I am a big fan of documentaries. I have to limit myself on the ones about crime and murder. I research everything I see that is based on a true story. So to give you an example of how lost I get in the story, last year I studied Columbine. I was young when it happened so I didn’t really understand much about it. I studied what happened for a good two weeks. I read the two kids journals, I watched all of the videos that were still around to watch, saw all of the pictures and read the testimonies of the survivors. I tried to put myself in the place of those two boys to try to understand why they did what they did. Believe me, it had nothing to do with video games. I ended up in a deep depressive state for about a month because of how lost I got in this story.
The reason I’m saying all of this is because I recently watched a few documentaries about sexual assault, stalkers and so on. I keep noticing similarities in them. Most, not all, of these cases start out with a woman thinking she’s protected and nothing bad could ever happen to her. She feels secure and she put her trust in this other person. It starts with a lie and leads to control. I decided to share parts of my story to maybe bring awareness to these things. My story isn’t as bad as many others are. I think that’s mostly due to the family I had that could see things before I did. Even though I didn’t listen right away, I still had something to fall back on when I realized how right they were. A lot of my family and friends do not know my full story or even some of what I’m willing to tell and because of that I can’t write about it all. I will let you guys fill in the blanks.
My first real relationship started a never ending roller-coaster. It was my first experience with love or what I thought love was. When control is all you know of love, that’s what you begin to expect from it. You stop seeing the bright light at the end of the tunnel. You settle because you’re just not good enough for anything better. All the love stories you see on TV become so unrealistic. It becomes laughable that anyone thinks that could ever actually exist. I’m sure there are other things that happened in my life that made love seem horrible but I’d rather not go into all of that.
Everything was good for the first 3 months of this relationship. 3 months was all it took for him to feel like he had power over me. I lost one of my best friends because of him. I didn’t know until a few months later that he was telling all of my male friends to stay away from me. I still don’t know if I was angrier that my friends didn’t come to me and tell me what he was doing or that he thought he had the right to do that in the first place. If I would have known at the beginning I could have stopped it. I would have ended it. That’s what I use to tell myself at least. Once you feel like you’re alone, though, your options start to run out.
About 6 months later (maybe more) he started doing the same thing to my female best friend but in different round about ways. He would try to make me hate her or put lies in my head. Luckily, my friend and I had been through way too much to not trust each other. There were times we did fight over it but we always worked it out. I think he hated that more than anything. He’d get so close to his goal and fail over and over again. Some things in this story are better left unsaid but eventually our relationship became nothing but fights. I made him miserable for what he had done to me and he was losing all control. We finally ended it after 2 years. That was probably the easiest part of our entire relationship. In most cases, that’s the hardest.
Years later, after many failed relationships and one failed marriage I was contacted by someone I went to school with. I didn’t know much about him, not anymore at least. I only knew him in school for about 2 weeks before he moved. We talked for a while on social media just catching up.
The next day he asked for my phone number and he’d text me all day. If I didn’t reply within a certain amount of time he’d get “worried.” For a couple of weeks our conversations stayed pretty normal. There was talk about possibly dating but we had to meet (again) first. We set up a day and time to meet. He ended up being over an hour late. Other than that it wasn’t too bad. It was awkward for sure but nothing really out of the norm. We decided we’d try this dating thing out.
He had a job that kept him out of the state often. So the text continued and him being worried continued. So much so that he asked for the password to all of my known accounts. I put up a fight on that one but he won in the end. His famous words, “If you aren’t hiding anything then what are you so worried about?” Again, I was completely naive to what he was pulling me into. One day I stopped replying to his messages. I honestly don’t remember why. Maybe I was just busy that day or I didn’t want to talk to him. Next thing I know my home phone starts to ring. I pick it up and it was him. I never gave him my home phone number. I never gave him my address. He starts to yell at me and all I can think about is how he got this number. I ignored everything he was saying by trying to figure out that one simple thing. That was a private number. Eventually the words came out of my mouth and I asked. He said, “I have ways of finding out everything.” He continued with, “What were you doing? Who were you with? Why haven’t you answered me?”
There were countless days like that. It just got worse and worse the longer I let it continue. I did fight back but that was never enough. It was always my fault. Eventually, I was reminded every day of what a disappointment I was. I was a whore, a screw up, good for nothing and no one on earth could ever love me, be happy with me or find any worth in me. He’d say those things and then come back later and tell me how he’s the only man that would care for me the way I deserved. This was his way of controlling me. After you hear the same thing over and over again you start to believe it. That’s just how our brains work. I believe it was the 4th time I saw him I found out that he was married. I bet you didn’t see that one coming. He played it off and told me they were separated. He was really good at convincing me of anything. That one, I had a hard time believing. It wasn’t long after that his wife found out about me and contacted me. She gave me this long story of how I wasn’t the first girl and that they never separated. Turns out, she was just as messed up as him. Once her friendliness wore off, she started to threaten me.
This is the part where you’ll have to fill in the blanks. After finding out he was married I thought about leaving him. Strange that of all things that is what made me want to leave. He knew I was at that point and decided to take away my choice. Afterwards, he looked me in my eyes and said, “You’ll never be able to leave now. Even if you try you’ll be stuck with me for the rest of your miserable life.” For the next month I thought that was true. This is when the isolation fully started. I distanced myself from my friends first, then my family. That’s when my family fought back and they fought back hard. I tried to ignore all of these people who just wanted to help me. They knew at that point that nothing was okay in my world. I was convinced that I wasn’t worth helping.
During this whole thing my son had been protected. The only thing that bothered him was seeing his mother breaking more and more every day. The day I decided to leave was the day I felt like my son was in danger. He never put a hand on my son but what happened that day made me realize that it wasn’t impossible for him to do so. I quickly put my son in my car to drive him to a safe place. This guy tried to jump in the car and begged me not to leave. They always play nice after screwing up so bad. I didn’t care what happened to him at that point so I kept driving until he wasn’t around my car anymore and the passenger door shut. Maybe an hour later I drove back to take him somewhere away from me. He tried to say he was sorry. He tried to make up for everything. I wasn’t buying it but I had my family there shortly after to make sure that I was strong. That day felt like it’d never end.
Once you think the hell is over, it’s not. Not even two days later he began to stalk me. I was afraid to go anywhere by myself. He wrote or emailed every person I knew and even people that he thought I was still friends with. He’d tell them how horrible I was or he’d ask if they knew where I was. He’d write me nasty things constantly and it got worse after he saw pictures of me at my friends party. He changed my phone number (not sure how he did that one); he changed my password to everything I had outside of the email that he kept sending me messages on. He’d tell any guy that he thought would be interested in me at all that I was a whore and still messing around with him. The list goes on and on. After about a month of that the messages slowed down. It didn’t matter how many times I told him to leave me alone. I’d block him on social media and then he’d make a new profile to contact me with. I believe the last message I got from him was about 6 months later.
I’ve been free of him for 5 years now but I still struggle with certain things. It’s not as bad as it use to be and I can go weeks without having problems. I have a fear of losing people that I love because of what I went through. Not so much that they will go away but more because I don’t feel worthy of their love or support. I’ve made progress though and that’s important. Progress reminds us that we aren’t doomed to fail.
These are comments from the people in my life that noticed my change.
“I had to open the large image up, saw it on your wall and thought “no thats not…” Nice change though”
“omg you actually wacked your bangs…thought you would never do that..”
“you need to put some weight on little one. Love you”
“just cause you are doing fine dosent mean you couldn’t use some more on those bones”
Abuse comes in different forms and we mold ourselves accordingly. It could be something as simple as losing weight or having a new hair style. Of course there are times when we just want change and there’s nothing at all to worry about. Pay attention to how fast things change and how drastic of a change it is. How often the change keeps happening. Pay attention to their attitude toward life or anything for that matter. Most importantly, pay attention to isolation. The number one goal of an abuser is to isolate their target. Once that happens, they feel like they have free reign, more power and all of the control.
You also have to remember that once the survivor is free they will not go back to normal right away. Chances are they don’t even know what normal is anymore. If you want to be the person that helps them get through all of this, you have to be prepared to stay up until 4 AM some nights. You have to be ready to hear them cry for hours and have no idea what triggered it. Days that you can’t touch them. Days they will be offended by a simple look you give them. Countless days that they will wonder why you’re still around because everyone knows they don’t deserve you. Days they will treat you like complete garbage to try to push you as far away from them as they can. Days that they’d rather end it all. Don’t pity them because that will make it worse, but simply be there for them. Even if that means sitting in the same room with them just so they know that you aren’t going anywhere. I had my person and I’m sure I put him through complete hell. But he proved to me that I am worthy of love and the harder I pushed him away the harder he fought to stay. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and no matter what you face in life, you have to always remember that.
Thank you for reading another part of my story and I really do hope that this one will be helpful to someone else.