You never believe that it will happen to you. In retrospect, he had issues written all over him, but at the time he was something different from what I usually dated, and that excited me.
The relationship was a series of terrible firsts. I will not go into all of the violent incidents, but it was the first time in my life I had my breath taken away from a punch to the stomach, it was the first time I ever had a loaded gun pulled on me, it was the first time I was choked until I was nearly unconscious, and the first time I received stitches (a result from a blow to my head which resulted in a permanent scar in my right brow). He began isolating me from my friends and family. In retrospect, I believe I stayed because I believed in his ability to be a better person. I wanted to help him out of his darkness, but instead he was pulling me into it.
Along with physical abuse came economic abuse. He basically refused to work. So the bills ended up falling on me. Being someone who believes in integrity and paying what I owe, I worked my ass off to keep us afloat. I took a job selling cars because the opportunity to make money was much better than other options available to me at the time. My entire income went to housing, groceries, and activities that he approved of. All of my money was spent staying afloat, and I didn’t have excess to put away for my escape. He also began stealing money from me.
Financial abuse doesn’t look the same for everyone, but in my case, I was so in debt and financially overextended that I didn’t have the resources needed to escape him.
I was able to leave thanks to my family who did not give up on me and helped me when I needed them most despite being estranged from them for months leading up to my escape. Once I got to my parent’s house I changed all of my contact information.