Hiatus

I have been away from my blog for quite some time now. I haven’t posted since March. I think the reason being that, as my last post is titled, I escaped. And I needed to stay that way for awhile, from everything that reminded me of my relationship. I needed some breathing space. Big time. And while writing usually serves as a means of release, this time it was different. This time whenever I thought about blogging it felt like a chore. I felt bogged down, the way I did in my relationship. It felt like being on here would hold me back from progressing. Probably because I used this blog to document the details of my relationship as well as to vent, and since escaping I had nothing more to document. Well, there is plenty I could write about but it wasn’t the same. No one to watch my every move. No one constantly calling me and texting me to see where I am and what I’m doing and who I’m with. No one criticizing every little thing about me. No one insulting me. No one calling me names. No one playing not-so-subtle mind games. No one interfering with my sleep. No one keeping me from eating healthy, from exercising, from talking with friends. No one complaining about the clothes I wear. No one getting angry at me because I folded his laundry the wrong way or didn’t use enough detergent. No one sexually or physically abusing me. No one insinuating that I’m cheating.

No one keeping me from being me.

Writing this I realize it does still make me sad to admit that this is what this person, who claimed to love me, did to me. There’s still a hint of shame. There’s still a part of me that remains loyal to him–that wants to deny and make excuses for all of this terrible behaviour. There’s still a part of me that feels bad for HIM.

He doesn’t deserve this loyalty. He doesn’t deserve this love.

Writing didn’t feel the same because it gave me the same sense of dread I felt when I was in the relationship. It made me feel like I hadn’t escaped.

But I think now that a few months have gone by and I’ve gotten that much-needed space, I can write again as part of the healing process and begin to share how I have been coping.

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Escaped

I finally did it. I left him.

For good.

On February 20th, I ran out the door with my heart pounding, my body shaking and tears streaming down my face. It’s taken me over a month to sit down and share how it took place. I don’t know why, but I needed the time.

Here’s the story:

The week leading up he had been pretty hostile and cold towards me. A snide comment here, the cold shoulder there. I was pretty sad. I felt deprived of love and affection, and for good reason–I was.

He was already short with me over the phone on his way home that night, and continued to be once he got home. I was scared. I had something to tell him, something that would likely bother him. Throughout the day I had thought about how I was going to “break the news” to him. I thought about how best to broach the subject in order to have minimal upset.

You know what that something was?

That something was that I was going to go horseback riding with my mom the next day.

If you have been or are in an abusive relationship, you know just where I’m coming from. Telling your abuser that you’ve made plans is equivalent to telling someone that you have some horrendous news. You worry and you obsess and sometimes even consider backing out just so you don’t have to face their inevitable wrath. And I’m dead serious that this is how bad it can be. No exaggeration.

Anyway, back to the story.

Mike came home and continued to be distant. I tried to act happy and cute in hopes that his mood would lift (a learned survival habit, I’m sure). He just continued to barely look at me and when he did, it was like he was staring through me with despise. I didn’t see love in his eyes.

Mike: “I need you to remind me to bring my fucking weights home from the shop because I don’t remember until I get here and see my barbell against the wall in the fucking corner, so if you could do that that would be great thanks.”

That was said in a tone meant to tell me that it’s MY job to remind him of things he needs to do; that the sole responsibility rests on my shoulders and if HE doesn’t remember it’s no one’s fault but my own.

I could tell that there wasn’t going to be a “good” time to break my news to him so I just went to the closet, grabbed one of his winter hats with floppy ear coverings that he thought I looked cute in, bounced over to him like a little girl (the innocent act seemed to soften him sometimes) and casually asked him if I could borrow the hat to go riding with my mom the next day (all the while my heart was pounding).

Instantly he snaps, “You’re going riding with your mom tomorrow?”

Me: “Yes.”

Mike: “When did you find that out? Last week?” Remember, these are rhetorical questions. He doesn’t really care when I made the plans. He only cares about the fact that I made them at all. His questions are fired at me without me getting the chance to answer because he answers them for me with his own beliefs. Anything I say from here on out is futile.

Me: “No. Today.”

A part of me hoped that was it. But another part of me knew that he was mulling over what I just told him and that something (be it a sense of anger, contempt, betrayal, the need to control…whatever it is that fuels him to abuse) was seething beneath the surface.

Five minutes of silence went by.

Then:

Mike: “What a fucked up way to plan things.”

Me (thinking to myself, And there it is. Here we go.): “What do you mean?”

Mike: “Well it’s just something that should have been discussed on like, Monday.”

Me: “What exactly is there to discuss? My mom asked me to go riding and I said yes.”

Mike: “Ya but you’re in a fucking relationship. You should have told me sooner, when you found out this morning.”

Me: “What difference does it make if I tell you now or this morning?”

Mike: “Because it’s too last minute! How would you like if I came home and said I was fucking off for the day tomorrow?!”

Me: “I wouldn’t care.”

Mike: “You wouldn’t care? That’s the problem. You know you need to be fucking single.”

At this point he gets up from the couch and starts getting ready to bring the dog outside. While yelling at me he throws his arms around and paces.

Me: “Why? Because I made plans? What, do I have to clear it with you first? Ask permission? I spend every fucking weekend with you so I don’t see the big deal.”

Mike: “You wouldn’t. You should have told me this morning because now it fucks my plans.”

Me: “What plans? You work Saturdays.”

Mike: “I don’t work every Saturday.”

Me: “Mike, you’ve had TWO Saturdays off in the last 8 months.”

Mike: “Whatever. You should have told me because then I’d go to work  instead of dog-fucking it here all day tomorrow by myself.” (He made humping gestures.)

Me: “I still don’t see what difference it makes.”

As was mentioned, he works Saturdays and has literally had only a couple off in months. So like every other weekend I assumed he was working. For all I know he still was but just lied about not having to once he found out I made plans as an excuse to abuse me. Which makes this entire argument completely pointless. Well, not pointless to him. To him it’s his way of controlling me.

He gestured as if he was going to smash his phone, called me a bitch and carried on yelling. At one point he went to punch the wall but stopped himself. See? He is capable of self-control! He just chooses not to exercise it when hurting me.

Mike: “You shouldn’t be in a fucking relationship!”

Me: “Fine. If that’s what you think then I’m out of here!”

I started grabbing my coat, computer and bag while he continued on.

Mike: “What are you doing?”

Me: “Leaving.”

When I opened the door to leave he jumped infront of me and slammed it shut. The difference in his demeanor changed drastically as soon as I opened that door. He suddenly calmed down. A complete 180. All of the sudden he acted as if he wanted to have a reasonable conversation. A little too late for that though.

Mike: “Just listen to me.”

Me: “No. This isn’t about me not telling you my plans ‘soon enough.’ That’s not the problem. The problem is that I made plans at all.”

Mike: “No it’s not I don’t give a fuck.”

Me: “Yes you do. It’s the same fucking thing every time I plan something. Please let me leave.”

I was shaking, my heart was pounding and I was struggling to get my flats on.

Mike: “Just listen to me.”

Me: “Mike, let me out of the house.”

Mike: “No. Listen to me.”

Me: “Mike let me out of the fucking house right now!

He looked stunned that I screamed at him like that. But I knew that if I let him talk I wouldn’t leave. That’s precisely why he calmed down. Because that’s worked on me before. But I couldn’t let it happen again. This was my chance to escape. I knew that if I was going to leave, I had to do it now. I needed to hold on to my anger to propel me out of the house and away from him.

I pulled out my phone. I wasn’t really planning on phoning anyone just then but I knew from past experience that pulling out my phone like I’m going to call someone scares the shit out of him and makes him back off. It’s a threat to him. The fear on his face was instant and unmistakable.

Mike: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m calling my mom since you won’t let me out of the fucking house!”

I can’t remember if he said anything in response. I didn’t stick around any longer. I suddenly turned and ran out the back door, which was ajar since he had been about to take the dog out. As I ran out I lost a shoe. I heard him call me a “fucking bitch” and “cunt.” I ran around the side of the house and stopped to find my car keys. I struggled to find them because my hands were shaking so bad. I was crying so hard I could barely see. Finally my hands touched them just as Mike came around from the front. For a split second I thought he was going to stop me from getting in my car. I was scared because I was uncertain of what he was going to do. But he had come around the house with my boots. He tossed them towards me.

Mike: “Here’s your boots if you’re gonna leave.”

I glanced at him quickly before he turned around and went back towards the house. I threw my stuff in my car and drove off. Right away I called Michelle and told her what happened. I drove around the block and pulled off to the side. He called me and texted me 9 times. I didn’t look at them. Afraid that he might have gotten into his car and come looking for me, I started for the highway. I called my mom and told her I was on my way. I called my best friend Evelyn, and she stayed on the phone with me until I got to my mom’s.

I deleted all texts he sent me while I was driving without reading them. I blocked his number and didn’t speak to him for 10 days.

I will share what happened following this horrible night in my next post.

 

 

 

Sexism, misogyny, and raising awareness of domestic violence

“Control is so often exacted upon a victim through passive aggressive “good guy”/”good person” techniques under the guise of concern and a so called well meaning desire to urge caution.” This statement was said by fellow blogger betternotbroken. I could not have said it better myself.

Mike is always trying to tell me that his controlling tactics are really just out of his “concern” for me and my well-being: don’t go running, don’t go to the gym, don’t go out with your friends, don’t go to that bar, don’t wear that without me around, don’t go anywhere without me on your arm etc etc…all because it’s “not safe.” Meaning, I am viewed as his property, and as inferior because I am a woman, and as such I should not be exercising a will of my own, especially in a public space. A male-dominated space. Because as an inferior woman I must be controlled or “protected” from other men since I am incapable of standing on my own two feet. Because without a man on my arm I will not be respected. And of course, when I am not respected it is more of an insult to Mike than it is to me, the victim of any disrespectful behaviour I may be subject to as a woman on my own. And of course, as a woman I am not capable of standing up for myself and earning the respect I deserve; I am not capable of warding off any perpetrators. I am only capable of attracting unwanted male attention, and when I do it is most certainly my fault because of what I am wearing, or because of how I have my hair or makeup or because I was ‘too friendly.’ I am Mike’s property; I am his possession, and as such I shouldn’t be making myself attractive to other men–this is a direct insult to him as a man. I shouldn’t be asserting my own identity and exercising my own free will by going out on my own and doing things for myself because this puts me in a position to be approached.

This display of sexism and misogyny is infuriating. It is detrimental to my well-being, not good for it, as he would have me believe. It’s all part of a collective disrespect for women that is so prevalent in our society and only perpetuates abuse further. I am so glad that more awareness is being brought to the surface and more public attention is being given regarding domestic violence and the ever-present lack of respect for women. I can’t begin to explain how much relief and hope this gives me that maybe one day, we will finally experience true equality and respect and abuse rates will drop dramatically.

Mike and I watched the Grammys a couple weekends ago. I was both surprised and elated that the issue of domestic violence was given a brief spotlight. Despite criticisms that if they were truly fully supportive then they wouldn’t feature artists like Chris Brown, who famously beat then-girlfriend Rhianna 6 years ago, nor would they feature artists who’s mysogynistic lyrics favour violence against women, I nonetheless thought that it was a huge step forward. And I will explain why.

As Mike and I watched Obama’s PSA followed by domestic violence survivor Brooke Axtell’s speech, an incredibly uncomfortable and very awkward silence fell between us. My body went completely still, anxiety rose up inside me with each word Brooke spoke, my throat went dry and I held my breath. Most importantly, I could feel this awkwardness reverberating off Mike. He cleared his throat. Brooke spoke:

“My name is Brooke Axtell and I am a survivor of domestic violence.
After a year of passionate romance with a handsome, charismatic man, I was stunned when he began to abuse me.
I believed he was lashing out because he was in pain and needed help.
I believed my compassion could restore him and our relationship.
My empathy was used against me.
I was terrified of him. Ashamed I was in this position.
What bound me to him was my desire to heal him.
My compassion was incomplete because it did not include me.
When he threatened to kill me, I knew I had to escape. I revealed the truth to my mom and she encouraged me to seek help at a local domestic violence shelter.
This conversation saved my life.
Authentic love does not devalue another human being.
Authentic love does not silence, shame or abuse.
If you are in a relationship with someone who does not honour and respect you, I want you to know that you are worthy of love.
Please reach out for help.
Your voice will save you.
Let it extend into the night, let it part the darkness, let it set you free to know who you truly are.
Valuable.
Beautiful.
Loved.”

I loved her speech. I had to hold back tears.

It was like a giant “Fuck you!” to Mike because the behaviour, tactics and abuse of men like him was being publicized to 25.3 million viewers (variety.com, 2015). While I was ridden with anxiety, I was smiling inside, too, because Mike was being made aware that not only was abusiveness being brought to light in the public sphere, but it was being brought to my attention as well. And public knowledge of their abuse is arguably an abuser’s greatest fear. They want it to remain hidden behind closed doors and secretly embedded within the societal structure. They don’t want it made evident that it exists because then they will not be able to continue to get away with it. That is why I viewed Obama’s PSA and Brooke’s speech as a small victory. It was almost like I was telling Mike, without even saying a word, that I KNOW. I know exactly what he’s doing and even though I may not have found the strength to leave just yet, I will.

Controlled and suffocating

Mike controls the majority of my life. As much as I’d like to think he doesn’t and that I remain in control of some things, unfortunately upon closer inspection he really does. Whenever you find yourself altering your behaviour, however small, to avoid an altercation, you are being controlled. It has gotten so bad that I don’t even feel comfortable changing infront of him anymore because I feel his eyes scrutinizing me, watching closely what clothes I put on and even which undergarments I choose. I bought new clothes online and had them sent to my work place, for christ’s sake. I hid them and snuck them into the house, all because one, he will get angry if he saw that I bought skirts and dresses and two, he will makes comments about how I bought something for myself rather than him: “I’m the one who needs new clothes. I have nothing. You have tons.” He will say something to that effect to make me feel guilty about doing something for myself over him; for putting my needs/wants before his. I don’t like putting makeup on or doing my hair infront of him because he says things that insinuate that I’m cheating on him or trying to attract other male attention. I haven’t looked closely at myself in months. I miss getting dolled up and enjoying my femininity. It’s like a sin to do so in this relationship. I don’t take the time to make myself look really nice anymore–I don’t put a whole lot of effort into hair and makeup and of course, clothing. I hesitate to even paint my nails. All because I’m afraid he’ll accuse me of seeking attention. The other morning, for example, while I was trying to fix my unruly hair:

Mike: Where are you going?

Me: (Right away I sighed in my head and thought ‘here we go again’). What do you mean? I’m going to work.

Mike: You’re fixing your hair.

Me: Ya…I hate it.

Mike: Why?

Me: Because it’s too long and unmanageable.

He knows very well that I hate my hair this long (it’s to my waist now that I haven’t cut it in two years, since I first met him, because he likes it long).

He also criticized my clothing again that morning:

Mike: What’s with wearing the torn jeans all the time?

Me: I’m limited in clothes I can wear.

Mike: Why? Because your ass is getting too big?

Me: Hah. Ya. (I didn’t mention that it’s actually because I’m not allowed to wear anything else–dresses, skirts, leggings…)

Going back a couple days before that, when he criticized my leggings:

Mike: You wear those leggings too much.

Me: They’re comfortable. (Plus, like I said, I’m limited in what I can wear as it is. I’m down to two pairs of jeans since wearing skirts or dresses would surely ignite an argument. I didn’t say this, though. )

Mike: They’re worn out. They’re see-through. I bet they weren’t like that when you bought them. I’m going to buy you a new pair.

Me: These ones used to be my yoga pants. Back when I worked out. They’re not as bad as my other ones.

Mike: I’m surprised you females are comfortable wearing them. It doesn’t make sense.

Notice the use of “you females” and “it doesn’t make sense.” And my small jab of “back when I worked out” because he makes doing anything like that for myself near impossible. I don’t know how many times we have gone over my “see-through leggings.” It’s a non-stop issue. Just like the phone one. I get more and more irritated but he doesn’t care. And he won’t stop until I stop wearing them. Until he gets what he wants. Or until I become strong enough to leave.

He also got mad because I wouldn’t wait for him that morning. We both travel the same route for most of the way to our jobs, until I exit the highway. I need to leave at 7 in order to get to work on time. He takes his time getting out of bed after I wake him up, so if he’s not ready to go at 7, I leave. I went to leave and he got angry and told me to wait for him, which would make me late for work. But he doesn’t care. Last night he said that he needs to start leaving right at 7 so that he can “watch where I go” when we drive. Again, as if I’m lying about going to work. His grip on me is getting tighter and tighter. In addition to that he now comes home earlier since he found out what time I get home, AND he’s saying he wants to take Saturdays off now. So I will have NO TIME to myself. None. The kicker is that months ago he bitched at me for working on Sundays (I had Saturdays off instead) and I told him to take a Saturday off then if he wanted to spend time with me (and it would be easier for him since he works for himself). He refused, insisting that it was impossible because of his clients. So guess what? I had to change MY schedule. I quit when we moved, and at my new job, I was working Saturdays to make a little extra money while completing an internship. My schedule was then in sync with his. Since my internship is now finished, I have Saturdays off again. Of course, this is not acceptable to Mike. I am alone all day. Who knows what kind of trouble I get into, right? Who knows where I am going, what I am doing. I am a woman, after all, and I must be kept inside and on watch. Heavily guarded.

I am suffocating. Funnily enough, I had a dream last night that I was suffocating. I was with my ex (a non-abusive man) when all of the sudden I started boiling up and losing breath. I panicked, telling him to get my shirt of me because it was too hot and it was strangling me. I woke up with a start, overheating and out of breath because Mike was wrapped around me, literally suffocating me with his weight. I googled what my dream meant and got this (from Dream Moods):

  • To dream that you are suffocating signifies that you are feeling smothered or oppressed by some situation or relationship. Something or someone is holding your back. You are experiencing a lot of stress and tension.

 

  • To dream that you cannot breathe indicates that you are feeling exhausted.

 

  • To feel heat in your dream indicates a feeling of shame or embarrassment.

Feels like that dream was more than just a sign. It was a goddamn billboard smacking me right in the face. Literally a wake-up call.

[Dis]Respect

The lack of respect for me in this relationship is becoming more and more abundantly clear. I don’t even want to use the word ‘relationship.’ It doesn’t seem like an appropriate word anymore.

Monday evening, after the text message fight, he seemed to back off a little. Not for long though. He slowly started to subtly verbally abuse me. Whenever we have fights where he thinks I’ve wronged him, he gives himself permission to treat me like shit. He feels he’s justified.

For example. he asked me to buy him a Harley and followed that with “I wish you didn’t have student loan debt. Then we could co-sign on things and be able to get things in life.” Thanks for that. He was trying to make me feel like shit, like it’s my fault that we can’t get things in life because I put myself through school to better myself and my debt is holding us (or him) back. It was just another attempt to undermine me. Let’s not forget that he avoids paying bills and has amassed a huge amount of debt by running away from it–once bills get too high after months of not paying he just avoids them altogether and refuses to pay. He tried to convince me to do the same: “Just claim bankruptcy. All you debt will just vanish if you avoid it long enough.” How much more evident could his inability and refusal to take responsibility for himself be?

What has become more disturbing to me, however, is his sexual assault of me. He touches my breasts when he knows I don’t want to be touched, such as after a fight or during times when there’s still tension between us. He will try and grab them out of nowhere, at a time that seems highly inappropriate (because really, who insists on touching someone sexually when you’re in an argument and not even speaking to one another?) Telling him not to doesn’t do anything other than anger him more as he will just continue to do it and laugh at my protests. He’s telling me that I’m inferior and weaker than him and he will touch me whenever he wants no matter what. He tells me he touches me in my sleep and when I question it he says “Well if you don’t let me do it when you’re awake  then I’ll do it when you’re asleep. You don’t even notice.” This angers me to my very core because I feel so violated. It’s MY body. It’s like punishment. He’s saying he’s entitled to it and to do whatever he wants with it and I have no right to object. He’s reinforcing his power over me. It couldn’t be anymore clear that I am nothing more than an object, a possession to him existing solely for his pleasure. This is especially evident when he says to me, “Go put on something sexy so I can bang you.”  In a healthy relationship, I would take pleasure in wearing sexy things for my significant other because I get pleasure out of it as well. But in this context, I often feel like a piece of meat. What angers me even more is that he takes pleasure in knowing that I can’t object because I’m afraid to. He knows it angers me, but he’s loving every minute of me not speaking against it. He’s enjoying his power over me and that infuriates me more.

Mike has a general dislike for women. This is evident in his comments about women on a daily basis. He said to me last week, “How can something bleed for five days and not die? You women are Satan’s children,” in reference to me being on my period. This is accompanied by increasing pressure for anal sex: “I have to make a reservation a year in advanced for that.”

The only woman I’ve seen him show respect for is his mother, and possibly his sister. I listen to him talk to them on the phone and he sounds like a decent human being, “allowing” her independence and freedom. He will tell me that she’s working on construction site cleaning new homes or in a hotel frequented by oil rig men, and then tell me that he would never allow ME to work there because “it isn’t safe” and “those men go nuts over any woman they see.” But it’s ok for his aging mother.

I believe that he displays more respect for his mother partly because she’s a traditional mother. She stayed home before his parents split. She never went to school and pursued a career. The other reason could be because she babied him. She spoiled him. If he didn’t like what she made for dinner, she made him something else. (The same evening of the text fight he complained about having no dinner and said that he wishes he could come home and a full course dinner would magically appear.) He says of her, “She would do anything for me. She would give her own life for me.” He firmly believes this despite the facts that she cheated on his father and left him to care for himself when he was 15 (she left the province to find work elsewhere since it was too much of a struggle where they were). This could also come into play in regards to his mistrust of women, but he stands firmly behind her alone. He will tell me how she still spends a large amount of money on him on his birthday despite the fact that she struggles to make ends meet for herself. I feel that this is often a direct criticism of me–that he expects me to still spend money on him despite the fact that I can’t afford to.

His sister has wanted children since she was a teen. She’s now a stay-at-home mother of two babies. Again, I see a link between that and Mike’s display of respect for her as well. “Traditional” women are ‘respected’ and considered ‘good women’ in Mike’s ‘old-school’ eyes. It has become more clear that that is what he values. His subtle remarks highlight how he believes I should be at home, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of babies and serving him instead of pursuing a career or a life outside the home. His vision of life is by far not the one I had envisioned for myself.

Blame-shifting, manipulation and just plain aggravation

In Mike’s denial of his abuse, he uses manipulation to claim that he’s NOT manipulative.

A brief recap of Monday’s incident:

He argued with me over text while I was a work. It started with an abrupt “whats for dinner tonight?” as if it’s my responsibility and I’m expected to take care of it. I didn’t answer right away because it irritated me. I knew it was a question simply meant to do just that. It pissed him off that I didn’t answer right away.  He bitched about that for a bit because he wanted me to “get the fucking picture” about answering my phone at work. I thought we had resolved this issue in the summer. Wrong. I forgot reasoning and logic do not have a place in an abusive relationship. Then he brought up Sunday’s argument, where I called him manipulative and psychotic after he blamed me for our relationship problems by saying that its not him, it’s ME who’s always angry and flipping out and he gets blamed and I’M the one who spins everything around to make him look bad. He told me to leave if I truly believe that he’s manipulative (he has a point there) and once again focused on how I left after the incident on my birthday and how I must not love him. He turned himself into the victim by focusing on what I apparently did wrong and again avoided taking responsibility for his abuse. He further played victim by avoiding EVERYTHING I said about this whole situation by simply saying at the end “I never said you don’t make sense. I want you to be happy. It doesn’t seem like I make you happy.” This was after he said, three times, that “it doesn’t make sense” when I leave or why I don’t answer my phone right away. He ALWAYS says that my responses/reasoning/logic “doesn’t make sense” or isn’t normal because he doesn’t want to see my perspective or acknowledge my opinion or individuality in any way, and thus says this to make me feel stupid and abnormal in hopes that I will adopt his way of thinking.

Here are some of his texts to demonstrate just how manipulative he is in his words so you know how to recognize it yourself:

“Just thought I’d throw it out there, thought maybe you’d care or something” This was in response to me saying that the phone issue is never-ending and it’s still ridiculous that he expects me to answer my phone right away (or at all) while at work. He’s trying to make me feel guilty.

“I’m just pissed off that you can say all that about me and think that we should be together. I’ve never said that about you. Who says that to some they love? No one does so that goes to show that you don’t love me.” This was regarding how I called him manipulative in the fight the day before. He is completely inverting reality, making himself the victim. Nevermind all his verbal abuse. I called him out on something and he acts hurt in order to make me feel guilty again. I again called him on his manipulativness in this very text and asked him “What about all your bullshit?” (meaning his abuse, but I can never use that word) and his response was “Whatever, nevermind.”

“I never say what you say no matter what kind of argument we are in.”  Umm, he called me a bitch several times in that arguement. Here is complete denial of his abuse and projection of it onto me. But he’s also right in a way–he hardly outright calls me names like that. His verbal abuse is much more insidious. Which is why he can say this and deny that he’s verbally abusive.

“It has to always be perfect for you to be happy. If it’s not one day your world crumbles. One little argument and you run for five days. Completely wrong way to fix a relationship. No one puts up with that for life.”  He is minimizing his abuse by describing it as ‘little’ (this was in reference to the argument on my birthday) and insinuating that these arguments are normal; that his behaviour is normal because he’s “not perfect.” He is criticizing me for my need to get away from his abuse, implying that it’s wrong in order to make me feel guilty again, and threatening to leave me if I don’t accept his behaviour and instead change mine.

“You think so fucking bad of me when we bump heads that you make me look like I’m such a bad person.” Here he is telling me that the abuse is all in my head, that I overreact when we argue. Again, I’M the problem, not him. I make him look like a terrible person when I call him out on his abuse and complain about it. He is making himself the victim, trying to guilt me into silence and make me doubt my perceptions.

 

Trapped

I have a conundrum. After my horrendous birthday, I left the house and have since been gone. He has propositioned me with the question as to whether I want to be with him or not. This is it. This is my out. I should leave. I want to leave. Yet I cannot bring myself to pull the trigger. As soon as I’m presented with the option of leaving, my brain switches to fantasy mode and makes it feel like I’m giving up some epic love. Another part of my brain is telling me that I’m going to regret it as soon as I agree to remain in the relationship. And I do. Every single fucking time. Then as soon as I make the decision to stay, that part of my brain that switched into fantasy mode disappears and instantly, and I mean INSTANTLY switches to a fuck-my-life-now-I’m-hugely-regretting-this-decision mode. What the fuck?! Can anyone make sense of this!? Because I’m about to pull all my hair out with frustration.

What’s more is that this entire time he has not even apologized. You know what he did? He CRITICIZED me for leaving and for not wanting to talk to him (he said “it’s not like I cheated on you. I don’t deserve you leaving and not talking to me”), he MINIMIZED his behaviour that night (he said “you got mad and left just because I wasn’t happy about my seat), and he TWISTED it around to make me look like I’m the one who hurt him. His response to my anger and hurt was that I’m “making him sound like Satan” and he doesn’t think he’s “that bad.” Basically he thinks that I should let it all go because he “does everything for me to make my life easier and happy” and because he spends money on me. None of which I expect or ask for.

And yet, I cannot leave. Please help.