“My name’s Hayley but I go by Joe. I’m non-binary and 23 year old from northern Ontario, Canada. I am diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My mental health issues began at age 3 from having a traumatic childhood and became worse over time due to repeated abusers. I am a survivor of sexual assault, physical abuse, mental abuse, and emotional control. There are many stories I can tell but I am going to stick with the most recent trauma in my life.
Back in summer of 2017, I met a guy through playing Pokémon Go. His family would often show up and hang out with mine as we played the game around town. We ended up hanging out without playing the game and developed a relationship fairly quickly. During this time, he was lying to my family and his friends about me. I wasn’t sure who to believe because I was already blinded by my emotions and couldn’t pick up the red flags. He made sure my family didn’t really want to talk to me anymore and slowly I stopped seeing them as I wasn’t allowed to. I’m not sure what he ever said to my friends and family, but he made sure my family didn’t want to talk to me anymore. I assume it must be lies.
This issue continues to this day, as my close family members and core support team have barred me from their lives. I’m not even allowed to talk to them anymore. They ignore me. I have tried to talk things out, but they don’t want to even tell me what is wrong.
With his increasing control on my life, things started to take a darker turn. From here, he stopped letting me talk to friends unless he was present and a part of the conversation. He would say, ‘You can’t trust others. Only I can take care of you. I’m just trying to protect you.’ However, none of my friends were dangerous or on drugs. I specifically remember wanting to get coffee with one of my friends and her daughter to catch up and him saying it’s too dangerous for you to go outside alone. He continued, ‘I have to go with you or we can stay home and watch some TV.’ So, I didn’t end up going.
I wasn’t allowed to hang out with friends without him even if they were the same sex. This pushed almost all my friends away and now I have no more close friends. Those I considered my best friends are completely gone from my life and won’t really talk to me.
After this, I wasn’t even allowed to go outside for a walk alone. He would read and watch everything I did on my phone. He justified it by saying, ‘I’m doing this for your own protection I know what these people are like and what they want. I need to trust you. Don’t you trust me?’
A few months passed, he began telling me, during intimacy, I’m going to make sure you get pregnant this time. Or he’d say, ‘We’re going to be together for the rest of our lives, so a baby isn’t a bad idea.’ When I told him I wasn’t ready to have a baby with him right now, he didn’t care and continued to do so. He messed with my birth control and did not use protection. Needless to say, I ended up pregnant (I already had one son at this point).
The remainder of the relationship was full of the worst abuse I have ever experienced.
This person brainwashed me and made me develop Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (cPTSD) before even giving birth. I get Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures as an attack from triggered by abuse. I had them not only while I was pregnant, but also after having a C-section. This includes hallucinations of traumas as if they were happening in that moment. I gave birth in July 2018 and after having the C-section, he left me alone in the hospital. He made me feel worse for asking him to come back and help with the newborn, which only got worse as we got home.
Not only had he stopped acknowledging me, but would only help out with the baby when his mother was around. I had asked to go to the hospital to get back on my medication as I was in a very bad place with the cPTSD developing worse, him playing on my BPD symptoms, and possible postpartum blues kicking in. His response was that he would take care of me and that I didn’t need medication.
This continued for a couple weeks until I was on the edge of a breakdown. At this time, he still wouldn’t let me see a doctor and caused me to have the seizure that followed the C-section. After the seizure, I had a full on cPTSD attack and when I asked for his help to just hold me to calm down, he called 911 saying I was a danger to the baby. I finally got into the hospital, but admission was a bad experience for everyone due to the brainwashing he instilled upon me. Going forward from here is when my family and friends cut contact with me. I still have no idea what he was feeding them.
Due to all the events and him withholding me from seeing the baby again, my broken mind decided to create a firm reality that the only logical reason why I wasn’t allowed to see her, why everyone in my life left, why he was saying I was a danger to her, was because I had killed my baby.
Now this wasn’t and isn’t true but is very real to me as I still haven’t been able to see her almost a year later. His brainwashing created the perfect breeding grounds for me to be lost in a reality that didn’t exist. This led to extreme suicidal behaviors and wanting to punish myself for what I thought I had done. After 9 failed attempts since August 2018, in February of 2019 I succeeded in taking my own life via overdose. I had flat lined for just under 3 minutes before being brought back.
Due to this, I got amnesia and lost the almost the past 2 years of my life. My specialist says it was to protect myself from harming myself again subconsciously.
Losing your memory is one of the scariest things. You don’t know what happened and find it hard to understand why everyone else knows. Coming to terms with a loss of almost 2 years was hard. I had to relearn world events and personal events. I lost all the memories of visits with my son during that time. It hits you very hard to always think and go about your day and be randomly reminded that it’s 2 years in the future. A life you had no memory of getting to.
After my attempts, I realized that life is a gift. Thinking of not being here fills me with great sorrow and it brings tears to my eyes that I couldn’t see it sooner. I’m still coping with what happened. I find writing very therapeutic, so I’m actually working on a book about the experience.
It has taken a lot of therapy and forced cPTSD attacks to regain memory. I am still missing huge chunks of time. I still cannot face my abuser which means the court is ruling him full custody and I am labelled as unsafe and crazy. I cannot even receive the treatment I need as the Ontario government doesn’t cover EMDR and it is expensive. Their alternative is to get what is covered, which is electroshock therapy.
I’ve moved cities to get better counseling and to be able to walk outside without the fear of seeing him or his family and it’s one of the first steps to my recovery.
I will never attempt suicide again as the experience I had during those 3 minutes is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. It’s not easily explained and could have easily been the release of DMT upon death.
I am working towards my future and starting a new life. I only have support from my therapist, people online, and my younger brother. I am currently expecting another child (from another incident being homeless), but am looking forward to meeting the little angel very much as I’m due in November just two days before my birthday.
I miss my daughter very much and I pray she is safe from his harm and grows up without developing BPD. I hope to see her and my son when they’re older so we can be a family and they can learn the truth. That I didn’t abandon or leave them but was forced out of their lives. I love my children very much and will keep fighting for a better future.
I have a life I can live every day, even if that means just breathing and being present. I don’t have anyone physically in my life every day but looking up to the sky or listening to nature gives me the appreciation of being alive. The clarity and renewal on life you receive from leaving a toxic environment like an abusive relationship is something that everyone deserves, and so many other survivors of abuse are out there all it takes is reaching out. One of the most positive things in my life is that I get to watch my baby grow. Spending time each day being mindful has helped me get back into my hobbies and start new ones like playing video games, listening to music, continuing my research, and painting.
I hope my story can help someone. If you’re in an abusive relationship I highly advise getting help no matter how scared they make you.”
‘On the night of our honeymoon, I saw the DARKER side of my husband. My heart was beating out of my chest. He crouched down and whispered in my ear, ‘You… are NOT going to tell me what to do.’ I felt instant regret.’
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