Saturday, February 28, 2009

This really saddens me

If People magazine were to be believed (and they're usually credible), Chris Brown and Rihanna are back together.

I am horrified but I'm not surprised. I was also once in an abusive relationship. Everyone gets shocked when they learn this about me. Apparently, abuse doesn't happen to smart girls. Not so. Abusive men start off being really wonderful—they shower you with so much love and attention, gifts and flattery. Really, you won't know what hit you. Pardon the pun.

In the first few weeks of being together, he would wait outside my classes and bring me to the next one. He was always around. He brought me home. Then he called as soon as he got home and we would talk on the phone for hours. I was flattered no end. Everyone said, however, that his constant presence was suffocating. I didn't see it that way. He was my constant. Full stop.

After a while of this ceaseless attention, I remember he started saying, "You shouldn't be friendly with your ex-boyfriend. It's not proper." So I stopped talking to the ex-guy since I thought the current one had a point.

Next he said, "Don't be too friendly with other guys. People think you're a flirt." So I stopped seeing my guy friends.

Then he said, "Your friends are such a bad influence on you. You really should stop seeing them." This one I resisted, but he wore me out with his constant nagging that I finally did stop seeing my friends. It was a two-way street. My friends, disgusted with me, turned away, too.

All alone now, I was vulnerable when he moved in for the kill. He started with little insults—"Only nerds wear glasses," "Your pimples are gross," "You're so flat-chested, you must be a guy." My confidence completely eroded, I believed him when he said, "I don't know why I'm with you when I can do so much better." He made me feel grateful that he chose to stay with me—ugly, pimply, flat-chested nerd that I was.

By the time we celebrated our first anniversary as a couple, I had no friends. This really didn't bother me since I had his love, and I believed with all my 19-year-old heart that that was all I needed. Never mind the daily insults or the smothering attention. Never mind the jealous rages or the crazy suspicions. After all, I not only believed I was ugly (and therefore deserved to be insulted), I was a hot-head myself so if he got angry at me, I must've provoked him. He sure made sure I knew that.

On our first anniversary date, we had argued over shawarma. He had wanted beef. I came back from the food stall (yes, our anniversary dinner was at a food stall) with chicken. He got angry. I got angry back. It became a shouting match. Unfortunately for him, I'm lethal when it came to words. Unfortunately for me, he fought back with his fists.

Then he fled—in his car, at 11pm, with my bag and wallet and asthma medicine inside. I was all alone in the dark streets, no money, no way to get home. 

After my initial shock and horror, I approached people for help. Everyone avoided me—skinny girl with a bloody lip, asking for money for a pay phone. Finally, a guy tossed me a P20 bill. It was enough money to get me home. In the jeepney, I didn't realize I was shaking violently until a guy offered me his jacket. When he wrapped his jacket gently around my shoulders, only then did I start crying. He asked if I needed help. I said no, I just wanted to go home.

I slipped into my room quietly. The bleeding had already stopped. The bruises will appear in the morning, although I didn't know that yet. I just crept into bed, exhausted and in shock. I swore I'd never see him again. Of course, when he turned up on my doorstep with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and the most repentant look on his face three days later, I took him back. He said sorry. He said it would never happen again. When I hugged him, he said softly, "If you only got the beef... Why do you have to be so inattentive?"

I stayed with him for three more years. I didn't tell anyone about the abuse. I was scared people would break us up. I told myself that loved him and that he loved me. I thought my love was big enough to change him. Yes, despite the many many terrible fights and bruises, despite the girls he had on the side, I stayed. I believed that if you loved someone, you don't walk away. Besides, I didn't have any friends. I was terrified of being alone.

When did I leave? We were at a mall and I saw him staring at another girl. I teased him that I could stare at other guys. He responded by hitting me so hard on my back that I lost my breath. He started pulling me to I really don't know where. We were in a public place so I began shouting at people for help. "Help me! He's going to hurt me!" People looked, paused... and then they all walked away. I heard them say repeatedly, "Don't get involved. It's just a lover's quarrel."

Despite the years of his abuse, it was only on that day that something in me truly died. I was alone, and no one was going to help me. At the same time, something in me—the old me—awakened. The old me had a nasty temper, the old me had pride, and the old me would never allow this asshole to treat me like shit. I stopped wasting my time asking for help and turned on him. He finally had to let me go because his scratches were bleeding. He ran away.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of it. We still saw each other. Less and less. We still fought, but now I fought back. Strangely enough, when I fought back, he stopped. He began seeing other girls. I took this not as a betrayal but as a relief. I also began seeing my friends again, who formed a fierce protective wall around me. Finally, we just didn't see each other anymore.

Do I hate him? No. Not anymore. It's been a decade. I'm no longer that scared little girl who allowed an insecure little idiot to terrify and abuse her. I'm also not stupid anymore. No one tells me I'm ugly or worthless. No one tells me what to think or do. No one can have that power over me again. I don't allow that kind of shit from anybody anymore.

Rihanna took Chris back because she loved him. She may also believe that it was her fault he hit her and that she deserved it. She may also believe that she can change him, that they can work it out. She also reportedly got a diamond bracelet as a gift—I tell you, these abusive men, they know how to give gifts. It doesn't mean a girl can be bought but a nice gift sure does soften you up. Will it end well for Rihanna and Chris? I really doubt it. But I'm not going to condemn her; I know exactly where she's coming from. She needs help, but until she realizes this, she's going to continue being abused and I hope to heaven that she comes out of this alive.

If you are in an abusive relationship, please get out now. No matter what he says or what anybody says, it's not your fault he hit you. Love never involves belittling, insulting or hurting. Please read this story and know that you're not alone in this fight. Please get help.


  1. It's really amazing of you to share this story -- it always helps people to know that they are not alone. I'm sure this will help anyone in a similar situation who reads it.

  2. I salute you for your courage. Somehow women who get all sorts of abuse think less of themselves. They see that being abused is normal or at least, they think and believe they deserve it. But, only when self-love and self-respect is gained that they can beget it from others. Somehow, we have to love ourselves first before others can see our real worth. way to go girl!

  3. OMG. i was teary eyed when i was reading this post.

    Good thing You got Vince now.
    you deserve to be loved and treated like a princess.. all women do.. =)

  4. My heart was pounding really fast when I was reading this entry. It reminded me of an abusive relationship.. Only mine didn't involve fists, but it was more of words attacking my confidence. It took me a long time to forgive.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Frances, you once mentioned about your abusive ex in one of your old posts but I was not expecting a revelation as horrible as this. Thank goodness you really decided to leave.
    Yeah I agree some guys really are good at creating first impressions showering you with material things first and eventually with punches and stuff on your face. I also gone through that but it's more of a verbally-abusive relationship. At first yes, i was also scared to leave because I'm afraid to be left with nothing but in the end I realized, it's one stupid reason--to stay with someone who's not deserving. I fled a month ago and I really loved the freedom. Intelligent people like us does not deserve asshole guys like our exes. I'm now admiring someone new at work and I think he's a nice guy. Despite of what you've been through, you got a great catch in return--Vince.

    Women are from Venus, yes it's true. The other thing, it's just that some men are from Hades (the Underworld).

  6. Amen good post - I went through this myself once.
    He hit me threw me across the room.
    Pity for him he didn't know I trained in martial arts daily for over 10 years. He came out worse off but I sure learned a lesson!

  7. I feel sorry for this bad experience but the shawarma was really funny! :-)

  8. I can't imagine you being hit or abuse, looking at your picture make me conclude that you're such a smart girl. But as what they said smart girls sometimes don't use their head in falling in love, it's the heart that matters most. Good to know you're done with him.

  9. Naiyak naman ako dito, Franz! Naalala ko yon. All those things he told you! Nakaka galit kung iisipin. I'm so thankful you got out of that relationship tlaga.

    Bless you heart for sharing your story! Co-dependency is so common in relationships. After all, the thought of starting anew playing the dating game can be pretty tiring already.

    God bless you and Vince and I am truly happy that you got out of that nightmare relationship. Hope everything's great with you. Miss you! :-)

  10. I will be so sad if they are back together, though will totally understand.
    You are so brave to have shared your story,
    I'm so glad you got out <3

  11. I admire you for your courage, Frances! I didn't know you were also in an abusive relationship till now.

    Your post made me think of my past when I was in an abusive relationship. And I agree with you. It's hard to get out when you're in one because of reasons that "other people would not understand". I think we're pretty lucky we got out and now have wonderful men who loves us. Don't you just love good karma? :)

  12. WendyB, I sure hope it will help other women and children out there being abused. It's no joke telling people you got beat up before so do hope this story is worth it.

    Rosilie, ya, we have to make people aware that abusing women is NOT NORMAL!

    Kae, not just a princess, Vince treats me like a queen! =D

    Mai.Mai, it also took me a long time to forgive. A very long time. It's not easy to let go of something that awful, right?

    Glaiza, good luck with the new guy!

    Bucca, good for you! I wish I knew how to defend myself that way, too, but my parents didn't allow me to take up self-defense since it's not very "feminine." Yeesh!

    Weng, true--the shawarma fiasco is something people in a healthy relationship would laugh about!

    Levy M., smart or not, abuse happens to women every single day. We must stop this!!!

    Jennie, thank you for being one of those friends who helped me build my life again.

    DaisyChain, Riri and Chris are truly back together! All of Hollywood is shocked!

    Lally, yes, despite all that in our past, I still believe we're pretty lucky =)

  13. Thank you so much for sharing your story. If I ever have a daughter, it's required reading. The police in Toronto have put together a really great poster campaign aimed at teens. If you think you know a young person that might need to take a look please direct them to them. It's at the bottom of the page.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this. Most of my life has been spent living in or with situations of domestic violence. It is always good to know there are people who have escaped it altogether and are taking a public stand against it, if only in their own lives. You and others have inspired me to always stand tall and strong in spite of the shame of my past, something I am working hard at coping with--a daunting task every day. Continue to stand for what you believe in and to share your story. Perhaps one day, I, too will have the courage to share mine. Again, thank you SO much for sharing!

  15. Really brave of you to share this story. I'm so glad you've come out on the other side.

  16. WOW! This is a revelation. I couldn't tell this about you when I met you. Hugs to you. Thank God you are in a better relationship now.

    I believe nobody has the right to hurt anyone physically. I have sworn to myself I will take no such abuse from anyone.

  17. one time in the past i have experienced being physically hurt. but more often than not, the abuse is verbal and it is doesnt make it less's not always easy walking away from an abusive relationship especially if it's marriage.

    i guess only the victim knows when she or he feels enough is enough already and walk away...

  18. Hi,..just want to say I'm so happy and proud of you for getting out of that abusive relationship.

    CG :-)

  19. ang kapal naman nun. sya pa ung lucky to have you, ayos yun ah. buti nagising na rin eventually ang old you :)


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