1:4 #1, The first comes forward

1:4 #1, the first to come forward
1:4 #1, The first to come forward

Please share what happened to you?

I was a romantically involved and living with a narcissist, and a control-freak. He became verbally abusive at first, then violent (angry). Then he became physically abusive, restraining me, and falsely imprisoning me. His threats to kick me to the street, literally, get out within 24 hours, terrified me. There are not enough words to describe the way he insulted me, dis-respected me, put down strong women, joked about women being wrong, fat, bad, stupid, dispensable.  I have been shoved up against walls, thrown in closets, pushed into a chair forced to listen to hours, yes hours of lecturing on how crazy I am, made to repeat any sentence he wanted me to including “I am crazy. I need professional help. I will turn myself in to the Psych ward at the hospital”.  I have been sat on, head-butted, grabbed and dragged, and spit upon. This coupled with extensive gaslighting made me trauma bond with him. My therapist says I experienced “Stockholm Syndrome” as well. The police say I had moderate to severe PTSD, and sent me straight to the shelter when I showed up at the police station with his weapons (I snuck out).  I left 10 times, the 11th time stuck. I lost everything trying to leave over a course of two and a half years. I lost many friends, and their respect, my family ostracized me, and my oldest child (22) is still estranged. None of these people understood at all “why would you stay”. They had absolutely no concept of what it takes to stand alone these days. I had no car, no job, and no money. How was I to leave? Where was I to go. Slowly I built resources, but would lose them trying to leave. My resources would dwindle, and I would go back to him, surrendering to his endless apologies, promises to get better, and to never ever hurt me again. At one point he enrolled in a domestic violence program run by the court judicial system. It lasted 32 weeks. He even went to “anger management therapy”.  It didn’t really work. Yes there was some improvement, but I could never EVER disagree with him, point out his short-comings or mistakes, and every second I was with him I was not allowed to leave his presence, check my phone, hold my phone, use my phone. Even during the night while we were sleeping if I got up for any reason I was interrogated. For the first few months he held me so tight in his arms at night when I tried or finally did turn over, with my back to him he would say “why did you turn away”.
Thank God it is over. I loved him very much. I loved all the good things about him – his amazing talents, his skill set professionally, his amazing cooking, and that we enjoyed the same music. I still unfortunately somehow in a twisted unhealthy way care about him, and every so often check on his facebook page, or ask an acquaintance how he is doing. Maybe one day I can truly hate him. I try. Believe me I try. One day I will wash my heart and mind clean of all this, but for now,4 months out, it’s still a work in progress. I try and successfully do, each day, to “turn the channel” in my mind when I think of him, or something reminds me of our relationship.
I have found that I am very, very angry, and that has been repressed. Since I was never allowed to be angry, never to raise my voice, never argue with him, in my new relationship I am having trouble not dumping past anger onto my new boyfriend when he does something that bothers me. Fortunately he recognizes this, as do I, and he is patient, tolerant, and forgiving. It is not easy for him. He encourages me to talk, talk cry, scream, and get angry. But it is hard on him. I feel bad I bring this baggage to our relationship, and wish I was “normal” and not “recovering” from abuse. What I find most wonderful in my new relationship is the normal healthy way he loves me. Little things, just are fantastic beyond description. We even joke about the abuse in certain situations, which actually is good – it lightens and belittles his treatment of me – making what he did seem ridiculous, ludicrous, and outrageous.

How are you doing now?

I am much better. I am fragile, startle easily still, and very uneasy around strange men both professionally and personally. The really good thing is through this experience, group and private therapy, and lots and lots of reading, I recognize the signs of an abusive person INSTANTLY. a narcissist, a control freak, and a jealous man can never have a place in my life. I never ever could do this before. I was SUCH a pushover, people pleaser. Like to the point that I would sacrifice myself in every way to please a man.
Narcs play on gentle souls, often going after women who are hurt, who are naive, forgive easily, and generous. They suck your soul out. When I look back on all I have been through I honestly can’t believe it. The drama factor was off the charts, the stress almost unimaginable….and I can’t stand myself for putting my friends and family through all this. I am so very ashamed. My oldest son witnessed some abuse, and my oldest child, my daughter, refused to have a relationship with me since I kept going back and not leaving. Even tho I finally left, moved on, have my own home, car, and job, she still doesn’t email, call or text.  I pray someday to reunite with her, and teach her the signs of sick twisted men or women who prey on the “uninformed”.

Is there anything  about domestic violence you’d like to tell the world?

I didn’t realize that watching my Dad (who I adored, loved, and idolized – this should have been a hint for me there) beat my Mom would affect me subconsciously. I think watching the years of abuse between my Mom and Dad made me somehow someway to be involved with this type of relationship. I don’t understand all that, but I know I feel very proud of getting out, getting help, filing a police report, filing protective orders, having him arrested, getting my very own house by myself (nothing short of a Herculean effort), and a job to support myself. Because my Mother, God rest her sweet soul (died at 59), never said anything to anybody not even her minister domestic violence was quietly tolerated, and the giant ugly elephant in the room went ignored. No more. This stops with me.

7 Responses

  1. I cannot imagine the strength it took for you to share your story and I am thankful to you for putting this out there. I have to admit, I have been in the “why did you stay” camp and having never been in a situation like this, it’s hard to truly understand as an outsider. Thank you for shedding more light on a topic that is all too often silenced. You have so much to be proud of and I am so glad you are on your feet and recovering. You are a brave soul and deserve so much more, the best.

  2. Hi Dave, I am totally blown away by your project – it is really fantastic, and the photos are great. Wow, just absolutely admire what you are doing.

  3. Dave, I just want to thank you and your first subject for sharing this story. It resonates with me so much. The physical part not as extreme but the mental and emotional part is so much the same that I felt like I was reading my own story. I have said all along that if this began to affect my child’s life that I would leave. I am leaving. WE are leaving. Only he is oblivious to it so far. My child begs me to leave. It’s so sad. My biggest fear has been that once she can leave that she will and that I will never see her again because of him and I’m not letting that happen. My child is my number one priority. This story tells me that Im doing the right thing and that Im not insane and I appreciate the strength it took for both of you to do this.

  4. Dave, I’m Joy Crowers’s sister, Michele. I was raped and would be more than willing to help you with your project. It really touched me that you’re taking such a caring and thoughtful approach to such a sensitive subject, that definitely needs to come out of the dark of shame, and into the light of healing. Thank you for what you’re doing. It’s an inspiration.

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