The Girl I Used to Know

Posted by Joanne Ma on


We came across this submission and knew we had to share it. It is of a young woman whose best friend is currently going through a violent and abusive relationship. She had just recently found out about this and was shocked to hear how long it's been happening. There is an enormous amount of guilt on her part for not knowing the signs. She so badly wants to be there for her friend but doesn't really know how. So, with a heavy heart, she wrote down her thoughts. 

Here is her story...


Mama Diary #4

I have a friend. She’s been my best friend since we were eight years old. We grew up together living less than 10 blocks away. We were at each other’s houses nearly every day. I remember listening to New Kids on the Block on my cassette player with her. PM Dawn. Ace of Base. The great 90s. We would take turns recording songs off the radio and make ourselves mixed tapes. We cut out pictures of Jared Leto and Jonathan Taylor Thomas from teen magazines and plastered them all over our lockers and bedrooms. We loved boys back then. We loved talking about them, laughing about them, and just gawking about them. We planned our wedding days together and talked about who we’d married. I would marry my crush in History class and she would marry her crush in English class. We would hang out at the mall, catch cheap movies, and just chilled… looking for cute boys. We were carefree.

Then all of a sudden, we became adults. How did it happen so quickly? I remember wanting to be an adult so badly so that I wouldn’t have a curfew or was allowed to eat whatever the f/ck I wanted Turns out, there’s more than just curfews and food options to being an adult.

When we graduated from high school, we both went straight to college. We specifically chose a college that we both could attend together hoping we’d end up in the same dorm, but we didn’t. However, that didn’t tear us apart. We flew through college being the fun duo we always were. We both got our respective degrees and had a blast doing it. Fresh out of college, we were ready to conquer the world, find our calling, and make life count. We… were invincible. That is, until she met him.

My best friend got into a relationship in her mid twenties that turned everything around. She had everything in front of her. A new career, a new apartment, and a new man. At first I was thrilled for her because he was everything she dreamed about. He was kind, educated, and looked like he really cared. But more and more, we saw her less and less. She barely came out to any of our girls nights and when she did, she was VERY different. Quiet. Quaint. I knew something was up so I asked if she was ok. Every time I saw her, I asked if she was ok. Every time I asked, she would say yes. But I knew she wasn’t. In my soul I knew she wasn’t. There is no way she is alright. Her personality COMPLETELY changed. At first I thought she was just going through a difficult time in life and perhaps her career choice wasn’t what she had thought it would be – let’s face it, we were all going through that stage. But this was different. She was different.

It wasn’t until after her baby that she vocalized she’s been in an abuse relationship for over ten years. She thought it would change after they got married, but it didn’t. Then she thought the baby would help, but no… and I feel like shit. Why didn’t I see this? I knew her more than anyone, even her mother. Why didn’t I ask more questions? Why didn’t I force her out more? Why didn’t I get her to talk?

This campaign is so difficult to talk about but I think it’s so necessary. I wish I could have done more for my friend and I wish I could do something now. But the truth is, I can’t do anything she’s not ready for. She still sees her partner as the love of her life and the father of her child. But what I do see is the realization she has once this baby came into the picture. For so many years she suffered in silence, not thinking about anyone but him. Now, I believe she is starting to think about her and the baby – and their future. And this is starting to light a fire she never knew she existed. I’m not a mother, but I’ve seen a change in my friend since she’s become one… and damn, what a change a baby makes. I truly believe this child will save her life. 

This submission is really twofold:

  • To encourage women to support one another when it comes to violence and abuse. There is no right answer to the multitude of questions out there, but there is a beginning. And it starts with us believing there is a problem.
  • To bring awareness that domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere. My friend is an educated woman yet for some reason she lost herself in a toxic relationship and it swallowed her whole.



With respect to everyone involved, we are not revealing any names as we also want to protect this new mom and her child. As for the friend, we are so incredibly honoured to have you write in and share your perspective and story. Thank you for being brave enough to talk about something that is so difficult to talk about. 


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  • This is so eye opening, hope beyond hope that she finds the strength to leave the relationship. I also have a friend who is in a terribly abusive relationship and many friends have talked about it, , having an intervention but what does that look like? And why does she not see that her life can be so much better? It’s mind boggling why people don’t leave, but it seems the abuse rewires the brain and, as you say, changes the person, so that they can’t see themselves anymore and isolating the victim is usually part of it as well, removing that support system.

    Thank you for sharing you story.

    Cher T. on

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