In Her Own Words: Tina’s Story, Part 3

Within six months of moving home, Mike gave me an ultimatum — move to Grand Rapids to be with him or risk losing the relationship. I foolishly chose to walk away from my family and join him in Grand Rapids.

I don’t blame my parents; I moped around, picked fights, and failed to respect their authority. I was looking for a reason to leave and be with him. The months of anguish came to blows one snowy winter day as I loaded up my belongings in my car and set off for a new adventure with my love. I did not care who I hurt in the process. I wanted to be selfish and live my life with whom I wanted. However, I would regret that decision not long after moving back to Grand Rapids.

I had no place to go once I got there. I had not thought through my predicament at all. I was at the mercy of Mike and his family until I could get an apartment and a job. Within a short time, I found an apartment and used my connections to work for a bank I had worked for in Oakland county. Things seemed to fall into place. It was not long before Mike started moving stuff into my home. I never told him to move in, and he never asked; it just happened. And before I knew it, we were established together.

I should have been happy, but it wasn’t long before I started to miss my family. I didn’t have any local friends. Eventually, I would get out and meet people and make some great connections with coworkers. Any gatherings they had, they were always gracious enough to include him.

At first, all was good, but eventually, it became clear that the demeanor he portrayed initially was starting to flounder. Soon I began to go by myself because he did not like socializing. Finally, he would cut me off from them entirely except at work because he said they negatively influenced me and made me talk back. At this point, I was not smart enough to stick up for myself. It had to be because someone else was egging me on. This is where things began to turn sour for me.

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