June 2nd, 2014 marked my ‘Independence Day.’ a year previous from this date I packed up my cats and left an abusive relationship. I was so desperate to get out I didn’t even have a bed to sleep on in my new apartment. This was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But looking back on it, making the decision to leave was so much harder than actually doing it. When I made my anniversary announcement public on Facebook, I was asked to write up my story so an acquaintance who works with people in similar situations could read my story. My story could have been way worse. I am very grateful for that. But just because the line was blurred does not mean that what happened to me was acceptable. It it my hope that the more people like me tell their story, it will raise public awareness so this doesn’t happen to anyone and that the circumstances no matter how grey, are not okay.
I suppose that means we have to go back to the beginning. But the beginning is hard to explain. How do people get into these messes? Shouldn’t you have known better? What the hell were you thinking? These questions still run through my mind almost everyday. A year later, I’m still reminding myself that I didn’t deserve this. And yes, there we plenty of red flags that I probably should have recognized and paid more attention to. But that also implies that I knew what to and not to look for. So many relationships these days are treated like drugs. You fall fast and furious for the rush and the high. When the crash comes you will sacrifice whatever it takes to get the high back. Why aren’t there rehab centers for intimacy abuse? Where are the detox programs for commitment/attachment issues and unhealthy boundaries? So many of us fall into these traps at varying degrees and it is unfortunate that so many of us still don’t realize we’re in the trap. I was no exception.
After I graduated college my sister put a good word in for me at a local restaurant for a part-time job. I ended up befriending one of the servers and I got very close to him very quickly. He was a somber and distracted individual. He told me all about his ex-girlfriend cheating on him while he was away in the military and his grandfather who raised him passing away recently. He even opened up about what happened in Iraq. This really should have been my first red flag. Why on earth would anyone in their right mind want a partner that is so depleted? But I didn’t have the self confidence to think that I deserved someone healthy and strong. And in a sick way, taking care of this broken man seemed romantic to me at the time. I ended up getting a contract job out of state, and I was in such a whirlwind with this man that I left my current boyfriend so I could consummate this new relationship before I left. He stayed the night with me and before we went to sleep he told me that he loved me. This should have been another red flag. The connection seemed so deep, it was exciting, it was an adrenaline rush. I got high off of what this sad man called ‘love.’
The drug was exciting for a few months. We had decided to start a relationship long distance. He came out to see me one weekend and every moment with him was a rush. He was going to come see me again a few months later. The night before he was supposed to fly out, I received a text message saying that he was sorry and that it wasn’t my fault. The rest of my contract job felt like a prison. Because that’s where the man who held my self-worth and my identity had gone. Numerous phone calls with his grandmother and probation officer, whom I didn’t know about, revealed that he was a sever alcoholic and that he had broken probation multiple times, including the previous time he came to visit me out of state. So he spent the rest of the year in a cell.
I wish I could say the rest of the relationship got better. He swore he was going to get through the stricter probation that he had to start when he was released. He loved me, he wanted a life with me, he wanted to marry me. He couldn’t fight these demons without me. I probably should have left this man when I had a few states between us. But the unhealthy boundaries and co-dependency had it’s grip on me. When I came back to my home state after my contract had ended, I moved in with this man and decided to give him another chance. My stepmother’s father had been an alcoholic, her ex-husband had been an alcoholic. Even those these past relationships in my family’s history didn’t work out, I though maybe mine would be different. He loved me.
Looking back on the relationship as a whole, I really don’t have any complaints through the first year. He was sober, getting his life together, he supported me and we were happy. But as soon as he had completed his probation he started drinking again. I didn’t realize it at the time until it slapped me in the face. He went to jail again and the hospital three times the last year I was with him. He never actually hit me, and he never actually screamed at me. I really wish he had though. Just so my circumstances could have been a little more black and white. While he was drinking he wouldn’t leave me alone. He would build me up emotionally and then tear me down. He would never let me sleep, berated me when I tried to make time for myself or my family and friends. It got to a point where I could barely go to work because he couldn’t function without me. It’s like there was a vortex, a black hole always over his head and he sucked me dry every moment he was around me. And he had isolated me so I couldn’t get help. I remember there were days when I stayed in bed all day sobbing when I though he was at ‘work.’ I had nothing left for myself.
Even still, there were two things that he did to me that were the most humiliating. There was one night where we were half dressed on the couch watching T.V. we had started to get intimate but the black hole was over him and I didn’t want to have sex. I told him no and to stop. Three times. When I tried to push him him off of me, he grabbed my shoulders, forced me down and himself on me. I was so scared and shocked I didn’t even fight back. I remember staring up at the ceiling thinking, ‘what the hell is happening to my body?!’ He didn’t really talk to me for days after that night. You can read a previous blog of mine that talks about this moment and my recovery from it for me in more depth here https://eliaann.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/the-dark-goddess-kali-ma/
And just to put the icing on the cake, the second time he went to the hospital for alcohol poisoning his mother pulled me aside and asked what was going on. I told her that he was dealing with some of his concussion injuries from Iraq and that he asked me not to tell her because he didn’t want to worry her. She looked at me and said, ‘what are you talking about, he never went to Iraq.’ At this point I had been dating this man for over two years and I discovered in an earth shattering moment that everything he had told me about who he was, was a complete lie. Well, he was in the military. He was just discharged before this unit when overseas. His ‘bullet wound’ on his stomach was from a surgery. And the craziest thing is, I couldn’t leave quite just yet. Financially I really couldn’t. I had saved up all my money for a yoga teacher training program. So I stuck it out for a few more months. He promised and cried and swore that he would stop drinking and begged me not to leave him.
About a month after I graduated my teacher program, I finally left. and the moment that did it for me was when I was cleaning the apartment one afternoon. I found empty rum bottles on top of the kitchen cabinets, under the bed, in the closet, behind the washing machine, and in my cat tree. I had a moment staring at the Sailor Jerry Hula Rum Girl and I realized that this was going to be my life if I stayed in this basement apartment any longer. He was always going to pick the hula girl until he learned to slay his demons himself. It doesn’t have anything to do with me. Even though I was wishing the hula girl was real so I could rip her hair out for stealing my man.
So I did a whole 180. I got a new job, new apartment, and was newly single. It was a lot of change all at once. But I did it. And although I’m still working on some of my psychological bad habits, and I’m frustrated about being single, I am stepping into my power more and more everyday. I need to remember how far I’ve come. I’m supporting myself and my apartment is full of cat hair from little furry creatures that adore me, I have an amazing job with great co-workers and benefits, my family is full of unconditional love and support, I have a fantastic group of friends who laugh at me and cherish me all the same. And the communities I’ve become apart of have saved and healed my soul. So for now I’m taking care of me and the man who loves me for me, in all my power and strength will come.
Blessed be and Namaste Friends 🙂