It was heartbreaking to watch the Gabby Petito case play out in real time and see footage released following her death. Those of us who were/are also victims of domestic violence watched the videos of her sobbing, and it was a scene that was all too familiar.
A client of mine told me about how she had been in a similar situation and that Gabby's story helped open her eyes. Instead of downplaying the domestic violence, she realized that it could result in horrific consequences, including death.
Gabby’s story wasn’t hitting me as one that could have been my own until a few days ago when my friend sent me this photo posted on Twitter.
It was the same power move that the narcissist had used on me when we were alone, and he was angry.
Unfortuantely he wasn't the first. Before him, there had been another ex who displayed signs of violence. During one fight, he began smashing furniture and threw several glasses at me that shattered over my head. I escaped before the anger that he took out on our belongings was inflicted on me.
The narcissist was a different story. He grabbed my face precisely, as Gabby showcases in her photo. He talked about how he wanted to get his gun and end my life and that I was a whore. Then when he was satisfied, and my terror was evident, he would let me go.
I would find myself reeling, confused, and trying to convince myself that what had just transpired couldn't have happened.
There were numerous moments throughout our relationship when I saw a look in my ex's eyes, and I thought to myself, "he looks angry enough to kill me."
At the time, it didn't feel real. It didn't feel like he could be capable of killing me because he loved me, or at least that's what I told myself.
The truth is that there is no logical reason as to why I should be alive today when so many other women's lives have been taken due to domestic violence.
What other explanation is there, except that I was simply lucky?
I was a young and naive woman that gave her heart to someone who abused her. There were countless moments, including while camping, when the narcissist could have taken my life without a second thought and with ease. There is no logical reason as to why I am alive today, and other victims are not.
When someone says they want to spend the rest of their life with you and that you are soulmates, it will strike a nerve, especially when the words come from someone you love.
The narcissist and I talked about moving in together, and raising a family together, he talked about getting married, and at the time, it gave me butterflies in my stomach.
It has been many years since I was in those relationships containing psychological, physical, and emotional abuse. One of my abusers ended up taking his own life many years after we dated. The other ended up getting married and having a child. I had blocked him for years to avoid any communication but heard through the grapevine through mutual friends.
My heart aches for the victims who stay with their abusers. However, there is never a moment when I wonder why someone would choose to stay with their abuser because, in the past, I made the same devastating choice.
Although I have been on a long journey of healing, there is never a day that doesn’t pass when I am not incredibly grateful for my life, as I know how close I was to having it taken from me.