Hey, Penelope. I’ve really been thinking about what you talked about. I guess I’m having a hard time knowing if I’m experiencing abuse because he’s never hit me, only broken things and screamed at me to the point I shake and get a migraine. He also says I instigate by bitching at him. Maybe I do. I don’t know.

I feel crazy, for sure, like I don’t know what’s happening. All I know is that I am very tense around him and have lost affection. I don’t want to go to a shelter. Even here in my small town in Tennessee there’s only 1 shelter and it has a 1 star rating. Would they even let me in the shelter if my life is not currently being threatened? After that, what would I do? I have no money or people I can stay with.

He does have a gun and he’s angry. I guess I just have a hard time believing he would kill me. He’s angry, but I can’t see him doing that. Unbeknownst to me, he heard our conversation and said I made him sound like a “monster.” He said if his friend described her spouse that way, he’d tell her to leave him, too. I felt so guilty because I thought, “Maybe I am to blame. Maybe I do make him, so angry he has to break doors and windows. Maybe I’m just that intolerable to be around. Maybe I really am a bitch.” I keep trying to get through the domestic violence hotline chat, but it never goes through. Also, I lost that number you gave me. Could I have that helpline number again?

Do you really think my situation is that dangerous? All I know is that I’m constantly stressed, have panic attacks, night terrors, etc. But I always think that maybe if I just change myself, I won’t feel this way. Maybe it is me. Everything was always my fault growing up.