I was once in a toxic relationship. It was so toxic on both sides that it was hard for me towards the end to discern just how abused I was. The slaps, pushes into furniture, constant put downs, being shaken off the bed, pinned to the shower wall after he beat down two doors to get to me, beating up male friends, abuse by his family...and so much in front of our children. I couldn't figure out what to do because the chaos was so constant I was sucked into a whirlwinded black hole of just surviving. This man who could at one moment be compassionate towards all other human beings but me and then in the next moment be railing at me for not keeping the house perfect for him had my love and hate totally infused into each other. I left him, finally, but he stalked me for a year, threatened me and my friends. I still have to deal with him because of our kids, but I believe he is much better now and so am I. I understand why women stay because I was that woman. And I understand people change. If you're in a toxic relationship, just get out. The next steps will follow. It will be SO HARD. You'll doubt yourself. You'll remember your own wrongs. You'll still understand your abuser and your own abuse, but you'll grow from it. You can be a different woman.

In My Past

I remember every single detail; I was nine.

About seven months prior, my parents gathered us in the living room and made an announcement: we were going to have a sister. I crawled off the couch, put my head in my mom's lap, and cried. I'd never been happier or more filled with hope.

Would she have dark hair like me? What would her voice sound like? Is she already alive somewhere else, just waiting to be born?

Those seven months flew by, and one day my parent's called another family meeting: we wouldn't have a sister after all. There was something called an umbilical cord that fed the baby, it got a kink, and my sister starved to death.

Later that day, my parents brought me and my older sister to the front yard. We stood around a tiny red bird house my dad had built earlier that day. My mom explained that she wanted us to see my sister. She said that what we were about to see wasn’t funny or gross, that we should try and understand the sadness.

I remember having no idea what she was talking about and I turned my face up and looked at her. When I turned back, my dad had removed the lid to the bird house, and there she was, my sister. I’d never seen anything so beautiful or horrible. I hid my face in my mom’s side and tried to scream, but I couldn’t make any sound. I ran to my room and cried, and I didn’t speak for weeks.

My sister was lying on her left side, her tiny face was twisted in pain, and her mouth was open as if she were screaming. She even had a furrowed brow, or what I imagined was a furrowed brow. Her head was slightly deflated, I guess from the lack of development. Her hands looked to be about the size of a penny. But she was perfect to me. I loved her completely. I built a little cross out of scrap wood, and my family had a ceremony together in the evening. We buried her on our land, which now belongs to someone else.

I stopped praying to anyone but her. We started having conversations. I told her I missed her and knew that someday we would be together. I imagined that she lived in a vast field with tall grass. I told her what was happening at school and what it was like to turn ten. I promised her I’d never forget. I was sad she left me behind. Time passed.

My mom had another baby who turned into my redemption from deep depression and loneliness. She brought me back to an earth filled with hope simply because she existed. We spent every waking hour together, and found ways to travel the whole world: books, an old canoe we found back in the woods, stories, everything.But after all this time, I’ve still not forgotten my little sister. And I will always miss her.

Her name was Passie, because she died on Passover.



If I posted the entire story people who really know me would know so I will skip to the end of the book and share the happiness that I found.

My husband of 5 years was a bachelor before I married him. He was only engaged once twelve years ago but sadly she passed away. He is a military vet who fought the doctors and tests after being injured to not be qualified as disabled. He does his best to mask his pain. While he was being a bachelor I was in a horrible marriage complete with psycho in laws who my ex-husband did not protect our kids or I from. How could he when he was buried in the bottle.

My husband and I met about eleven years ago. I knew the second his hand shook mine he would change my life one day. I didn't know that he secretly loved me for years. Had he known what I was going through he says he would of. No one really knew. They saw a woman working 3 jobs, going to school, fighting in-laws and thought a strong woman. How was anyone to know the damage that was being done.

Eventually I got my ex a job, we moved, but he wasn't interested in me or the kids much. His thoughts were among other people and floating in rum or whatever he could drink. His job also kept him gone 5 days a week. 5 days a week we weren't in hell. I knew he had a new GF. My husband and I started to talk more. I thought it was in my head that I was just seeking comfort but it wasn't.

He loved me more everyday and kept quiet until one day he and my ex went to the store. My ex complained about me. They got back my now husband and I went to a different store but had the same conversation. Came home my husband said my ex and I should talk we did ten minutes later Divorce was decided.

My husband seized the day pulled me aside talked to me and now here we are. It took all his savings and A lot of love, patience and understanding but he did it all. The three kids live with us full time. I couldn't of dreamed a better ending.

He also has helped my kids heal from everything they have been through. He says I saved him and calmed his PTSD and gave him a home and a place, a family but he is the real hero. My knight in shining armor.

Random Restaurant

I knew my him for over ten years. We even dated for a little while in college.

After being married, having kids, divorcing from a toxic and abusive relationship, I prayed every day for a soul mate that would be a partner and want the same things in life. I have so much love to give.

Then, one day, my friend asked me on a date. I said yes, but I was inexplicably nervous. I arrived in time, but sat in my car for 35 minutes before gathering the courage to go in. Then, I sat on the waiting bench for another 15 to get the courage to join him at a table where he'd been waiting for an hour.

The moment we met eyes, I KNEW this was serious stuff. And I knew HE knew. And we both KNEW. It was almost laughable because I never believed in instant love nor had I considered him more than a friend since our brief tryst many years before.

We married 3 months later. It's been three years, and despite what sounds to be an impulsive move on our parts, we still KNOW. Our marriage is the best thing that has ever happened to me or our children.