I was moving forward. I had a job, an apartment, an education and I was in graduate school.
I was “smart enough” to avoid the trap that kept following me home. I knew I didn’t want a relationship. I wasn’t attracted to him. I didn’t like him. I thought he was creepy.
I refused to join him in his jail.
I said “No!”
I ignored him.
I was rude. I was arrogant. I made fun of him.
But he was persistent.
I didn’t know he was abusive but I knew he wasn’t independent. He couldn’t help me. He didn’t want to help me. And he wouldn’t help me.
But he was persistent.
I was alone. I let go of my life line before grabbing another. I was working my safety plan without a safety net. My former counselor was hundreds of miles away. It was only a matter of time before I slipped and fell.
If I was in counseling it would have been a set back but since I wasn’t – I was derailed.
I’d never been safe so I couldn’t find safety without the help of a professional.
He was persistent. He was lonely. He was dysfunctional.
I was fragile. I was vulnerable. My family was dysfunctional. I was grieving the suicide of my favorite brother. I had no friends.
I had no therapist.
He was persistent. He either followed me home or was waiting for me when I pulled into my parking lot. He was waiting for me to fall. He wasn’t planning to pick me up. He was just waiting for me.
But I didn’t let him in until…
My second brother died. Just one year after the first.
After he died, I shook my fist at my oldest, dearest and only friend – I turned my back on God. I was already angry at God for allowing my brother to end his life. I was angry about my abusive childhood. I was angry about being raped. I was angry about being alone.
I hadn’t forgiven God.
I felt God’s presence and didn’t hold back telling Him how angry and disappointed I was. I thought He was a terrible, weak, ineffective God.
God was cruel to take another brother so soon. I stopped talking to God. I was too angry to speak. God wasn’t worth my prayers. He wasn’t listening. No one listened to me.
If I had a therapist, they’d probably say I was depressed. But I didn’t have a therapist.
I still had my apartment. I still had my job. I still went to school. I still didn’t like the guy but I threw God out and let the stalker in. I shut the door on God. I went off track. But didn’t care. Tired, numb and out of breath I thought I’d take a moment to rest. I didn’t realize how long I’d sleep.
Why did I stay? He became rough. Everyone who cared about me was rough. Even God.
I ran from him and locked myself in the bathroom. I didn’t like him. I should have been afraid but…
I was numb.
#WhyIstayed: We weren’t living together. “Stay” was abstract. I had my own apartment. I was moving forward. I avoided him after he was rough. I thought I was taking care of myself. No one else cared about me.
I guess I wasn’t “smart enough” to avoid or end the relationship. I was a victim. Victims aren’t very smart.
Violence is loud. It is hard to think with all that background noise. We need an emergency crew to pull us from the wreckage.
And he waited patiently until I invited him in. He was very persistent. And it would be many years before a crew arrived on the scene.
Have you ever snuggled with the devil? Share your story.
they fall under his strength.
Seek professional help
Abused? You’re not alone
God is with us even when we are angry
The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)