An Open Letter To My Abusive Ex

By Francessca Wilson-Day

About two years ago, you phoned me to apologise. I gave you the time you wanted, I heard you out, and in my response, I was as honest as I could have been at that time. I have never been the best at thinking on the spot, and sometimes I lose my train of thought and/or stumble over my words. I told you that your apology was not needed, that it was not something that I thought about or cared to hear, and that it meant nothing to me. In a way I was right. Your apology contributed nothing towards my forgiveness of you. In order to forgive you, I had first to forgive myself. And that was not a process that you needed to be a part of. But I have forgiven you. In your narcissistic way of thinking, you may question why it took me so long to do so. I am, however, also well aware of your indifference to the feelings of other people and you, therefore, may not actually care at all. But I will tell you anyway.

I entered into the relationship as a fearless and somewhat naïve individual, and perhaps also a little bit ignorant. I was arrogant and cheeky; the kind of character you either loved to be around or couldn’t tolerate at all. Regardless, I was also happy. I had my circle of friends and they supported me in all of my endeavours. I did what I could to help other people and I was appreciated by all of those who were close to me. During the course of our relationship, I changed a lot.

The signs of an unhealthy relationship were there from the very beginning, and for that, I have only myself to blame. A couple of people warned me away, said that you were ‘hard work’. In my arrogance, I didn’t listen when I should have, but I would never have imagined that by ‘hard work’ they meant that it would generally be a very unfulfilling relationship, full of more pain than love. I can almost hear you telling me to “stop playing the victim” but I feel that I have perhaps done that for too long and now is the time to lay my feelings towards you out on the table. Your girlfriend (I’m assuming still current) asked me why I didn’t want to forgive you. I didn’t feel like she was the right person to be pouring my heart out to. And I know you probably don’t care to hear it. But these are my words, and hear them or not, I will tell them anyway.

During those first two weeks of our relationship, when you stayed at my then rundown shack of a house, there are a few moments that really stood out for me. Firstly, the fact that you poured cold water onto my face. A trivial matter but not as much for someone that you hardly knew. Second was the fact that you head-butted me in my nose. I can’t remember what that was for but I remember that for about a year afterwards my nose didn’t feel right. Perhaps the most telling sign should have been that you didn’t want to make an effort with my friends who shared the house with me. This was on the pretence that you were shy, but hindsight really does tell a lot and I see now that you don’t have time for ‘other peoples’ people’. As time went by, I gradually distanced myself from everyone who cared about me. You didn’t like my family so I stayed away. You didn’t like my friends so I cut ties. I didn’t see then that this was merely a ruse to ensure that I was totally dependent on you- my support network depleted so you were the only one I had. You threw out my clothes because you didn’t like my style. Everything I had was yours, and nothing you had was mine. Piece by piece you broke me down and shaped me into what you wanted me to be, fully under your control. The point came where I didn’t even feel human anymore. I cared for nothing. The violence, the mind games, the cheating, and the sheer humiliation- none of it meant a thing to me anymore. I existed, I survived, but my LIFE… that was yours.

There were a lot of violent moments in our relationship. Perhaps you don’t remember them as you were the instigator and for you, they would be less important. You would only remember if they were incidents that you felt sorry for, but a person with no conscience can sleep well at night and forget the events of the day before. I guess the drink helped you with that, along with the fact that you are very clearly sociopathic. I wish I knew that then. Then I would know that someone like you is not capable of loving someone else, and I wouldn’t have spent so long wasting my time trying to be patient and hoping that you would open your eyes to the fact that the person you were treating like shit was the very person who loved you regardless.

We were both young. I played around a bit before you, but my rollercoaster of a childhood meant that by the time we met I was ready for something more. Perhaps if I hadn’t been so desperate I would have seen you for what you were, rather than allow you to abuse me in every way possible. During the attacks, I would have the strength to leave. But my weakness always brought me back. It took me a while to forgive myself for that. After all, fool me once, shame on you, right?

The moment I finally left you for good is one I will never forget. We had had an argument and I had gone to bed. When you finally decided to join me, you did so angrily. Said that I was hogging the bed, even though I was right up against the edge because I knew you liked your space. It wasn’t enough and you told me to sleep on the cold linoleum floor. I laid on that floor for a while before it hit me- what was I doing there? I needed to get out of this relationship. So I did. At 3 am I packed my bag and I left. It was the best decision I ever made.

I am married now. The most beautiful and precious woman I have ever met agreed to be my Wife. For too long, you made me feel worthless. You made me feel like I didn’t deserve any better. When I left you I still felt like that. It took me a while, but eventually, I found grace. My Wife brings me peace. Now and again I still get affected. I lay awake at night feeling fearful because you showed me how easily I can be hurt. But then I turn to my side, admire the woman beside me, and I feel peace. Her love comforts me, and bit by bit I have found myself and learned to love myself. With her by my side, I have found the capacity to forgive.

So I have forgiven you. And that being said I also hope, with every fibre of my being, that we never meet again.

If you are experiencing domestic violence and need help or advice please contact:


Broken Rainbow 


Women’s Aid

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