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My Story and How I Got Out

Open Discussions About Domestic Abuse.

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My Story and How I Got Out

Postby Tinatina » Thu May 04, 2017 4:03 am

This is a very personal account of my life over the last six years, and my experience in a domestic violent relationship. Most people didn’t know I was going through this, and no one knew the extent of it. Please remember, you don’t know what people are dealing with behind closed doors, always be kind.

It started in the bar I was working at. He was a regular, and I recognized him, but I didn’t know his name. My boyfriend at the time was cheating on me, and my self-esteem had diminished to nothing. One of the other regulars introduced him, and he said all the right things. He was supportive of me leaving my relationship, told me that I deserved better.

He came in everyday when he finished work and asked me how I was doing? He started flirting with me. Not in a shameless, obvious way, it was more nonchalant. The type of attitude that made me want to win him over.

We became official after just a couple of weeks, and before I knew it, I was spending every night at his house. He texted me constantly and told me I was beautiful. He wanted me to text him whenever I got to work or was leaving because he was worried about me, and wanted to make sure I got to my destination okay. He’d get upset if I didn’t and tell me that I’d made him worry. I thought this was really cute and caring, turns out it was my first glimpse of his controlling behaviour.

About a month into our relationship, out on the patio, he snapped and yelled at me over something so small I can’t even remember what it was. Hurt, I went and sat on the couch, and when he came inside, he went straight into the bedroom. I found him lying in the dark, upset that he’d spoken to me like that. I felt bad and cuddled him to make him feel better, even though he was the one at fault. He told me that he’s not normally like that and that he’s under a lot of stress. This would be his excuse until I began to accept this behaviour as normal.

I was working one Friday and I thought it would be nice for us to make breakfast the next morning. I gave him $20 to buy some ingredients. Early Saturday morning I arrived at his house after work and went to sleep. I woke up to discover that he’d spent that money on alcohol and didn’t buy anything for breakfast.

I had been saving money. I had about $1000 saved, which was a lot for me at the time. He asked to borrow some to pay some bills, and I agreed. All of that money was spent on cigarettes and alcohol. Within the first couple of months of our relationship, all of my savings were gone.

I moved in officially after three months. I didn’t have a car, so we were sharing one. One night after work I was driving a friend home because she didn’t have a ride. When he found out that I had someone else in the car, he yelled at me on the phone until I dropped her off. I remember pretending like everything was okay to my friend while he was screaming at me down the phone. I didn’t want her to know what was going on.

I told myself that he was stressed from work.

Sometimes he would pick me up from the bus stop, but the bus was late one day, and he yelled at me for it. The next day I walked home from the bus so he wouldn’t have to wait for me, and he yelled at me for that too. He would get angry about the most insignificant things. If the blinds weren’t sitting perfectly, I was in trouble. If the curtains in the lounge room were open, I was in trouble. If he was doing a task, and I didn’t read his mind and hand him what he needed without him asking, I was in trouble. But then when I’d try to predict what was going to upset him and fix it or do the opposite, he’d still get mad. It felt like there was just no winning.

He was drunk, a lot. I blamed a lot of his bad behaviour on alcohol, but really, looking back, he did just as much when he was sober. He was a ticking time bomb when he was drinking. Sometimes everything was okay, but most of the time he exploded with rage and yelled and threw things. He would grab me by the arms and bruise me, break my things, and throw things at me.

The next day he would lay in bed, hungover, feeling sorry for himself. He’d tell me that he was going to stop drinking, which was a lie every time. The few times I tried to hold him accountable for his actions he got angry at me. Told me that he’s stressed out and depressed, and called me selfish for not understanding. He managed to make me feel guilty for being angry at him for being abusive.
Over time I lost contact with my friends. It took a little bit longer, but I stopped seeing my family as well. The wrath I had to face after seeing them was not worth it, and it was just easier not to see them at all. When I spoke to people who could see that what was going on wasn’t right, they would try to tell me, and I would defend him. I would make excuses for him, and then ultimately, stop talking to those people. Deep down I knew they were right, and that’s what made defending him so exhausting.

Functions like Christmas were always a huge point of stress. Half the time he’d be too hungover or just too angry to go, and then I would be made to feel guilty for going without him. When he would go, there was always a fear that he would blow up at something. Even when he didn’t blow up, his attitude was terrible, and I had to act like everything was okay so no one would know otherwise, even though everyone could see it.

Between trying to keep him happy, and trying to hide everything that was wrong from the people who cared about me, I developed terrible anxiety and depression. My anxiety was so bad that I was constantly nauseas, and would sometimes even vomit for not reason. My depression was worse. The only reaction from him was “You look miserable, stop sooking.”

There were many times when he’d start yelling, calling me all sorts of names, and then tell me to pack my things and go. He would continue yelling and follow me around there house, getting increasingly more irate, until I literally packed up all of my things. Then when I went to walk out the door, suddenly he would be mad that I was leaving and giving up on him. And then I would have to unpack all of my things again, only to follow the same cycle every few weeks.

Things got better for a little while. I cracked it and told him that if he continued drinking like he was that it was over. He’d gotten wasted at my 21st birthday party and ruined it. I remember him yelling at my Dad in the street. So he stopped getting wasted at the pub every weekend and only drank at home. He only got drunk at home occasionally, so I figured it was an improvement and I could live with it.

He still treated me terribly though. Called me every name you can think of. And there was the usual blow out when he got drunk, even though it wasn’t as often as it was previously.

About two years in to our relationship one of the cats knocked over the Christmas Tree while I was out of the house. Of course this was my fault, and when I returned home, he kicked me out. My sister was there, and he told me to pack my stuff and get out. I realised how impossible this sort of behaviour is to ignore when other people are witnessing it. So I left, and of course that made me the bitch that left and gave up on him.

After a couple of months back with my parents, he convinced me to move back in with him. He told me he’d been going to counselling, and he was acting like a completely different person. But that’s all it was, acting. It lasted about a month, if that, until he was back to his usual self.

A little while later he was diagnosed with depression, and stopped going to work, for which he was fired. He wouldn’t do anything all day, and then he would go drink with the neighbor and come home wasted in the middle of the night. Most of the time he would come home and pick fights with me. These were nights that I had to go to work the next morning. His drinking escalated again, and his violence escalated with it.

He would drink at home and get plastered. He would turn the stereo all the way up and play Pink Floyd, or Metallica until the sun came up, while I was trying to sleep. He would come in to the bedroom intermittently throughout the night to fight with me. Sometimes it would escalate so much that we would drag me out of the room by my legs while I was screaming and crying. Many of these nights pushed me to the brink of my sanity, and my only escape was to take a handful of Panadol. This would numb me and make me not care anymore, and then he could come in and yell all he wanted, and I could just lay there emotionless.

My stress levels were extremely high. I was the only one working to support both of us and his alcohol and cigarette habits. Money was tight, and I didn’t have enough to buy myself the things that I wanted, but there was always enough for what he wanted. Then whenever I actually did buy something for myself, I would be questioned about whether or not it was really necessary. I tried to express to him several times that I wasn’t coping, and he told me that I was selfish for burdening him with my issues while he was depressed. He actually told me that my feelings didn’t matter, and that his were more important.

I knew that all of this was wrong. I knew that I deserved better than this, but every once in a while, I would see a glimpse of the nice guy that I wanted him to be, and I would hold on a little longer, hoping that he would actually become that guy. Of course that never happened. Things just got worse and worse. And then he hit me.

The details don’t really matter. He was drunk and angry, he punched me in the shoulder, choked me, slapped me on the side of the head, threw things at me, and threatened to kill me. I had a strange feeling before all of this happened, so I hit record on my phone, and I voice recorded the entire event. I knew in that moment that the relationship was over, that I was leaving.

I still took me a week to leave. He wasn’t working, so he was home all the time, and I couldn’t pack anything while he was home or he would get aggressive again, so I had to wait till he was out. The times that he left, either to buy more alcohol, or when he was threatening to kill himself, I would race around the house to pack as much of my stuff as I could, into whatever I could, and get it in my car. I never knew how long I had until he got back, and my heart was pounding, and my whole body was trembling the entire time. If he came back and found me packing, I’d be in a dangerous situation.

I gave all of the stuff in my car to a friend, I was scared that he would find it. The night before I left, I told him I was leaving. He told me he was going to kill himself and drove away. I texted my Mom and told her I was leaving him. I knew that once I told her, that was it, there was no going back. When he came back I stayed up with him all night to keep an eye on him. Even after everything he’d put me through, I still didn’t want him to kill himself. I didn’t get any sleep that night, and when 5am rolled around, my alarm for work went off. I got up, and left for work. I called my Mom in the car and told her what had happened, and she told me that I needed to go to her house and deal with this. So that’s what I did.

We went to the police station and I applied for a DVO. I’d given all of the stuff that I packed to my friend, so I had nothing. Mom took me to the mall to buy some essentials. I was on the verge of tears the entire time. That was the hardest day of my life. I didn’t respond to any of his messages, or answer any of his calls. I had to call the real estate agent to get my name off the lease, and the electricity company to take the account out of my name. I had to tell work what had happened, and why I wasn’t in the office. I broke down every time I spoke to someone, and by the end of the day, I was so exhausted that I wasn’t even functioning like a human.

The following day I had to go to court for the DVO. After sitting there for 6 hours, with no food, not like I could have eaten if I’d had the opportunity though, the court granted a DVO with the conditions of Good Behaviour, despite the fact that I’d requested one for No Contact. The next step was to get my things from the house. I went back to the area with my parents and called the police to “put in a job”. We waited for another 6 hours for a police escort, at which point we met the police at the house.

There was an instant confrontation between him and my Dad. He wanted my parents to stay outside, so I went in with him and the police. There were three officers, one stayed with my parents, one with him, and one with me. They told me I only had 20 minutes to grab some things, and that I’d have to come back for the rest. As I packed, he sat on the bed looking sad, and kept saying things like how disappointed he was that I’d dealt with the situation this way.

Back outside with the police, one of them told me that he was showing all the signs of a serial abuser, with his previous violence, and trying to manipulate me by making me feel bad, and that if I went back to him “I would become a statistic”. He told me that when I went back to get the remainder of my things, to call them because he “didn’t want to find me in a dumpster”. I’d been second guessing myself, wondering if I’d over reacted by getting the police involved, but hearing this made me realise I wasn’t crazy. I don’t think the cop knows how much he helped my sanity that night.

The next few days all blurred together and I was a mess. I didn’t eat, and I felt horrible for hurting him. It’s so strange the hold abusers have over their victims. He had no problem hurting me. He never cared if he made me cry, or left me with bruises, but there I was, beating myself up for breaking his heart.

The days started to get easier. He continued to text me. At first he was nice, trying to get me back, but soon enough he resorted back to his usual aggressive self and started calling me horrible things, trying to guilt me into returning. I’m happy that he did this. This helped me to hate him, which made the whole process 100 times easier.

There are many more details in the story after, like how he breached his DVO, and hurt me by abandoning our pet dog, but they’re not relevant to this story. This story is about his behaviour that manipulated me, controlled me, oppressed me, and changed me, and none of his actions beyond this point affected me in these ways. Sure, they scared me, and made me unimaginably angry, but they didn’t have any lasting effect.

Much sooner than expected, I met another man. We went on a casual date, and got along really well. I remember thinking to myself, even if we don’t have a romantic relationship, I hope we can be friends, we just had so much in common.

Soon we were seeing each other almost every day. He would open the car door for me, say really sweet things, hold my hand, give me kisses, he made me feel wanted. Something I hadn’t felt in a long time. I was skeptical though. I expected that all of that would end soon enough, and his true colours would start to show.

I was wrong. Our relationship has gotten better and better as the months have gone on. I still find myself being skeptical, or anxious about his reaction to certain events. But then he reacts like a normal person, and I remember that’s because he is a normal person, not an abusive person.
I guess it will take me some time to get used to being relaxed, after being on my guard for the last 6 years, it’s difficult, but I’m getting there.

I wrote this for a few reasons. One is to tell my story. I don’t expect everyone to fully understand it all, and people who haven’t been through abuse won’t understand it all. I accept that. Two is for people going through similar situations. You’re not alone, and it’s absolutely terrifying. Please reach out for help, to anyone. I was amazed by the amount of support I found around me, from people I never expected it from. Get out now. The longer you wait, the harder and more dangerous it gets. And if you need someone to talk to, who’s been there and isn’t going to judge you, I’m here.
Tinatina
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Re: My Story and How I Got Out

Postby quietgirl2538 » Thu May 04, 2017 2:25 pm

You were very brave. I applaud you for the courage it took to finally get help and get out of that bad relationship. Hugs if wanted.
“There’s an Asian expression that ‘a burden shared is halved.’"

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Re: My Story and How I Got Out

Postby Terry E. » Tue May 09, 2017 6:09 am

I just want to thank you for putting that out there.

That policeman said that because he could see exactly what that guy was like. The funny thing is over the last few years I have read something similar here many times before. The details are different the country is different but the behavior patterns are so similar.

I wish you all the best and thank you for taking the time to tell your story.
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Re: My Story and How I Got Out

Postby UnderstandingMyself » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:13 am

Thanks for sharing your story. I recently got out of an abusive relationship myself. The patterns are all the same which is comforting in a strange sort of way, I just wish young people received education about the dangers of abusers before they started dating. I had no idea about these sorts of relationships and the red flags to look out for until I was in one myself and for a while I had no idea that it was an abusive relationship.

Well done for being strong and getting out and I wish you all the best in your new relationship.
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