I have vague memories of being abused when I was about 6/7 years old. i was not only molested, but raped. it was by a man who is close to my family, but i can't make out his face, since my memories are all at night, and his face is in shadow. this makes me avoid certain men in my family because i suspect them of raping me repeatedly. the memories resurfaced a yr and a half ago... but even before then, i suspected it had happened. certain things about me point to being abused in childhood, even though my parents were very overprotective of me. but they can't watch me 24/7. when i was 10 i was injured in school, and it caused full body chronic pain, which i still suffer from. my therapist thinks that the REAL cause of my physical pain was the abuse. it was my bodies way of protecting me, and stopping the abuse from happening. my first serious bf was in my second yr old high school. i was 15 and i dated him for over a year. he abused me mentally, physically, and sexually. though he never raped me, he assaulted me in other ways. i started starving myself and self-injured more then ever (i started harming myself when i was 10, but at 15/16 i had HUGE red scars all over my body). i ended up in a psych ward for over a month because of it. on top of that, my bipolar-ness was starting to display its symptoms. he broke up with me while i was in the hospital because he "couldn't handle me anymore" fast forward to when i was 18/19... i broke up with another man who i had been dating. he had proposed to me, and i accepted, but i was 17 when he asked me to marry him. and i think i said yes to as a way to escape my situation. he was in love with me, but i was not in love with him. and so i broke it off. my moods became explosive when i was around 19. i became manic and started sleeping around. i didn't care who it was, i just wanted to numb myself, and i did it with sex. i was so dissociated from my mind and body, that most of the men i slept with are a blur in my memory. i was raped a few times during this period as well. i met and dated a girl for a while, and she introduced me to the man who would become my "Master". at first, as with all abusive relationships, things were great. the brainwashing started slowly... i was separated from my family and friends, and he became my life. i was his "slave", and he convinced me that my only talent in life was my ability to give sexual pleasure to others. it took a few months of breaking me down, but he would force me to sleep with other men while he watched, and i had to enjoy it (or rather, show that i was enjoying it, because otherwise i would get into trouble). he then forced me to prostitute myself. i later found out that another woman he had "enslaved" became a porn star because of the damage he did to her (i verified the story, it's true), and he wanted me to follow in her footsteps. i made every excuse i could to avoid selling myself, but his rage forced me to give in... i would tell the agency i had joined that i was sick, that i was in pain, that i couldn't work late into the night. the agency got angry with me too for avoiding "work". i burned out quickly, having become enraged with men, and sickened at myself and the world. i quit and took a break. but my "Master" demanded i start making money again. so i joined a different, higher paying, agency. i was making 200$/hr, and i spent every penny as fast as i could. i considered it blood money. the worst was when my body betrayed me and my body reacted to the sex i was being paid for and actually enjoyed it. i started starving myself again. my figure had filled out in the years i was with my ex-fiance, but now i was losing weight again. this enraged my "Master". he liked me full-figured and raged at the fact i was becoming smaller. i planned on killing myself to escape my sociopathic "Master". i had the whole thing planned when a voice told me to wait, wait, and leave him. i left him a couple months later. i met my next abuser when he hired me to take pictures with him as a model. he never hit me, but he became verbally abusive. i have him excuses, like the fact he too was abused as a child. i'm not sure i loved him, but i was obsessed with him, and our relationship was very intense. i think he liked thinking he had "saved" an escort from burning in hell by loving her, and he would use my past against me. he took over my email, phone, and chat... one night, he strangled me, and i died. i just didn't stay dead. my body seized, my face went slack, and my tongue lolled out of my mouth while I heard celestial music and went towards a white light. i felt god's unconditional love surround me, and s/he told me it was not my time yet. i wanted to stay in the light and warmth and love of god, but i knew god was right. i woke up and the celestial music faded. i found my bf curled up against the wall, and i was the one who comforted him, instead of him apologizing and comforting me. he told me he thought i was dead (he was a med student, so he would know), and was about to leave me there when i woke up. i was too scared to leave, and went back to him. dying changed my life, and i started to work on myself, in therapy and on my own, to become stronger so i could leave. a few months later, i did. i told him i was burned out, and could not be with him anymore. i'm 23 years old, and out of those years, 15 of them were spent being abused.
I've been DV-free for about 6 months now, and in that time, I have completely changed my life.
Dying changed me. Before my ex strangled me, I had been trying my hardest to die early. I've overdosed 7x and been in the psych ward almost a dozen times. I had cut myself for over 10 years, and would try just about anything to destroy myself; I had such deep loathing towards myself.
All that stopped with my near death experience.
That was rock bottom for me, and I could either die or be killed, or I could change.
I decided to change.
I started talking to myself positively. I made the conscious decision NOT to think negatively, and to talk to myself, about myself, only in positive tones.
It took a long time for it to stick, but it worked.
I started taking an interest in my appearance. I figured if I looked good I would feel good. So I would force myself to look at my reflection and tell myself that I am a strong, beautiful, and capable woman who can do anything she puts her mind to.
I replaced self-harm with self-care. I discovered a passion for skincare. I think because I spent so many years destroying my skin with razorblades, I now babied my skin, and when I would stress out and want to do something harmful, I instead would give myself a facial, or rub moisterizer on my skin, or give myself a pedicure.
I cut contact with negative people. Which means I have few friends, but the ones I have are more precious to me because I know they are supportive of me, and my new lifestyle.
I stopped starving myself, and let myself truly enjoy food for the first time in my life.
With all the positive self talk, and making myself literally walk with my head held high with a sway in my step, I started believing what I was saying to myself.
I actually started liking myself, and now I can say I love myself.
I did this while still in an abusive relationship. Once I was strong enough mentally, I left him.
I got used to changing my number, passwords, email, msn, my fb i.d. ... everything to keep myself safe and sane. very few people have my number now, and any number I don't recognize I record and track.
I rediscovered my passions: I started writing my story with the aim of it being published as a memoir. I rediscovered my love of caring for people, and decided to return to school come fall.
Dying made me realize just how precious life is. I was not able to truly live until then.
It gave me hope, if God can love me through all the horrible things I was made to do, and through all the suffering I caused myself as a result of the abuse, then I can love myself too.
Contribution Post By: Calliope Summers