“When I was 17, I met a man who was 30. He quickly gained my trust and pushed himself into my life as the one I should turn to for everything and the only one who understood me. While we were ‘friends,’ he would list why others my age were too immature for me and how they couldn’t give me the freedom and responsibility I ‘needed.’ To his friends, I was some joke prize. They’d clap him on the back for having a young girlfriend. He eventually got me pregnant and stuck in a toxic, abusive relationship. He then exploited my age as the reason why I didn’t understand what real relationships were like. He made me think I couldn’t leave him because if I did, it proved that I was the child he thought I was who couldn’t handle an adult relationship.”
“He cut me off from family and friends. Again, he’d use their immaturity as a reason to get rid of them — despite him being just as, if not more, immature. He would apologize after being abusive, prey on my emotions, and pretend to cry, only to carry on the abuse as soon as the dust had settled.
I finally got out, but it took me until my 20s — when he was nearing 40 — to realize how much of a hold he had over me, how he had groomed me for this when I was too young to understand what I was getting into, and how bad this was.”
—Anonymous, United Kingdom