Living with Abuse: Why Didn’t I Ask for Help?


Surely he couldn’t control it, it was the only logical explanation: who would deliberately choose to behave in such a cruel way, and why, if not because of some deep-seated pain? Of course, he was having fun every day at the bar with buddies and girls, but maybe I was the only one he felt comfortable showing his pain to. I felt sorry for him: how could I make him look bad in front of all his friends because of that? I just had to keep his secret and try to offer support, to cheer him up until the difficult time had passed.


4. Because I thought it was my fault

I didn’t tell because he convinced me it was my own fault. He was kind to everyone and only turned into a furious monster as soon as he was alone with me: every little thing I said or did could cause an outburst. As much as I always obeyed him, did everything he wanted, bent over backward to please him, it was never enough.

If I was lucky, he ignored me huffing in annoyance, just to turn into the most jovial man on Earth as soon as anyone else appeared. Watching him flirt with every woman or girl he saw, hearing his comments about how hot they were while all I got were insults made me feel worthless. It didn’t matter how much I tried to look good, how every guy at the bar showered me with compliments: all I got from him was criticism, disgusted looks. At best, I was ostentatiously ignored.

It was clear that he couldn’t stand me, that I disgusted him: clearly, I had to be the one making him so unhappy. Yet, when I tried to break up with him because of this, he was the one who asked me to stay…


5. Because nobody would believe me

When it finally occurred to me that I wasn’t doing anything wrong to deserve his constant attacks, nothing that justified that irrational hatred, though, I realized that even if I talked, nobody would believe me. Everybody thought he was such a great guy, and they had never seen the monster he turned into in private.

His abrupt personality changes were too absurd: nobody who hadn’t witnessed it first hand could have imagined it, if I myself had trouble believing it. They would think I was exaggerating, that we were simply having “couple’s problems” that should be fixed privately. He’d always been nice to them, they all adored him: he would deny everything anyway, and I had no proof – I didn’t have any bruises to show.


6. Because I was scared

And, finally, I kept quiet because I was too afraid to talk. When he showed his true colors in public for the first time – lashing out in a packed club at a girl who’d found out about his cheating, screaming in front of everyone that he was gonna kill her – it was too late. I’d listened to his vengeful rants while he plotted to destroy her, ruin her reputation, run her over with his motorbike, because anyone who wasn’t on his side was an enemy that had to be crushed.