Abuse has no place in love
“I’ll miss you.” I cried as I hugged my boyfriend goodbye.
At 17, I was both excited and nervous about boarding a KLM plane to the Netherlands with my cousin.
Once we arrived in Holland, our aunt picked us up at the airport. We divided our vacation between three different aunt’s homes. They spoiled us with day trips to places like Giethoorn (a Dutch town surrounded by water), Vlissinge (a town on the North Sea), The Hague, and Amsterdam.
Overall, the vacation was idyllic. Except for one thing. My wistfulness.
I missed my boyfriend.
Given our tumultuous, on-again-off-again relationship, my sadness came as a bit of a surprise to me.
Before I’d left for Holland, we had an altercation. He shoved me and I reacted by pushing back. It escalated to the point of me pulling his hair and ended when his mother came rushing downstairs to pull us apart.
Each time I broke up with him, I asked him to go for counselling for his aggressive behaviour. I knew that although he hadn’t physically hurt me, I felt threatened by the potential for violence. After a fight, he’d dote on me with gifts and loving gestures. He’d apologize and assure me that it wouldn’t happen again and would never escalate to physical harm.
But it did.
One time when I broke up with him he punched me in the jaw. As we drove on the highway. I was driving. I saw stars.
Fortunately, I didn’t lose consciousness and was able to continue driving. I remained quiet for the remainder of the two-hour trip, agreeing with him, and saying whatever it took to appease him.
I’d like to report that this was the last time I broke up with him.
Although I recognized I was in an unhealthy relationship I thought I could help him. I thought my love could change him.
The day I finally vowed never to return was the day he tried to quiet me down with a pillow over my face.
I drove away that day swearing never to speak to him again.
I never did.
What had started out as threats gradually progressed in intensity over the years. I thank God that I had the courage to leave the relationship.
I believe that growing up in a healthy household helped me to leave this unhealthy relationship. I grew up in a home with three older brothers who never lifted a hand to me. I never felt threatened or scared. They supported me. I trusted them.
My parents made me feel loved and cared for. They showed me what true love is supposed to be.
Reflecting on my vacation to Holland, I’m saddened that I spent so much time pining over a boyfriend instead of revelling in the love of my family.
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