This Is My Testimony...Jennifer Mason
Updated: Jul 16
The Unthinkable Leave the First Time
“I loved you. You were it for me. I was really going to marry you.”
Those words brought me peace as I sat across from the man I once loved with all my being. We had run into each other after several years had passed, and he wanted to “talk.” I agreed. He and I tried to be friends, but I’m sure you wouldn’t believe me if I told you: he used to physically abuse me.
I met this ex-boyfriend at a bar I used to frequent. He had spoken to me a few times before and would even buy my girls and I some drinks. He was my dream guy. For years, I had been searching to fill the void created when my dad wasn’t there for me. This boyfriend gave the security, love, and provision I always needed. I thought those things found in someone else would replace the void I had in my life.
Domestic violence isn’t something you plan for. You don’t plan for a violent and aggressive member of your home, a home that is built on love. Aggression and violence is the antithesis of love, or maybe even it is the misdirection of it. You don’t expect this. It’s often confused as love because typically after the man or woman abuses you, they show you love afterwards, apologizing about how they will never do it again. The love tries to cover the pain and clouds your reality of what just happened. You start to believe it won’t happen it again because they “love” you.
I was shocked. This couldn’t be coming from the man I love, make love to, travel with, laugh with, and share dreams with. No one ever expects to be a victim of domestic violence. As a matter of fact, I was one of those that-won’t-happen-to-me, kind of woman. I just knew I would kick whoever’s behind and keep it moving if they ever tried. I was a fighter back then, but this was a grown, six foot, about one hundred and eight five pounds of a bench pressing man. He had more strength than I ever had. Trying to go blow for blow was impossible. With each blow, I was the one knocked down.
I was practically staying with him, and didn’t have want for anything. He provided me with literally anything I asked for or even voiced as a need.
My dating views were different then. I wanted the bad boy with a lot of money, full of adventure, who could give me a flat out good time. I dated guys that made me feel good and made me feel emotionally and financially secure. If he drove a nice car, had his own place, and had decent head on his shoulders, I was game. I didn’t care about how he fed my spirit or mind. I was more concerned about my fleshly desires and he cured them.
We did everything together and had so much fun! I was madly in love with this man for more reasons than I could remember. We just clicked in that season of my life.
He even cooked for me. I remember the first meal he made me; they were enchiladas. We actually kind of made them together, but he wanted to do something special for me. He let me watch for the majority of the time while he cooked and I drank. Grey Goose and cranberry was our drink of choice. When the food was done, we ate on the couch, watching TV. Nothing fancy as simplicity was our thing. My feet across his lap, his plate on my legs and mine on my lap, drinks in hand. That was the typical “us.”
He showered me with gifts. We had the kind of love that just felt right. He would cater to my every need. He would come by a lot of nights and just sit on my balcony and smoke cigs, drink, and talk to me about my life and past pains.
I felt EXTREMELY safe with him. He carried a gun and was thoroughly respected by his peers. He was the leader. I always felt safe with him until that night. It was the kind of love you think you’ve always wanted. Looking back, I was settling for my fleshly desires and short term healing for my daddy wounds.
We took trips, ate at fine restaurants, but the majority of our relationship was sex, alcohol, and good times. He wouldn’t tell me, but I knew he sold drugs. I saw them in the house, but, then again, most of my former boyfriends all dealt drugs. It didn’t bother me. I should have run for the hills. I’ve seen what happens to the girlfriend of drug dealers. I know a few ladies personally who have done time in prison because of their men. I decided that he kept his drug dealing a secret to “keep me safe.”
He also had a porn company at the time. He actually told me about this business. I was into porn back then so it didn’t bother me at all. I actually wanted to view a taping. He was renting the home next door, which is where they would tape. He would never let me go over there though. I guess this was his way of protecting me or he was hiding something from me. He may have even been one of the participants.
I went to church even in the midst of this toxic relationship, but when you aren’t being fed real scriptural food, you take the appetizer and run. At the time, I would show up, read the scripture and my Bible didn’t see me again until the following week. I was preached into an emotionally happy place that would get me through the week until I showed up again. I needed the second course. I needed the meat of God’s word. I needed to be taught what it meant to live the word and not just hear it.
I got too comfortable with him. I started to believe what I wanted and do what I wanted. We were basically living together, and he would give me cash every day that I was running low on cash. One day I went into his stash and took some cash without asking.
Dead wrong. I didn’t think he would notice. Dealing with drug dealers as former boyfriends, most of my dating career money was just expendable, and they never noticed. They never told me to just take what I needed. I figured that was the case with this relationship. But he was livid!
I tried to explain, but he wasn’t having it, and he immediately put me out. I mean I had my own place, but I always stayed at his house. I cried. I begged, and I pleaded, but he felt betrayed—rightfully so. The pain was horrible. How could I blame him? His "baby girl" as he so lovingly called me had stolen from him. If you know anything about street dudes, they don’t take that lightly. They would kill someone for this type of behavior. I remember him saying in the midst of yelling, “Nah man, not my baby girl.” I had done the unthinkable to him.
I remember listening to Keri Hilson’s song, “Tell Him the Truth” over and over again. He was such a consistent part of my life, and after this everything changed. I became familiar with our routine. Breaking this routine made the pain even more apparent. When you are used to waking up to someone daily, checking in, and sleeping every night you regret ever hurting them just to go back to how things were. Enjoying a consistent routine with the wrong man only leads to wanting the same consistent routine with yet another man who isn’t good for you.
We remained friends after the break up. We shared a few of the same friends and hung out at some of the same spots so naturally we ran into each other often. This of course created the ping-pong, back and forth. “We are not together but we still kick it" stage. In this stage, you are still going through the motions, but lacking the commitment piece. Still sleeping together, occasional dates, but nothing was consistent. This hurt me bad, but I was so desperate to show him that I had changed so I settled for whatever time I could get from him.
Now, throughout our relationship I had a feeling that my ex was seeing other women. I had a little proof, but was so high in love that was blinded. But all things come to light. Back then I called it intuition, but I now know it to be Holy Spirit who was leading and guiding me into truth. After months of going back and forth, him lying to me, catching him with other women, and the list goes on, I saw him out at a local strip club. He would go there often so it was to no surprise he was there. He always had huge problem with drinking and would drink until he vomited blood when we were together and of course on this night he was drunk. I was concerned back then, and would often voice my opinion on his alcohol intake.
I did not drive this particular evening and his uncle asked me to drive him home. My ex was already trying to come on to me and was getting on my nerves. He was grabbing me, expressing his love, trying to "work it out", and buy me drinks; this was his normal routine.
My gut told me, “No, don’t do it! Don’t drive him home, let his uncle get him home, and he will be just fine.” Then, my heartstrings started playing a tune that was all too familiar. I began to think, If I don’t get him home safely he may crash. Being myself and still loving him, I said I would take him home. We got in the van, and I am taking him home to drop him off he had always had more than one car so he wouldn’t be stranded in the morning. I could drop him off, drive his car to my place and he could arrange to get it the next day. I get to his house and he decides he wants me to stay.
This was typical, but tonight I wasn’t having it. I was going home and said, “No, I'll just take you home,” is what he said.
Now to me he seemed to have sobered up a little, so I said ok. Plus, we didn’t stay far from each other. We got to my apartment complex and all hell broke loose! He had to drive me home because I caught a ride to the strip club. So, we left and arrived at my apartment complex. I didn’t want to stay at his house. We sat in the car and talked for a matter of minutes. I was upset because I felt like all he wanted was sex. If he wanted me, he needed to commit, and before I could blink, I was being snatched out of the car by the collar of my shirt, dragged to the ground, fought back, and things got worse. I swung, and so did he. I was punched in the head multiple times, thrown to the ground, kicked, and stomped. While on the ground, I tried to call 911, but my phone was snatched and thrown across the parking lot. I rolled myself into a ball for protection, when he finally came to and stopped. I ran inside of my home and collapsed on the floor and just cried. He came in after and tried to apologize. I just screamed and told him to get away from me. I was calling the cops!
Once I calmed down I went for my phone, which was shattered so I couldn’t call anyone. Luckily, I had friends who stayed in my complex, and I went to their apartment. My home girl answered her door and was shocked, scared, and let me use her phone to call the police. They came with the ambulance. She kept asking me what happened, and I could not speak. I just cried. They took one look at me and said, “Your face and head are swollen. You could be having some bleeding on your brain.” I was terrified and went to the hospital. The police got his information and went to pick him up. I was riding alone in an ambulance and that did something to me.
I made it to the hospital and had yet to tell someone what was happening. Luckily, my mother, a nurse, had her number in a database. Since my phone was shattered I had no way of reaching anyone. She and her now husband were very angry to say the least and wanted to come yoke him up. I declined and said no I’ll be fine. Instead of letting him get what he deserved, I decided not to physically retaliate. They ran test, gave me meds, and I caught a cab home. Thankfully they didn’t find anything in my test to be scared of. I had bruises everywhere, a swollen face and scratches, but otherwise I was okay and most importantly alive. I vowed right there that this wasn’t happening again, and I would do everything in my power to make sure no young woman goes without hearing this story.
The aftermath of domestic violence can be more horrifying than the incident. Emotionally I was confused. I felt lost, abandoned, and rejected. I was confused because I knew the emotional pain of love, but the physical was different. I finally knew what it meant to love someone who has put his or her hands on you. It’s the weirdest thing ever. You yearn for this person because you feel like you love them, but common sense says NO! You still want to feel their embrace, but you know you have to leave them alone. It’s hard, I can’t even lie to you. My emotions were EVERYWHERE! So, I did what I had to in the days moving forward. You need to leave them alone for your safety and sanity.
Love is, according to 1 Corinthians 13:3-7 in The Message Bible (MSG), “If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always ‘me first,’ Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.”
What he and I had wasn’t love? It was lust. I had to get a restraining order and everything. You go to the courthouse and tell the story over and over. You relive the entire event. It was so hard to go through. You don’t want to keep telling the story or reliving the events. It’s like going through emotional HELL! I cried a lot that day. I was depressed! Thankfully through this ordeal I didn’t have to see his face. That would’ve made it even hard.
Telling this story now brings me even more healing. I’m happy I got away. As if I hadn’t been through enough, I got a phone call a few days later... FROM HIS WIFE! Talk about pissed, I was sad, hurt, confused, and mad all over again. I relived the event again, telling her the sickening and heartbreaking story. I gave her the truth she so desperately sought. I forget what she said, but most importantly she informed me this wasn’t the first time. She was calm, very respectful, and I could tell her heart went out to me. I didn’t apologize to her. She said she was sorry I had to go through this.
I don’t know how this hurt him or anyone else at the time. I had detached myself. It was a bad situation from my poor choices. It became a headache going to court and I had already had my share of court dates that I could stomach. To be honest with you, I went to every court date, but the last one. I know some may think it is crazy, but I woke up and felt I didn’t need to go. I told God He could handle it. I did not want to see the court room or my ex. I knew there would be a deeper punishment. You literally reap what you sow. I had medical bills and all, but I just didn’t go. I was over it and handed it completely over to God. As for the protective order, he did break the guidelines of the order a few times, but it never went too far. The judge was made aware and reinforced days. I didn’t have to come to court prior to the last date. I was just done. I didn’t have to deal with him hurting me anymore.
I was able to take away a lot from this ordeal and hopefully it helps you for the future. Pay attention to your partner’s habits. My ex had a bad drinking habit, and although he never acted like this before, he had it in him. He had an anger streak that I could see early on. He would get really angry about situations that had nothing to do with me, but it was an EXTREME anger. LEAVE THE FIRST TIME! It’s easier said than done, but let me be a living example of what it looks like. You can leave, disconnect and move on with life even through the pain. You don’t want to lose your life because you “loved them.” TELL SOMEONE! So many suffer in silence. Tell someone or people you can trust and who will protect you from you. Your vision is cloudy in these situations, and you need someone who can see for you!
Communicating what’s happening will start providing a way of escape. Pray for God to protect you, heal you, and set you free. You don’t want this to be something that keeps you spiritually bound. Break the soul tie and the root of this attack and live free. Seek the Lord like never before and stay soaked in prayer. Here is an example of a prayer you can pray. “Father, in Jesus’ precious name, I ask that you untie me from every relationship that wasn’t approved by you. Any relationship that came to physically, emotionally, or spiritually harm me. Any and all relationships based on lust. Cover me, release me, and heal me. Amen!” FORGIVE THEM. It is not for them it is for YOU. Years after the ordeal, I actually saw my ex again and still do from time to time. I forgave him, moved on with my life, and though we aren’t friends when we see each other, there isn’t any bad blood. Recently he even apologized and commended me on moving forward and being successful in life.
I am free from hatred and bitterness, because I let God show me how to forgive him. I allowed myself to be in his shoes before God. I allowed God to let me see him the way He did. God didn’t hate him and He didn’t love him less. I adapted God’s compassion and forgave him. “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15 ESV). “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25 ESV). Do yourself a favor: stay free. Even though I didn’t go to the last court date, we all really do end up going anyways. God is going to judge and hold us accountable for our time spent on earth. He is keeping a good record of the things we haven’t repented for. For more, visit www.jennifermichellem.com