I should’ve left sooner

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Thinking back on the relationship I had with my ex boyfriend, I should’ve left sooner. He never hit me, beat me, or raped me, but he had a knack of bullying me into corners, getting in my face, threatening to disappear, self harm and suicide if I ever left him…

Hell, I should’ve left as soon as he threatened to kill me, but I didn’t. But damn, I was a fool eager for love and that ultimately cost me my spirit, which I’m working on regaining. 

All I know is i’m never going to discredit my gut again, and put up with abusive and toxic behavior because I love ’em, but was it really even love to begin with? I can only hope his girlfriend will leave once she starts noticing how he can be…

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  1. Rustin Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    Emotional abuse is so easy to discredit. This gives us the idea that we are being overdramatic or thinking too much into something. I think this is a great realization. If you believe that there is something sketchy or wrong going on, leave the situation. Listen to your gut.

  2. sam Volunteer

    Dear Jamie Marie,
    I am so sorry for the abuse that you experienced, but it is not your fault. There are millions of reasons that people don’t leave their abusers early enough, but hindsight is 20/20. You are in no way a fool. There are tons of people out there who feel like they should have taken control over a situation when in reality, they couldn’t at the time. I am so sorry you had to go through this experience and that another woman is now suffering, too. All you can do is keep taking it one day at a time and focus on regaining your spirit. We are always here for you!

  3. Jordan Volunteer

    Dear Jamie Marie,

    I am so sorry to hear that you had to experience this toxic environment in your past, you did not deserve that. No one does. I just want to thank you for coming onto our platform to share your story with us and I am happy to hear that you are no longer in that situation <3 It is sad to hear about the new girlfriend, I can only hope that she will soon realize that she does deserve love and not whatever toxic behavior he labels as 'love'. Here for you whenever you need us, sending hugs your way.

    – Jordan

  4. Erin Kaileen Volunteer

    Dear Jamie Marie,

    Reading this i can understand, the love we have for someone can often tie us to someone and it sure hard to let go. I can tell you are a good hearted person just because you wanted to continue to see the good. I am proud of you for realizing your worth and realizing that you do deserve better and deserve someone who truly loves you even if that someone is yourself. Never let someone dull you, stay shining.


  5. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    I’m so sorry that he treated you like that. You don’t deserve him and I’m happy that you were able to get away from him. Thank you for updating us.

  6. Samantha Harris Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry you had to go through this. You didn’t deserve any of this and it wasn’t your fault. It can be hard to tell how bad a relationship becomes until afterwards. You get so caught up in the moment, you don’t realize the toxic behaviors until much later. You’ve shown that you are strong and courageous by leaving the relationship and moving on. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  7. meg Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie!

    I am so saddened and sorry to hear that your ex was verbally and emotionally abusive towards you. It is a very difficult situation to find yourself in when you leave a relationship like that and see someone else stepping into that role. You did everything you could to keep yourself safe. Love makes it difficult to see straight sometimes. You made it out and you should be proud of that. It’s easier to see how bad it was when you’re removed from the relationship. So, I would suggest trying to be kinder to yourself. Your past self didn’t know the extent of the situation yet. The only thing you can change is how you move forward. You’ve got this. You have tremendous courage for being able to leave an abusive relationship when you did. I’m proud of you. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you.

  8. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi there Jamie Marie!
    Emotional abuse, & verbal abuse are just as damaging as sexual or physical abuse. The lasting impact takes a lot of effort to recover from any form of abuse. The healing process takes time. As much as we wish we could of or should of changed things, we can’t beat ourselves up. We can however, try to move on & think today, not yesterday, just today. That’s the hard part; convincing ourselves that we can’t go back & rewind. We can learn & move on. I know you are stronger than what you may seem you are! Thanks for sharing! I wish you all the best! Take care of you!

  9. Shannon Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Thank you for sharing with us. I am so sorry for what you went through with your ex-boyfriend, you should be very proud of yourself for getting out of that situation. Regardless of when you left, you left, and that shows how strong you are.

  10. Megan Volunteer

    Hey Jamie Marie,

    I’m sorry that he treated you like that, and I am so proud of you for leaving. No matter when you left, just the fact that you did leave shows a lot of strength. Sometimes it is hard for us to see the reality of the situation until we step back from it. Many people don’t even realise that they are in an abusive relationship for a really long time. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The important thing is that you made it out and you are still going strong. I am so proud of you.

    We are always here if you need it,

  11. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    I am sorry that you are feeling this way. You are so strong! What happened is in the past, and it most certainly is not your fault. It is okay to look back on what happened, but try to look at the lessons you have learned. Now you know what that gut feeling is that you mentioned. Do not be hard on yourself for this. It was not your fault!!! You are so strong! You are working so hard and you are making progress in the right direction!!

    Be kind to yourself! We are here for you! You are loved!


  12. Ashley Day Captain

    Hello Jamie Marie,

    Emotional abuse can be as hurtful and damaging as other types of abuse. You are not to blame for his actions; you deserve to have peace of mind and I encourage you to continue working on regaining your spirit.


  13. Lizzi

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    It’s understandable that you didn’t leave sooner. Many toxic people or abusers are good at manipulating people into thinking that they are still good, when they aren’t. They’ll make threats or be violent, but then convince you that it’s love. They are amazing at tricking people into staying. This was not your fault. You thought it was love and stayed with him, despite the threats and bullying. I think it’s fair to go with your gut, especially after getting out of a situation like this. Now you’ll probably be more aware of red flags in the future. This is so common in abusive relationships so try not to beat yourself up too much for staying as long as you did. It must be hard to worry about his current girlfriend, and you’re such a caring person to worry about her.

  14. candyappleb Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    I’m sorry you’re struggling with these feelings right now. I understand how it’s easy to fall into the trap of self-loathing, or self-deprecating in this way as you begin to heal from a toxic relationship. You did the best you could at the moment. What’s that saying? Hindsight is 20/20? Often things only become clear in retrospect and that’s totally okay. Please don’t be too hard on yourself. You made it out of the relationship, and you’re moving forward. Those are both incredibly brave things to do and a testament to your strength and resolve. You got this. We’re here for you!

    All the best,

  15. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Hey Jamie

    Blinded by love is a real thing and it makes sense you questioning if love was their to begin with. i am glald to hear you are working on regaining your spirit. you are taking all the right steps and you deserve the support. I hope you keep fighting you can and will get through this my friend.

  16. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. It is brave of you to share this and I am thankful that I get to be one of the volunteers to respond to your story.

    I am so sorry you had to endure such horrible things with your ex. The things he put you through just sound terrible and I’m glad you’re out of that situation. Relationships are meant to be positive and bring us comfort in our lives. Having someone bully you and threaten to kill you must have been especially tough, as you put trust him and he betrayed that. Being in this situation is not your fault at all and I hope you feel that. The word ‘should’ is one of my least favorite words, as its easy to say ‘should’ after the fact and they say everything is so much clearer in hindsight. I hope you know that you are not to blame for being abused or staying in that relationship longer than you did. You didn’t deserve this and nothing here is your fault. Leaving a toxic relationship takes a lot of courage and you did it! You are a strong person and I hope you celebrate your strength for making it through this difficult experience.

    I hope that sharing your story can help bring you the peace that you deserve! What you just wrote is a big first step to regaining your spirit! A Voice For The Innocent offers great resources on the website if you need any additional tools. You are also always welcome to come back and post an update.

    Jamie, I wish you the best! You deserve it.

  17. sfmbelle413 Day Captain

    Hey there Jamie Marie,

    Blinded by love is a real thing. It makes sense if you’re questioning if it really even was love to begin with though. I’m glad to hear that you’re working on regaining your spirit. You’re taking all the right steps to get the support you deserve. I hope you keep on fighting. You can and will get through this.

    Sending light your way,

  18. Kailey2298 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    I’m so sorry you had to endure that. You’re not a fool, leaving an abusive relationship is hard and takes a lot. You should be proud of yourself for leaving a bad situation. Everyone deserves to be treated with love and kindness and I’m glad you got out of that situation. Don’t forget how strong and brave you are. If we can help you in any way further please let us know!

  19. tayestlack Volunteer

    hello love, you can’t blame yourself for not leaving soon enough, what matters is you did leave. I’m glad you’re moving away from missing him and more to knowing the red flags for future relationships. I’m proud to see how you’ve changed during this past couple weeks, you’re so much stronger now than when you started. Please remember to keep your head up high and stay strong

  20. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Thank you for sharing. Domestic abuse is very confusing, and it’s often hard to see when we are in it, especially when it comes to emotional abuse perpetrated by someone you love. Please know that you did nothing wrong and this is not your fault, and you don’t deserve blame for not leaving sooner. You did your one and only job: survive. You’ve learned from your experience, and though you may have a long road of recovery and rebuilding ahead of you, you can absolutely regain your spirit.


  21. musicislove

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Hindsight may be 20/20 but in the moment things aren’t always so clear. Try not to be so hard on yourself as you’re healing, feelings are hard to understand and although your ex was so hurtful, you loved him, and love is tricky. Emotional abuse is still abuse and can be so detrimental, I’m glad you’re out of that situation and that you’re going to trust your gut feelings in the future, they can be so important. It takes so much strength to pull yourself out of a relationship like that, don’t forget that. Thank you for trusting us and we’re always here if you want to share more.


  22. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Looking back we have the benefit of hindsight. When we are in tough situations it’s always more difficult. It’s easy to be hard on ourselves, but what matters is that you are still here, safe now, and able to learn from the past. But also keep in mind, you did leave and that took strength and courage. You should be proud of yourself for that.


  23. Solongago Volunteer

    Jamie Marie, I don’t know what it is about the human condition, but it seems like we can see what is obvious about other people’s situations, and be unable to see what needs to be done in our own, when we are in the middle of it. Maybe it’s like going over the falls in a barrel. In the barrel you are being so knocked about and your sight is so closed off and your breath is so sucked out, that you have nothing left but to try to survive. But people watching that barrel going over the falls, can sit back and say, “she should…” And maybe, after the fact, we can sit back and watch the film of the barrel going over, and say, “I should’ve…” even though we know that when we were in that barrel we couldn’t do anything but press against the sides and try to keep breathing.

    Jamie, you made it. You came out of that barrel after being knocked about and you’re on the other side now. You have the luxury of looking back and saying “I should’ve…” You also have the privilege of looking back and saying, “I got through that… I broke away from a really toxic situation… I’m intact…”

    I am sorry the guy was such a jerk and you had to go through that. Romance should be fun. When we love someone and they love us, we should be having the time of our lives. Time should fly by, and struggles should be little challenges that we tackle together with spontaneity and a sense of adventure. I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to go that way. It’s sad that people can be the meanest to the ones they ought to cherish.

    My parents have been together for nearly sixty years now. They went through some really rocky years, though, I think rocky decades. But to look at them now, how my Dad protects and treats my mom, and how Mom does for him too. It isn’t stupid to try to make things work. If my parents didn’t try to make it work at various points, they wouldn’t be together now. So, when you are in the middle of the barrel going down the river, in the rapids, you can’t see things 100 percent clearly, and sometimes you can see stuff clearly, but you think you can improve the situation, and that isn’t necessarily wrong. It is just in hindsight, after everything has played out — that is the only time that we can actually say what we would’ve, should’ve, could’ve done differently.

    I hope you find a fellow who makes all the rocky times worth the effort, and cherishes and respects you.

  24. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Jamie,
    Because we have more experience now than we did back then, it can be easy for us to blame ourselves for what happened. We’re looking at it based on the knowledge we have now, not what we had back then. Sometimes it can be hard to recognize abusive and toxic behavior, and that’s not your fault. It’s not easy to leave a situation like that, and I’m so glad you were able to. I’m glad you’re working on regaining your spirit, and I hope you’re able to take time for self care and spend time with loved ones. Maybe you could ask yourself, “If a friend was in the same situation I was in, what would I say to them?” Sometimes that can help us be more self compassionate.
    Thank you for updating us! If you need anything, please feel free to write back. We’re here to support you, and you can do this.

  25. Jess Volunteer

    You’re right – it’s incredibly easy to see what we should have done when we are looking back. You’re not foolish. Every person wants and deserves to love and be treated well, including you. Sometimes it can just be difficult identifying when we are not receiving that treatment. What matters is that you recognized his behavior and used your strength to get out of that situation. Keep moving forward the best way you can. In the meantime, if you need anything, you know we’re always here. Thank you for coming back and updating us. Stay strong and keep fighting.

  26. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hi again, Jamie Marie,

    Hindsight is absolutely 2020, especially when we’re picking apart the situations that hurt us. I think that focusing on how you can move forward, like in regaining your spirit, is a great way to find peace with your experiences. It’s also a wonderful show of character that, even after you experienced your abuse, you still sympathize with your ex’s new girlfriend. I do think you should be mindful about how much you focus on that new aspect of his life, though. You cannot change the way others behave; only they can do that for themselves.

    It’s very clear that you’re a warm, kind-hearted person, and you’ll find your spark again! We’re always here for you on that journey.

  27. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for coming back to share. I just want to say again that this wasn’t your fault, and the important thing is that you did leave. It is incredibly difficult to leave toxic and abusive partners. I have not been in an abusive relationship, but I have been with people that I shouldn’t have been with, and it still took me a long time to leave. Everyone deserves to be treated well, and so do you. Let us know how else we can help.


  28. kelly Day Captain

    Hey, Jamie. I’m sorry you had to go through that. I know hind-sight is 20/20, but try not to criticize yourself for how you could have handled it better. Everyone wants and deserves love—I don’t think you’re a fool. You made it through that situation and that deserves to be acknowledged. I’m sure it wasn’t easy. Focus on the future and what you can do to take care of yourself and heal from this. You’re a strong person with a strong intuition that you now know you can trust. I think that’s something to be proud of.

  29. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hey Jamie Marie,

    There’s a song lyric I really like to reference when I start thinking about things I should have done differently – “the what-ifs and the should-haves, they start to eat my brain” (slightly morbid, my apologies). It can be momentarily helpful to reflect on what could be done differently, but with caution to not obsess over and blame yourself, so that you can see it as a learning experience. You were in a really tough spot and you were doing the best that you could with your circumstances. When reflecting on things like this, it’s easy to blame yourself and have a “why didn’t I see/do this” mindset, but hindsight is usually bitter and negative like that. Try not to overly blame yourself – you were doing the best that you can, and by not blaming yourself, you can better learn for the future. Remember to be kind to yourself while you’re thinking through these things. We love and support you! Keep your chin up.

    Sending love and support,