Writing this blog has brought back some tough memories. I haven’t shared a lot of them here, but I’ve talked about them vaguely. I simply don’t think it’s always necessary to share the details of an event, but it’s hard to let go of something that plays over and over again in a continuous nightmare. I haven’t had continuous nightmares in a long, long time, but since I’ve been writing this blog, they’ve been awful. Night sweats, teeth clinched, tossing and turning, waking up every hour, seeing imaginary people outside my bedroom, hearing his voice, wondering if he’s waiting for me – all happens at night. When daylight comes, I am safe again. I’ve been dreaming about a particular memory, and it’s not even the worst, but it is the one that made me feel the most degraded. We were in Houston, and we were trying to figure out what to eat, and we were both tired (see, I’m making excuses even now), and I am sure (see? here i go again) I was being difficult (I really can’t remember what I did prior to this act) and he got right next to face and just started screaming over and over and over – “what do you want to eat?”. It was devastating. I remember yelling back at him looking straight ahead in the drivers seat trying to get him to stop. If I’m remembering correctly (it’s coming back to me), I had gotten mad at him for something and driven the car away from him. I didn’t go far (I don’t know if this happened before or after the yelling in my face part). I felt so helpless to do anything and I knew if I made a move, after asking him to stop didn’t work, it would make things worse. I have no idea how long it lasted, but it felt like forever, and I was crying and he was yelling. I was so upset, I started to hyperventilate, and he told me shut-up. He told me if I had just chosen something to eat, none of that would have happened. I believed him. Had I not been so difficult… and that is how I lived my life for about 8-ish years. That’s a long time of abuse, right? Some people go through it far longer.
Some never get away and they die thinking they deserved to be verbally and physically abused. SO far from the truth.
I heard this song today and it resonated with me.
If you’re not sure if you’re being abused (I’m sure you are, but doubt yourself – I know I had some heavy doubts because it was easier than being honest with myself), then go to this website. It took years for me to admit he was abusing me. I was totally against the idea because I WOULD NEVER allow myself to be abused. It sneaks up on you. Very often, the abuse is gradual until it becomes every day life, and you don’t even know what’s happening. That’s how it happened for me. One day I woke up and realized I was living my worst possible nightmare. (and writing that makes me uncomfortable because there’s obviously still a part of me that’s not being honest with myself – and he could be reading this for all I know – and what if I’m wrong? I’m not – but my mind still plays tricks on me). Welcome to my world. I bet yours isn’t so different.
I woke up every single day with one thought – “What mood will be be in today?”. If things had been good for a month or so, I called it the calm before the storm. IT NEVER LASTED. The last year we were together, things were pretty calm because I simply had no emotion – didn’t step out of line – didn’t give him a reason to be angry. But, then, I told him I might be traveling for work and he lost his mind. He told me I didn’t love him because I hadn’t talked to him about it. I was talking to him then. Nothing had been decided, except I was going if they wanted me to go. It was a priceless opportunity. He wanted me to pick him over my job and my opportunities.
“How could I be so heartless and unloving?”
True to form, he started ranting and raving. I hadn’t been used to his abuse for some time, so when he started calling me the normal names (whore, c*nt, liar, heartless, terrible mother, stoopid (his spelling), etc. – and he made sure I knew being Bipolar was a detriment and only he could love a person like me), I was stunned.
How easily our minds push down hurtful, ugly memories.
It was common for him to put me down emotionally. That’s how he kept me in line. I believed I wasn’t worthy of love from anyone other man. But, that day, when he started calling me names, and after he left me at the eating establishment, I heard it all very differently. The words stung, and hurt, and sounded like what they were – insults, name calling, abuse. It felt like punches to my gut. It was AWFUL. Then I realized this time wasn’t different than any other time he’d used these same tactics. It just sounded horribly different. I had become so numb to the abuse that it stopped feeling like abuse.
It stopped stinging and hurting. It was ingrained in my skin, my heart, my mind and my soul. It was a body part like my arm, nose or leg.
That day was the start of my way to freedom. It wasn’t sudden, but it was a step in the right direction. From that moment, I think took another 6-8 months to really get free of him. I always say that getting away from him was the hardest and best decision I ever had to make.
the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
“we do have some freedom of choice”
absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.
“he was a champion of Irish freedom”
synonyms: independence, self-government, self-determination, self-rule, home rule, sovereignty, nonalignment, autonomy;democracy“revolution was the only path to freedom” antonyms: dependence
the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
“the shark thrashed its way to freedom”
synonyms: liberty, liberation, release, deliverance, delivery, discharge
I gotta say – talking about this makes me incredibly nervous, but I think it’s necessary for my healing, and for anyone who is going through it. There is hope. I promise there is hope. I’m not just talking to women. I’m also talking to men. It happens to all genders, all situations, all places. Abuse doesn’t discriminate. I’m so sorry you’re going through it or have gone through it. It’s crippling – emotionally and physically. BUT, I’m here and I’m talking about it, and I’m free, for the most part. I’m still healing. Here’s what I know – I’m not afraid of anything. Why? If I can survive all of the abuses and physical hardships I’ve gone through in my life, I can survive anything. I have some social anxiety, but I’m working through that. My goal is to say YES more often. My inclination is to say NO to new situations. I say NO a lot. The other day I was a work function that I really didn’t want to go to, and my boss said he wanted to do more events like that one, and I realized I needed to say YES more. Not just for work things – but for personal things, too. Writing this blog is a definite step outside my comfort zone. But, dangit, I need to take more risks, as far as stepping outside my bubble. So, like the movie – Yes Man – I’m going to say YES more often. I’m not going to go crazy like Jim Carrey, but saying YES more can only help me continue to heal and see that it’s OK to step outside my box. I know my boyfriend would love to see me get out more.
If you’re anything like I was, below is online service to chat. Man, I would have LOVED this back in the day. I didn’t reach out, but if I had known of a chat service, I might have reached out in the privacy of my bubble. You gotta be ready to hear the truth if you do reach out to a hotline or loved one or friend. They are going to tell you the truth. It took more than once, more than twice – heck, it must have taken countless times for me to finally believe I was being abused. I had to open my eyes.
This song has been my motto for as long as it’s been out. I listen to it any time I’m feeling shaky. If you have time, take a listen. It might just make you feel better today.
You are loved. The Universe loves you. You are in an intricate and important part of the how the Universe functions. Never forget that. You make a difference in someone’s life. You may not know it, but you may know very well. Your love has value. Your thoughts have meaning, and your body is yours – and belongs to no one else. EVER.
JT – July 5, 2018