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I do need to warn some of you that this post will be a trigger for some, as I am going to share where I have been. If you feel you can handle it, please keep reading. If not, I ask you stop reading here. Please keep in mind there are key things I am opting to leave out at this point, as I have to keep some measure of anonymity.
When my abuser and I first moved in together, he was normal enough. He seemed loving, thoughtful, considerate, and dare I say compassionate. Within a few months, he was becoming short with me and criticizing everything I did, including where I had the microwave on the counter. He would yell at me for not having it pushed up against the wall and move it back, at which point I would promptly pull it forward. Then he started rearranging my things, because I didn’t have them in the right spot. Petty, unimportant. Attribute it to having to get used to someone else being in your space and move on. What I didn’t know at the time was there was to be no moving on. The disagreements escalated, and he became nasty: name-calling, threats, accusing me of doing ridiculous things that are not in my character.
Then one day that fall, it finally happened. I was getting ready for work, and I had just finished putting makeup on like I always had. I start to turn around, and he barges his way into the bathroom. “Who are you wearing that for?” he hissed. Now that I look back on it, telling him he was crazy probably was not the smartest thing to do, but seriously?! I started to walk out of the bathroom, and grabbed me, spun me around, and threw me against the bathroom wall. He was seething with rage, screaming at me, calling me a whore and demanding to know who I was going to see. Before I could move, he pushed me all the way back against the wall, stomped on my feet, and proceeded to choke me until I almost passed out. I do not remember how long he did this, but I do remember looking at him, my head turned to the left, and this foreign gurgling noise coming from my throat. I remembered the light pouring in the window from behind him and how I was so surprised that his face was shrouded in shadow. He ripped his hands away from my neck and stood there in front of me, his chest heaving, nostrils flaring, eyes burning holes in me. Without warning, he pulled back his arm and hit me in the chest.
I was in shock. Who was this person? Did this just really happen? It was like my brain just shut down, and all I could do was stand there staring. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t move. What must have been mere minutes felt like an eternity. He pushed me out the bathroom door and told me to change my shirt — the first of countless marks to come — and go to work. I couldn’t tell you what happened the rest of the day; I spent most of it in a daze.
Unlike a lot of stories I have read, this was not a slow descent into his madness. It opened Pandora’s Box and unleashed everything on me relentlessly for the next four years. The only change was it worsened over time. He started to rip my clothes and break things; the first thing was an alarm clock my parents bought. He did it during one of his many “stalking” phone calls when I was work. When I came home, the dresser was cleared off onto the floor, and the clock lay mangled on the carpet. Just weeks after he first choke me, he discovered his favorite place to hit me was in the head. He would push me in corner, knock me on the floor, and start yelling at me when I put my arms up trying to protect my head and face as best I could.
One he started running the streets, he started stealing from me. The first time he went out, he got into my purse, took my debit card and disappeared. When he came home, he had put my account $1000 in the hole, and the bank made me pay it back. Bills backed up, rent became late. I lost my life insurance, and credit cards that were maxed out got cut off. The first time I fought back was when I told him he wasn’t leaving the house with my money. Obviously, he disagreed. He grabbed my purse and started to reach for my wallet. This turned into a brawl which ended with him getting my card and tearing out of the apartment, the purse shredded, its former contents strewn about the apartment, and me bruised up with what was to become a normal pounding headache.
The phone gets shut off, electric is on its way. Eviction number one. I wish we never got that car. He turned it into the dope-mobile. We stayed in a hotel for several weeks, until he got arrested, and I was staying with someone. He called collect and ran up a nice phone bill that I had to cover. When he got out, he showed up and got me in the car and took off.
We ended up staying in a dingy, sub-par building, and he continued to punish me. My ride to work was late one day, and he forced back up the stairs and punched me in head hard enough that my head bounced off the wall. He asked to have one of my co-workers stop at the store on the way home from work one night, and I was gone too long. When I walked in the door, he ripped the bags out of my hands and kicked me from the kitchen into the living room. The rest of it was a blur, but I remember being thrown into a glass table (that somehow failed to break), and stand up to a stereo being hurled at my head. He grabbed me and threw me on the couch and hit me several times, dragged me on the floor and kicked me in the side and screamed at me when I could not get up right away. Then he planted me in the chair at the desk and forced me to let him go through my email with him standing over me, slapping me and punching the back of my head.
His drug abuse worsened. He started bringing dirty, shifty street people in the house. He accused me of screwing them, too. He started to sell DVDs and electronics that I paid for, obviously, because he didn’t have a job. Eventually that wasn’t enough, and he started helping dealers so he could get free stuff.
Eviction number two. I managed to scrape up enough money for a nice place, and we were there a month.
Eviction number three. We stayed at a hotel for several weeks. During this time, he got me to leave my job. We were supposed to be moving out of state. Fortunately for me, the job I would have had was rescinded, but it also meant I was trapped with him all day, every day.
And still the violence worsened. He had taken to hitting my head in the middle of the night and starting arguments over delusions he had. I had no privacy left; he even made me shower and go to the bathroom with the door open. If I dared close it, it meant that I was hiding something. He would attack me in the shower. When I was cooking. Watching TV.
Someone helped him get the next apartment. Here is where I suffered the most. He turned it into his party house, and he outright tormented me. He started slamming my head against door frames until my ears bled, profusely. He started pushing me down and dragging me around by my hair. Punching me in the stomach. Beating my legs with wood and metal bars, which caused me to have to use a cane for two winters. I still have repercussions from this. He had knives stashed around the apartment. He had weapons I didn’t know about.
He beat me to get my 401K, and I relented after a few hours, because I wanted it to stop, and I wanted him to leave. He would beat me with his dirty, drugged up friends sitting on my couch downstairs, because I told him to get the trash out in the dumpster where it belonged. He started having his dizzy drug-crazed street women trick for free drugs so he could continue to binge. He threatened to poison me, after previously threatening to cut me up in pieces and bury me in the woods. He threatened to kill my father. One day he called me over saying he had something to show me, and he promptly put a handful of bullets in my face. Just because I show you the bullets, it doesn’t mean the gun is in the apartment.
And still his drug abuse worsened. Eviction number four. We tried to stay with someone, but we ended up sleeping in the car. We finally found a place, and things just kept right on plummeting. The last night in this apartment was too traumatic to go into great detail about. I will say I did not sleep, which was a normal occurrence. From 9:30 that night until 7:45 the next morning, he terrorized me. I had a hammer waved in my face, was back against the wall and punched in the head repeatedly. Hit in the side with what I think was the knife sharpener. Threatened with a 2 x 4 he pulled from the closet. Backed up against the wall and slapped across the face. Hit in the face with a shoe. Punched over and over in the head. When he tired of using his fist, he grabbed a can out of the kitchen cupboard and repeatedly hit me in the head with that. He also waved a switchblade in my face and had it pointed at my throat before I left for work.
For now, this is where I will leave off. The aftermath will have to be detailed another day. I will say that I fortunate that I never ended up in the hospital. I learned ways of wrestling free and blocking his blows. Who knows, however, what damage there is. I have issues I know are related directly to him.
At any rate, I made it out. But it wasn’t on my own. As you may be able to infer from caption I put under the photo.
Feel free to share what you learn here. The silence has to stop.