#WhyIStayed

Several months ago I wrote, “Stopping the Violence,” a blog post about a verbally abusive relationship I was in. He and I were together for nine months—longer, if you count the times we got back together. While nine months might not sound like a long period, the emotional injuries I sustained from those months with him were significant. It took me years to recover.

Yes, I stayed. Even after he punched a wooden fence one night in a jealous fit because I’d said hello to an ex-boyfriend. Yes, I stayed. Even after he swung his fist at me, stopping just before making contact with my face.

I definitely have had my issues, some of which I was working out with him. For a long time, I used to think that it was all my fault. If only I had been stronger or tougher, or perhaps less broken. Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten involved with him at all.

Then again, some of the strongest and smartest women I know have been in relationships where domestic violence was involved. These are women that if you looked at them you’d think twice before messing with them. These are women that on the outside appear nothing like what you would expect a victim of domestic violence to look.

And like me, it took them a while to realize what was going on. Most of these women didn’t leave right away. One of them is in her abusive relationship still.

At first, I stayed because I didn’t realize that his behavior was abusive. I mistook his jealousy and temper for passion. At that time in my life, nearly twenty years ago, I was numb and out of touch with emotions. The yelling, the torrid makeup sessions would get my adrenaline rushing. The highs and lows created by our dynamic together allowed me to really feel.

I also was under the false impression, thanks to the patriarchal and misogynistic society that I grew up in, that “real” men should want to dominate their woman, “wear the pants.” I found that behavior sexy back then, not offensive and harmful like I do now.  Not to mention that the stereotype disparages and is harmful to men.

When the angry outbursts turned into verbal fists and put-downs, I stayed because by then I was emotionally invested in the relationship. I loved him. And it’s not like I sometimes didn’t give as good as I got.

Maybe he was right. Maybe I really was too sensitive. Maybe I needed to toughen up or get a better sense of humor. And like he said, did I really need to talk to my guy friends anymore now that I had him?

Looking back, I realize that, all my rationalizations, this was the abuse talking through me. Blame the victim until she starts to blame herself.

But I was so deeply involved with him, I couldn’t think or see clearly. I no longer had a handle on the relationship. The abuse was handling me.

In her book The Verbally Abusive Relationship, author Patricia Evans lists the numerous effects of verbal abuse on women, including:

  • A distrust of her spontaneity
  • A growing self-doubt
  • An anxiety or fear of being crazy
  • A desire not to be the way she is, “too sensitive,” etc.
  • A reluctance to come to conclusions
  • A hesitancy to accept her perception
  • A concern that something is wrong with her

I hadn’t understood how abusive his behavior was until I read her book. She described our dynamic, and all my feelings, perfectly.

If I can just make him understand what he is doing, he will want to stop, I thought. But all attempts to explain ended in fights.

I started thinking up reasons I could give him for why we needed to break up. “I want out because you’re abusing me” didn’t feel like it was going to cut it.

I worried about hurting his feelings or making him mad. I felt obligated to give him a reason he would find acceptable. I tried to get him to break up with me instead.

During one of our horrible fights, I gave him an ultimatum that I knew he wouldn’t agree to. I wanted him to think that ending us was his doing.

You’d think I would have been relieved to be done with him. But when he reached out a few months after our break up, I decided to try again. And again. Maybe we just needed time off from one another. Maybe this time will be different. It never was.

After him, I became wary about men who liked to fight. I became wary of most men, really.

Years later, I dated a man who appeared to hate conflict. He would shut down at the hint of an argument. He would spoil me, taking me on trips abroad and showering me with expensive presents.

But over time he’d start to tell these jokes. There was the one about how I needed stop wearing my red high heels because they made me look like a slut. Just kidding, sweetie! Or how when people saw us together they looked at me and immediately thought “mail order bride.” It’s just a joke, honey!

Sometimes, he would imitate me when I smiled. Only, he would scrunch up his eyes and twist his mouth sideways into these grotesque expressions. This is what you look like, sweetie! Then he would lean over and kiss me.

His remarks, cushioned in teasing, affectionate tones would catch me off guard. The “jokes” would usually happen at the most unexpected moments—a romantic dinner at an expensive restaurant, while laughing with friends at a wedding. I’d be feeling happy and relaxed or confident and that was when he’d strike.

Until this man, I had no idea that domestic violence can happen even when there is no yelling or fighting involved. I had no idea that it could be doled out so tenderly or take place in such public, even fancy, settings.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says that approximately 42.4 million women in the U.S. have experienced intimate partner violence. Domestic violence impacts individuals of all ages and from every level of education, economic background, gender, race, and nationality. Often, intimate partner violence happens behind closed doors.

I doubt that NFL player Ray Rice ever thought that anyone would be watching him punch out Janay, his then-fiancé, inside an elevator. She later married him.

Many women are too ashamed or terrified to admit to anyone, including themselves, that their boyfriend/fiancé/husband/wife/the father of their children is abusive. It is not uncommon for a victim of domestic violence to refuse to press charges against her partner.

When a woman is deep in an abusive relationship—which is often when the violence starts—the abuse happens enough times that her tolerance level goes up. Someone going into a rage in the middle of the night for the smallest reason starts to feel like normal, instead of unacceptable, behavior. Leaving him, which would seem like the obvious, logical choice, gradually turns into the last resort.

Maybe a woman has come to depend on her partner financially. Or maybe he is the father of her children. Maybe she is afraid he’ll kill her if she tries to leave. Or maybe she can’t imagine living without him.

I am in no means advocating for anyone to stay in an abusive relationship. Leave immediately, if you can, is my advice. But I do want to honor the many reasons why women stay with their abusers, as evidenced by everyone who tweeted their own reasons under #WhyIStayed.

Their reasons may not make sense to anyone else. Some of their reasons may not even make sense to these women. Then again, nothing about domestic violence makes sense.

Domestic Violence Ribbon

Domestic Violence Ribbon

 


181 Comments on “#WhyIStayed”

  1. livelytwist says:

    I think that you were brave to find your feet and leave those abusive relationships. I also think that sharing this will let someone know that they are not alone.

  2. katherinejlegry says:

    You are always such a brave voice. Thanks for approaching such a difficult subject. I agree we need to understand as much as possible even when we admit there are some things we may never understand… and these voices matter. Shaming the victims of abuse for staying can be brutal and confusing too, no matter who is trying to help. You are a gentle and powerful writer, which helps the dialogue. Peace to you.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thank you, Katherine! It is such a complex issue – yes there are reasons someone can get drawn into and stay in this type of dynamic but so important not to cast shame or blame. I feel like there is so much that can and should be said about domestic violence. Btw- I see that you do have a blog now so I am going to have to come and check out your work.

      • katherinejlegry says:

        Thank you for coming by my blog Diahann and taking the time to comment. But thank you more for helping me find my own voice again. It really was your writing that helped me seek out what I needed to grow in my own life at the time when I encountered your blog posts. 🙂

        • diahannreyes says:

          I’m so happy to hear I was of help, Katherine. I feel like it’s so important for us women to support each other in remembering our own power. It sounds like you’ve made some big changes in the past year, so bravo to you!

  3. mihrank says:

    you have such powerful article with important message. Thank you for sharing it.

    Kindly support me on Facebook Fanpage. Appreciate if you could please ‘like’ my page :

    https://www.facebook.com/MihranKalaydjianPianoMelodies

  4. drshapero says:

    Certainly a growing problem in our society. As I see my kids grow up I have realized that often we let things go because at the time it seemed not such a big deal. Now I find that abusive communication is reflective of the individual inside. Unless it is addressed and both can be mature about it and correct it early it can grow like a weed. Also, unfortunately so many bring their problems from relationship to relationship without looking inside to find out what they did to contribute to the problem. This is true for both sides of the equation. I do agree the problem runs to deep in our society and undermines the very moral fabric we claim.

    • diahannreyes says:

      HI Dr. Shapero, the problem is definitely epidemic. And I agree, as much as it is important not to blame or shame the victim, there are definitely personal dynamics that can be at play on both ends–especially if the patterns keep repeating–that can and should be looked at to break the cycle. I definitely feel like there is need for both to be addressed in the broader dialogue about domestic violence. And I’m with you, teaching people, especially young folk, how to communicate from a place of mutuality rather than power over is a great way to change not just the conversation but also to keep those weeds that you describe from growing.

      • habasar says:

        Yes, Diahann, violence against women is an epidemic, as is child abuse either violent or sexual. I am training myself to make sure I say “a man raped the women” over the words, “the women was rape”. We need to be very direct against abusers. My wife and I support all abused women and children 100%. If the opportunity arises we will help in anyway we can.

        Daniel

        • diahannreyes says:

          Daniel, I think the specificity of how you name the incident rape is so important- the verbal shift may sound simple but really changes and names what happens. It sounds like you and your wife have experience in helping people who have been abused. It is inspiring to know that there are people serving as safe havens out there for others.

  5. BroadBlogs says:

    This is so important to help others see the situation they are, or might be, in. I’ll plan to reblog, but since I recently posted a related article, I’ll likely wait a few weeks (try to “blog broadly”)

    • diahannreyes says:

      Sounds great, Georgia. Thank you for sharing w/ your audience. I feel like this conversation has to keep going until the violence can be stopped. Right now, there is no such thing about saying too much about domestic violence and its many faces.

  6. Miranda Stone says:

    Once again, Diahann, you’ve brought attention to a subject our society desperately needs to discuss and address more openly. I have never been in a physically abusive relationship, but the emotional abuse I experienced during a relationship in my early 20’s was enough to make me eschew the idea of a romantic partner for a long time. I was raised to be independent and to think for myself. I didn’t hesitate to speak up for what I thought was right. So my friends and family were shocked at what I tolerated from a man with whom I was romantically involved. When I was at a perfectly healthy weight, he told me I needed to lose 20 pounds. I said, “That would actually be unhealthy, as I’d be quite underweight.” He said, “Not to me, you wouldn’t.” He knew I was sensitive about my weight, and he preyed on that. He criticized my clothes, the way I talked, etc. It seemed that the more I tried to build this man up and make him feel good about himself, the more he wanted to tear me down. I was ashamed of myself for staying with him, but I kept reminding myself of the times when he could be caring and sweet and funny. The fact is, men who manipulate and abuse women in this way feel horrible about themselves. (And vice versa. Plenty of men are emotionally–and physically–abused by women.) Instead of examining their own poor self-esteem and even self-hatred, they project all of that out onto their partners. And until these men and women get help for their own issues, they’ll never treat others properly. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story here, Diahann.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thank you for bravely sharing your story, too, Miranda.

      The behavior of the man you describe- I can only imagine that it was disorienting and confusing and might make you doubt your perceptions. It amazes me how if you call someone out on this type of behavior they are literally clueless that what they are doing is damaging, which means it is unlikely to stop. I feel like so much of this is due to the patriarchal, misogynistic values that continue to dominate in our society- even when it’s a woman abusing a man- it’s that power over, not seeing the other as an equal human being.

  7. When I read what you described about the man who supposedly disliked conflict, it gave me shudders down my spine. The insidious “tender” way you described it made me ill because I immediately see just how crazy-making that behavior would be, and actually quite evil in that it seems extremely premeditated with intent to destroy someone’s psyche, versus someone who has low impulsive control and rage problems. Not that I make excuses for the latter, believe me. But It’s the dichotomy of saying one thing that’s vile, while physically doing another thing that’s supposedly “sweet” that would do a number on anyone’s mental stability and struck me as a truly disgusting thing to have to endure. I commend you for writing something with intense impact that will have women employing what I like to call “the 3 R’s”. Reading, Recognizing and Reacting to your powerful words in ways that can be life-changing for them. You’ve provided a great service with this post.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thank you, Stephanie. It definitely would be wonderful if this post helped someone name their similar, confusing situation.

      It’s strange because in that second relationship, I was more able to articulate to this person that his words were abusive once I realized what was going on- until the very end he didn’t get it at all. Could/would not see what I was pointing out.

  8. An abusive relation has no limit…so one has to accept that she is in one first, instead of denial and then take steps accordingly….As it is mutual respect lost, the relationship looses its significance come what.

  9. It’s interesting how the pattern will repeat itself in different forms, such as your example showed in the man who was “only joking”. Your post honors this difficult process of leaving an abusive relationship. After all, it is not always abusive. As a supervisor for students doing field work in corrections, I at times went to visit shelters for women who were victims of domestic violence. I remember one woman telling me that she stayed in such a relationship because it was better than being alone. To me, it was a sad reason and of course, there is always that thin string of hope that he will change that women hang unto.
    Diahann, this was a courageous post.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thank you, Carol. Yes- I definitely thought, “oh no, not this again!” the second time around. Clearly I had to look at “my stuff” since there seemed to be a pattern going on. It was literally becoming a matter of life and death even though no physicality was involved. I can understand why the woman you wrote about might feel that way- I think there is definitely something about domestic violence where a woman begins to feel uber dependent on her abuser- it’s part of the effects of the violence. The analogy that comes to mind is that dog with the electric fence- after awhile even though the fence isn’t there you don’t want to cross that invisible line to freedom.

  10. It’s amazing—no frightening—the conditioning so many trained in, both sexes having accepting the role of abused /abuser as the norm, overwhelmingly so it would seem. It is just as you replied earlier, “You can’t stop violence against women or men and then keep perpetuating violence against animals.” It will never work. To end violence, is to end it against every creature.

    Instructed we are from early childhood in violence, from the food on our plate to the divide and conquer training instilled in youth. And of course, that spreads to all life’s aspects. It begins innocently so, in youth sports, an indoctrination into dominance and control, victory the only aim. While masked in sportsmanship, its goal is none other than to defeat the opponent and prove superiority.

    I’m glad you made it out of your abusive relationship, but look at the silver lining, the woman you became; partially I imagine, because of the abuse—though I don’t recommend that path. How you now share your experiences so eloquently for other women to hold as a model, giving them strength. You have taken vile and turned it to gold.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thank you, Peter. I definitely think that patriarchy and misogyny play a big part in perpetuating violence against men/women and animals. That power over, not seeing the other as a equal and living but rather than an object- it makes abuse easy because people don’t think of it as wrong. I was at a bookstore once where I saw this book The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J. Adams- when she described the objectification of women and how similar its as to the way animals are treated- that’s when the parallel with animals really hit home for me. I think that your point about how youth sports promotes dominance and control is an important one and one that hasn’t been fully fleshed out in the media- perhaps because the sponsors, the leagues are loath to acknowledge?

  11. vnp1210 says:

    Very brave telling of your experience. Thanks for sharing and not shaming.

  12. I appreciate how you share your dawning on the profile(s) of abusers as well as leave us with the questions we have yet to answer. Thanks so very much for the (endearing) honesty. And that second guy you describe had some MAjOR issues.

    Love,
    Diana

  13. brookewarner says:

    Diahann, thanks for writing this post. I think it’s actually evidence of who strong you are that you only stayed for 9 months and that you were able to get out. I know so many women who suffer for years, for a lifetime, under these kinds of relationships. Thanks for this helpful insight. I hope it finds its way to women who need to hear it.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thank you, Brooke. And for reflecting back that even though nine months felt like a lifetime that I did get out sooner rather than later. I hope too that it finds its way to people that need to name their experiences–that second one, especially, can be hard to identify at first- kind of like getting hit by a pillow that hurts except you don’t realize until later that it’s stuffed with pebbles instead of down.

  14. Ralph says:

    That must have taken a lot of courage to write and tell us of your personal experience Diahann. Thank you. ❤

  15. Elizabeth says:

    A brave, timely piece as always, Diahann. Just wanted to add that the perspective that domestic violence *does* make sense. It doesn’t always feel that way to the survivor, I know. But when we look at DV through the lens of deliberate, planned, purposeful actions taken by an abuser who is well aware of what he is doing, DV actually does make sense. Even just looking at the examples you offered (your former partner coming out with cruel “jokes” when you’re not expecting it or when things seem to be going well), DV makes sense. The abuser tries to keep his victim confused, scared and isolated because she is easier to control that way. It’s hard to “get” to the point that DV does make sense for many reasons not least of which is having to deal with someone else’s (or society’s) unspeakable cruelty toward someone else, for no good reason. And that’s so shitty. o glad you’re away from this abuse and okay. Thank you for writing this piece that speaks to the experiences of so many of us. XO

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thanks for adding that very important point, Elizabeth-that to many abusers there is a systematic logic to their actions – and even, I would think, if they are not conscious that is what they are doing. (Like with any unconscious patterns– there is a logic to the patterns, that’s part of why the make a pattern).

      With the second relationship, I would actually call him out once I figured out what was going on- and until the end he was unwilling to see that his behavior was wrong or abusive… I think that would mean shattering the idea of who he saw himself as- fun loving, easy going, warm.

  16. Jenn Berney says:

    Diahann, this is so powerful, especially the examples from the later boyfriend who “didn’t like conflict.” I could picture that dynamic so perfectly…I think it resonates from a relationship I had in my early twenties. Also: “I mistook his jealousy and temper for passion.” This is so true for me as well, in terms of explaining why I stayed. I feel like the models I had seen in the movies etc. representing what it meant to be “in love” actually represented abusive situations.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thank you, Jenn, and also for sharing your experience.

      Such a great and important point – we are trained to see romance in what in reality can be abusive situations. (To cite another example-not necessarily abuse-but the idea of being rescued by some prince you hardly know, per the fairytales- in reality, marry someone you’ve known for just a hot minute expecting that happily ever after is often a recipe for disaster.) So glad that both of us are out and now in happier, healthier relationships.

  17. Diahann,
    Thank you as always for sharing your story.
    You are not alone.

    Thank you for being brave,
    Kelly

  18. George Mathews says:

    Thanks so much for the post.
    I am a youth pastor and come across hundreds of youth to whom I pass on hope through Jesus Christ.
    Could you write a post about how to detect early signs of an abusive relationship? Most youth keep it under the wraps. They emerge scarred and mangled…

  19. Tony Single says:

    You made it! Not many can say that.

    I’ve been in many abusive relationships over the years, and I’m not talking romantic ones. Even friends can scar you in ways that you don’t realise until years later. I’ve come out of such friendships with a lot of emotional baggage that has transferred to my marriage.

    It gets all complicated and distinctly unhealthy. Sometimes the act of being human can lead us into being the worst kinds of monsters. It’s up to us to try and not be that to others, to be human in a way that won’t cause damage. It’s a responsibility that I’ve failed to live up to in the past, and one that many of us fail to.

    This, of course, is not to make light of domestic abuse. If you’re being abused in any way, shape or form, GET OUT if you can. Absolutely do that. You are worth it, even when no one else understands what you’re going through.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thank you, Tony. Such a good point that a relationship doesn’t have to be romantic for there to be abuse. I think that learning to communicate with mutuality is something that we as a society are just learning to name. A lot about verbal abuse, for instance, I would think was considered just communicating for years – until people began to identify what it really is and the effects. I agree, it’s up to us to learn new ways of communicating outside of these old “power over” paradigms, to not pass it down or around, so to speak, to learn differently. For so many people this is learned behavior- inherited, even- but with awareness, cycles can be broken.

  20. ninoalmendra says:

    I had a discussion few weeks ago with one of my oldest friend due to his wrong doing. We both grew up around the cockpit arena. It was my bread and butter while I was still in school.
    Like the other “Sabongero” I thought that the Pinoy Macho attitude was right, that the inequality on man to woman was just normal. I’m glad to learn alot from you thoughts.
    I wish more Pinoy would discover your blog for the benefit of they’re Pinay partners who also think that what their husband/partner is doing are just fine or normal.
    I find it hard to explain to friend that what he is doing is not fair and normal in a relationship.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Hi Nino! Hopefully your words penetrated even if your friend isn’t aware of it. He is lucky to have someone like you who cares enough to point out what he is doing.

      I think that it’s hard to see ourselves clearly sometimes especially if we might not like what we have to acknowledge. I wonder how much of the Pinoy Macho attitude comes from our colonization period?

  21. Denise [But First, Live!] says:

    Thank u for sharing this post!
    And very admirable of you to have walked away from something many women do not.
    I hope more women in similar situations are inspired and realize that love doesn’t hurt – emotionally or physically ❤

  22. Marije Bijlsma says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I myself was in an abusive relationship for 5 years long, he abused me mentally as well as physically. I didn´t leave because he made me believe that I had nowhere to go and I was lucky to have him. In the end, I did leave, best decision of my life. But still dealing with the nightmares, lack of confidence etc.
    I am happy you share your story to help others, I still can´t.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thank you, Marije. Good for you for having the courage to walk away. It really is amazing how much time it takes to heal the bruises, both seen and unseen. I can definitely relate to the reverberations you named. I’m happy to know that you are rebuilding!

  23. June says:

    How brave and strong of you to share your story. It made me curious to read the book you referred to. Wish you all the best 🙂

  24. Lisette Defoe says:

    So sorry you had to live with this! But gave insight into what goes on in women’s mind when suffering as a victim. I always have said “the man to hit me has not been born yet”. Or “its the last thing he’d do”. Thank you for explaining. Thank God you found help and eyes were opened.

  25. 3mississippi says:

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  26. Thank you for voicing what all women, and men, need to hear about abusive relationships. I know that I couldn’t put it in such an elegant box tied with a pretty purple ribbon. It also helps shed light onto what is happening to your friends and/or family that you are trying to help support after they come away from a situation like that. So I say again, thank you

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thank you, Misha! If naming my experience can help put words to someone else’s, then writing the post will have been worth it. Thank you also for reblogging and sharing with your community.

  27. lissiejean says:

    My father was emotionally and verbally abusive to my mother for as long as I can remember. She didn’t leave until I was in college, and often says how much she regrets it. Everything you’ve said sounds so familiar. I was so determined never to get into a relationship like that, I ended up marrying an emotionally withdrawn man who hated conflict. I hated conflict too, so we never fought. Ever. As you can imagine, our marriage was full of repressed anger and resentment, and finally ended in him walking very quietly out the door. I wasn’t in an abusive relationship, but growing up in the shadow of one still did its damage.

    • habasar says:

      Yes, Lissie, hating conflict is no solution against abuse or the shadow of abuse.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Hi Lissie, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and also pointing out that even if the violence doesn’t get repeated it can have other destructive effects– something that doesn’t get talked about much at all. This is another reason why the violence has to stop.

  28. Reblogged this on Dancingmom2013's Blog and commented:
    A very well put piece about domestic violence from the victim’s point of view. Worth the read.

  29. abeerhafiz says:

    it must have been difficult for you going through all this but the person in it can better know why would she stay in abusive relationship…Love is something that makes out of you even what you don’t know about yourself!
    This is set that never tolerate anything which ruins self respect of a person.It just makes the abuser more aggressive…

  30. eezna says:

    Thanks for sharing your story…I can totally relate to what you’ve written. After my share of mental and physical bullies I am finally at peace with myself. I may forgive but I have the memories to live with, never to be forgotten.

  31. I was in a verbally abusive relationship when I was in my
    twenties. This guy also drank and smoked pot, which wasn’t
    good on top of his verbal abuse. He never touched me, but he
    made me feel at times that I was nothing, and made me very
    self-conscious of myself and lost some of my self-esteem.
    I think if I would have stayed it might have ended in him hitting,
    but I never let it get that far. I can’t tell you how many times we
    broke up, and like you mentioned, it never changes. I am much more
    stronger now and more confident. I hope you words touches someone
    who may need to hear this, and it helps them gt out of any type of
    abusive relationship.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thank you. I’m really glad you were able to leave and are even stronger than before and have regained your esteem. That entire process can be hard and complicated – kudos to you for surviving and now thriving.

  32. nfadera says:

    Worth reblogging. My heart bleeds. Keep Inspiring!

  33. vnp1210 says:

    Congratulations on the FP!!!

  34. habasar says:

    The abuser is often a sociopath, if not a psychopath. He has no empathy and is self-absorbed. Once the physical abuse has started he is a criminal and will do anything and say anything to stay out of jail. Do not forget this.

    • diahannreyes says:

      It’s interesting that you say that. I’ve often thought how someone committing violence in a domestic situation, especially emotional/verbal, can get away with such violations when really they damage can be worse than what can be inflicted in a lot of crimes. Thanks for your insights.

  35. That is a great brave post .. I am really touched. I think it will help a lot of people to know your story and take courage to look ahead.

  36. SirenaTales says:

    Dear Diahann, YOU ROCK! What a courageous, compassionate, honest and articulate piece this is, my friend. I am so happy that you have come through the other side of this nightmare, as challenging and arduous as that may have been. Thank you for providing deep insight on this disturbing and too often hushed up topic (including the less familiar profile of the second abuser you describe) and for offering solace and inspiration to so many others who need support. Peace and love to you, Diahann…..

    • diahannreyes says:

      Thank you, Sirena!! I feel like not only do you get me, but you do so in the best light possible- and then allow me to see through your way gaze. Grateful for you.

      I read a recent review of a new memoir where the author talks about how he used to wonder who he would be without the ordeal that happened to him. He realized he would never know, but what he did know was that he wouldn’t be who he is now without it having happened.

      If anyone does find answers or support through this post or anything else written about the subject, that would be wonderful.

  37. Thanks for your post. Even in a so-called “enlightened” age, there is still so much misinformation and ignorance about domestic violence. Articles like yours help to educate others. No matter what, keep doing what you’re doing, because you’re doing the world a service.

  38. Melanie L. says:

    Spot on!! I love this piece.

  39. illustrious says:

    It was so brave of you to share this, I’m glad you were able to get out.

  40. Sheela Goh says:

    Between the ages of 18 to 22, I was in a verbally abusive relationship with someone I’d fully intended to marry. I couldn’t walk away because I was afraid I couldn’t find a new person, or a better person for that matter. The verbal abuse had completely shredded all my confidence. Then I became pregnant with his child 4 times and each time, I would have an abortion because I didn’t know what else to do. When I was recovering from that, he’d be out drinking. When I was writhing in pain, he was out cheating on me. Even then, I stayed. It was only when I found someone new that I left. And walked right into another verbally abusive relationship until I was 27 but this time, I married him. I took it, I accepted that it was his right to belittle me, I was the woman. I swallowed every insult and disparaging comment until the day he punched my shoulder and shoved me to the wall while I was carrying our then 18 month old child. The next day, I had all his things packed and brought to his parents’ house while he was at work and got a restraining order. Yes, there was a pattern and yes, I know some will judge my actions and decisions but it is what it is. I am so very blessed to have found the courage to leave. I do not condone abuse in any form but I do understand when those who are abused, stay. I love that this post highlights the issue and offers a channel for whomever needs it, to talk. But most of all, what you’ve written allows those like me to feel no shame in leaving, and to encourage those who are prone to, to not be too quick to judge our actions/decisions. We will never understand the reasons why we/they stay but you wouldn’t know how you would behave if you were in such a situation, would you? Thank you for this.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Sheela, thank you so much for bravely and generously sharing the different steps of your journey. I’m glad to hear that you found the courage to leave. Hopefully someone that needs the medicine offered by your sharing finds this here.

      I am glad to hear that you are shedding your shame around leaving. I feel like the world we live in has a tendency to shame women especially still for when we empower ourselves. I remain hopeful that one day women claiming their power and empowering themselves in their lives will be openly celebrated instead.

  41. David Snape says:

    That is an emotional piece with a lot coming from the heart. I respect you massively.

  42. derick17 says:

    I admire your strength and courage to admit and save yourself and your passion to save others. God bless you

  43. susipet says:

    What a powerful blog. I have never been in your position but I can only imagine how hard it is for women to get themselves out of abusive relationships – it’s horrific what can happen. Good for you on finding a way out.

  44. rosej03 says:

    I am so proud of the courage you had to leave the abusive relationship and thank you for sharing because it’s a lesson to learn ,,, that every woman should consider and learn from it. I’m touched by your story wish you luck in your life

  45. syinly says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I really appreciate you listing the affects of verbal abuse. I experience that before any intimate partner violence. Verbal abuse has really affected my behavior.

  46. Hi my name is Karen Miles I believe if more people like you and me and thousands of others spoke out and knowledge that no one has the right to treat you with nothing but respect. This is a great way to get it out there. Thanks to technology. We can change and help one person at a time.

    • diahannreyes says:

      Hi Karen. I love your blog’s name btw. I so agree- technology makes it so much easier for us to get our voices out there and help each other- make us realize that we aren’t alone and in this together. There are so many overt and overt ways to treating someone with disrespect- for eons no one named such behaviors, which allowed them to fly under the radar. Hopefully, no more.

  47. agilachrofta says:

    powerful article with important message. you’re smart diahannreyes!


Leave a Reply to Jueseppi B. Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s