Friends and Family Make the Difference (Part III)

This is the last in a series of three short pieces submitted by a survivor of domestic violence. She volunteered to write these for farout.org as a way to share some of the ways that friends and family members supported her (sometimes without even realizing it) in ending her relationship with an abusive ex-girlfriend. 

“Please never let me get back together with her again.” 

Those were the words I texted my best friend after telling her that my ex had punched me in the face, after I had gotten my ex out of my house, and right before crashing into a deep sleep. I sent the text before I had time to think about sending it. I knew if I even waited until the next morning, I wouldn’t be able to send the message. I needed my best friend’s support and (even more) I needed to say those words out loud so I could start making some of my private experiences more public. Choosing not to shine a light on what was happening in my relationship wasn’t helping me and wasn’t helping my abusive ex, who I deeply cared about. My best friend was leaving for a month-long trip and I knew she wouldn’t be able to actually support me while she was away, but knowing that she knew counted for me. Saying those words out loud, even though I would continue to sleep with my ex, hang out with my ex, and be yelled at by my ex, helped me continue to slowly but surely build on my plan to truly end things. Saying them gave me a feeling of wanting to be accountable to those words, even though from the outside it looked like no changes had happened in how I was acting towards my (now)ex.

When my friend got back from her trip, she listened to everything that happened, continued to help me explore options and stayed in my life, even though I was choosing to sleep with my ex, hang out with my ex, and be yelled at by my ex. I started to be able to share more about what my relationship with her looked like, the things I liked about it and her, and the things I didn’t like or that scared me about it and her. Sharing more with my best friend meant I was able to reflect on more parts of the relationship with my abusive ex to actually consider more of the options that were available to me.

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