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.
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.