This is the second in a series of four short pieces submitted by a guest blogger. This writer was interested in sharing some of the many ways friends and family helped her leave an abusive relationship.
“You have a choice, you may not feel like you do right now, but you have a choice.”
Those were the words spoken to me by my best friend when I was in the thick of my abusive relationship. At the time she said them, I couldn’t fully take them in because it didn’t feel like I had any choices, but they played an important part in many of my decisions around the long process of ending my abusive relationship. They helped bolster me when I decided not to let my (ex, by then)-girlfriend move in with me, and they resonated with me more and more as I managed to eke out more and more space to get out of the relationship.
My friend may have felt like those words didn’t matter much, because at the time she said them, I probably seemed to dismiss them. Not only did I appear *not* to be acting on them, but I flat out said they weren’t true. Inside me though, those words were deeply meaningful and so deeply important, especially as I had grown increasingly disconnected from friends, family and other folks in my life and was not hearing many messages about my relationship other than what my abusive ex was saying to me. Those words helped me know that even though my ex told me that I would have to leave town if we ever broke up, I could in fact (if I wanted to, if I could manage to) choose to stay. They helped me know that I could still make decisions. And it helped that my friend kept reaching out to me, kept holding on to me as much as she could even after I seemed to ignore her words.