Love and Abuse
These four letters, L-O-V-E, can cause such mental confusion to every human being. And that is because we are born to love, born to be loved, and born to fall in love; this is how we were created. Why do you think babies cry for loving attention when they are so young? Without love, a person feels lost and lonely.
Being HIV+ and the fear of being unloveable
I feel that a person diagnosed with HIV carries a bigger fear of not being loved than someone who is HIV negative. I know this because I didn’t realize that I was wanting love so badly, that I fell into abusive relationships and I was open with my HIV status.
As a woman who is diagnosed, it can be difficult. For one, we fear we may not be able to have children; and second, who will want us at all? I never realized that I was a woman living with HIV and allowing the man that I was married to, to disvalue who I was as a person. I didn’t see it until we parted ways almost 15 years later. A woman should feel loved, valued, respected, and treated like a queen by the one who says that he loves her.
The power dynamics of a toxic relationship
When a person is not open with their status and they have a partner who is negative, it sometimes creates a relationship we are not looking for. Intimate partner violence for a woman living with HIV is so real: the woman’s partner will threaten to out her HIV status if she doesn’t act in a way that he wants her to.
Some women are so scared for anyone to know that they stay in the relationship and deal with either the mental or physical abuse. Because to them, this is the only love that they can attract. We start to believe that we can’t find anyone else and he is the only one who will love us.
I was tired of my toxic relationship
The misery of a toxic relationship we get used to, even though we know it’s causing so much pain. We become numb to the abuse. I will never tell anyone that they need to just go ahead and be open with their HIV status so the abuse can stop: what’s best for one isn’t best for someone else.
All I know is that I was tired: tired of being called names, tired of the fighting. Tired of hearing, "I’m the man, not you." Tired of, "You're going to get AIDS and die anyways."
We create what we want
I will say this to every woman who is reading this: we create what we want. So I ask you to create love within yourself, create strength within yourself, create loving to be happy so bad that you are able to reach out to someone for help. Know that loving yourself more comes first before any man and learn to be alone so you can understand what you truly want for yourself. Never settle for false love just to feel loved. And know that if you need me, I am here.
Editor's note: If you are experiencing abuse or domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can provide support. Call 1-800-799-7233 or chat with an advocate on their website.
Have you ever experienced discrimination due to your HIV status?