Ashley's Story:

My story began when I was a freshmen in high school. High school is a place where you learn who you are, where your going, and what you want to become. For me, it was some of the worst years of my life. 

 

Freshmen year I met a guy who I thought was super cute, funny, nice and was a blast to hangout with. Eventually we began dating and everything seemed so perfect. I was so happy and felt so loved. For the first time in my life it felt as though I had found someone who understood me and wanted to grow with me. Those first 6 months were great and filled with lots of laughs and happiness. 

 

One year into the relationship was the first time I had found out that he cheated on me. It felt as though my world had crashed down on me and i felt empty inside. It was a few days before our first christmas together and I was absolutely heart broken. I had never been in a serious relationship before, therefore I had never been cheated on before. The feeling of emptiness was a new feeling for me. I didn’t know how to picture my life without this guy in it. How would I live without him? I believed him when he told me that it would never happen again. I believed him when he told me that he loved me and would never hurt me again. 

 

The relationship started to spiral downhill after this. Everything always turned into a fight. If I didn’t do something he wanted, if I didn’t give him money, if I didn’t simply text him back right away, I was in the wrong. He made it very clear to me that he was in control the first time he put his hands on me. He had me believe that i deserved it and that I was in the wrong. And I believed him. I was so “inlove” with him that I was foolish enough to believe that I deserved to be picked up and thrown into a dresser. I was so scared that my friends would hate him so I didn’t tell anybody what had happened that night and lied about the bruises I had gotten. The second time I forgot my phone at home and was pushed so hard I fell to the ground and hit my head off the floor. That particular time it was in front of a few of our friends who didn’t speak up.

 

My feelings didn’t mean anything to him. Alls he cared about was himself and what he wanted. If I didn’t want to have sex with him, he would threaten me and tell me that I was useless and if I didn’t have sex with him he would leave and go find it somewhere else. I was so scared of him that I would suck it up and give him anything he wanted. I had lost all respect for myself and my body. At the time I chose to let him take control over me then fear that if I didn’t do what he wanted he would hit me. I couldn’t turn to my friends or family for help because I was too scared. I was trapped in this relationship and didn’t know how to get out. I lost myself and it started affecting my relationship with my friends and my grades in school. I lost so many great friendships because of this toxic relationship. My grades were dropping and I was starting to give up. 

 

One night I couldn’t get ahold of him and was getting worried that something may have happened because i didn’t hear from him all day. That night I drove to his house to check up on him and found a girl sleeping in his bed next to him. I was upset (naturally) but also relieved. This was my way out. I finally found a reason to leave and be free. So I thought….. I broke up with him but couldn’t get away from him. He would follow me to work, to my house, and around school. One day out of anger he admitted to have cheated on me 6 times (on top of the other girls I knew about). To him he thought that I deserved to feel more pain then he had already caused me. But it just gave me more of a reason to move on from him. 

 

Breaking up was not an option for him. I would get non stop texts and phone calls about how I would never find anyone like him, I was all used up and nobody would ever want me, I was fat and needed to lose weigh and I was a disgusting person. These comments really hit me hard. I was uncomfortable with the way I looked and didn’t feel good enough for even myself. I would look myself in the mirror and hate the person starring back at me. Who could love a girl with a muffin top? Who could love a girl that was all used up?

 

Not only had he completely ruined my self esteem, he was everywhere I went. One night he wouldn’t stop calling me. I told him I was done talking to him and I never wanted to hear from him again. That night I was home alone and had a friend over. THANKFULLY. She witnessed what was going on and was concerned. She told me to stop answering the calls and shut my phone off. 10 minutes after shutting my phone off he was banging on the door demanding to talk to me. He threatened to knock my door down if I didn’t let him in. Again the feeling of feeling trapped took over again. The next day I got a restraining order on him. I couldn’t handle this abuse anymore. I couldn’t handle hating myself anymore. This still didn’t stop him. I would come home from work to find him waiting in his car outside my house. I would see him following me in his car when I would leave my house. It got to the point where I was scared to go home. I didn’t feel save in my own home anymore. I would have nightmares at night about him coming into my house and hurting me. 

 

Slowly these actions stopped. Weeks would go by were I wouldn’t hear from him. 6 months after the restraining order was put on, it had been lifted. 

 

Looking back on all this, I can’t believe what I put myself through. I went through all this alone. All the metal and physical abuse from this relationship has made me who I am today. I am a stronger women. After years of thinking I would never love again, I found someone who loves me endlessly and has shown me what true love really is. He respects my past and doesn’t let a day go by without telling me he loves me. I found a light at the end of a very long tunnel.  

 

To those who may have a similar story, GET OUT! Do not let anyone change who you are. The moment you stop loving yourself is the moment that everything changes. DO WHAT I DIDN’T DO! Take my story and learn from it. It’s not worth staying with someone because you are scared to be alone. You are NEVER alone. 

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