I found myself alone sitting in a house that was familiar but not at the same time. It had been ages since I had been there. I felt like a stranger to those called my family. I felt awkward and out of place. Honestly I still do sometimes. But I had nowhere to go.
I was not allowed to go to my place of residence that night. He forbade it. I was going to be spending another evening out on the streets riding buses and trains until it was time to go to work the next day. I’d stop at the hotel by the school but they would want nearly 200 dollars for the few hours remaining before the sun rose. I was not down with that. I had no money anyway. I rarely ever did. I was sitting at bus stop when my father called. They never call so I picked up. He mentioned that my aunt was going to give me a room in her house because she needed help. She figured we could help each other. I went there that night. She wasn’t expecting me so soon but I had nowhere else to be. It was cold and I really did not want to be roaming the streets. I craved a roof over my head so who was I to fight it.
Now I know what you are thinking why didn’t you just go home to your parents’ house? Well I couldn’t. I was pretty upset with them as they were with me. My ex destroyed my relationship with my parents. No. I allowed him too. I was too weak minded and scared to stand up for myself. I allowed everything that transpired between everyone because I could not put my foot down. My father called it Stockholm syndrome. I will get more into what happened with that at a later post. This one will focus on the period right after the relationship ended. That moment in which I was free but I didn’t feel free. I felt numb. I sat there in my new room wondering when I would hear the loud honking of the car horn from outside. The yelling loudly for me to come out of the house. The dragging me back home at 3 in the morning because he decided that he wasn’t going to let me go so easy.
He used to tell me why should I get to leave and stick him with all the bills? Why should I get to leave and live a happy life with no expenses because I am living with mommy and daddy? HA! What life of no expenses? I am still paying off the damages I was left with. I owe back tuition of 11,000 dollars because he took my loan money to pay bills, taxes, and whatever else. That is NOT including the money I owe back in student loans. Life of no expenses! Please! I won’t even list them all here.
As I sat in my aunt’s house I began to try and understand what it was I went through. I felt off. I cried. A LOT! I didn’t have to chase waterfalls; they were running from my eyes. I ate EVERYTHING! I had a closet of wine and whiskey. I didn’t exactly want to die but I did question life. Why was it so painful? Why was it so hard? Was it better to not be born? What was the point of it all?
I was afraid of being alone so I got caught up in a relationship with a much older man who basically played me. That added to my depression. Why did men do this? Why do they take advantage of the vulnerable? I was disgusted with the whole prospect of dating. Who can trust them anyway? They only want one thing. They just hurt you in the end! Then there are those who pretend to be your friend but in reality they aren’t. The minute you try to lean on them the branches break. I get into a relationship with another and it didn’t work out because I at least was able to recognize the signs of abuse. But was it? How was I to be sure? Maybe it is just me and I’m just messed up.
I went to Amazon because well Amazon has everything! I searched for books on abusive relationships. I didn’t want one telling me about them. I wanted a book that would be more of an interactive handbook. One that took you beyond telling you about abusive relationships. I wanted to learn how to move on. How to heal. How to function again. How to start over. I found it in a book called It’s My Life Now: Starting over after an abusive relationship or domestic violence by Meg Kennedy Dugan and Roger R. Hock. After each chapter are questions and spaces to put your answers. It makes you sit down and think about what you just read, did this happen to you, and in what ways did it happen. It was the perfect starting place for my journey out of my depressed state.
I first had to learn what is abuse?
- These types of relationships usually involve patterns not a single event (except in some cases). The tension escalates with each passing event.
- They are based off of power and control. They occupy all your time. They isolate you from friends and family.
I want to note here that there are many types of relationships where abuse exists. I use the pronoun “he” because it is easier for me since mine was done by men. I do not mean to exclude other types of abusive relationships. This book covers them all. You can take my “he” and read it however you wish in whatever way it may relate to you!
According to the authors all abusive relationships have these two qualities but the variety of ways they are used is what makes each situation different. In the beginning of the relationship you may not even notice the abuse. Criticisms are brushed off because he was under stress. These issues are rationalized as being a normal part of relationships that you work out. It was your fault he acts the way he does and if you can change then his behavior towards you will get better. Hearing stories of people being murdered or hospitalized would make you feel like yours was not so bad. Yeah I felt all of this and then some.
What really ropes you in is the cycle. They are not abusive all the time. I used say to myself the hurricane was always around the corner. Each time the hurricane came through the abuse got worse. It would get to the point that I would feel like I was walking on eggshells. Afraid to speak. I’d do whatever he says to calm him down. I would even apologize and take the blame for making him hurt me. This would repeat over and over again getting worse and worse living in constant worry about the next outburst. You hope this time it will last but it isn’t.
So turns out yes it was abuse. Next I had to learn the types of abuses I was subjected too.
Did he work to convince you that you were stupid, ugly, or fat? Yes!
Did he persuaded you that no one would ever find someone like you attractive? Yes!
Did he make you feel like it was your fault? Yes!
Did he make you feel like after each explosion you were the one to cause it? Yes!
Did he threaten you if you didn’t do exactly what he wanted? YES!
Here is a partial list of emotional abuse from the book that I highlighted.
- Emotionally misrepresenting
- Not taking care of himself
- Threatening self-injury or suicide (More on this really soon!)
- Threatening to hurt you, your friends, family, or pets
- Controlling you
Very similar to emotional abuse where he may try to change your view of yourself by making you feel worthless, unattractive, stupid, and so forth.
This means he uses your beliefs against you. He used to use forgiveness as a tool to do whatever because God will just forgive him.
It is not just about broken bones, bruises and stitches. Other forms of physical harm include pushing, shoving, grabbing, twisting, throwing, pushing to the floor and so forth. If he were to hit you he may only do it in spots where others cannot see the bruises. I’ve had a few head shots that I think still give me headaches and my jaw cracks sometimes when I eat.
So turns out I have experienced more than one kind of abuse and from more than one man. No wonder the therapist wanted to start me off at four times a month!
I leave you with the fill in questions from the end of the first chapter. I even left my answers in the spaces if you can read my sloppy handwriting. I was just jotting it down at the time for myself but if can be of any help to anyone else by all means squint!