It’s October. Domestic Violence Awareness Month
I’ve decided it’s time to tell my story. Not the typical horror story one would hope to find during this month of Halloween, but my own horror story. My own story involving TWO kinds of abuse – one physical, one emotional. I could also talk about a third kind (me too), but I’m focusing on the domestic kind that I faced. It’s a longer piece than what I usually write, and it’s not funny, but it’s an important story that I need to tell. For me.
After my marriage ended, I very quickly became involved with a man that I had known for some time. He was witty, charming, and handy. He was around all the time helping me with things around the house and our friendship turned hook up turned relationship. For almost three years. I will say that during this time we did have some fun. We traveled, we’d go into NYC, we’d go to concerts, went on a cruise, and had a really fun group of friends we’d party with. (Well- it was my group, actually). Then, the more he was around, I started to notice he’d disappear. Sometimes for a night. Sometimes for three. During these periods I turned into that girl. That crazy lunatic psycho girlfriend that blew up his phone from dusk to dawn. He’d never answer. When he’d get home it was as if nothing happened. My questions were pushed off as crazy, and life would return to its normal routine. He lived nearby and spent most of his time at my house with me and my girls. I started seeing signs and knew when to expect an absence. His behavior would change and he’d go into this dark place. It consumed me with worry that he’d leave again. Then- I finally got my answer. He was a coke head and would leave to go on binges. He told me where he’d go to do it, but I know that was also a lie. I started watching his phone. I learned the number he’d call when he needed his fix. Once it was on Christmas Eve. He told me he’d stop. While it did slow down, his alcohol consumption did not. The man had so much anger and hate in him. He also held zero accountability for his actions, and I was the one who usually was made to feel bad for being the one who got angry with him. I saw an occasional fight and I could see when he’d get that fire in his eyes. I justified it (that’s what we do- we justify. We- meaning the victim) because this behavior was never towards me. Until I finally had enough. I ended the relationship. That night he showed back up at my house in a drunken rage. The fact that he was drunk does NOT make it ok. The fact that my four year old baby girl was witness to this is NOT ok. The fact he entered my home against my will and ripped every single piece of electronic equipment out of my living room was NOT ok. He approached me with clenched fists, and fire in his eyes, and said “I’m going to bash your fucking head against the fucking wall you Cunt”. I’ll never forget the words. I’ll never forget the rage. I’ll never forget the look in his eyes. Pure hate. Pure evil. Thankfully he left before he actually acted upon his words -and I had an inconsolable 4 year old to handle. I went to the police later that night to report it. They went to talk to him and since there was no physical harm, and since he pulled “But my Daddy was an NYPD detective” card, nothing was done. I told you already how charming he could be. The same charm he used to get out of a DUI. The same charm he used to get out of an altercation charge. The same fucking charm he used to get back into me. It’s not over…. A few nights later he showed back up at my front door. My oldest was doing homework on the computer. My youngest was in my arms ready to be tucked in. He was drunk. He asked if he could come in and show me something that he had found on YouTube that he wanted for me to see. I replied that he could not given my current circumstances and for the fact that just for a few days earlier he had threatened me. He looked up at me with this sad puppy dog eyes and asked “are we done?”. I replied with a matter of fact “yes” and he nodded his head and walked away in defeat. It left me very unsettled. I told my oldest that if he came back to call 911. The night passed without incident. The next morning I was out walking my dog. As I was coming back down my hill approaching my home, I saw him. He came across my lawn towards me with the same clenched fists and the same fire in his eyes that I saw only days before. I stopped in my tracks. He didn’t stop. As he got closer, I yelled at him to leave. I screamed as loud as I could hoping someone would hear me. But he kept coming. He baited me to hit him, and then -he pushed me. If I wasn’t as strong as I am, I surely would have fallen backwards, I yelled more, I yelled at him to leave me alone, I yelled for him to get away from my house and my kids. Thank God my daughter (and how awful at the same time) hears the commotion and remembering what I told her the night before, she calls 911. The police came. It was evident by the marks on my body that I was touched in a way I should not have been. He was arrested with an order of protection placed against him. He was also released on a promise to appear. All that did was gave him opportunity to break said Order of Protection. I’d call the police, they’d slap him on the wrist, and he’d get away with it again. He broke that order 6 times. Once by even contacting my own mother. I still to this day do not understand why more was not done by the police force when I notified them. Only one officer in all 6 of the events took me seriously. That needs to change. I feared for my safety. I feared for my children. I was disgusted with myself for allowing the behaviors leading up to that moment, for as long as I did. For the rest of that time living in that house, looking over my shoulder to make sure he was not lurking, became an automated habit. I realized this is not how any person should ever have to feel. Unsafe in their own home. The place that should be their salvation and peace. It’s not fair.
I’m having a hard time putting this one into words. Maybe it was easier for Chapter 1 since so much time has passed. While it’s been over a year since Chapter 2, every now and the memories of the bad things flash back at me and I find that I’m still pretty fucking angry. I’m angry about what he did. I’m angry at myself for allowing it for so long- even if it was “only” 18 months. I’m angry for how it’s affected me.
He made an amazing first impression. He was funny, charming, smart, good at his craft, outgoing and friendly
He used his craft for attention. To be the center of attention. Every thing we ever did was centered around his work. If it wasn’t- he made it that way. So people would stroke him
He lied. About everything.
He was always late. Not by minutes but by hours. He was a busy guy, you know.
He never paid rent. Or any other bills. He only bought his man-toys
He always had the latest and greatest gadgets -Does anyone around him realize he spends his money on that stuff instead of on his obligations?
He was evicted from his prior apartment He fed his neighbors cable to his own tv. He lost his electric. No- his refrigerator did not break.
He hopped from girl with house to girl with house until he found one to take him in. Wasn’t I just the lucky one?
He was – and is still- an unlicensed driver
His car was in police impound for months. For unpaid tickets. And that suspended license
He cheated. All. The. Time.
He had women everywhere. Aside from girlfriends, he had over 200 contact numbers for backpage escorts around the country. 223 to be exact.
He bought a plane ticket to Hawaii for one of the escorts. After he told me I couldn’t go because he’d be too busy.
It was NEVER his fault. Even when presented with cold hard evidence
He spun the truth
He loved the sound of his own voice as he told all the grandiose tales of himself
He manipulated- everyone
He was a chameleon and fit in anywhere he went.
He hasn’t seen his son in over 15 years
He doesn’t see his mother
He withheld sex. And then presented it like the holy fucking grail with his arms behind his head when it was gifted. He wasn’t even good at it.
He “borrowed” money. That he never repaid. Ever. You’d be sickened if you knew how much. I know I am.
He was never wrong
He never took accountability
He angered easily and went on fury rages if ever questioned
We lost 5 pets while he was around. I do not think it’s coincidence
A master of justification
A master of deceit
A master at the game
He’d play me against my kids
He was mean to my children- but only behind my back. And expected me to back him up as the other adult. Even when he was wrong. Wrong on so many levels
His divorce papers from 16 years earlier accused him of child abuse, failure to meet financial obligations, adultery, and mental abuse by withholding his wife from family and friends. But she was crazy.
He made me feel crazy. All his exes were crazy. I’m sure he thinks I’m crazy
He’s a master of crazy making
A master of gas-lighting
He made me doubt all of my intuition
He made me doubt myself
He made me doubt what I KNEW to be truth.
He only built himself up
He believed his own lies.
People- including some prior girlfriends- tried to tell me. It took me only a few months to figure it out. But another year to get him out. It was only 18 months total but the effects are ever lasting. I pride myself that I did figure it out, and finally found the strength to get out. Don’t even ask me why I didn’t sooner. There’s no dealing with a narcissist. There’s no arguing. There’s no bargaining. Because they always have an argument back. They justify everything. They are very good at what they do. It’s survivalist instinct for them. They call it a disorder. I call it an illness. They leave scars on their victims that cannot be seen. It’s hard to put his effect on me into words. He’ll probably tell you I made it up. Imagined it. Because it sounds made up. And unbelievable. And that’s exactly how they like it. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/toxic-relationships/201709/how-spot-narcissistic-abuse
I’m telling my story not for pity. But to let you know it can happen to anyone. People you least expect. Here I am strong and independent, funny, happy and positive, seemingly with my shit together, and it happened to me. Twice. In two different ways. Domestic violence does not discriminate and can rear its ugly head in any type of situation. Young, old, rich, poor, black, white, straight, gay. You can think whatever you want but the most important thing YOU need to take out of this is — IT IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE VICTIM. Stop asking what the victim did to deserve it. Start taking accusations seriously. And just be there as a friend. Yes- we may not get out of it as quickly as you’d like us to, but, hopefully, most of us will. In our own time. There are the few that never make it out- and that’s not their fault either. You have no idea the power the abuser holds. And it’s not fair.
As for me, I have moved on. Writing this and bringing attention to it is one of my final steps in doing so. I am thankful for the people I have behind me that helped me get through it. I am stronger for it and I’m better at recognizing the red flags I’ve previously ignored. Don’t look down on me for it, don’t question why I allowed it, and don’t think that I did anything to deserve it. I’ve reassessed my own position in relationships and have chosen to maintain only the healthiest of connections.