This Woman Told Humans Of New York About Leaving Her Abusive Relationship

Humans of New York never fails to elicit emotion. One minute you're gushing over Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' love story; the next you're marveling at a 90-year-old Russian woman's awesome approach to life.
This post also hails from HONY photographer Brandon Stanton's ongoing trip to Russia, and it's a heavy one. Stanton met with a young woman in St. Petersburg who shared her story of an abusive relationship with a man who "expected obedience." It's truly crushing — but there's a hopeful and inspiring ending.
“We were together for nine years," the woman, who, like most of HONY's subjects, is unidentified, told Stanton. "I was completely dependent on him. He was a strong and powerful man and he expected obedience. If he called me at 4 a.m., and told me to meet him in Moscow, I was expected to go to the train station. He had a very strong energy. It was hard to argue with him.
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"In the beginning of the relationship, I obeyed because of the pressure," she continued. "But then the pressure just became a habit. It got worse as time went on. Eventually he stopped listening to me completely. I became so lonely. When you’re with someone who doesn’t care about your views, and has no desire to understand you, it’s worse than being alone. I still loved him though. I knew that he’d had a hard life. I told myself that I had to make sacrifices to build a family. But one morning I woke up and decided that I couldn’t do it anymore. If I stayed in the relationship, I would lose myself completely. I remember it was raining that morning. There was mud in the streets. And something told me: ‘Today is the day.’
"That was two years ago," she shared. "I’ve spent these last two years learning to be alone. I’m realizing the things that I like to do. I feel better, I look better, and I’ve been sharing more of myself with others. I feel like I’m finally learning who I am.”
The woman's heart-wrenching confession has hit a chord with HONY fans, many of whom have commented to salute her strength, courage, and "self-respect." Others shared their own struggles with abusive relationships.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.
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