It was brave of you to write this! The grammar, etc, needs some polishing, but I think if you do that you could submit it for publishing in a women's magazine. Good luck to you, and congratulations on getting free!
This area is very difficult for me but it needs to be discussed. I was in an abusive relationship for about 4 1/2 to 5 years. I could not break free and I thought that he would never let me leave him. I did not know that at the time, but fear was my prison not my boyfriend.
One night in a chat room a man made a statement about women in abusive relationships. His comment infuriated me so much so I could have eaten him up alive. He said, ďWomen that are in abusive relationships are just stupid and they deserve to be beaten. Ē Why is it that people that have never been in this type of relationship is just blooming with information on what you should do. And why are they sometimes so negative in their thinking that we somehow deserve it. Damn, no one deserves to be beaten.
No one wants to be hit. Iím sure (if you were to poll Iím sure they would rather be doing something else women in abusive situations) Iíd venture to say not one of them would admit to ďlikingĒ the abuse suffered at the hands of their abuser. No one likes getting kicked, stomped, and bruised, etc. No one wants the black eyes, the bruises, the swollen lips and eyes, the sore ribs, etc. No one wants to look in the mirror and wonder who that person is starring back at them No one wants their teeth kicked in. They would much rather be doing something else besides getting her ass kicked.
Another point to keep in mind is not all abuse is physical. Most of the abuse is emotional and you may not even recognize it. Let me give you a few examples about emotionally abusive relationships. See he works on your emotions and thatís how it starts. First, he belittles you and therefore you end up with little or no self-esteem. He basically makes you think that you are nothing without him. Most of them donít mind embarrassing you in front of family and/or friends. They are constantly making remarks like, ďno one else wants or is ever going to want youĒ, ďI am the only one that really loves youĒ, ďand I treat you better than. . . Ē ďI would never hurt you,Ē etc. In reality he has little self-esteem himself and that is why he wants to keep you on (a level he considers lower than his own. ). Or better yet, he wants to keep you beneath him. People will always tell you that you must leave that relationship and they are right. But you canít leave just because they tell you to; you have to leave because you have had enough and want to leave. No one should be abused by anyone. Everyone can sit and tell you all day long to leave that relationship, just walk out. Well you should, but itís not that easy. It takes a lot of thinking, calculating, and manipulating. And yes of course, there has to be some WILL POWER involved. Because regardless as to how much you love that person, you have to leave and STAY AWAY! And believe me without the willpower, you will just keep making excuses to take him back. And take it from me, Iíve been there and done that. Going back to make peace or because you love them is a wrong answer. You can never make peace with an abuser (is this true or does the forgiveness come and you never forget?)--you just have to let go. Instead of making peace, get away before they find you in pieces somewhere.
My relationship was mentally and physically abusive. It started out physical and then the mental part kept me in line. And because he was always drinking when he was abusing me, I kept using alcohol as his excuse. Although at the time, I was fully aware of the physical, but not the mental. I can remember the first time he hit me (I wonder if other people can remember their first time. ) Anyway, it was after a Christmas party our job was giving. We had the party in a hotel-dining hall and most of us had rooms upstairs. At the Christmas party, I had danced with this guy that worked with us. My friend did not like this guy because he felt that this guy liked me. Once we got back to the room it happened. After asking me why I danced with the guy several times, a heated argument ensued. He grabbed me by my neck and pushed me down on the bed. He pulled me off on the other side of the bed, raised me up by my collar, and slapped me so hard across my face that I fell over the bed onto the floor on the other side. He kept asking me the same thing over and over again, ďWhy did you dance with him?Ē And I kept giving him the same answer, ďhe asked me and it was just a dance. Ē That wasnít good enough for him. And to this day, I really donít think that there was an answer that would have satisfied him anyway. He pulled the phone cord out of the wall and threw it towards the front door. And he told me that if I tried to run for the door, that he would throw me at he door the same way he did the phone and he had me convinced that he would.
Well it didnít just stop with the slapping and throwing around, at one point he was chocking me and punching me in the chest. I guess this went on for a while because I started feeling numb and told myself that it would be over soon. Sure after it was over, he apologized and said he was sorry. I was in so much pain that I really didnít care what he was saying or why. I was just glad it was over or so I thought. I just never imagined anything like this ever happening to me. Subsequently his next line was, ďIt will never happen again. Ē BULLSHIT, history repeats itself. Once it starts, usually something drastic has to happen to end the behavior. Meaning either you kills him or he kills you. They are just not willing to walk away and leave you alone. Once the abuse starts, they see you as property. And from that moment on, they will let nothing and no one come between or separate you two. And he assumes that you canít do what youíre told and you arenít worthy so therefore you should not live. Lord forbid you wanting out because youíre tired of the ass kicking and knowing that you deserve better. Sometimes they think you donít want them anymore because of someone else. And then they get in the frame of mind that ďif I canít have you, then no one can. Ē Stop and think about that for one second. Someone taking your life because they think you is not worthy. What gives him the right to play God or Master? He doesnít and against itís all about control. He wants to tell you whether you should live or die. That is not his call to make. But because of fear, we allow them to make too many choices for us concerning us. It seemed like no matter what I did, it just made him madder and madder.
It wasnít until after I was kidnapped, had a gun placed to my head with threats of having my brains blown out that I pressed charges. And believe me it took some time deciding that this was the right thing to do. Back during the time that I was abused, their lover, husband, friend, boyfriend, etc. left and right were killing women. The laws back then were so weak that chances were if you pressed charges, he would just get a slap on the wrist and that was it. Restraining order werenít worth the paper they were printed on. And the reason why it took me so long to decide on pressing charges or not, I just kept thinking that the restraining order was only going to anger him more. He would probably wait until he caught me alone and hurt me again; or maybe this time he would kill me. Because keep in mind that the police response time was atrocious if not null and void. Meaning they showed up when it was over and done. And by that time, you were either dead or so badly beaten that you were unrecognizable.
And one night I guess he just snapped and came for me. He came to my parentís house and stated that he wanted to talk. At this time my Mom and Dad were both sick. So when he came by my father told him to leave. I asked my Dad just to let me see what he wanted and then he would leave without any making trouble. He grabbed me by my arm and dragged me off the porch. He kidnapped me and placed a gun to my head and promised to blow my brains out, this changed some things for me. My life could have been over in a flash. I could hear my sister yelling in the background as we were leaving that she was going to call the police. Now when he grabbed me, all I was wearing was a t-shirt and some shorts. No underwear, shoes, etcÖ. just what I would normally sleep in.
He was holding me so tight that there was no way for me to snatch my arm from him and run. I donít know if my folks saw the gun or not, at the time but I was hoping that they knew about it. When we were driving around and he was just fussing and constantly threatening to blow my brains out. He kept saying that he was tired of my bullshit and he was going to end it tonight. While he was fussing and driving so reckless, a patrol car passed right by us. I started crying harder because I felt like they were my only hope at that point.
Well I guess my prayers were answered because the car made a U-turn and started to following us. He was afraid of going to jail for having the gun which must have been illegal. I guess he forgot about beating on me and stuff like that. He kept wondering what he could do with the gun so that they would not find it. I told him that he could hide the gun on me because they would have no reason to search me. The only thing that saved my life that night was the fact that he still trusted me and I played on those emotions and convinced him to put the gun down inside my clothing and hide it. My first thought was to remove the gun from my shorts and just blow his brains out. But there was the chance of the police just taking out their guns and shooting back because once the gun fire starts then no one really checks for answers until the smoke clears.
So when the officer came to the truck they removed him and took him back to their police car and started to search him. One of them then came back to the truck and asked me about the gun and I told them that he had put the gun in my shorts. They asked me to give them the gun and I told them no because if he saw me give them the gun there would be no saving me and they have proven in the past that they can not get there fast enough. I told them that they could bring a policewoman out to the scene and let her search me and thatís what we did.
They took me home after finding the gun and told me that he was going to be arrested on possession charges. But if I wanted him arrested for what he had done to me, I would have to go and swear out a warrant and they could then keep him in jail for that also. I had to go to the magistratesí office and press charges. I had to show the magistrate (who was a man at the time) the bruises and scars on my arms. I had to tell him everything that had happened that night. I had to relive the point of him putting the gun to my head and remembering how terrified I was when he did that. The police wanted me to get a restraining order against him but I thought it would do more harm than good.
Throughout the duration of that relationship, my body received black eyes, bruises, scars, swellings, seen and unseen, etc. Absurdly the funny part about that relationship (and yes there was a funny part) was that I have 6 brothers. And I never told them about the abuse until it came time to press charges. Why didnít I tell them before that you ask? Fear is the reason that I kept everything a secret plus there were additional circumstances on at the time. Dealing with ill parents, I felt it wasnít a good time to spring something like this on the family. Besides he threatened to do more harm to my family than he had done to me so I kept quiet. I also was worried about one of my brothers going to jail and their kids growing up without them. And deep down if that was the case; I would have been responsible for that. Didnít the family see the bruises? NO! I always stayed away from the family whenever I had bruises, scars, etc. I use to apply makeup to hide some of the bruises and scars. Only one person knew what I was going through and I made her swear that she would never tell anyone because I didnít want my brothers possibly ruining their lives on account of him. She was very close to the family and my parents treated her like a daughter. We were about as close as two sisters could be, but I refused to let her say anything. I think for a while she was mad at me for that but I could not involve my family. For a while it put a strain on our friendship because I would not get help. I want to apologize to her because I did not realize that I put her in a very bad spot and Iím very sorry.
Abusive relationships either make you or break you, and after everything I went through I feel much stronger. Iím not sure if you ever really get over it. I still have my good days and bad but writing helps me deal with the pain. It can make you a stronger individual inside and out but it also caused something that I regret but donít know how to change since then. I donít trust men and I donít know if I ever will again! I trusted my abuser with my heart, body, & soul and he broke all three literally. So you might ask how could I be in a relationship and not trust that someone? Easy, I always tell myself this one fact over and over again. He is a man and serves self first, therefore no trusting. Itís a hard way to live but someone has to do it. And yes I presently have a man in my life and we have 2 kids together (four in all and they are all males. ) Believe me I preach all the time that men should never hit women. And I know they are probably sick of hearing it but they will continue to hear it for the rest of their lives.
You may wonder how I got out of that abusive relationship. Just because I pressed charges and we went to court, doesnít mean a thing. It only made him angrier. It took more than the police and the courts. Simply because they could not be with me 24/7. And there were a couple of times that I felt helpless when no one was there. My kidsí father helped me out (emotionally and physically. ) Emotionally, he convinced me that I was not as worthless as I thought I was and physically he convinced my abuser that he would stop abusing and stalking me or end up dead. I did not want it to come to that but this confrontation between them happened when I wasnít around. The only reason I confided in my male friend (at the time) was because he was visiting my mom and me when my abuser showed up one day wanting to ďtalk. Ē I refused to talk; my abuser grabbed my arm and started pulling me away. My friend grabbed my other arm and told the abuser to let go of me. He (the abuser) said no, my mom begged him to let me go, and he kept holding me tighter. By this time my mom said that she heard my friend load one in the chamber of his nine. I guess the abuser heard it also because he let go and left but it did not stop there. After that incident, the stalking started. He not only followed me when he could, but he started following my friend as well. It seems ironic now because after my friend placed a gun to the abuserís head and threatened to blow his brains out, things started to change. Also someone told me that my abuser did a little homework on my friend and found out that my friendsí family was a bunch that normally took care of their own problems (meaning without the aid of the law. ) He slowed down on the harassing and eventually stopped.
I was happy (for his sake) and you may ask why? Well regardless as to how he beat me, I did not want him dead. I just wanted him to leave me alone and let me live my life. It makes me remember 2 things someone told me about men that abuse women: (1) A real man does not hit on women, and (2) All it takes is for you to let go of the fear you have of them and they are powerless. Plus it doesnít hurt to have a friend on your side either. I did not write this paper to frighten anyone or to make women think that all men are abusers. I wrote it because everyday in the news you see something pertaining to abuse. My intention for this paper was that if just one person can see that (1) this is me, (2) my girl, sister, associate, etc. , is in the same situation, or (3) this is the way I'm treating someone, and then maybe we can wake up and change. I remember something my Father told my first husband: you can't raise grown people. If you think that you have to hit on her or beat her, just bring her back home. I've raised her and no one can reraise her. There is much more to be said but for now, I hope this helps someone.
All rights reserved by Ann D Johnson 2008
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