Blog Share: Something I Don't Blog About.

Today’s post is randomly brought to you from one of the fabulous bloggers participating in -R-’s Blog Share. Please make today’s anonymous writer feel welcome, and be sure to take a peep at the other participating bloggers featured at the end of the blog.

*****
I was a junior in college when I met my real, grown-up first love. He was instantly attracted to me and let me know it, but not in the way your usual frat-tastic college boy does. He asked for my phone number, and called me. He invited me on dates, opened the door, pulled out my chair and picked up the tab. His family was quite wealthy (his parents gave him $600 of spending money each month!), and he spared no expense in taking to me on very "grown up" feeling dates--nice restaurants and weekend hotel trips. He quickly told me he loved me. He told me I was beautiful and smart, and, for the first time in my life, I believed it.

After we'd gone out a couple times, he and I casually discussed going to dinner one Saturday night. At the last minute, I was invited to go out of town on a school trip that my girlfriends were participating in. I called my new boyfriend, ecstatic, to report my plans.

"Guess what!" I squealed into the phone, "I just got invited to go on this trip with the girls and I am so excited."
Silence.
Then he exploded, "WE were supposed to go to dinner on Saturday night!"
I stammered something about it being a great last-minute opportunity.
"Well, I hope I'm going to SEE YOU before you go."

I laughed it off, went on the trip anyway, and he never mentioned it again. All the same, I noticed his overreaction at the time. The tone wasn't his usual new-love enthusiasm, it was downright angry. It seemed strange.

We continued to date. From time to time, I'd notice him getting disproportionately angry at a fellow driver or a professor. He got into a few little disagreements with mutual friends that turned in to him trashing them whenever I mentioned them. But he was also sweet, the king of romantic gestures. He sent me a half-dozen roses every single Friday. (Sent them.) He encouraged me to take an internship, think about graduate school and asked me to edit his term papers.

During winter break of our senior year, my boyfriend came to visit me at my parents' house. After my parents went to bed, we stayed up talking in my bedroom. My boyfriend had recently accepted a job in another city. I hadn't yet begun my post-graduation job search, but I was planning to consider not only the city where boyfriend would be working, but also my hometown.

Now, my boyfriend and I were pretty serious, and pretty in love. I had every intention of ultimately choosing to settle in the city where his job was located. I just felt that, at the beginning of my adult life, I needed to consider all of the options, explore the job market in a number of places, before committing. I tried to explain that to my boyfriend, but the more I explained, the angrier he got.

Soon, the argument got very heated. Knowing my own temper, I tried to stand up to leave the room so that we could cool down. My boyfriend stood in front of my spot on the bed so that I couldn't get completely upright. His physically restricting my space only made me angrier. I barked at him to get out of my way. He crowded closer. I repeated myself, "I am leaving. Get out of my way." He refused again. Finally, I raised my hand and slapped his cheek. He responded by hitting me so hard in the ribs that I flew back onto the bed and the wind knocked out of me.

For a long moment, we just looked at each other, and I saw that he was as shocked as I was that he had just hit me. He quickly moved out of my way, and I silently went to bed in a different bedroom.

The next morning, he snuck into my room and apologized. Well, sort of. He said, "I'm sorry I hit you, but you did slap me first." I tried to explain that, for me, his blocking me from moving out of the room was physical, too. He didn't buy it.

That incident, understandably, stayed with me. We rarely discussed it, though, because every time it came up, the conversation descended into whether he "started it" by crowding me or I "started it" by slapping him. And, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't quite shake the feeling that it shouldn't matter who started it. I'd felt the anger with which he hit me. I knew how out of control he was at that moment, and I knew that it didn't compare to the frustration I felt when I slapped him.

Months passed. We graduated from college, and I ended up taking a job in the same city that he lived in. We moved in together that summer. Around the time that my boyfriend's job started, he began struggling with some mild depression. I encouraged him to seek counseling; he opted to call his mother's psychiatrist and have a prescription for an antidepressant phoned to a nearby pharmacy. While I think antidepressant medication is great for many, many people, it worried me that this doctor was prescribing it to my boyfriend sight unseen.

My boyfriend's new chemical routine did not deter him from taking advantage of his new job's twice weekly happy hours. I noticed a difference immediately. Before the antidepressant, my boyfriend had been a funny drunk. Now, he was belligerent and careless. After a few weeks of this behavior, I talked to him about it. I gently suggested that he call the psychiatrist and ask about mixing the new drug with alcohol. My boyfriend blew me off, and, as if to prove me wrong, went out and got even drunker that night.

When he returned to our apartment, I was angry. He was in a sweet sloppy state, wanting to cuddle and kiss. Stupidly, I let my anger get the better of me and I confronted him about being drunk, while he was still drunk. He was not amused and lumbered into the bedroom, where he threw himself horizontally on the bed, leaving no room for me. I was not thrilled about potentially curling up on the sofa for the evening. I went into the bedroom and yelled at him to at least move over so that I could sleep in our bed.

Then, all hell broke loose.

I remember very little from the ensuing minutes. I don't remember my boyfriend getting out of bed. I don't remember him hitting me for the first time. I remember him pinning me to the ground and hitting me in the face so hard that one of my crowns snapped in half. I remember trying to hit back or get out of his grasp, but being no match for someone six inches taller and fifty pounds heavier.

I remember the moment it stopped. Both exhausted from the struggle and the emotion, we collapsed in bed. The next morning, he called my boss and his own and told them we wouldn't be in to work. He called my dentist and made me an emergency appointment to have my crown repaired. Even though it was July, he handed my a long-sleeved t-shirt to wear to hide the bruises. He took me to the dentist and sat with me as they fixed my crown, even as the hygienist looked suspiciously in his direction when she saw the bruise blooming on my cheek. That afternoon, he went out for flowers, my favorite magazine and a chick flick on DVD.

I would like to tell you that I left then, but I didn't. I struggled with what had happened for a full three weeks, until, one day at work, I walked outside, called the only person from college who I new in the new city. He met me for dinner and told me to leave. I wasn't even very close to the college friend, but he was literally all I had, and I am forever grateful to him for knowing that and pretending he was my best friend for that one night. The next morning, a Saturday, I told my boyfriend I was leaving. Once again, the anger and aggression rose in him. Once again, he stood in the doorway. He yelled. I threatened to call the police, and he backed down. As I packed a bag, he shouted, "You're not really going to leave me." I said, simply, "Watch me."

With my mom's credit card, I booked a hotel room and spent the day looking for a new apartment. By the end of the day on Sunday, I'd signed a lease. My boyfriend and I have communicated a couple times since then, but we remain out of touch.

About a year later, there was an ad on television saying that one in three women will be the victim of physical abuse in a relationship at some point in her life. Perversely, it makes me kind of happy. As physical abuse goes, I got off pretty easy. Two incidents, one broken crown, and I got out quickly. I think of my mother and my sister and I am glad that experience makes me the one in the three of us who has to go through this. I know it doesn't work that way, but I feel as though they're somehow safe. Because I'm the "one in three," they will never be hurt that way.

I don't talk about this experience very much, partly because I really did love my former boyfriend and I have mixed feelings about reducing our relationship to this one thing and partly because I feel that the abuse was so infrequent that I am overdramatizing it. But I will say, here, that this is abuse. One fight that gets out of control and gets physical? It's abuse. If you slap him first? It's abuse. If he was drunk and you picked a fight? It's abuse. If he is an extremely smart, successful and rich college student? It's abuse. It's all wrong, and it's all inexcusable, and you should strongly consider leaving. Now.

*****

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40 Comments • Labels: ,  

40 comments:

Kat said...

I am so sorry that you had to go through this but am glad at the same time that you had the strength to leave early on. Not many women are able to stand up for themselves in the way you did.

The Lisa Show said...

I am blown away by your strength. Seriously. I have a few choice words for him, but if you're classy enough not to go there, you won't hear any from me. I'm so proud of you.

James said...

Great post whoever you are. Your correct any such violence is inexcusable, and I'm glad you were strong enough to leave and then move on.

nancypearlwannabe said...

Wow, that was a very powerful post. Thank you for sharing.

Another Blog Share Participant said...

Thank you for sharing that. I'm sorry you went through it, but glad you got out before something even worse could happen.

Reluctant Blogger said...

Brave to share and wonderful writing. It is something that can happen to anyone and whilst it is easy for me to sit here and think I would leave immediately if that happened, I am not sure I would, it is not always easy and often these things build up gradually and finding an escape route is hard when you feel confused and vulnerable.

Margaret said...

Your post was incredibly moving and almost had a tear in my eye. So many women believe they have no other choice to stay and I'm glad you got out earlier than most would have.

It takes a lot of courage to stand up to someone, especially when you love them.

Lacey Bean said...

Whoever you are that wrote this post, I commend you. I was in an abusive relationship when I was younger that had yet to turn physical (thank god) but I know the feelings you described. And why you didn't leave right away. Thank you for sharing your story.

Raven said...

Thank you for making it very clear that abuse is abuse in any context. So many women excuse it based on those things and stay in it. So many of those women are the ones that wind up dead.

Jess said...

This is such an awful and yet beautifully written story, and I'm so glad that you were able to get out of the situation before continued abuse destroyed your self-esteem and made you think that you should stay. I'm really glad you shared this.

Ashley said...

I think this is such a hard thing to stand up and say (or write) in front of total strangers. I appreciate how well you are able to tell your story - thank you for sharing with us.

Sauntering Soul said...

What a moving, powerful post. I hope your message gets through to someone who might need to hear it today.

I'm so glad you had the courage to remove yourself from a bad situation. Thanks for sharing your story.

Jenn said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story with all of us! It was such a powerful post. I'm glad you had the courage and strength to leave. I can imagine it's difficult to look back on your relationship and have it summed up by this story. Thanks again for sharing.

lizgwiz said...

Powerful post. I have so far been the "2 in 3," so I've never had to deal with it personally...but I've always hoped I would have the strength to leave quickly. I'm so glad you did.

ashley said...

That is really amazing. A truly strong and powerful woman.

Candy said...

Amazing story.

The first instinct is to scream, "Get OUT!" as I was reading it, but I can understand why it can be difficult to do sometimes. Brave of you to go, before it got even more impossible to leave.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you left. Thank you so much for sharing!

claire said...

This is such a strong post, so moving. I could see myself being in that situation and not knowing what to do. It's a good thing that friend from college was so supportive, even though you weren't that close. It sounds like that was the support you needed to help you make the right decision. Good for you for finding a way out.

Valerie said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Hopefully you sharing this will help change that statistic.

You're wonderful.

Alice said...

thank you for writing that. hopefully this will prevent some more women from being that 1 in 3.

elise said...

Wow. So powerful, and very well-written. I am so glad you put all this down on paper, and I hope you do realize that no matter how wonderful other moments were, these really are the moments to act on. I mean, obviously you DO realize this, because you left, which was strong and amazing and right. But I don't want you feeling bad for writing about it, leaving out the "good" parts. We all can understand that there obviously was good, or you would never have stayed. Great post, and thanks for sharing.

Kristabella said...

Wow. That was very powerful and thank you for sharing. I'm glad you got out of it and you are not over-dramatizing it one bit. It is good you got out before anything super serious happened.

Anonymous said...

A very soul-searching, touching, honest post. Your courage is commendable.

I am one of the one-in-three, too.

heidikins.com said...

Thank you for sharing. And please never apologize for overdramatizing. Once is enough. I hope your post will help even one other woman who has been in a similar abusive situation, help her to see the potential of staying with such a person, and help her get out before it's too late.

xox

Katie said...

Oh my gosh, what an incredibly courageous post. And like Heidikin's above me said, even once is too much. It should never happen.

Deutlich said...

I've witnessed physical abuse. On several occasions.. and it's one of the most horrific things to go through. Ever. I'm glad you got out.

Tessie said...

Great post. Wow. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I hope you know it wasn't your fault. Anger is never about the victim.

Good for you for having the courage to do something. Both at the time, and by writing this.

Ann said...

Way to use Anonymous BlogShare Day. That was a very powerful story, well-told. I'm glad you were able to get out.

abbersnail said...

This post made my heart hurt and made me proud of you, all at the same time.

grungedandy said...

Wow sounds like you brought out the best & the worst in each other, very brave & strong to get out especially when you do love the person & then write about it thanks for sharing. I know it helps to get it down on paper, to remember that although most of the time he was a caring, loving individual there were these times that he let his temper get the better of him & despite his love for you he hit you! Well done for getting out when you did, because by not getting out you would have been confirming that it was ok behaviour hopefully the shock of you actually leaving made him realise it wasn’t and he got help. I know that might not be popular but it’s a kinda of a silence is consent attitude, that guys (and some girls) write to them selves in order to keep doing what they are doing as deep down they know they are wrong, that’s why they bring you the flowers & the chocolates afterwards and because you choose to stay your saying that it’s alright, in they’re minds! No one deserves physical OR mental abuse full stop no matter what the provocation! I glade that you have changed your life round and that despite this incident you have a positive out look! Seeya hugya *G*

Erikka said...

Thank you for sharing this story. You are not only stronger for it, but so am I and any other woman reading it.

katelin said...

Thank you for sharing this story. Every time I hear of a woman being abused I just want to yell at them to leave now! And granted I have never been in that situation you clearly show how hard that can be. I'm glad you are okay and left when you did. Thank you again.

Dutchess of Kickball said...

Thank you for saying it so poignantly.

Noelle said...

I was so blown away by this story that I barely even noticed how well it was written. Then I went back and re-read parts, and it was really powerful. I'm glad you're safe now, and I hope wherever you normally blog, it's much happier.

Gwen said...

<>

Powerful, and beautifully written.

Kate said...

Thank you for the wonderful post. I have been that girl before, and I know exactly what you mean about feeling that you overdramatize it.

I am glad you had the courage to leave, and that you had the courage to spill your guts today. This project was a great idea!

Lara said...

WOW. This is so powerfully written. I am really sorry you had to go through that, but glad that you had the courage to leave and to tell this story so that maybe it will speak to other women going through this very thing. Also, I would really like to give that sort-of-friend-who-pretended-to-be-your-best-friend-for-that-one-night a hug.

AuburnKat said...

What a great post! I've been in a relationship where I was verbally abused but never realized how badly until I was out of the relationship. Good for you for getting out when you did!

Silverstar said...

Very valuable lesson to many people, particularly women, who have or who are still in abusive relationships. Congratulations on having the courage to walk away and realize that it was never your fault and yes, the minute your partner raises a hand to you or tears at your self esteem verbally, it is abuse and you should seek help.

mostprepossessing said...

What a great post. I'm sure it was hard to write.





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