Abuse Isn’t Part of My Love Journey–For Me It Was the Exit

Abuse Isn’t Part of My Love Journey–For Me It Was the Exit

By Annie Apple

Even as a bright young woman with confidence and a strong personality, I found myself falling for a man who emotionally and physically abused me. How did that happen—and to me? As I look back, I see where I went wrong. And I can’t reiterate this enough: a woman is never the cause of a man hitting or abusing her. I say this, because through past and recent choices in relationships, I had to reevaluate my definition of love.

To accept horrible behavior is to believe and accept you’re not worthy of anything else. By the time we allow our spouse or partner to physically abuse us, we at some point in our lives or in our relationship have bought into the lie that we are not worthy of respect and adoration, and resigned ourselves to a false perspective of love.

When it comes to domestic violence, much of the attention is focused on physical violence, but equally as deadly are emotional and verbal abuse which almost always precede physical violence.

There’s a certain predatory manipulation that happens to make us accept cruel and violent treatment. Victims are first isolated, slowly but methodically separated from family and friends or anyone who truly cares about us and our wellbeing. Victims are made to believe that our abuser is the only one who cares about us, and we falsely think that’s love. But that’s not love; that’s control. We interpret rage-filled jealousy as passion, but that’s not passion—that’s possessiveness. And possessiveness is not about love. It’s about control. You’re not a possession. You’re a person worthy of love!

So, how do we know what love is and what it is not?

As a child, I never had a front-row seat to healthy marriages and relationships. No matter how bright and happy of a childhood I had, love was on a completely different stratosphere. Every song and movie depicted love as a battlefield or a challenge you have to suffer through. So, logically, I started to believe that love is supposed to be hard. I believed the lie that relationships go through good times and bad times and that verbal and physical abuse are simply part of the love journey. I accepted the bad days because I believed the good ones were around the corner. But I soon recognized that the good days were no longer visible because no matter how happy I found myself, I knew a violent trigger was coming. And I accepted it because I had a flawed perspective on love.

As a woman, I was taught to be the one that holds the man up, and if I did what I was told, I wouldn’t get hit. But the biggest lesson I learned (and recently relearned) is that when a man loves you he protects you, your heart and your reputation. He doesn’t harm you emotionally or physically. And if he’s harming you, that is not love. No matter how charming and nice he may seem, if he’s being verbally or physically abusive, you have to leave. That is not love. Love is not violent. Love is kind.

Abuse in any form isn’t part of the love journey. It’s the first exit.

About Annie Apple:

Annie Apple is the founder and president of Raising A Pro, a 501c3 organization. She is a mother of four, including Eli Apple of the New York Giants and joined ESPN as a contributor to Sunday NFL Countdown in 2016. Annie manages and contributes to her lifestyle blog, SurvivinAmerica.com.




Comment section

2 replies
  1. [Admin note: This comment has been edited for safety per our community guidelines]
    I sure wish I would have read this when I was charged with two assaults against two men at the same time. I bit the guy who was living with me. He was cutting my air off with one finger, somehow I bit the one shoulder. I was able to run for my door. About the time I made it there I felt my head go back cuz he grabbed my hair. Got out the door ran to my neighbors. They called the sheriff office. They asked me; I told what happened to me and what I did. They took pictures of me and said there were no marks on me but since I told them I bit him I was charged with family violence with the intent to do bodily harm. Both were misdemeanor charges but if I took it to court they could have been felonies. I could have got 2-5 or 2-10. Also, we didn’t get the discovery until right at the moment we had to stand in front of the judge. They offered me an $800 fine plus both courts cost $2500. How could I think 2 again I would come out on top hell I didn’t ever think they could justify charging me? I was still stupid; here we are 5 or 6 yrs later I can’t get a job to support my self due to everything being filled out on computers. I don’t even get a call or an interview. So in a way, my abuser still has a hold of me. I need help getting those charges taken off. I’m broke, but a family inheritance saved me from being homeless. Is there anything I can do to change any of this? Back when it happened I had my own business. I need to know if there’s anything that can get me back to work? Because the older I get the less I will get some jobs.

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I just wanted to let you know that there is nothing you have done to deserve the mistreatment and abuse you have endured. I can hear the sadness and hopelessness in your voice and I am so sorry you had to go through all of this. I’d love for you to get in touch with our advocates here at The Hotline, so they can help you with some next steps and legal resources if available. Please know we are one call or chat away! Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY for Deaf/hard of hearing) to talk to one of our advocates. Help is free, confidential and 24/7. You can also chat Click the “Chat Online Now” button to begin a chat. I hope this helps!
      The Hotline Admin.

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