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.

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[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.

Happy birthday to me

Yesterday was my birthday. I thought I would get one day (somewhat) free of abuse. I mean, I know he tends to ruin holidays with his miserable attitude and moods. But my birthday, I honestly thought would be alright. Or as alright as it can be in an abusive relationship. I don’t make any plans. I can’t. I don’t see my friends. He didn’t even remember it really. Last month he asked me if my birthday was in January, but he wasn’t sure what day. He had no idea. I told him. I told him again not long ago when he asked. Then he asked me yet again the day before:

Him: “Your birthday is on the 9th, right?”

Me: “Yes.”

Him: “Ok.”

The next morning (yesterday) he didn’t say anything. Right before I left for work I asked him if he knew what day it was. He said “No. Why?” I just looked at him. “It’s not the 9th? No, it’s the 8th today.” I replied that it’s the 9th. He then said he thought it was the 8th, wished me happy birthday, said I’m the best thing in the world (bullshit) and his favourite (more bullshit).

Skip forward to the evening. He came home with presents and asked me who got me flowers (my mom did). I knew he would demand to know that. I must say, he got me two really nice gifts, although unwrapped and no card. He’s good at gift-giving, but I’ve come to realize it’s only for his own benefit. It’s so he looks like a good boyfriend. After Christmas he asked me if I told people what he got me and wanted to know what they thought. The first time we broke up he said to me “make sure you tell your family that I treated you good.” Ya. He actually said that.

Back to my birthday. He asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner and a movie. While getting ready he complained that we weren’t going to make the movie by the time we finished dinner. I saw that coming. He asked me what my plans for the following day were since I was suppose to be driving my dad to pick up his new car and then stopping by to see my friend. When I mentioned that I would be driving an extra hour in order to see my friend, who I haven’t seen in almost three months, he got pissy and said “Well that’s really inconvenient. You should just reschedule.” I explained that it wasn’t that easy since I had to work around her work schedule as well and that this was one of few opportunities that we had the same day off. Plus I don’t mind putting in the effort to visit a friend. He replied, “Fuck I wouldn’t even do that for you.” Really. To my boyfriend, I’m apparently not worth driving an extra hour for.

We went to my second choice of restaurant because there was too much of a line-up at my first. He’s not a fan of this restaurant. He prefers my first choice. He “let” me choose a table. How generous. I chose one I thought HE would like. Yes, even on my birthday I was considering what he would prefer rather than what I would. I chose one that was away from the center (because I thought he hated being in the middle of everyone, as I do.) I was even conscious of the seat I chose. I chose the side facing the bar because I thought he’d want to watch the TV behind me. He immediately asked to switched spots. I said ok, but also explained why I had chosen that seat. He then said “nevermind I’ll just sit like this” and proceeded to sit on the chair on an angle away from me and towards the bar. Where all the pretty bartenders and waitresses happened to be. You would think that he would want to face me, his girlfriend that he claims to love.

First he started off complaining about the lack of food choice for him on the menu and that there wasn’t enough for him to eat. Then he started in on me about not smiling. He said his dad had mentioned how on New Year’s I had looked miserable. He bitched at me for “making him look bad” and “giving the wrong impression of our relationship to everyone,” and that that was why “that lesbian bitch asked you to dance.” I was stunned. I was actually surprised. He was picking a fight with me on my birthday. In public. We argued about the “lesbian bitch” (see my last post) and how I didn’t think she was a lesbian, that girls can be friendly and ask eachother to dance at the bar. He called me naive. He said, “only drunk dumb slutty girls ask each other to dance” and dismissed my claims that it was possible to without being a lesbian. I said I did it all the time (not completely true but not entirely a lie either). I made friends at the bar so I guess that made me a “dumb slutty girl.” He replied to this with “you can’t make true friends at the bar. There’s no such thing,” to which I replied that that wasn’t the point, that it was just being nice, having a good time, and meeting people. He challenged me, saying that I’m not friends with anyone I met in a bar, that you wouldn’t meet someone there that would remain in your life. I explained people come and go and there’s no harm in enjoying people in between the ones who remain in your life for good. He dismissed that entirely: “I’m done with the in-betweens.” I said, “Well that’s fine for you.” He called it ridiclous that I didn’t agree with him. He went back to how he was told I looked miserable that night. I said it wasn’t an entirely wrong impression. He actually looked surprised.

Him: What do you mean? I sat with you all night.

Me: Ya, but you had a conversation the whole night with that older man. Oh wait, I guess that means he’s gay, right? He was just hitting on you? It’s ok for you to have a conversation all night with a man but a woman asks me to dance and it can only mean she’s a lesbian. Is that right?

Him: No.

Then he started in on how I was again making him look bad in public by giving him a “bitch face” and that everyone in the restaurant must be looking on thinking that we look nothing like a happy couple. And what he was getting at is that this was MY fault. I told him, “what do you expect when you pick a stupid fight with me in public? You actually expect me to be all smiley right now?” He said no but that I could “simmer it down.” I replied: “All you care about is appearances. You don’t give a shit about my feelings because if you did rather than blaming me for “making you look bad” and assuming that’s what I was doing, you would ask me, upon hearing that I looked sad, what was wrong. But instead you hear I look sad and immediately get angry at me and attack me.” Clearly he doesn’t love me.

In between all this he continued complaining about the seat he was in and the table we were at. Really. He’s out to dinner with his girlfriend for her birthday and one of his main concerns is where he is sitting. He angrily, and I mean ANGRILY complained about “being in a fucking corner” and  “having to stare at a fucking wall with [my] back to everyone in the bar.” Let me remind you that he was at dinner with me for my birthday and it wasn’t enough to want to sit with me and look at me and talk to me. He wanted to face away from me and blamed me in anger for his seating situation. It is actually crushing to realize and accept that.

We argued some more abut New Year’s and I kept standing up to him. He started saying that he was done talking about it but I carried on trying to make my point (fruitless, I know, but it feels necessary to stand up for myself). He suddenly snapped “just shut up!” just as our waitress came around to put our cutlery on the table. She definitely heard it but she showed no signs. The look of terror on his face was fleeting but satisfying because he had just exposed himself as the very thing he was attacking me for.  From that point on and throughout our meal we sat in silence. He tried putting his mask on. He gave me his best angelic face and tried to act as if nothing happened. He tried to make conversation with me. I wasn’t giving him much in return and he said “you’re just pissed of eh.” Duh.

Upon returning home I was so upset I just started getting ready for bed. I was in the washroom plucking my eyebrows when he came in and said “nothing like plucking eyebrows on your birthday.” I wanted to retort with “nothing like fighting on your birthday” but instead I just said “ya well it’s gotta be done.” He was right in my face and said “ya ya. Facebook that shit.” Cue entrance into a new fight. He angrily carried on.

Him: Do you still have Facebook?

Me: Yes.

Him: When’s the last time you were on it?

Me: I dunno, like a month ago. (a lie since I had actually just been on it that day because my mom said she had posted something on my wall for my birthday but I wasn’t going there with him.)

Him: What do you do when you’re on it?

Me: Not much. See what’s up with my old classmates, look at pics my mom puts up. That’s about it.

Him: How many people do you have on it?

Me: I don’t know.

Him: What do you mean you don’t know? Do you have alot or no?

Me: Not alot, no.

Him: What’s that mean? What’s not alot?

Me: I don’t know Mike fuck. Like I said I’m not on it alot. I don’t have it memorized.

Him: Well ballpark it! 50? 100? 200?

Me: I don’t know! Could be 50, could be 100, could be 200. I don’t remember.

Him (walking away): Holy fuck it’s impossible to get an answer out of you. You’re so fucking complicated. Can’t give any details. Is your name even Jennifer?

I went upstairs to “read.” I was really texting my friend informing her of everything that had taken place that night. We talked for two hours, until I told her that I should probably get to bed and try to get some sleep because I knew as soon as he came upstairs to bed I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I think I got maybe an hour before he came up, turned the TV on, bounced around in bed and thrashed the sheets around, successfully waking me up and keeping me awake. I had so much anxiety. I wanted so badly to go downstairs and sleep on the couch but I was afraid to move. I was afraid to move because if I move it reminds him that I’m there and then he will start in on me. This is a regular occurrence. So I laid there almost all night, too anxious to sleep. I got maybe another hour of sleep at most.

In the morning, like a good obedient girlfriend, I still woke him up for work. He came downstairs and the first thing he said was “you gotta make sure you close that backdoor properly. If you don’t it lets a huge draft in.” No good morning. No apology. Then he sees my food, goes to the fridge and asks “where’s my breakfast?” In case I haven’t already mentioned this, he never eats breakfast. But he has a habit of getting angry at me for making it for myself. I once made it for him and he didn’t eat it, telling me he can’t eat in the morning. He always goes to Tim’s and gets a tea bisquit because that’s all that his stomach can handle. So clearly he was just being an asshole. “Eat an orange,” I replied. He stomped across the living room and said “I guess I’ll go fucking buy some breakfast” (which is what he does every morning). He continued, “I’ll go buy some breakfast and go to work to pay for the 800 bills I have.” He resents the fact that I had the day off and that I don’t pay those bills. He claims to not care that I don’t pay because he knows I can’t afford it, yet he still makes comments like this. As if I don’t have my own bills. “What’s the cable bill at now? $600?Three months combined?” I reminded him that we had only had the one bill and it was at $200. It is in my name because “if it’s in [my] name [he’ll] be sure to pay it because [he] cares about [my] credit, not [his] own.” He has yet to pay it and it’s 3 weeks late. So much for caring about my credit. He once drunkenly told me that I had no right to speak in this relationship because I didn’t pay rent. He even complained to his buddy that I don’t pay for anything. Even though we had made an agreement between us of who pays for what. I pay for groceries because that’s about all I can afford, and even that’s a stretch given what he wants me to buy. So you see how he uses this as another means to abuse me.

He started talking about all his dog’s shit out on the beach and how he needed to pick it up. For the record, he mentions this alot, and I get the distinct impression that he’s really hinting at that I should do it, since he has told me that he “doesn’t pick up dog shit.” He said: “I’ll get a bin lined with a bag and just dump it all in. I’l make you carry the bin. You can carry the shit for an hour.” That WOULD give him great satisfaction, given the hatred he feels for me. I tried to ignore him by pretending to read my book. He egged me on until I glared at him and said “What?” He replied, “Nothing. I thought I was talking to someone, not a wall.” He walked across the room and continued sarcastically “Have a nice day. Drive safe. Get rid of me. Do whatever you gotta do. Have fun driving 8 hours today.” And with that he slammed the door shut.

There you have it. My birthday with my abusive boyfriend. No apology. No hint of remorse. He feels completely justified in his abuse towards me because according to him, I hurt him by looking sad and thereby ruined the impression he wants to project to the public. What’s more interesting is that he didn’t even notice how miserable I was that evening. Several other people did, but my boyfriend didn’t because he’s more focused on himself. I am remaining firmly angry on this one. No way is he going to turn this on me. No way.

Christmas and New Year’s: Excerpts from my journal

One of the things that I find helps me the most when dealing with an abusive relationship is reading other people’s stories. It is essential to recognize the signs of abuse and the potential for more–but it is also important to put those signs into a contex so that you can see exactly how it manifests and how, to the untrained eye, it could be easily overlooked. I’ve read all the signs and seen my boyfriend, but when I read people’s stories it paints a wider picture and further helps me to believe that I am not going crazy or imagining the abuse. The wider picture reveals the subtleties. That is partly why I started this blog. My entries are going to be (mostly) play-by-plays of whats happens in my life with my abuser as a means to help others see and recognize what abuse is. The other reason is to help myself by recording what takes place to remind myself of reality. It’s a win-win. (Not like in an abusive relationship, where you always lose).

That being said, since my last entry was about Christmas and the anxiety surrounding that once joyous holiday, I wanted to give a recap of what took place this year.

CHRISTMAS

This is a (mostly) un-edited entry from my journal. Names have been changed and the spelling, punctuation and grammar are bad. But it’s raw; it’ what I wrote in the heat of the moment:

Christmas this year with Mike wasn’t as bad as last year. It wasn’t great, obviously, but it wasn’t as horrible as it was last year. Probably because he didn’t drink. He was still moody and miserable, complaining about everything and making it clear that he didn’t want to go. We were driving in the car to my grandmothers on Christmas Eve and he was annoying me and he’s like “that’s what you get for being who you are sometimes”. We stopped at the dollar store so he could get toys for his dog and as I was getting out of the car my shirt had ridden up and he goes “your shirts up to your neck. Did you realize that?” and I replied “ya. It happens when you sit in a car for an hour and a half” and all he said was “oh.” Like fuck off with the clothing comments. Sick of it. We were in the aisle and he asked me why I was being a brat and I replied with what he had said to me in the car: “that’s what you get for being who you are sometimes” and he laughed and said “ha I’m the best you’ll ever have.”

 We stopped at the LCBO after. While waiting in line to pay he said “your jeans are getting too small for you, you put some weight on” and I just looked at him and said “thanks” and he replies “just telling you the truth.”

 Throughout the night he kept poking me,  flicking a knife against my arm. On the drive home he said my cousin was a bad woman through and through (he’s basing this off the fact that she drives without a licence when he’s done 1000 times worse and is not one to talk) once again trying to turn me against my family ever so subtly.

Christmas day when we went to bed he pointed to the scrunched up sheets on my side of the bed and said “see your sheets are always like that. You tried telling me that they never are” I couldn’t believe it. I replied that “no, I actually had said they were always like that.” During the original fight we had about this a few weeks ago he had pointed to the sheets and asked me why they were bunched up and I said that they were always like that. He then argued saying “no they weren’t” and I said “I sleep on this side of the bed so I know” and he said “well I sat on this side of the bed and never have seen them like that so you’re wrong. sorry. but you’re wrong.” Then I left and slept on the couch and he told me to get a new bf because he was “tired of my shit.” That was the original fight. Now here he was trying to say the exact opposite of what he originally said and tried to reverse the whole thing to say that I had said the opposite as well. Clear manipulation, verbal abuse and gaslighting. Fucking prick.

NEW YEARS EVE

Here is another portion of that same journal entry about the events of New Year’s:

I didn’t bother planning anything for new years for obvious reasons. Theres no point planning shit with him because I never have fun and I simply cant have fun. Im not allowed. This year he asks me the day before new years eve if I wanted to do anything. Ha. Little too late. But that way he gets credit (in his mind) for asking and ‘being a considerate bf’ despite it being the day before. We went out for some  wings with his dad and Jill, his dad’s gf. Jill commented on how long my hair was and I replied that I hated it. Mike’s dad said it looked nice and Mike said he didn’t want me to cut it even though I want to. Everything was going alright until I started texting on my phone. I was talking to my dad and Michelle (a friend who knows all about my abusive relationship). Mike suddenly flicked my arm hard and it stung. I said “ow that hurts! Don’t.” and I slapped his arm. He looks at me and says “ill do it again” and flicks me again in the exact same spot and it hurt. Dialogue as follows:

 Me: what the hell don’t do that it hurts.

 Mike: don’t make a scene over two little flicks. fuck.

 Me: I’m not. I’m asking you not to do that because it fucking hurts.

Mike: fuck when did you get so soft and flaky on me. That was nothing.

 Me: not to me. It hurt. (I turned away a this point)

Mike: why don’t you call 5-0?

(I pretended not to hear this comment because I just wanted to drop it since we were out at dinner with his dad and Jill. But then he poked me in the arm to get my attention and repeated himself to make sure I heard him.

 Mike: eh? Why don’t you call 5-0 then.

I just glared at him and shook my head and rolled my eyes. This is a new thing. He’s started telling me to call the police now when we argue; he’s said it a few times. After about 10 minutes of silence he apologized and said that he didn’ think it would hurt (even though i told him it did and he did it again). But his apologies mean nothing to me because they mean nothing to him. He doesn’t truly mean them.

We ended up going to a small bar where the crowd was 90% older, like his dads age. He was acting very distant, not paying much attention to me. His words are conflicting. One minute he will say how cool the bar is, that we can sit by a woodstove and its relaxed and that the people seem respectful. Then the next he’s saying that it’s too “small-town” where you’re likely to get in a fight with people here if you’re not a regular because he could tell everyone here knows eachother. Really, he can’t just relax and have a good time. He’s always talking about the potential for him to get into a fight with someone when in public. He made his usual “if I don’t get this, or do that, I’m going to kill someone” comments. We sat in the corner of the bar and barely talked. I was miserable. I kept thinking how much I wish I could just relax, have fun and dance, but I know I can’t do that around him. He would get angry because he’d think I was slutty or asking for attention or making a fool of myself and not being a “good gf.” I cannot have fun around him. I was thinking how different I’d be acting if he weren’t there. I’d be myself.

He started talking to an older man sitting at the table next to him, Billy. He didn’t introduce me. He didn’t include me. I sat there in silence while he carried on with Billy. Then Billy and his wife were going out for a smoke. Billy says to his wife,”quit flippin your hair around, you’re gonna hurt someone. Come on, bitch.” Mike thought this was hilarious. I said Billy’d be sleeping alone that night and Mike said: “no. she’s used to it. its probably just some old-school thing. If I ever said that to you it would be the end of the world.” I replied that yes, it would because it’s extremely disrespectful. He just ignored me. He clearly was trying to tell me that I should be ok with him talking to me like that and there is something wrong with me because I wouldn’t accept it. Mike always prides himself on being “old-school.” I used to think it meant that he liked things from back in the day, like music, cars, style, that kind of thing. But what it really means is that he believes the woman is below him, under his control and caters to his every need and that he has a right to talk to her like that because she is below him. He doesn’t see men and women as equal. He sees men as superior. He believes there are different rules for men and women, and he demonstrates this on a regular basis. I cannot do anything that he can (go out alone, talk to strangers, wear certain clothes, have friends of the opposite sex etc). it is absolutely infuriating and goes against everything i believe in.

Everytime Mike went to the bathroom he said “don’t take any shit” meaning if guys come talk to me when he’s gone I’m supposed to immediately turn them away. I have anxiety if anyone comes up to me because he would think it’s my fault for doing something to invite their attention. 

When Billy came back him and Mike resumed their conversation while I continued to sit in the corner. Déjà vu from when he hung out with Derik (a friend of his). Suddenly, an older woman came running up to me, grabbed my hands and said “come on, we’re going to dance. I’ve seen you moping over here for awhile. It’s New Year’s Eve and you deserve to have some fun” I panicked inside because I knew Mike had looked over the second she came over. I glanced at him and back at her and smiled and said “thank you but im ok.” She just looked at me like she could read right through me. I stared at her hoping she really could read me, that she needed to go otherwise I would probably get in shit from Mike. She finally leaned into me and said “ok. But he hasn’t looked at you once tonight. My friends and I have noticed. You deserve better and don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t appreciate you.” I looked at her with a knowing, appreciative look and gave a slight nod and said thank you.

A few minutes later after she left Mike asked me what “that broad” wanted. I just said she wanted to dance. He said “you get that a lot eh. I cant have a conversation without having to worry about anyone going up to you, even women.” There are so many things wrong with that statement I don’t even know where to begin. See, it’s ok for him to have a conversation with another person because it’s completely innocent FOR HIM ONLY, but as soon as someone comes up to me, an older woman no less, it suddenly means she’s a lesbian trying to pick me up. It’s not as simple as someone wanting to talk to me or anything innocent like that. There’s always an ulterior motive when it comes to other people paying attention to me. then there’s the implication that he needs to keep an eye on me. He resumed his conversation with Billy.

He kept pushing me to finish my drink and when I said I’d had enough and wanted water he gave me a look as if to call me a wimp. He made some comment about it as well to imply this.

I went to the bathroom and ran into Jill. She came out and gave me a look like she badly wanted to tell me something. I asked her what was wrong but she wouldn’t say anything. She just asked me if we were heading out. I said I was trying but it wasn’t going very well (because Mike wanted to stay and drink some more. I didn’t need to tell her that part. Shes well aware of Mike’s tendencies and behavior when he drinks). Mike was talking to his dad when we came out of the bathroom. Jill kept looking at me like she wanted to say something and I kept asking her to tell me. She just said “I think you know.” I kinda looked at her because well ya I did know, or at least I thought I did. She finally said “don’t ever compromise yourself. And always, ALWAYS trust your instincts. We woman are so strong. Remember that”

The other lady stopped me again when I was going outside to call a cab. She gave me a hug, said happy new year and that she wished me all the best and that she knew good things could come for me in 2015, that I could make it happen. I was dumbfounded. This random stranger could read me like that. I must really be miserable. And it must really be obvious that our relationship is crap.

That was two times in the span of like half an hour that someone had basically told me I deserve better. One of them a stranger and one of them I hardly know but get along with very well. I felt relief that other people recognize my misery and possibly the nature of our relationship. it made me feel less alone and again confirmed and validated my feelings about it. Jill kept looking at me with pity and acted motherly, brushing my hair off my face and sitting with me while Mike stood infront of me with his back to me. It’s almost like he sensed what was going on because he suddenly became more attentive towards me for the remainder of the night. The night was pretty much over at this point though. Usually when he’s drunk he gets downright mean. While he wasn’t very nice to me that night, mostly ignoring me and making subtle comments, he wasn’t outright mean as he usually is. In fact, when we got home, he was actually cute and funny and listened to me when I said we needed to go to bed. He never listened to me before. This has led me to believe that when he claims to not know or remember how he acts when he’s drunk, how he’s mean and disrespectful, that he actually DOES know. Because suddenly, he’s not like that when he’s drunk, leading me to believe he has more control and more awareness than he lets on. So, he knows exactly what he’s doing when he’s mean to me. I’ve known and believed this all along, but this night confirmed it for me. He knows his drunken meanness would have me running out the door in a heartbeat, so he cannot act like that anymore. He has to show me that he can be nice when drunk, so that he can drink again (since he quit drinking months ago but always complains that he cant and makes me feel guilty like its my fault because I can’t handle his meanness when he’s drunk when I know he believes if I love him, I should just put up with it). 

And here are some other observations from the last few days that finish up this journal entry:

He is also trying to manipulate me into cooking for him now. We used to split the work—he cooks I clean because I hate cooking and don’t mind cleaning. He hates doing dishes. It was perfect arrangement. But now he’s subtly trying to guilt me into it. on new years day, when he was hung over, I offered to make him a grilled cheese. He said it was amazing and put on this whole act like it was the best thing in the world—he was pumping me up to feel good about my cooking only to try and get me to do it more. fuck im so proud of myself for being able to recognize his manipulation. He carried on, saying “you don’t understand how much better food is when someone else cooks it for you. It makes you appreciate it so much more” and “my favourite thing for someone else to cook me is steak” I wanted so badly to call him on his manipulation but I didn’t. I just gave him my best “you’re so full of shit” look. The one day when I cooked dinner he dramatized how grateful he was to come home to meal. He overexaggerates and makes sure to give me lots of praise so that I continue to do it. I am being “rewarded” for my good behavior of serving him. But even if I did start cooking for him, he would never do the dishes in return, which would be the fair trade. I would be left cooking and cleaning for him. His word choices reveal so much about him, and they have since day one. It’s all about him. I should be serving him. I should be cooking, cleaning, giving him massages  and sex whenever he wants. Its all so obvious to me now.

He also has a habit of saying that he loves me more than I love him. He’s trying to get me to doubt myself. He wants me to wonder why he thinks that, and what I can do to make him not think that and instead believe that I love him. He wants me to think if I start doing all the things that make him happy that he will know I love him. But no matter what I do, it’s NEVER enough. 

Last night he didn’t want me to go to bed because he wanted me to stay downstairs while he ate a bowl of cereal. If I went to bed without him, he would guilt me and call me cold. The conversation went like this:

Mike: do you want a bowl?

Me: no thanks.

Mike: why not?

Me: because I don’t want one.

Mike: come on. Have one with me. Like a tream. It builds our relationship.

Me: I don’t want any cereal.

He let on like he was joking but I know he’s not really. This is his real way of thinking—if I don’t do what he wants when he wants or if I don’t do things with him then our relationship is suffering. I have to be completely under his control, a shadow of himself. I am absolutely so miserable. Every fibre of my being right now is crying out for me to run away.

There you have it. I apologize for the horrible sentence structure and rambling, and if anything is unclear. I thought it best to show myself, my thoughts and feelings in a slightly more uncensored form, where spelling, punctuation and grammar are of less importance to the sheer emotion behind the words and the urgency to get them out.