I remember locking myself in the closet, sitting on the floor shaking, scared of what was going to happen next. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ When I first got into my relationship with my ex, things seemed easy. We clicked and I was so happy to just be with someone who also wanted to be with me. But it quickly shifted. My world got turned upside down by a boy who belittled me, abused me, and made me feel horrible about myself. But I didn't see the signs, and when I finally did, I let myself go numb to it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ "He doesn't mean the things he's saying, he's just playing around." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ "He didn't mean to grab me and push me like that." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ "He didn't mean to give me those bruises." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When you have grown up, or have been conditioned in an abusive environment, these things seem normal. You ignore the red flags, because it feels normal to you.You think that the people you love are supposed to talk to you like that. You think, "Well if I wouldn't have done THIS, they wouldn't have reacted like THAT." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ After having to lock myself in that closet, scared of what was going to happen to me, scared if I was going to make it out alive, I decided I needed to confide in someone. And that was the best decision I had made. Reaching out to my family, gave me the courage to leave him, and have better for myself. I had a long road of recovery, and I still suffer from the PTSD because of him. But I have never felt happier or healthier. (And in a now AMAZING relationship, where Austin treats me like a queen.) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Having a support system, people to help you overcome your situation is vital. As strong as we are as humans, there are somethings we cannot do alone. I am sharing my story to let you know that I am here. I have survived it because of my support system. If you are struggling to love yourself in any circumstance, reach out. You are not your past, you are not what your abuser says you are. You are strong, and you are loved.