Joahnnalee's Story: Breaking The Chain of Abuse

TW: Conversations of verbal and emotional abuse, suicide.


I yelled with fear as he was speeding up while he screamed frantically. We were in Oregon when both our phones had died and found ourselves lost in the middle of nowhere.

What was supposed to be a romantic weekend getaway, turned into a nightmare. As for a lot of things in this relationship.

I was only 17 years old when I experienced my first relationship. There were so many red flags in the beginning of the relationship that I chose to ignore because I was afraid of not being loved by someone in that way again.

In the beginning, I thought he was the perfect guy—sweet, kind, and charming. No one would ever expect the things that happened behind closed doors. 5 months into the relationship things were starting to play out differently.

I realized that I didn’t feel safe in the relationship. And that was something I needed and desired the most because it was what brought out the best of me when I know I am safe. As for any man, it is their natural instinct to protect but even when he could, he chose not to.

He would constantly choose to smoke weed with his friends first before picking me up. He’d tell me he was 20 minutes away and came in 2 hours later. And he would do this every. single. day. That should have been enough for me to run away and never look back but I stayed and it only got worse from there.

He started to throw tantrums when hard conversations were brought up. He would punch himself and would threaten to kill himself. Those tantrums happened everyday. He would even lie to me about FaceTiming other girls - including his ex!

I tried to break up with him several times but I was hooked into the toxicity. He would manipulate me, and even sneak into my house after breaking up in the middle of the night to try to get me back. He threatened to yell while my parents were sleeping.

I was given so much reason to leave and never come back. I look back today and I feel sorry for myself that I had gone through something like that and wasn’t strong enough to leave and choose me for a change. We broke up and got back together then broke up and got back together. It was depleting.

Relationships are hard enough, let alone an unstable one.

To anyone reading this and relates to it, I know you feel broken but someday, everything will make sense.

One day enough pain and violence will be enough for you to break the chain. It will be the hardest thing you’ll do, but you will be stronger and wiser because of it. Learn how to trust your gut when it tells you to leave.

Listen to your friends and family when they sense something is wrong, they may not always be right but just listen to what they have to say.

My advice post-relationship: Be alone for a little while, find your best self, and heal. What you just went through is scary and traumatizing but it won’t last forever.

The right one will come when you least expect it, I promise.

After that night in Oregon, I promised myself that enough is enough. I booked a flight back to New York City the next day and never looked back.

Today, I am with a man who is always on time and honest. He makes me feel safe.

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