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Thread: #maybe he doesn't hit you

  1. #1
    cedarshake Guest

    #maybe he doesn't hit you

    I am 28 years old women with a university education with a double major and a minor with distinction. I am smart, curious, fun loving, laugh easily. Before I met my abusive partner I considered myself extremely independent. I lived in my van, had a good paying job, followed my dreams. I travelled around the world, living day by day with big dreams for the future. I have no dark secrets, I never lied and I never burnt bridges. I always got compliments and high references on any job, from labour intensive to scholarly. I am a strong caring woman and my friends and family will attest to that. I truly believed the classic words “I never thought it could happen to me”.

    Firstly, it sneaks up on you. Love struck like a slap in the face. I was bowled over. He was fantastic, to have someone like him, interested in me. I have been in love before, but never so completely willing to give myself up to anyone in that way. I believed this was about growing up and finding “the one”. He asked me to work abroad with him mere days after we started dating. I said yes, as this was a fantastic opportunity to go to a foreign country and gain work experience. I dropped everything and went to meet him halfway around the world.

    Many women who are emotionally abused will tell you that at first, it’s the little things that make you uncomfortable, the tiniest red flags. But the positives in the relationship always outweigh the negatives.

    In my story, these red flags were so insignificant, they were barley a bleep on my radar. He started calling me every minute we were not together. At the grocery store, driving to work, out for lunch with a friend. If not a call, constant texting. He would look over my shoulder while I texted and ask who I was talking to. These things are innocent, they can be taken so lightly as he is just wanting to know what I am up to, he is interested in what I am doing.

    Slowly, things started to change, so gradually it is hard to put my finger on when it started to get out of control. Perhaps it is when he asked me to stop talking to all my guy friends, especially old boyfriends I remained friends with. He started to screen my messages, asking what I was talking about to my friends, if he could take a look and how he didn’t want to me to talk to them about our relationship or what we were doing. We spent every waking minute together. He was having problems and I needed to “help him through this tough time” never spending a minute apart not even going to the bathroom alone.

    Being in a foreign country he isolated me from meeting anyone. He said that the people we lived with “triggered” him and I couldn’t talk to them and he couldn’t be alone. He manipulated me into quitting my job so I could make sure he was okay while he was working. I was put into countless situations where I had to lie for him, which made me extremely uncomfortable, to the point where I would shake and shiver so badly right in front of people. I lost my appetite, my smile, my friendliness, my fun and my shine.

    As I am writing this, it seems so absurd that I let things go so far. I never had any illusions that I could “fix” him or that he was healthy person to be around. I just thought it would change, or that I could live with it. Whenever I brought these things up he always had excellent reasons for asking me to do things I would have never dreamed of doing.

    After we arrived back in our home country, I started to think that this relationship was unhealthy. After 6 months of not talking to any of my friends, not working, not having any substantial human contact with anyone. I was confused about my place in the world. I was in debt, supporting us with my credit card and I didn’t have nickel to my name. My parents would have swept me away in a heart-beat. Why did I stay for the extra seven months?

    Stockholm syndrome? Did I fall in love and want to protect my captor? Was it that I had always wanted someone to be my partner who shared the love of the outdoors as fiercely as I did? Did I really believe he would “get better” and stop his myriad of excuses, lies, manipulations and abuse?

    It was simply this: For every bitter moment, there was ten other moments that were delicious and satiated me in every way.

    In my story, the abuse in the relationship was outweighed by those delicious moments and I never had time to reflect on the bad because I was surrounded by him every second of every day. He had all the power and control. No one would have ever guessed the struggles I was going through.

    He had a mental illness, and he was straight up with it from the beginning. I would never leave someone for their sickness. However, he used this as leverage and as an excuse to isolate me, yell at me, call me names, throw things, threaten suicide and put me in mortal danger.

    You have to understand. After 10 months of sleep deprivation, anxiety, fear, stress, isolation and always being with that person you don’t have time to think about the relationship you are in. You are in survival mode. Making sure that every minute you must please your partner so they don’t yell, throw things, try to jump out of the car, drive recklessly, lock themselves in the bathroom with a lethal dose of medication, threaten suicide and act on they suicidal threats. You do not have time to ask yourself how you are doing, and if you do, you will start the abusive cycle all over again.

    After 11 months of swirling into debt, we had to go back to work. His outbreaks got worse. I would look at someone, wave to someone, talk about someone, say just one thing out of place. This would cause hours of yelling, screaming and threatening then finally calming down, guilting me to have sex with him and then finally getting to sleep. This happened every day.

    Once I got time alone starting my new job, things started clicking into place. I was able to talk to my mother on the phone without supervision. I snuck to therapist appointments to discuss these problems. I was able to break out of this abusive fog and see what was going on.

    Somehow, I started seeing clearer and clearer. The more I woke up, the worse the abuse got. He would stalk and harass me at work, swear and call me names in front of my co-workers. He threw a fit if I did not say “I love you” loud enough in-front of my co-workers or if I didn’t make a big show of noticing him when he visited my workplace. He demanded I lie to my boss so I could take days off to spend time with him.

    In the end, it took a counsellor talking me through every type of abuse to establish that he was in-fact abusing me. At this point, 13 months into my story I was oblivious to the abuse I was experiencing. I had experienced nearly every one of the major abuse categories. Emotional, financial, psychological, physical, verbal, sexual, social and intellectual abuse*.

    I would love to say that breaking up with him was easy. I told him we were over. He attempted suicide and I had to stay with him for 24 hours in the psyc. ward while his mother flew up on a plane to take care of him. That was probably the worst 24 hours of my life. How he begged and pleaded the he could change. He stole my keys, wallet and jacket so I couldn’t leave him in the hospital. I had to use every ounce of my depleted will power to not change my mind. I would love to say that I did not waiver in my resolve. But I did. Many times over that past 24 hours, but my parents came, swept me away to my home town and helped to get back onto my feet.

    It took me two weeks to stop worrying that I was going to hear that he had killed himself over me. It took me three weeks to start eating more than a meal a day. It has taken me many more to overcome my anxiety and trauma that he has left me with. So far the anxiety, trauma and stress is still there, in full force, good days and bad.

    When I look back at this story I think of a few things that would have made a big difference for me. To get out of this abusive relationship faster.

    1. I went to over 15 doctors, councillor and therapist appointments with him, and not a single practitioner pulled me aside and asked me if I was O.K. Even when I spoke up in appointments asking about his abusive behaviour.
    2. I never knew that there was women’s counselling centres in my town that are there for exactly my needs.
    3. There were many public and work related displays of his abuse, and no one ever asked or mentioned what was going on.
    4. Abuse is REAL. My partner never laid a hand on me. I almost wish he did because I would have walked away much much sooner in the relationship.
    5. If you ever find yourself in an abusive relationship, do not worry about your partner. Call 911 and let the police sort out the mess. It is no longer yours to deal with.

    I think as a society we are afraid to get into each others business. My final note is this: If you ever notice a friend or a co-worker change their attitude significantly when their partner is around, please just ask if everything is all right and if they need to talk to someone. I didn’t even open up to the person that asked me if I was okay, it just made me realized that his treatment was not acceptable. It made a big difference to me and I know it would make a difference to another person in an isolated relationship.

  2. #2
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    Hi Cedarshake...

    Can relate. Still many years later I feel shocked at how easily I was hooked in and manipulated by my ex. If anyone had told me or others that I would become the target of an abusive man no one would have believed it.

    Until I experienced it first hand I always at some level felt that my strong sense of self preservation, education and judgement would enable me to spot a 'wrong-one' at a thousand paces. Not so. It was like I entered into a hypnotic trance - think I was so focused on trying to make things work that I lost my ability to rise above the turmoil long enough to see the true picture of what was happening. Like many before me I also in hindsight see that I enabled his behaviour...did not respond to him as an adult...an adult who had every reason to be angry about the way he was treating me. Instead I came from a position of weakness...encouraged and cajoled...lived in hope that if I only found the right approach I would be able to change his behaviour, make him love and treat me well.

    Yep...can sure relate to ylour story...the complex and powerful layers and forces that keep people trapped in toxic relationships. I am so glad that you are now safe and able to focus on healing from the tough stuff you have shared.
    Rest in my arms precious child; cradled and warm. You are safe. The war is over.

  3. The following 3 users say thank you to Jane for this useful post:

    Catalyst4Change (02-10-2017),Nikki 2 (03-05-2017),weepingwillow (01-31-2017)

  4. #3
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    Sorry you found yourself in such situation.
    Wish I had more to say regards to that.

    5. If you ever find yourself in an abusive relationship, do not worry about your partner. Call 911 and let the police sort out the mess. It is no longer yours to deal with.
    Speaking for myself...
    I have.
    I was hit, ended up going to hospital for x rays cause I couldn't use my arm well after he slammed it in the door as I was trying to escape.
    Police did NOT at all sort out the mess.
    It was still mine to deal with but now he knew I has betrayed him and sought help and neighbors would tell on me that Police had been around.
    No one looked to arrest him.
    Never been so fricken scared I was gonna die except now he knew I may harm him by getting him arrested or such, so maybe I then would die.
    Police heard my story.
    The had no idea what was going on.
    Discouraged me from going to hospital, I had to inisist.

    I suppose we all got to decide what is best for ourself and that is not gonna be same for all.
    Yet, calling police and no one rescuing/helping me, made me doubt I had any right to not get abuse.
    Made me feel like a nusance who simply complained.
    (A future incident was a bit more validating as the ER did nice job documenting all my contusions carefully, no police were involved in that one, I gave up on getting insulted by them by then...as I made more than one failed attempt to get help via police.)

  5. The following 4 users say thank you to Sunfl0wer for this useful post:

    Catalyst4Change (02-10-2017),Jane (02-01-2017),Nikki 2 (03-19-2017),weepingwillow (01-31-2017)

  6. #4
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    Well spoken. Thanks for taking the time to type this out. I can relate for the most part as I was the one my friends & family knew wouldn't stay caught up in something of this nature, yet I did.

    I do agree with Sunfl0wer about the police. Every situation is different. My current situation had helpful police, however none of my others including my childhood h*ll did. Each person's instincts about their situation are vital to making safe choices.

    Working on getting my shine back as well.

    for you

  7. The following 2 users say thank you to Catalyst4Change for this useful post:

    Jane (03-05-2017),Sunfl0wer (02-10-2017)

  8. #5
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    so relate to your experiences. I also moved countries to be with my abuser. I was also well-educated with a good career etc.
    Like you it took a long time before I finally got any real help from the police and like you I have felt badly let down by counsellors etc who did not recognise I was dealing with an extremely toxic and dangerous person. It has been a long, hard journey but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    : A rose for you.
    A Butterfly for your freedom and a new life!

  9. The following user says thank you to Nikki 2 for this useful post:

    Jane (03-05-2017)

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