Monday Dare: Payback’s a bitch

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Speak out

I once gave away my last ounce of dignity and pride while begging on my knees to save a poorly-assembled IKEA lamp, a pink Starbucks mug, and two cushions. The cushions had, at one time, belonged to a couch marked for the donations truck by a rich-as-fuck family because it was the wrong color. I didn’t have enough space for the couch, but I asked for the cushions because, well, they were from Pottery Barn, and I love fancy shit.

I spent most of my teens and twenties giving my power away to people who didn’t deserve it. Not that anyone ever really deserves your power. Sure, a small circle of people may deserve your loyalty or attention or assistance or companionship or love or friendship, but power is a tricky beast to own and tame, and it’s not something that should be given away freely, if at all.

The more I gave away my power, the less control I had over my life. And the less control I had over my life, the harder it became.

And because I gave away so much of my power, I guess it was no surprise that I ended up on my knees one night begging my boyfriend not to destroy the few things I had in the dingy fuckhole I called “home.” I loved those things because they were mine. They weren’t pretty, and they certainly weren’t valuable, but they brought me immense pleasure.

Getting on my knees wasn’t my idea. It was his. I didn’t invite him along when a girlfriend came over for coffee, and he was angry. He had already taken all the power from my insides, and now, he wanted an outward display of what my broken emptiness looked like.

I did it. I begged. I cried. I asked for forgiveness. I could hear some small part of the Me that still remained hissing quietly in my head, “Ain’t no motherfucka your king, bitch. This is some BULLSHIT,” but my sobs were louder. It’s often the loudest voices that get their way, even if those voices are wrong.

He isolated me from the people I loved the most. Even when we weren’t together, he told me that every one of my moves could be tracked. He reminded me often that he could listen in on any of my phone calls, that he had a tracking device installed on my car, and that each of my keystrokes was being logged. For years I saved a threatening voice message he left on my home answering machine. In case I just didn’t show up for something one day.

I spent most of my free time watching Snapped. If you’ve never watched it, I can break it down for you in one sentence: It’s a show about angry women who kill (mostly) men. I don’t watch that show anymore. It makes me uneasy, and it’s only now that I understand why I needed it so much. I didn’t have the balls to break out of the tiny prison of my own life, so I watched these women do the things I fantasized about doing. Not that I advocate murder. Really, don’t kill people, you guys.

I sent my five-year-old daughter away and made up some excuse about a better school district. I’ve never really talked about that before, but there it is. He wouldn’t let me leave. He said if I did, he would kill my mother, and then my daughter. So I stayed, but I sent her to live with my brother across the country.

I spent so many years cowering in fear of you coming after me. You told me never to tell anyone about what you did. But I don’t keep the promises I make to evil people like you. I will never be like you. 
NEVER give away your power, friends. And never keep the secrets of those that betray you. Speak out.
Connect: Facebook & Twitter (@ElizabethJLiu) & Instagram (username: flourishinprogress)

image via pinterest

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  • theresa

    on behalf of all the women you’ve undoubtedly helped with this post, thank you. <333

  • Carly Moorehead

    Wow, this is quite the post. I love your blog because you are witty and funny, but I really appreciate you sharing something so personal with us, this post makes me tear up a little bit. But you know what they say… what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

  • Tamona Valentine

    I am so happy that you got your power back! This is a blessing and I don’t anyone could take your power again. Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Brie,

    You. Are. Amazing. You know what else power is – sharing with others when you’ve been vulnerable and weak and scared so they can learn from it. Kick ass, sea bass. Great job. xo

  • Brittany Rae

    Is he the one who broke your dishes too.

  • Joni

    What a brave post. Bravo, sister.

  • Cindy

    It takes a lot of courage to share something so personal and scary. Thank you for being so brave and honest! You are a great example of hope for many others!

  • Miranda Kaye

    Love, love, love… I’ve been in this same position. So many women are and are afraid. Mostly from being ashamed of what people will think. These men (and often women) make you believe you’re scum and you’ll never find anyone better. Don’t believe it, get yourself away from the situation and you’ll see how crazy and harmful it was. There is hope and help out there.

  • Marissa Morris Oliver

    Kudos to taking your power back. I always thought you rocked, now…I know you do.

  • Leigh Ann

    Thanks for sharing something so personal. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been.

  • Laurie

    Powerful shit, girl. You may have saved a life today.

    The Karma Train will be making a stop in his prison cell. And with any luck, so will the Ass Raping Train.

  • Becca (aka SMC)

    The candor and bravery of your post makes you a life hero of mine. Keep being a bad ass motherf**ker and don’t let anyone take your power! Hugs! FIST BUMP!!

  • Christina Allen Shelby

    People like that have an emptiness so dark and deep inside them, that they can never possibly fill it no matter how hard they try. And they do try. They take the life and light they see inside you because the darkness inside them craves it. But people like that always lose in the end. Because they’ll always be empty and hollow. Doomed only to see the light in others and be forever reminded of what they’ll never have.

  • Kelly

    Power to the Sista! You Rock Girlfriend! Thank you for speaking up and speaking out.

  • FearlessFibro

    Holy fuck. I think we need his name and address, so we can sign him up for years of Cat Fancy, Monthly Lube Journal, and Chicks with Dicks. Oh, and so we can eviscerate him slowly with a rusty, dull nail file.

    Sometimes, the best way to battle your demons is to scream at them from the rooftops.

    Be strong, Sistah.

  • Perfectly Single

    I’ve been there, sadly more than once. You are my idol!

  • theblahblahblahger

    Well, balls…that was intense. I’m SO GLAD you found real love in your husband, but first in yourself.

  • Jen Reinmuth

    I had no idea that you used to date my ex-husband. What are the odds? My ex still threatens to kill me on a semi-regular basis and has taken out exorbitant life insurance policies on both of our children and has alluded that he will “cash in on them” if I ever try to take the boys out-of-state. So, I guess I’m speaking out as well: if my children or I are ever involved in an “accident”, ten to one my ex husband is behind it.

    • Misty

      You know I’m gonna need his details now, right? He will never survive it. Make sure he knows that. This is NOT an empty threat. That is a promise.

  • Dallee

    You’ve emerged alive — and you may well have saved your life and that of your child. One in two women are subjected to domestic abuse — it runs through every level and every place in the US.
    Glad you are still with us!
    And each of us should do what we can to get the federal Violence Against Women act extended — it added greatly to the safety of all women in America (

  • RChilcoat

    Wow! That was a powerful and moving post! I’m glad you spoke out but even happier you got out of that situation and found your true love. You are one awesome homette! Thanks for always keeping it real!

  • Dsilkotch

    Powerful stuff, Liz. I’m actually dealing with something similar right now, but it’s been years since I made the mistake of giving those sociopaths any true power over me. Glad you made it out of the dark. I’m seeing something that looks a lot like light at the end of my own tunnel these days…

  • carrien-she laughs at the days

    I so want you to tell us how you got your power back and got away from him. And I’m so proud of you that you did. <3

  • Chelle Newton

    Wow. Just wow. Good for you for standing up for yourself. I’m sure you have helped more than one person today.

  • Princess Dianne

    My God, girl. Powerful. And courageous. And, well, just eff’in BADASS! That took amazing courage to put out there. I soo related to this post because I’ve given up my power before and it cost me dearly. Not in the same way. I gave mine up as a child…and I didn’t even get away from the asshole who took it until I was in my early 20’s. It’s an awful feeling…and almost worse in some way to continue beating yourself up for it long after it’s over (which I still do sometimes). Bravo that you had the courage to get away and to speak up…from one Badass to another. Much respect!

  • Stephanie Lamb

    Girlfriend — thank you for sharing. That shit takes guts. I’d love to hear the flipside of your story — the one where you get the power back. Consider it for a future Monday dare? And this next question I ask with the most respect I can possibly offer, because I know sending your daughter cross-country to live must have been all kinds of fucked-up difficult that I can’t comprehend: how did you move forward from that? You’re brave. Love the message you’re sending in this one.

  • Staci

    Girl, I think I’m going to share my layout this week. I did it about my own experience with domestic violence but it is written a little lighter. Thank you for the push.

  • Corrine

    Way to show that not only did he not break you…but in the end you are a lot stronger than he will ever be!!! Only cowards and weak, sick pricks would subject someone to the bullshit that you went through. I am so happy that you are past that and have a better life, with a better man. Thanks for sharing your story…you humble me with your willingness to take the past and let it shape a better future! You are bad ass! :)

  • elala

    thank you. seriously.

  • Corinna

    I am so proud of you for getting away from him.

  • Quyen Phan

    I was assaulted by my mom’s bf when I was 13. He threatened to kill my mom if I told. I’m not sure why I marched straight to my spanish teacher’s classroom as soon as I got in school but I did. I have no problem talking about it (as you can see). I feel that by shaming the incident, I would give him the power over me-the fear he would still hold over me. Hell, no! Stay strong. Don’t let any mofo have control over you no matter how small you are (or think you are)


    I left my home 4 mos pregnant with a 5yo and a 3yo we had nothing but a backpack with 4 outfits a piece, all because I gave my power away to a bitchmade dude who tried to destroy me…I understand the SNAPPED part totally…NEVER GIVE YOUR POWER AWAY!!!! EVER

  • Random the High End Hobo

    Have I mentioned how much you rock??? I’d sing a little Celine Dion (Mariah Carey? Bette Midler?) right here, but the dogs would like to keep their hearing…..

  • Kathy Wilkinson

    You really are an amazing human to share this. Amazing.

  • chemegirljaime

    wow… that is powerful and so true. NO ONE deserves your power but you.

  • Heather Ryan

    Thank you for being so brave. I always enjoy your posts, but when you get all heartfelt and serious and shit I love you even more. Don’t stop writing… it may be therapy for you but it inspires us. :)

  • Misty

    I am so fucking impressed with you, girl. You know that, right? You went through he’ll and came out the other side. Bruised, battered, but free and strong. You are a badass bitch and were bent but never broken. I can only imagine how brutal that must have been to send Cal away. You are a good mama and one of the bravest woman I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. Way to call out that bastard. Big HUGS.

    • Misty

      That’s “hell” not he’ll. Damn autocorrect.

  • Stephanie Hansen

    Wow. I love you for surviving and sharing. You rock, sister. When I was little my mother tried to drown me in the bathtub. My father caught her just in time and pumped the water out of my lungs. I had blacked out and came to as he wrapped a towel around me and brought me into the bedroom I shared with my sister. When I started to cry he slapped me, stuck a finger in my face, and said if I ever told anyone about it he’d ‘finish what she started’, quote. She tried a couple more times in other ways and he said the same thing. I wasn’t allowed to tell my sister or brother even. I was scared for my life ALL my life. I know about domestic abuse. And being made to be grateful to your abusers or be abused even more. Shit. I used to puke after having to hug and kiss them and thank them for everything they gave me and did for me. All grown up now my brother and sister won’t speak to me because I finally walked away from my parents and the lie that they are loving and all that shit. I lost my whole family and all my relatives because of the secrets those cowards won’t admit. Tell a strong person you’ll kill her and then NOT expect her to leave someday? Fuck. Can’t keep us down forever!!!! We’re not built that way.

  • Are You Kidding Me?

    Glad you got out. Not everyone makes it out alive.

  • cindy

    So brave of you to share!!! I hope many others will be empowered by your words and actions!

  • Margaret

    Love you. You are so much the fabulous! And yes, I’ll participate in the hunting down, castrating and feeding him alive to fire ants.

  • Alison

    You rock. That is all. More power to you.

  • Jenna Preston Mikos

    Reading this, I cried like a little bitch. I’ve seen men take away so much from women I know, there’s no way to describe the amount of rage you end up with. Statistics say it takes in average 7 times for a woman to leave her abuser before she leaves for good. Once someone takes your power, it’s harder than hell to get back. You are an inspiration to any woman fighting this fight. The depraved, heartless bastards who do this are around every corner, and as a mother, that scares me shit less. Growing up seeing domestic violence made me damn sure I’d never go through it myself. I just hope to instill the same thing in my daughter. It’s never ok. Not ever. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for sharing such a painful part of your life. You may have given someone the courage to take back their power.

  • Chantel

    This post makes my insides twist because just 12 short years (and a lifetime) ago this was me. Not the exact scenario but in the same powerless, take everything from you, demoralizing way. I am thankful every day to have escaped.

  • cynthesyzer

    that is some intense shit homette. i love your writing. unfortunately this feels like something i have endured but could never put into words so eloquently. thank you so much for having the strength to post this. xoxoxo

  • mommyonthespot

    I am inspired by your strength – to get out of the situation, to protect your daughter, to share your story here. You have me thinking about how I may have given my power away. And how that has to stop.

    You are an amazing woman. I am so glad to know you. Thank you for sharing your truth.

    xo, Erin

  • Rosa

    I used to watch Snapped as a kind of wish or fantasy. Not a very positive mental place to be. I’m sure glad I don’t live in that place any more. Glad you don’t, either.

  • Laura B

    You are strong and brave and so very alive!

  • Elizabeth Barnes

    hate can eat you alive inside. it’s hard to break free, but what a great feeling when you do. *hug*
    ps I got my book in the mail. you’ve made this bookworm very happy indeed. ;)

  • Jaclyn Flores

    This shit really resonates. My first boyfriend was like this. It started with him stealing from me and lying about his massive drug problem and cheating on me. When I’d had enough, he would threaten to kill himself if I left. When I stopped fearing that, he told me his (seriously fucked up, scary) family would blame me for it, and he forced me to move 1000 miles away to his hometown with him. After months there, when I tried to break away again, he also threatened my family. He told me they would all be dead by the time I got home. He also made it clear that he wouldn’t kill me though, because he wanted to see me suffer through the deaths of all my loved ones. I spent 2 years with him because I was so afraid of what he would do if I left. When it finally ended, he put so much fear into me so that it took me almost a decade to get comfortable. He would come after me… he would wait until I was really, truly happy and he would kill the person I was with. He would punish me for leaving. And then I had a thought. This boy was a 20 year old drug addict, fuck-up who couldn’t even keep a fast food job. He definitely did not have the motivation to stalk me. He was just a fucking prick.

  • Susan

    I love the risks you take – and the power you have. Very moving writing.

  • Mel

    Damn, this is incredibly powerful. I’m happy that you didn’t snap because that would have gotten you into way more trouble than that poor excuse of a human being was worth. I’m even happier that you did find your way out of the situation, and that you’re able to write about it now for the other women who are in similar situations.

    Props to you, my friend <3

  • Guest

    Wow. I think i love you.

  • Wendy Roberts

    Wow. I love you. You just gave back the power to lots of women.

  • Maggie

    I’ll second [or third] the ‘you’re amazing’ comment. And the ‘that was powerful’ one ’cause that’s the first thing that went thru my mind. Wow. You are a strong woman and I’m so so glad you took your power back

  • Josey

    You are amazing. This is a truly powerful post.

  • Rhonda Barth

    Such an intense, personal post. Thank you for sharing because there are a lot of people in this world that are in that place and need to know they aren’t alone . . . and that it IS possible to get out!

  • newfoundjoye

    What a difficult post this must have been. I’m very glad that you can speak out about such a situation—and that you are no longer in it.

  • RollerScrapper

    Thanks for sharing your story, I spent the entire time reading in a state of fear for you, even though I knew this took place in the past. I’m so glad you’re with someone wonderful now :)

  • Johi Kokjohn-Wagner

    Homerun, Elizabeth.

  • Amy in Australia

    Wow. Amazing–thank you so much for this. Your vulnerability is inspiring! You seem pretty damn powerful to me. ;)

  • danperezfilms

    There are very few bloggers quite like you, you know that? Nuff said.

  • Agape

    Elizabeth Jane….you are so super duper trickity tricked out badass. What a fucker…..what a total fucker. I’m so happy you got away and found your voice and your power. Keep it up.

  • lu

    <3 much love is being sent your way.

  • Inspired Girl

    Thank you for the thought provoking post. -Inspired Girl