A long time ago, I met a guy who on paper would seem like a real dreamboat. He knew everything to say to make me run back to him whenever he needed me and I spent a good portion of my life trying to make him happy because I always seemed to do so. This relationship went sour very fast and the fact that I said, "He knew everything to say to make me run back to him..." should be a real red flag to anyone that this guy was not okay.

There were nights where he would get carried away and I would wake up with bruises near my neck that I would pass off as hickeys so no one would ask me questions. I remember the nights he tried to make me feel bad for him, emotionally manipulating me into feeling like he did nothing wrong and what was happening to me was more my fault than his. Looking back, I can easily see how abusive it was, but when you're in the situation, it's hard to admit to yourself what's going on. You have hope in you that the person you first started dating is still there, so you cling onto the good times and make excuses for the bad. It's sick and it's sad, but until you go through it (and I certainly do not wish that upon anyone) you'll never understand the mental battle it really is.

I grew up with a cousin who was trapped in several abusive marriages and most of my childhood was spent trying to get her out of each marriage and hiding her and her son from her husbands in my house. I always knew that if you allow your significant other to treat you less than you deserve, it spirals out of control and unfortunately, I fell into the same trap, I just never knew how to admit it to myself.

The hardest thing I had to do was admit it to my closest friends and to my parents. I remember telling my parents which was the hardest thing I had to do. I knew I did nothing wrong and that it was all his fault, but telling the two people who love you unconditionally and raised you to realize your worth is one of the hardest hurdles I had to overcome. When I began to speak out about it, I remember my parents and my friends being there for me, reminding me that I am worth more and that it's not my fault, because, unfortunately, it's so easy to believe that you did something wrong enough to deserve it. Remember this, you didn't do anything wrong. It's a problem deep within him and believing it's in any way something wrong with you gives him the power over you that he doesn't deserve.

I hope anyone reading this who may have been in an abusive relationship knows that it's not you, you did absolutely nothing wrong. We may not know each other personally, but I believe in you and I know you are amazing just the way you are. If he couldn't treat you like the goddess you are, then save yourself for the one who comes along and will. That person is out there, but for now, work on yourself and seek a solid, small group of people (along with a professional because I know my therapist has helped me through more than I can describe) and give yourself time to heal. You can do this, I believe in you.