I’m so glad I discovered this wonderful forum for survivors. My story is not that unusual. I was drawn to men who did not really value or love me because I did not properly value or love myself. The world can really do this to girls. It especially makes dark girls feel ugly and less and many of us internalize this. I did and brought it to my relationships, choosing men who treated me as less. My last boyfriend fit the pattern. He was handsome and superficially charming. Very soon after meeting he asked to move into my place and I said yes (big mistake). He soon started to control all aspects of my life. He controlled the money (that I earned), contact with my family and friends and how I spent my time. He pressured me to go with him to get matching tattoos (which did and still does feel like branding to me). I unwisely agreed. He even pressured me to get intimate body piercings since it would be a “turn on” to him and got abusive when I refused. Our breakup came with him being taken away in handcuffs. My first affirmative act was refusing to bail him out. Since then it has been a long journey to finding out how to love and value myself. It has involved a lot of therapy and counseling. I’ve also rededicated myself educationally and professionally. I have found positive ways to deal with my emotional and physical scars. There is a road back from abuse, but it involves a lot of hard work and dedication. In the end it is definitely worth it!