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Two Roads – Powerful Woman Monologue #16

May 14, 2012

About the Author: Lacey (or Lacey Bean) is a born and raised New Yorker, who didn’t even leave the state for college. She’s a corporate event planner by day, and is a little too proud of her rubber duck and Hard Rock Cafe shot glasses collections. Lacey writes at Perks of Being a JAP, and that’s Jewish American Princess, not Japanese.

She’s easily amused (just give her a quarter and a gumball machine and you’ll have a happy girl), and she’s obsessed with: travel, her Keurig, meal planning, baking, crossing items off her life list, microbrews, Harry Potter, her android phone, chasing down food trucks, and more.

Whenever you hear that someone’s in an abusive relationship, the first images that come to mind are bruises. Welts. Maybe a broken bone. But what people forget is that the abuse doesn’t have to be physical to still be considered abuse.

I was never hit, but if you ask my father about my high school boyfriend, he’ll immediately say that I was in an abusive relationship.

Words hurt. Actions sting. I was called stupid. Was asked to dress provocatively when I was with him, only to be chastised and accused of trying to pick up other men when I wore a low cut top or short dress if he wasn’t around. And although he asked me to dress provocatively for him, I could count on one hand how many times he told me I was beautiful.

Guy friends were forbidden. Why would I need any male friends when I had him? What was I trying to do when he wasn’t around? I spent over a year with a man (or boy, I guess I should say) who would tell me he loved me, but could turn around, literally spit in my face and laugh.

It took two complete strangers I met at college orientation (that he didn’t want me going to in the first place) to make me fully realize that this was not okay. Something my friends and family had been trying to get me to see for months. And the day I broke up with him and made him cry? Goes down as one of the best days of my life.

This all happened when I was 16-18 years old. I’ll be 29 this summer, have a wonderful marriage to an amazing guy, and just gave birth to our first child, a beautiful daughter. But yet I still bear scars from this relationship over a decade ago.

The way I see it, there were two roads I could have gone down after this relationship had ended. The first road was paved with self-pity and self-loathing. Lined with questions like, “What did I do wrong?” “Am I unlovable?” “What’s wrong with ME?” The other road glittered with knowledge of self-worth, self-love, and most importantly, power. The power in knowing that I was not at fault. That nothing I did in this relationship warranted the way I was treated. And that I was loveable, and would eventually find that person that deserved me, and treated me with respect and mutual affection.

10 years later I still have some battle wounds from this relationship. Leftover insecurities that cause me to feel at fault when I’m not, or doubt myself when there’s no reason to. But 10 years later, I’m also a stronger woman from the experience, as awful as it was. I am confident in how I should be treated, what I deserve, and what shit I won’t take.

I don’t know what I’d say to my ex if I ever ran into him. Part of me wants him to know that I wish he’d rot in hell for all eternity. But really, he’s not even worth a minute of my time.

About the series: Powerful Woman Monologues are compiled in response to the media’s representation of women as inspired by the film Miss Representation. If you would like to participate, email me. Any kind of creative contribution is welcome from anyone.

Special thanks to Ashley of Little Leaf Photography & Design for graciously creating the badge for our series!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2012 10:51 am

    It takes an incredible amount of bravery to stand up and walk away and even more to see the scars that are still there.

    It’s funny in a not laughable sort of way that some of the smartest, most talented and life loving and living women have gone through this. I wonder if we sort of have to realize what wonderful people we are?

    • May 14, 2012 5:41 pm

      Sometimes it really does take a complete stranger to make you “see the light”. Sad that we can’t do that for ourselves on our own.

  2. May 14, 2012 10:52 am

    What a powerful story to share. I think what you wrote here is important for so many reasons. You are right- people often think of abuse as only physical. Your writing is an excellent reminder that abuse comes in many forms. I’m so glad you were able to get out of this relationship and am over the moon that you have a great guy (and new adorable baby girl!) to call your family. EVERYONE deserves the happy ending you have. xo

  3. arielleblogs permalink
    May 14, 2012 4:46 pm

    This is such an important message to spread because I think emotional abuse in relationships can get overshadowed by physical abuse (not to say physical abuse isn’t a grave issue, but I think both are equally serious). Obviously I’m happy that you ended up with Dave and not that a-hole. =) Thanks for putting this story out there. Love you!!

  4. May 14, 2012 6:18 pm

    Lacey, you are so brave for sharing this. It is hard to admit when we have been abused because, as you said, there are so many emotions that come with the abuse. Guilt, shame, feelings that it is all your fault. I’ve been there and I thank you for standing up for yourself. I know from experience that this can be the most empowering thing in the world.

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