October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The link above has some excellent examples of domestic abuse - which doesn't always present as 'violence' per se, but it sucks nonetheless.
If any of the things on that list sound familiar, walk away.
When I was 17, I was in a relationship with a burgeoning alcoholic. Fun guy for the most part, but every once in a while, he wasn't. Like the time, out of the blue, he slapped me across the face hard enough to leave a handprint. And then said he was just kidding around and didn't mean to hit me so hard. Lucky for me, I went away to college and by the beginning of my sophomore year, I woke up and ended the relationship. Years late, I ran into the gal he dated after me. He broke her arm.
I vowed to never stay with a man who hit me even once. I told a boyfriend in college that if he ever hit me, it would be the last thing he did. He laughed and asked what I, a girl, could ever do to him. I said 'not a thing' and then listed all of the big dudes I was close friends with and reminded him that they would happily kick his lily-white ass. "Tim and Matt would kill you, and then there's Mike and Chris and Jim and..." Well, he got the point. The relationship didn't last long after that.
I thought I had it covered. But I didn't think beyond the physical abuse. I never dreamed I would endure psychological and emotional abuse. So when it came, I didn't think to walk away from abuse that doesn't leave a visible mark.
The extreme possessiveness. The constant put-downs. The never-ending efforts to shut me away from friends and family. The insane jealousy. The bizarre accusations. All the ways he tried to make me feel stupid. And the ways he controlled even what I wore and how my hair was cut. He even made he feel bad about reading books because it took my attention away from him.
I woke up. I got away. Then about a month after I escaped him, we crossed paths in our cars as I was leaving a store and he was pulling in. He whipped a u-turn and pulled up behind me at a stop light. As soon as the light turned green, I was out of there like a shot. I hopped on the freeway, even though it wasn't on my way, and sped like a bat out of hell toward the exit where I knew there was a state police post. With him on my tail the whole way. At the offramp, I caught a redlight and there he was in the right turn lane next to me, yelling for me to roll my window down. I whipped right and then floored it. Ran the next light that had just turned red and a mile later finally pulled into the police parking lot. I was ready to grab the Kid and run inside, but I must've lost him in traffic or he saw where I went and thought better of catching me there. I never said a word to the Kid. I just told her we were taking one of our usual drives and when we stopped at the police post, I simply said something like 'this is where the state police live' all cheery while my hands were shaking and my heart was pounding. I think he got the point because I never saw or heard from him again.
Years later, I found Hubs. A most excellent man who would never dream of doing any of the things on that list. And who would happily go back in time and kick the living shit out of those bastards. But even after all the years away from those abusers, I still find myself jumping at shadows and apologizing for nothing (which Hubs reminds me I don't have to apologize for) and cringing when I think I might've said something wrong.
The asshole didn't need to lay a hand on me and I still have PTSD from being with him. I still have the occasional nightmare starring him.
Don't let any man do that to you. It's abuse. Whether he lays a hand on you or not. Whether you're visibly abused. Whether he said he was just joking. Whether you think you did something to deserve it. Whether he promises to never do it again. Whether you feel like you love him or he loves you. Love isn't supposed to be that way. It isn't that way. I know that now.
So, please, if you suspect you might be or know you are in an abusive relationship, find a way to get yourself out of it. And if you can't do it alone, seek help. You deserve better.
::HUGS:: You were brave to get out. And braver still to take a chance on a new man. Luck smiled on you when she put Hubs in your path. I had an abusive boyfriend who was also an alcoholic. He tried to control me emotionally and when those particular subtleties didn't work, he got mad one night and threw his shoe at me. Then he tried to take me down to the floor. He forgot that one of my part-time jobs (I lived in Colorado and had three part-time jobs to supplement my day job so I could afford to live there as a single woman) was with CSPD Community Serives, teaching self defense to women. I also had a weapon. I got away from him, got to my bedroom and grabbed my .357. It was big, stainless steel, and when he stared down the barrel of it, he took a moment to reflect. Which gave me time to call police dispatch. I held that pistol on him for 4 minutes and 38 seconds. I remember the exact time to this day because if he so much as twitched, I was pulling the trigger. The two cops who showed at my door were friends. (I ended up dating, though not seriously, one of them later.) The now ex-boyfriend wasn't arrested. I would have pressed charges but the guys beat the crap out of him. Two weeks later, he was dating someone new and two months later, they moved to Houston.ReplyDelete
Hang in there with the PTSD. It's a bitch. But Hubs is one to ride the river with and life is sweet for you now.
Hugs to you and all abuse victims. I'm glad you got free and found Hubs!ReplyDelete
(The blog reader *finally* let me in again. I may be an intermittent visitor until they get their act together.)