Today has been a rough day, mentally. Even though I try hard not to read the news, with the internet it’s hard not to know what is going on in the world. Suicides happening, the #metoo movement has brought abusive relationships to light. It all brings many things to surface that I try hard to keep buried. It is scary how easy it is to be gaslighted or emotionally torn down. This is not a secluded subject. It is more common than we like to think. This is also not something that is isolated to one group. This happens to women, men, minorities, and those that aren’t minorites. I do agree with how what we see as red flags aren’t so easily seen when you are in the situation. Or the other person has made us feel so sorry for them that we let many of these flags slide because the other person is “hurting.” The more flags we let slide, the harder it is to stand up for yourself and not allow the bigger flags to slide. The more flags that have slid by, the larger these flags become.
The question or sentiment that I don’t care for the most is: Why doesn’t the person just leave? Why have they stayed so long? Why didn’t they go to the police? Why did they put up with it? When I first met my ex; he said everything that I needed to hear. Abusers don’t just get into abusing a person right off. That would scare the other person away. Abusers have plans in a sense. They know how to talk, how to get someone to feel sorry for them… to take care of them and protect them. Abusers act like wounded souls where you are the only person that understands them and can help them. That can save them. They know what to say to “save” you if you are in a situation where you feel at your lowest.
In the beginning, I was able to see my friends. I went out with my friends, talked to them on the phone, had them come over and visit me. In the beginning, I had an outlet. I wrote in my Livejournal, active on social media, played MMOs (massively multiplayer online games), played regular video games. I loved cooking and baking, writing, reading, scrapbooked a lot, did a little art and crafts, drew some, taught myself Illustrator, Photoshop, and Webdesign. I also frequented the gym. I did mostly weights because I wanted to get my back muscles stronger since my back always seems so weak. In the beginning, I went places by myself and alone with my girls. In the beginning, I was allowed to grieve Kevin and my dad.
Over the course of months, things slowly started to change. The fact of the matter, I was still grieving. There were so many things going that I didn’t know how to get help or where to. I needed to talk to someone, but I didn’t know that I needed to talk to someone. I didn’t know that I was talking to the wrong person. My ex had so much drama going on that he started “leaning” on me. I was not in the position or right state of mind to have anyone lean on me. He needed me so much that I wasn’t able to see my friends as often. Or call them. He was always afraid that I would find someone else, just like his exes did. He needed so much reassurance that I didn’t realize that I was no longer talking to anyone else outside of his world.
Alexis was three when I stopped reading the current book I was reading in the Harry Potter series. Lex and I had a routine. She loved waking up at 5am. So she would watch her cartoons and I would be reading. I can still hear her singing Little Einstein while reading Harry Potter. (By the way, I have not yet finished the series.) Reading was somehow taking attention away from him. Waking up so early was somehow something that was taken personally by him.
Later I was notified that we needed to move. To another house. Across town. Something about his ex trying to spread rumors and we needed to move. Doing anything big like moving scares the living heck out of me. Apparently keeping my settlement money in an annuity was stupid and any reasoning I had for not wanting to touch my money was stupid as well. He actually found some lawyer type person to find a way to take money out of my account. Apparently, the next thing I needed to do with my newfound money was to buy a house. I was so scared that I allowed him to take care of everything.
We moved, more rules were put into place. No one could come over. It was bad enough trying to get him to agree to my girls’ friends coming over. Then he casually mentioned that he hasn’t been to his parole in a long while. Me, being naive, didn’t really know what that meant. I guess he is right to some extent that I lived a sheltered life and was pretty naive. I asked him what it meant and what this means for us and my girls. He said nothing would happen. I asked my brother-in-law about this and he said I was harboring a fugitive. He said to take my girls and go to the police. Then I made the mistake of talking to my ex again. He told me that I would be arrested and my kids would be taken away. I should have done something then. I should have left then. I was scared about what he said would be true about my girls being taken away.
After a while, I couldn’t even go anywhere without him so just going to the police was hard. If I went to the bathroom, he followed me and watched me. If I was doing my college work, if I was online, if I had to be on the phone; he would be watching me. When I took my girls to school, went to a family’s house or friend’s house, he would come along. He followed me around everywhere. The only place I was able to go alone was work. He had me work because with my settlement money gone, I couldn’t afford his drugs, his alcohol, his cigarettes, his food, his clothing and anything else he needed or wanted. Although when I was at work I had to call when I got to work, text him before I clocked in, text him during my 15 minute breaks, text him before I get to my car for lunch, call him during lunch, text him on my way back to the clock, text him as I clocked out and call him as I walked to my car before I headed home. He knew the exact time it took me to get home and I better be home, not a second later.
Any protests on my part or if I disagreed with him on anything, he would say that I’m talking to someone and they put these thoughts into my head. As if I was not capable of doing my own thinking. So why didn’t I just leave? I was threatened, beaten and gaslighted into thinking that all these problems were my doing and that I deserved what I was getting. I was afraid to talk to anyone. Afraid of what would happen if I did. My already low self-esteem was shot. Why did I stay so long? I didn’t know how to get out. I felt stuck. I thought the only way for me to get out of this was for him to either go to prison or be dead. Why didn’t I go to the police? I was never alone. He made sure of that. He told me all about his friends that were watching me. Making sure I was being “good.” In the end, it was someone else who went to the police. Why did I put up with it? I didn’t always. I have a quick temper. I’m cynical and sarcastic. I like to think that I don’t put up with BS. After a while, I really believed that it was me that was going crazy. That I made him act the way he did. That I was the one who had a problem. That I deserved what I got. I did fight. I was also beaten down for that. I’ve had knives thrown at me, furniture thrown at me, thrown across the room more times than I can count. I wanted the screaming to stop. After a bit, you don’t have much fight left in you. I didn’t want to upset him. I hated what would happen if he was upset. I was scared to not put up with it. I was afraid he’d hurt my girls if I didn’t put up with it.
It wasn’t me that initially did the steps to escape. I had help. Finally. Though I was still very scared. I ran after I escaped. I’m still scared sometimes.
It was nice writing. I needed to get this out. Even though it seems like something that will never go away. I’d like to get myself back as well. I sometimes feel as if I’m still a shell and I feel lost. I started writing back up.. a little. I have read some books also. Now I need to start getting my other interests back. I keep thinking about drawing. Maybe I should do that next.