Memoir of a Domestic Violence Survivor: Second Generation Pt. I
Have you ever been a victim of domestic violence?
Why is psychological abuse so difficult to recognize? A skilled abuser knows how to play the game. They know how to manipulate. I should know. Not only have I seen my mother date these types of partners, but I'm guilty of dating these types, as well. Perhaps you have read my memoir articles entitled “Memoir of a Domestic Violence Survivor” and “Memoir of a Domestic Violence Survivor Pt. II: Psychological Abuse.” In this two part article, I would like to talk about my own experiences. No, this is not an attempt to prove that all victims of domestic violence will unconsciously choose violent relationships. I'm simply sharing my experiences in the hope it will help inform those who may go through the same thing or those who are going through the same thing, now. It's tough. It's not as clear as it may seem.
- Constant need to be in control
- Unpredictable mood
Anyone who knows me well knows about “that guy I dated multiple times between the ages of seventeen (2005) to twenty (2008).” That guy who only wanted me when I had moved on, and managed to convince me to come back, anyway. It didn't start out that way. He was very clear. He wanted to be my boyfriend from the start. We were only together for a short period when I was still in high school. It wasn't until college that things became a mixture of incredible and horrible.
We had fought, many times, but it was silly, I thought. Those petty arguments over the phone where we're trying to one up the other. If I hung up, first, he'd call back, and vice-versa. When I wanted to meet up halfway, he'd wait until the day we're supposed to meet to cancel out of nowhere because “It's going to rain” or something equally as stupid. Once I was cursing at him, over instant messenger, he would change his mind, convincing me to see him.
Eventually, when I was nineteen, he told me that he loved me. We met up halfway, and everything was magical. It was at the top of The Empire State Building. He looked at me, asking, “Why did you want to see me?” I kept quiet. He attempted to kiss me, and I didn't fight him. We were back together. Within a month, I was confessing that I loved him, too. It ended up being the longest we ever stayed together. It may have been about eight months, straight, but only because I ignored every sign of manipulation.
“If you break up with me, I need a month to recover before we can get back together,” he would always say. It kept me from standing up for myself. Finally, almost a year after The Empire State Building meet up that seemed so perfect, he was telling me it was over. He had never broken up with me before. It had always been my doing. I was devastated.
At one point, he said we may get back together, and then told me he “promised” someone he would be their boyfriend, whatever that meant. That's a dead giveaway. Abusers never take responsibility for their choices or their actions. If they blame you or someone else for something they obviously did, move on!
- Plays into emotions
- Manipulates your thoughts/words to please them
Most people know about my best friend turned boyfriend turned traitor. Who better to date than your best friend? Yes, many women think this is a bad idea. I disagree. I need someone I can trust. I don't like questioning if I can count on someone to understand or be upfront with me. I don't like worrying if I can confide in someone. That isn't an issue when you're dating your best friend. So, I did, in 2012.
At first, it was great. Then, it gradually went sour. He was just too clingy. He not only held me, he smothered me. He not only kissed me, he suffocated me. He not only communicated with me, he talked me to death. I didn't know what to do. He took a comfortable relationship, and turned it into hell. I tried endlessly to politely ask him to ease off a little, but it did nothing. When it finally got through, he wouldn't touch me at all. Once I gave permission to touch me, fearing I had been too harsh, the smothering was back. There was no balance.
So, I tried to break up with him, many times. Each time, he would say things like, “It'll be okay, though.” He would try to fix any of the issues I listed. If I told him it didn't feel right, anymore, he suggested it would, eventually. If I tried to tell him I just didn't want to, anymore, he said everything would be okay. Finally, I just had to tell him, online, that it was over. Yes, it was after we had just seen each other, and he had tried to talk me out of it, for the hundredth time. He said he was okay with it, but of course, he wasn't. It was a one-sided relationship. Each relationship needs room to breathe. Suffocation is not healthy, and if you can't be honest with your partner without them trying to twist your words to suit their needs, that is abusive, too.
- Abusers turn everything around on you.
I ended up dating Insecure Guy's friend, a few months after ending the relationship. I didn't see it coming. It just happened. We had met at a party when I was dating Insecure Guy. You see, after Insecure Guy and I had broken up, we would still hang out a lot, but then he just didn't talk with me for a few weeks. I was angry, and depressed. The Blamer comforted me. We got along well. Insecure Guy had said The Blamer and I had a lot in common, anyway. Of course, he didn't intend for us to date.
When we first began hanging out, Insecure Guy lost it. The Blamer text me shortly after our first hang out, telling me, “He saw the picture you took of us, came into my room, and screamed at me for hanging out with you.” I liked The Blamer for longer than I cared to admit. I didn't think he would like me back, but he did. So, we ended up together. After we made it official, I met up with Insecure Guy to tell him, and he didn't freak out on me. He simply agreed that we have a lot in common, but it took a while before he stopped being angry at The Blamer. Did I mention they were roommates?
In any event, The Blamer is fond of biting. By biting, I don't mean enjoyable biting. I mean, he just has to bite people. He does it painfully, too. I attempted to talk with him about it, politely, numerous times, throughout the course of our dating. At first, he would apologize and swear not to do it, again, but he always did. Then, it soon turned into an opportunity for guilt. “Stop making me feel bad,” he'd tell me. After almost eight months, and about a month after I finally fell in love with him, he broke it off, after not speaking to me for about two weeks. Insecure Guy informed me that he had confessed he had been trying to break up with me for a while. Who knew not speaking and not actually breaking up with someone is a form of trying to break up with someone? In addition, he had become interested in someone else he barely knew.
Since I can't possibly fit the next stories in this article, it will be in part two. The first section of part two stems from part one, so if you're interested, please keep reading onto part two.
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