My Journey to Me

In 2010 I made the unfortunate decision to become involved with a narcissistic sociopath who tried to destroy me—literally. He had so many demons inside him and his way to “deal” with them was to hurt me: mentally, emotionally, and physically.

I thought, as most women in a violent relationship do, that I was doing something wrong. I thought I was the problem. He had convinced me that I was mentally ill, that I was the reason he was lashing out. I believed him.

Every time he hurt me, I blamed myself. If only I had done that one thing differently.
Over time, the effects of his abuse started to show. I was losing weight very rapidly. Living in a constant state of fear and anxiety does harsh things to the body. In a six-month window, I went from 130 lbs. to 90 lbs. At 5’7″, I knew this was really bad. I was pale, my skin was grey, and my hair was falling out.

Every single day, there was some kind of abusive behavior—to the point that I contemplated taking my own life. When it all came to a head in early 2012 and he tried to kill me, it was time to get out. I had no job, no money, and nowhere to go. I went to a women’s shelter and started the difficult process of putting my life back together. All of my family lived 3,000 miles away. I was completely alone.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that this was a major turning point for me. I was finally in charge of my life. The next several months were extremely hard, but I was stubborn and refused to let him win. I found a job and an apartment, and in June of 2012, I faced him in court. I went to the police after I left him, and he was charged with two counts of assault. When he looked me in the eye, he knew that I was no longer his victim.

I still deal with many scars from that relationship. I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and PTSD—and I am taking the steps to deal with it as best I can. I am married now to the man of my dreams, and I am happier than I ever dreamed possible.

It is more important than ever in today’s society for women to support each other. We are all sisters at heart, and I hope that my story will give someone else the courage to make a change.

About the Author | Joanie Branchflower

Joanie Branchflower is a free-spirited woman who loves writing and draws her inspiration from nature and the beautiful area where she lives. She is happily married and enjoys life on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

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