Monday, November 23, 2009

Is This Really Abuse?

It's been two years. Two years of climbing the ladder to heal my heart, soul, mind, and body.

Two years ago, I finally stood up for myself. I never thought of myself as a weak person, but after 6 months of evaluating my long-term relationship with a man I lived with, I realized how weak I truly had become.

I allowed him to take over my mind. I believed he loved me despite his actions showing me differently. I believed the words that came out of his mouth about me being fat, ugly, and that I was a bitch. Truth is, I wasn't any of that, until I started to believe him.

He knew one of the many reasons I left college was because an ex-boyfriend had pushed my head against a brick wall during an argument, slapped me in front of many of my so-called "friends" and finally stalked and harrassed my best friend and I. I thought because he knew this information, he wouldn't touch me in an angry manner. I thought wrong.

The first instance happened in Oct '05. Looking back on it now, I should have left then. We returned to his apartment after a night of drinking and him disappearing and got into an argument about him leaving a girlfriend of mine and I. He grabbed my arm and pulled me back to talk to him. I got angry and yelled that he will never touch me like that again. I wish I could say that was the last of it. It seems so small to some, but I was once told, "Abuse starts with small instances. Be careful. If you stay and it ever gets worse, get out."

I have so many regrets looking back and thinking about every chance I had to get out and I didn't.

Things seemed to be fine after that for some time. I was convinced at that point that he wasn't going to touch me like that again. The one thing I didn't pay attention to was the lack of respect I got from him, the name calling, the bad mouthing behind my back that I eventually came across on his myspace. Of course it hurt, but I, like so many other young women, believed that I could change him. I believed if he could just see how much I cared about him and how much I was willing to do for him, he would change and become the man I thought he was when I first fell for him.

April 2006, he proved me wrong. Right before Easter, we went out drinking. We came home as he moved in with me two months prior, got in bed and fell asleep. I woke up to something that didn't sound right. He was standing at the edge of my brand new bed peeing on my apartment floor. I got angry. I yelled telling him to go to the bathroom. He said he was in the bathroom. He apparently was so drunk that he did not know where he was. Next thing I knew, he was back in bed and we are arguing about him peeing on the floor. Two seconds later, I'm laying in his urine. He had kicked me off my bed and I fell into the exact spot where he urinated. I stood up angry and yelling. The next part flashes through my head regularly nearly four years later. He got out of bed, started strangling me pushing me on the bed. I'm hitting him, trying to get him off me, trying to defend myself. He scratched me, punched me, strangled me. I had marks on my arms, I had bruised ribs so much so that it hurt to breathe or even move, I had red scratch marks up and down my breasts for weeks. My roommate at the time got out of bed when I screamed for her help and she stood there at the doorway doing nothing.

I didn't keep quiet about this. I told people, I told people I thought would help me, I talked to my best friend/roommate and the responses I got were astounding. One person I told said I probably deserved it. Then again, this was coming from a cheating, manipulative cocaine addict. I didnt' take much of what he said to heart. My roommate told me I was hitting him too so I'm not innocent. I actually believed her for quite some time. Because of that response, I started not defending myself, I kept quiet, and I just let this man belittle me every time he got drunk and mad. The two people I did not tell that I should have were, my parents, and the police. Most cases of domestic violence are never reported. Sadly, I believe young women are too scared to lose the one they love because they reported their partner having abused them.

I truly believe so many young women either don't know, don't admit, don't accept that they are being abused. How do you not know you're being abused? Unfortunately, many women have the idea in their head that abuse is a frequent occurrance. That abuse doesn't come and go every few months. It happens every day or every week. NO. Domestic violence is your partner touching you in an angry manner with the intent to hurt you. PERIOD. There is no rule about how often this must happen or how hurt you must be.

This is only the start of the attacks I endured during my three year relationship with this man. Throughout the blog, I will chronicle the attacks as they are still vividly playing through my mind and how I gained the strength to let go and get out of the relationship. I also want young women out there to know that there IS love after abuse. Two years after I finally gained control and left my ex, I am in love with an amazing man who I am 100% confident will not touch me out of anger.

I did not want to admit that I was in an abusive relationship. I hid so much from my loved ones and tried convincing not only them, but myself that I was not in an abusive relationship. Sometimes I still look back and question whether I was only because the abuse had months between the attacks. But reality is, there is no questioning the fact that I was in an abusive relationship. And I allowed it to control my life for three years too long.