Diane Sawyer, Rihanna

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute

Even if she had never met Chris Brown, Rihanna knew how domestic abuse could turn into a vicious cycle.

"I always anticipated it happening. At night I wouldn't want to sleep, because I was too afraid it would happen," the singer said in the portion of her ABC News interview that aired on 20/20 tonight, referring to her father hitting her mother when she was a child growing up in Barbados.

"She never went to the hospital, but he broke her nose.," Rihanna continued. "She would never go to the hospital...Domestic violence is not somebody that people want anbody to know, so she would just hide it in the house. I always said to myself, 'I'm never going to date somebody like my dad, never.'

"I always said that."

And yet she not only dated someone who hit her, she went back to him after the fact.

"Lying to yourself again, [I thought], What is he going through? I had to protect him," she explained. "The whole world hates him now. His fans, his career, he lost me—I just need to let him know don't do anything stupid."

But Rihanna ended things shortly after she and Brown rendezvoused in Miami.

(Originally published Nov. 6, 2009, at 7:38 p.m. PT)

"I resented him so much, and I always put the tough face on...the 'I can do anything' face, tried to play it off," she said. "But he knew... He kept asking me, 'You hate me, don't you? You hate me,' and I would lie and say, 'No.'"

Finally, she mustered the strength to break up for good.

"Everything about him annoyed me, him being around me, him talking to me. Everything was annoying for me…So finally I just said, 'We can't do this. I cannot continue to do this."

As for Brown, who several years ago talked about his stepfather hitting his mother, Rihanna surmised, "He forgot the pain he witnessed with his mom."

She said that Brown's YouTube apology sounded "like he might have been reading off of a Teleprompter."

"I know that he felt really bad," she added. "I just didn't know if he understood the extent of what he did. The thing that men don't realize, when they hit a woman—the face, the broken arm, the black eye, it's going to heal. That's not the problem. It's the scar inside. You flash back, you remember it all the time. It comes back to you whether you like it or not, and it's painful.

"I don't think he understood that. They never do. They can't know that."

What does she want to hear Brown say now?

"Nothing," she replied bluntly. "What I want, is for him to accept this as a man would and accept the responsibility, and not find a way to feel sorry for himself."


Check out our take on Rihanna's latest single, "Russian Roulette."

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