Shhh. Something No One Talks About...
Posted on March 19 2019
“You screwed me over! You screwed me over!” he screamed at me, while slamming his hands on the kitchen counter. Standing six feet away from him, with foggy eyes and tears streaming down my cheeks I switched my gaze from the floor to his face. I couldn’t even articulate words. I stood there. Frozen. I mouthed, “I’m sorry” as I fought back harsh, body jolting sobs. He looked at me, black eyes full of anger, shock, and disbelief. For once, I stood there, staring at him, standing up to him. After what seemed like an eternity, I stepped back and walked to the bedroom closet to retrieve the things I had left there. Breathe in, breathe out. You got this. Don’t fall apart, Lord, please don’t let me fall apart! I begged as I continued to grab my things. With full and shaky arms, I slowly made my way out of the house and down the two wooden steps onto the painted blue floor of the garage with black flecks. I got in my car, buckled my seatbelt. Okay. Okay. It’s okay. I told myself as I shakily put the keys into the ignition and started the engine, tears hot upon my face and snot running out of my nose, the lump building up harder and harder with every second. As soon as I pulled out of the driveway, I saw him in the window, standing there. I knew I had made it. I knew his grasp was no longer on me.
I was almost 21 years old when I met the man I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with. He loved me. He protected me. He made me feel special. He was handsome. There were other ladies who wanted to date him, but he wanted me. Three months after we began dating, he pressured me to move in with him. I knew it wasn’t the way I was raised. My parents didn’t want me to move in with anyone before I was married, but his relentlessness got to be too much and before I knew it, I was unloading my things on his closet shelves—feeling ashamed of how I left things with my parents. He and I's first night together should’ve been my first indication, he didn’t come home until 5:00a because he was out partying with his best friend.
I was almost 22 years old when I realized that the life I thought I would have, I wouldn’t. It took me that long to realize I was living in his world. Because it was a slow progression of alienation, I didn’t see it. I didn’t see that I was constantly telling my friends ‘no’ to hanging out because he didn’t approve of them, or because he didn’t want me out, without him. My life revolved around him, his needs, his house, his business—where he worked, on the road for sometimes two days at a time throughout the week.
I worked a full time job, would come home and do normal things a homemaker would do. But, I worried that the sink would have drip marks I would get yelled at for. I worried his shower floor wasn’t clean enough, or I’d question, did I put the throw pillows on the bed, correctly, before I left for work? Often times, while at work, I’d have a panic attack that I started the dishwasher before I left that morning and wouldn’t have the time to empty it, because he’d get home before me—so I’d run home to empty it on my lunch. As the days went on, I became less than a girlfriend. I became a "lazy" person. I was told I "didn’t deserve" the roof over my head. I needed to work more, help out around the house more. I didn’t get the house clean enough. I worked doing big jobs outside the house without any help. I remember trimming the landscaping and trees around the house with manual shears because I didn’t "deserve" the electric ones because lazy people use them—and when I didn’t do it "correctly" the first time, I had to do it again. When I didn’t do it correctly the second time, I did it a third time. I remember washing the siding on the house with a 20 foot ladder and when he told me I didn’t put enough elbow grease into it, I did it again, by myself.
I was 23 when I had officially lost myself. After a couple years of hearing I wasn't enough, feeling like I burdened my friends and not venting to anyone anymore, I was a shell of a person. I had no fight left. I’d wake up and throw myself in autopilot making sure everything with the house was up to par. I walked around looking for random tasks to be busy and always acted happy and "blessed" to be with him, because he was all I had. Not one person knew the demons I fought each day or how I dreamt of running away from it all…but I didn’t know how, I felt trapped. And the day I gave up and put myself on autopilot was the day the physical started…
I never thought I’d be one of those girls you hear about. But, I remember the first time he shoved me. He was drunk and had just thrown grapes at my face so hard, while calling me every name in the book—and I can’t even tell you why he was so mad. I remember the first day he hit me in the face. I had picked him up from a friends house because he was drunk. He was messing with my gear shifter while I drove, we hit some ice while I was looking down. My car slid and spun out three times before I crashed passenger side first, into a telephone pole. I couldn’t breathe because I was in such shock from crashing… and he hit me. I just sat there in disbelief. I remember the time he shoved me backwards off a five foot ladder because I didn’t use, yet again, the right amount of elbow grease, to get a date night. (I had tasks I had to complete to do fun things, and this one was six hours long). I sat on the concrete floor, with a numb backside and what I thought were broken bones. I quietly sobbed as he berated me, standing over me. Endless nights were filled with him telling me I didn’t measure up. I felt more as a slave to him than anything else. I didn’t know how or when to get out.
The nights grew longer, the oppression more and more, but I was almost 24, when I decided I wanted to go to college, so I asked him. He told me no before ultimately changing his mind and telling me that I would need to move out because I’d no longer be able to focus on housework or him, so I decided against it. How would I live life without him?—but in the end, one drunken night he kicked me out and told me not to come back or set foot on his property. I don't even remember what had set him off that night; and I didn’t see it at the time, but was the best thing he ever did for me.
With my tail between my legs, I headed back to my parents house and enrolled in college. Slowly his grasp began to loosen. I finally got the courage to get my own apartment. He had asked me to move back in several times, but I started to gain strength and remembered what it was like to be a fighter and I FOUGHT. Tooth and nail, I fought for myself and began to get angry back when he would try to dominate me or my thinking. The very last fight we had, we argued over a phone bill. I asked him if I could come over and talk and when I walked in, he was standing in the kitchen, in front of the sink before I look at the floor and said, “I can’t do this anymore”.
I thank God, everyday, that I was able to get away from that man. I know that him giving me the boot the night he was angry, was what I needed, to create distance. I finally realized how much I was capable and I could do it all, without him.
If you are in an abusive relationship, I know how difficult it is and I want to be the first to tell you how incredibly sorry I am. I want to tell you that no matter what, your friends will ALWAYS be there for you, even if you’ve attempted to leave several times before. You got this and I pray for you each day! If you are friends with someone in an abusive relationship, stand by them. I know it’s so hard and frustrating to watch, but your courage and love will help them tremendously—whether you believe it or not. Abuse is a terrible, awful, hurtful thing for all involved, and although I only wrote about a few instances, I packed four and a half years of my relationship into three pages. The abuse I faced happened ten years ago, and I just began talking about it in the last four or five years. Mine began with mental and verbal, but ended with mental, verbal, sexual, and physical. This is heavy post, but if it reaches one person to let them know that they’re loved, that they can do this, and it will be okay—even when it doesn’t feel like it; well, that will be worth it.