he loves me and he keeps me safe. He understands and he listens when I'm anxious. He holds me and I can pretend you never existed for a moment when he's with me.

But I can never forget. I will always remember. I want you to know what you've done, your snide remarks have left their mark on me. Not a punch or slap or a bruise, but it's there. Invisible to others, but so prominent to me.

I need you to know this, so I can continue to heal, to find a new passage back into my fairyland. I need you to know so I feel I have protected others, next time you may stop and think before you speak such cruelties. I need you to know, hoping my words have left their mark on you as yours did to me.

I hope you remember too.