“To Die a Free Woman” Fiction. Based on a True Emotionally Abusive Relationship.

“I was like…hiding…”- Lucas David

“To Die a Free Woman”

Fiction. Based on a True Emotionally Abusive Relationship.

By Charlie

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.

He’s never hit me, that much is true. He’s never laid a hand on me, but what he did was just as bad. He took my kindness for weakness, my love he took for granted. My past was taken as a threat, and my honesty was forged into a weapon that he still holds against my throat. My heart he bludgeoned. He took a gaslight to my mind and made me think I was crazy. He made me hate me being a woman. 

For him I grew ashamed of my successes. He was part of the reason that I hid my beauty. In an attempt to prove my loyalty, I isolated myself from friends. He wanted me to turn away from my family but I couldn’t do that. I just couldn’t do that.

So when he saw an opening, he used the joy I had in taking care of my parents as a way to accuse me of seeing other people. He read letters written years before I met him and justified his infidelity. Whatever thread he can find, he takes it and fabricates a world in which he is the victim. And…what makes it dangerous is that he believes the lies that he tells himself. 

He doesn’t talk about things. He yells, stands above me, grinds his fist in the palm of his hands. When I try to leave, he blocks my exit. He apologizes in vain and then demands that I admit my guilt. Nearly a dozen years of that, ten years of my children seeing it; I had to leave. 

I’ll stay single for the next year or longer. I want time to grow, but I refuse to give up the idea that a patient and kind love will someday find me. Though I worry when it does. When I move on, he’ll have to face the truth that he does not own me, that I am no longer under his control, no longer his slave. He’ll get angry, lose his grip. Someone’s blood will be spilled. 

What is better? To go back and die a little each day? Allow my children to witness the emotional abuse and think that love is really like that? No, I won’t let that happen. 

As a child, I was a slave to a pedophile. As a teenager, I was a slave to shame. When I became a young adult; sin, lust, and my desire to have a family is what drove me forward. Now I crave freedom. I refuse to justify my own bondage. 

I admit I fear him. But if I am to die…I’ll die a free woman. 

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