The Electric Buzz of Survival Part 1- Laying the Grid
Before I met my husband, I was in a highly abusive relationship. In reality, I've been in abusive relationships since the day I was born. I come from a very dysfunctional family and as a child I was damaged a great deal. To this day, there are remnants of the abuse I suffered from the hands, hearts, and minds of the people who should have protected me most. The people who truly know me and how I was "raised," know why I am the way I am. For those of you that don't know me . . . Well, here's a little glimpse. First, let me say, that I have a wonderful therapist, that has helped me deal with all my trauma that I had packed away all nice and pretty in order to survive. One of the first things she had me do was a timeline for the first 10 years of my life (which you can see below).
Pretty impressive, right? I know many people have been through worse than this. But I also know, that there are many people who wouldn't have survived any of this as well as I have. I spent my nights crying into my pillow and my days creating an alternate reality so that I could survive it all. I tried to run many times as a young girl (9-13) but, it never worked out. I knew though, as soon as I was old enough I would get away from it all.
At 16 years old, I finally left home . . . for the first time. My Mommy Dearest came home one night, incredibly drunk, having just driven herself home and I just lost control of my voice. I tried at 16, to explain to my drunk mother how dangerous it was for her to drink and drive. I talked about how we [my sister and I] only had one parent left (my father was murdered when I was 5) and this wasn't fair. As tears welled up in my eyes, I pleaded with her stop drinking because she wasn't being a good parent.
The more I spoke, the angrier and more aggressive she got. That night our conversation ended with the following statement and offer: "When you pay the rent, then you can have an opinion. Until then, either keep your fucking mouth shut or get out." So, I left and the moment I stepped over our threshold, I felt free. This was the moment I had been envisioning (and made many dangerous attempts to create) since I was a child. I walked 3 miles to my local Denny's, called a friend (RH), and stayed with him for the night. He spent the entire night trying to have sex with me and I spent the entire night trying to figure out my next step. In the morning, Mommy Dearest called and lured me back in with emotional apologies and threats to call the police so, I returned home. That was an ongoing pattern for the next 10 years (except for the police part, at 17 I became too old for that shit to work anymore).
My first "grown up" relationship at 18 years old, was also abusive, he was a heavy drinker and we were simply together by circumstance; at the time, I thought it was love. After all, this was RH and he had been there for me . . . uhhhh . . . a couple of times and he said he loved me so . . . we moved in together. What I didn't know, was that my safety would regularly be in question, that I would once again be thrust into survival mode and have start creating my own reality because I had no idea how to get out of this situation. He would drink, get aggressive, push me, restrain me, force me out of the shower or off the toilet so he could use them (seriously, no joke) and sometimes, if I was lucky, he would only emotionally abuse me. It took 4 years, 2 states, and 1 child for me to get out of this one. After him, I was single for 2 years and a lesbian for one.
At 25, I met a super funny, incredibly "nice" guy on St. Patrick's Day. We talked and got to know each other and after months of dating and some more circumstance we moved in together. I knew it wasn't love but, I didn't know it was going to be abusive. At the time, I just needed someone and he was close. Judge me as you will but, at least recognize that I grew up with a severely distorted understanding of what love was supposed to look like. I was taught that sometimes you just need a body to cling to. The bodies I wanted were nowhere near; my daughter was living with her dad and Jupiter was across the country. So, I made due with this guy (DS) who turned out to be an addict and extremely abusive.
With DS though, the very first time he even pushed me, I went to leave but, when my hand touched the doorknob, he grabbed me by the hair. He then used it to pull me to the floor and drag me to the bedroom, while I kicked and screamed and cried for help. He then straddled me and choked me until I passed out. When I came to his hand was over my mouth and he told me not to say a word, so I didn't. Unfortunately, we lived right next to both of the places that I worked at and after the initial abuse he made sure that I was fearful enough to stay quiet by showing up at my jobs and charming the people there (a very common tactic for an abuser).
The abuse continued and escalated for 2 years. Below are just some of the highlights from our time together (another assignment from my therapist).
He didn't work, had a serious drug habit, and more force than I had come against before. When I finally found the courage to tell someone, I called my mom and went crawling back to her with a black eye, finger sized bruises all over my neck, and the above list of abuses. Her response was: "This is your relationship, you got yourself into it and you're going to have to get yourself out because you can't come live with me." Oh, and she cried a little. So I returned to my abuser but, instead of fighting against him I just gave him whatever he wanted for the next 6 months while strategizing a way to get out. That way came in the form of my beautiful friend Miss J who was also in an abusive relationship. She gave me a place to go (a friend of hers needed a roommate) and she says I gave her the courage to leave her abuser.
I met DS on March 17th 2007 and I moved out of our apartment on March 16th, 2009. After moving in with Miss J's said friend, The Big A(pe), I thought that I would be safe but, my Abuser followed me. he continued to show up at my job asking why we couldn't be together. He said things like, "We belong together. You'll never get rid of me. No one's gonna love you more than me." I was scared and the shame of being a victim kept me from telling anyone at work so, I attempted to maintain a friendship. This man had almost taken my life twice when he was "in love" with me, I had no idea what he would do if I said I was done for good.
I just wanted to move on with my life now that I was off of death row so, that's what I tried to do. I walked to work everyday just so I could be in nature to 'breathe the free air again.' I bought new clothes for myself. I accepted every offer for a date that I got because I wanted to remember what it was like before DS. I knew I was funny, intelligent, pretty, and charming but, I didn't feel that way. I felt stupid and ashamed due to the previous two years of my life.
About 2 months after moving in to "my" new place, DS called one day demanding that I tell him that I love him. When I didn't comply, he showed up at my front door, full of rage and threats to return with a 'heater' (which apparently is a gun but, I didn't know that at the time-I don't speak Thug). If my roommate and husband (friend/date at the time) hadn't been there, I'm sure I wouldn't be here to write this. DS was ready to get me to bend to his will and I was finally ready to stand my ground. His tirade was subsequently followed with a call to the police and an Order of Protection, which does absolutely nothing, in my opinion (but that's another post).
A month later, Ian (my hubs) and I were dating more steadily and I was slowly regaining some normalcy in my life and that is when The Buzz actually started.
Thank you for coming this far with me. Part 2 will be here tomorrow (I just couldn't write anymore of this story today). Please return for the remainder and until then Be Riveted!