Miss, from the cafemom group, has asked me (ok, everyone, but I'm part of the group, so me too) to post a blog about abuse. And since I'm nothing if not obedient (HA!), I've decided to participate. And I've been intending to write this post for a while. Now I have an excuse.
I was 19 years old and living on Guam. I'd lived there since I was 14 (and from 9-11 years old). Since I was 19 and so grown-up, I moved out of my parent's house and in with a friend. Ok, acquaintance. It was terrible. I hated living there so much. So when I met him (we'll call him SF)(that stands for Shit Face), I may have rushed a little into the relationship. I wanted out of where I was. Everything moved so fast. We started living together right away. And everything was good. For a little while.
The first time it happened, it didn't seem so bad. He punched me in the arm. Hell, my sister had done that a million times. Granted, she never left a big, purple bruise, but he was a guy. Didn't know his own strength. And he apologized. I can't remember the second time. Or the third. Or the 30th.
I remember once I accidentally forgot to turn the stove off. We both went to work. He got home before me and called me at work, yelling. Said I shouldn't bother going home. I knew what was coming, so I decided to stay at my parent's house. But when I got off work, he was there. We sat in his car in the parking lot. He didn't say a word. He backhanded me across the face. I tried to get out, but he grabbed my hair and slammed my face into the steering wheel 4 or 5 times.
Another time I dropped my pager into the toilet. It was going to cost $50 to get a new one. So the day we picked it up, he tells me how stupid I was. And the he beat me in the car all the way home. His mother was in the front seat at the time. She yelled at him to stop, but he barely noticed her. It was the first time he'd hit me in front of her. I thought she would have been upset about it. But she really didn't seem too surprised. I found out later that his father had beat his mother all the time.
On Mother's Day I called my mom from work. We talked for a while and all of a sudden I told her that SF beats me. I don't know why. I have no idea where it came from. I didn't intend to tell anyone. She told me to tell my dad* what I had just said. I will never forget what he said to me. He said, "Ok, here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna pick you up from work and we're gonna bring boxes. We're gonna go to your house and get your things and you're coming to stay with us." I told him it wasn't necessary (I was moving to Alaska in 3 months, so I figured I would tough it out until then) and that I would be fine. Then he said, "No, here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna pick you up from work and we're gonna bring boxes. We're gonna go to your house and get your things and you're coming to stay with us." I insisted that I would be fine and not to worry about me. He said, "You're not listening. This IS what we're going to do." I said, "ok".
They never even waited for me to get off work. My boss let me leave early. My parent's seemed very.....kick-ass is the only word that comes to mind. They were eager and excited. I was scared. I didn't know what would happen, but I did know SF's propensity for drama. When we got there, I opened the door and he was watching TV. He looked up and said he was just about to pick me up from work and how did I get home. Then he saw my parent's. He asked, "What's going on?" He looked very wary and nervous. All I could say was "I'm sorry". My mother and I went to the bedroom and started throwing my stuff together. Not even all my stuff. Just whatever was within reach. My dad stayed out with SF. He said "I know what you've been doing to my daughter". I don't know what was said after that. My dad had, apparently, called the cops earlier to let the know what was about to happen (taking me away from abusive boyfriend) and had them on stand-by just in case. SF grabbed a japanese sword that was hanging on the wall and went into the bathroom and locked the door (propensity for drama). My dad called the cops. When they got there they asked if I wanted to press charges. If I could go back in time and re-live that one moment I would say "Yes, take the fucker to jail". But I was upset and confused and emotional. So I told them "No, I just want to get my stuff and leave". So we did.
When I got home, my sisters had made up a place for me to sleep. And they stayed up hugging me and talking to me and trying to make me laugh. When SF tried to call the next day, one of my sisters would answer and tell him to go fuck himself (they were 17, 15, and 13 at the time and they were awesome). His aunt (who we had rented from) even called to tell me I had to get the rest of my stuff. She tried to sneak in that this (beating your significant other) was just how things were handled and if I just didn't mess up so much, he wouldn't hit me. I told her if she wanted to get slapped around, she was welcome to it, but I was done. We went over later to get the rest of my things. I called the airline and had my ticket changed so I could leave the following month. He stalked me for a while after that. It was never menacing. He was trying to get me back. Once I got over the emotional crap, that was never gonna happen.
I wonder to this day why I stayed so long. Did I think I could change him? Did I pity him? His father beat his mother. Did I think he couldn't help himself? I honestly don't know. I missed my youngest sister's 8th grade graduation because I had a black eye and a fat lip. I told her I was sick. I think about that all the time. She forgave me. But I feel so guilty that I let him do that to me.
It completely changed who I was. I spent the next 10 months in Alaska using men. I always said since I was using them, I wasn't a slut. But I was. I guess I was acting out or reclaiming my freedom or whatever. I wasn't really dealing. After too long of that I had to leave. I needed to fix myself. I moved to Oregon. I met Tony. I got better. I was still very controlling and it's only been in the last year or so that I've eased up. I blamed all men (including Tony) for what SF did to me. I took out my anger on Tony all the time. I really don't know why he stayed.
I don't know if I'd really want to change what happened, since it made me who I am today. But I know I wouldn't want that for my sisters. Or my mother. Or my daughter. I hope she is smart enough to avoid my mistake. I hope she makes better choices that I did. But if she doesn't, I hope she's strong enough to leave.
*He's technically my step-dad, but for this and a million other reasons, he'll always be my Dad