October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Ms. Blog will be publishing a series of posts detailing the impact of domestic violence, including personal essays and more, throughout the month.

It was my fault. He swore he’d changed. Swore he wanted to get help.

I was living in California, with family, where I’d fled with my two daughters to start fresh, start a life without him. I was doing well, enrolled in school and trying to get my life together. But it was hard. And even surrounded with love and support from my children and my family, I was lonely. I knew it was stupid and I was trying to be strong, but I missed him.

Then one day, four months after I left, he contacted me via Facebook begging for another chance, begging to be a family again. He wanted to come to California and check into rehab—because California has the best rehab facilities, or so he claimed. He just needed to get here, he said, and if I would just spend the weekend with him, I would see how he’d changed. Then he would go to rehab. And we would live happily ever after.

I was weak, so I gave in. I told him I would take him back. “Go to rehab and come back to me and the girls,” I said. “Be the man I know you are capable of being. I will wait for you. I forgive you. I love you.” I thought I could prove everyone wrong: the ones who told me he would never change; the ones who told me he was worthless; the ones who said it would never work; the ones who said I had caused him to be angry and caused his addictions. I would be more compliant. Not talk back. Support him. I would prove them wrong.

The night he arrived, I drove the freeways, terrified and lost. I had no idea where I was going. It was late, and the girls were exhausted and confused. I just knew that when I found him, everything would be OK. He had changed. He wanted to be a better person, for me. He would fix this. He wouldn’t hurt me again. He was sorry. He was going to change, for me.

Support the Ms. Magazine Prison and Domestic Violence Shelter Program today and show women fleeing domestic violence that they’re not alone.

Alicia McDermott is a 32-year-old mother of three. She lives with her husband and children in Idaho, where she runs an in-home daycare.

© and source: msmagazine (posted using inoreader/ ifttt).

#womensstories: I Thought My Husband’s Abuse Was My Fault