October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic Violence isn’t just black eyes, or bruises. It is also emotional abuse, financial control, misusing technology, threatening words or actions, intimidation, pet abuse, and sexual coercion.
Now, you may wonder why i’m writing about this. Well, perhaps it’s time I share my story, as a domestic abuse survivor.
Years ago I found myself in a relationship with what I thought was a great guy. He stepped up when my son’s father left. We were friends for a while, and eventually our relationship became more. Things were good, then the drinking started. He became mean, really mean. Made comments about my weight, my body, just essentially tearing me down.
“You’re used goods.”
“Lose weight and maybe we’ll get married.”
“No one would want you.”
Those were just a few of what I heard on a daily basis. He once called me a trailer trash whore when I was wearing a dress, knee length for a work christmas party. He’d sober up, and apologize the next day. Eventually we decided to move to another state. Promises of change, and better things to come. I was cautious but excited. So we moved. In our new town, I had no one. All my family was where we’d just moved from. It was a huge adjustment. Little did I know what was to come.
In 2010, we faced economic hardships. Somehow it was my fault he had no money. In time our finances improved. In 2011, I worked full time. Made decent money, however he made nearly 3 times what I did a month. Yet he wanted to split everything 50/50. His drinking didn’t let up. Every Sunday and Monday for football, he’d drink a 12-18 pack by himself. That’s absolutely absurd. He refused to give it up. Absolutely refused.
The comments got worse after we moved. They started happening even when he was sober. I was fat, stupid, useless, a b***h, horrible things. He loved to remind me how I’d never find anyone else. He constantly accused me of cheating. Yet he kept in close contact with an ex. The drinking continued. He was still financially crippling me. Then, then things got worse. If I needed help financially, he’d try to control me through sex. He used sex as a weapon, as a tool to control me. Simply because he felt he could.
As things worsened, I knew I needed out. I called my dad, and we made a plan. A plan for me to get out. He took over my car payments, which allowed me to hide that money every month. I walked on eggshells. I was scared for the moment it would turn physical, for it came close a few times. Though, you know what? The emotional scars are far worse. It took me months to save to get out. My boss gave me a huge christmas bonus. With that I was finally able to get out. Living together when the relationship had ended months before was weird. However, on December 31, 2011, I left while he was at work. Friends helped me to get my things out before he got home. He showed up just as I was leaving. He looked at me with shock. I simply told him I was done, that I deserved to be treated better. I walked out. I got out. But the scars, the damage from nearly 3 years of being told I was nothing, that I was useless, that no one would ever love me, that I was fat. Those scars have stayed with me for 9 years. Those scars aren’t so easy to heal.
I got out! Great right? It was, for years! Then, in 2017, I started seeing someone. A few people close to him warned me. I’d seen some concerning things after he proposed, but I ignored them. I ignored the red flags. I wish I hadn’t. I noticed he had a temper. A really bad temper. Again, little did I know the hell that would become my life. I saw the signs. I saw the issues with mental health. I just didn’t know what to do, or how to get out.
He was really good at gaslighting me. Really good. Really good at playing victim. He let others have such an affect on his life, it was disturbing. If someone said something mean or against something he said on facebook, it completely ruined his day. Losing in a video game would set off fits of rage. Rage. Rage like i’d never seen before. How bad was the rage?
Well, here’s a list:
- Snapped a tablet in half
- snapped a laptop in half
- put a mouse through his monitor… twice
- Destroyed his kitchen, broke dishes.
- Ripped a door clean off a travel trailer
- Would send death threats and hate messages to people on PS4, and Facebook
He would gaslight, and then turn the entire conversation around to make me the villain. He’d accuse me of cheating. He’d be angry and cry if I didn’t answer my phone when he called. He made suicidal threats, suicidal ideation. Anytime he’d get angry, he’d say, “no one cares, so i’m going to kill myself.” It was an all the time statement. I tried to convince him to get help. I tried to help. I tried, but walking on eggshells gets old. Being cussed at, screamed at, and pushed in a rage became too much.
He came at me physically twice. That was it for me. Absolutely never acceptable.How do you live like that? How can you marry someone like that?? His dad was abusive towards his mother. He swore he’d never hit me, but honestly, it was a matter of time, that was evident. He lived on the west coast, while I lived on the east. It made distancing myself easy. Unfortunately I was not prepared for the hell that was about to be unleashed upon me or my family.
My March 2018, I was done. I didn’t want to marry, I didn’t want to be together. I expressed my concerns, and told him he needed mental health help. He said ok, but never made any effort. In August 2018, something happened as a result of something HE did. He called me, cussing me out, blaming me, calling me an idiot, useless, all sorts of names, namely C**t. That was his favorite thing to call me. Again, instead of taking responsibility, he played victim. I was done. I wanted out, so I told him I was done. I was done with the suicide ideation, anger, with the temper issues, with having to walk on eggshells so I didn’t set him off. I was tired of living in fear. I’d never in my life been afraid of a man, but him, I feared him. I feared him because I knew his temper and rage, I knew what he was capable of. I still underestimated him and the hell that would arise.
I was done with the suicide ideation, and threats. Now this may sound heartless. I lost a close friend to suicide in August 2018. So his constant threats, and comments were draining. They were too much. In September 2018, I officially ended things. I couldn’t live like that anymore. The walking on eggshells every day, it was just too much.
To say he didn’t take it well is an understatement. It set off a chain of events none of which I was prepared for. Upon ending things, all the feelings of love from him became hatred. He hated me, and he was vocal about it. I was called horrible vile names. “C**t, “F*****g W***r, B***h, and so on. Every day. He threatened to kill me, threatened my family members. He created fake accounts on various social media to contact me threatening me. He was extremely vocal about his hatred of me on facebook, yet facebook not once took down his page. It was infuriating. I had to make screenshots of everything he sent me. It wasn’t easy, but I had to. Eventually we had to call the police both in my town and his. He literally laughed in the officer’s face. It became so much worse.
Threat after threat. Fake profiles to harass me, using his mom’s phone, and facebook to harass me. Using any means necessary. Through all this one thing remained. I escaped this. I escaped the escalation. I escaped the fists, the black eyes, the bruises. I got out. He did this for over a year. A year.. A FREAKING YEAR he did this. I had to hide and lock all social media, change my number, hide my address on local pages. I had to go into hiding so he couldn’t find me to threaten me even more. It’s been over a year since he last messaged me. A year of peace. A year of working on myself, repairing the scars from the abuse. Not just from him, but from before him. The emotional scars are the worst. Healing from that level of abuse is not easy. Learning my self worth, and confidence has been a slow progress. Learning to love myself is a slow slow progress. Learning to know and remember that I AM WORTHY is the hardest. Counseling has helped.
I don’t talk about this much. It’s hard. It’s hard to acknowledge that I was in not one, but two abusive relationships. It’s hard to come to terms with it, but I am. I got out. I got out alive. Before it escalated to physical abuse. I’m one of the lucky ones in that sense, however the emotional scars are still healing. The pain is still there. Sometimes I get scared he’ll find me. Sometimes I feel stupid for even thinking that, but it’s a real thought as a survivor. I’m a survivor of mental/emotional abuse, intimidation, physical abuse, and more. I’m a survivor of domestic violence. This is my story. This is my strength. This is me. This is me, a survivor, rising from the ashes.