So, I made a status update about my friends consoling me while I was crying… And how nice that was instead of being yelled at, because that was the main reaction of my primary partner for over a year. He would usually yell me when I started crying, turn any problem I was having around and say I was accusing him of something, then often he would leave and go drink most of the night.
His response was to make a public post about how nice it was to be with someone who didn’t slap him in the face.
I didn’t come out about the physical abuse in our relationship publicly because I was embarrassed and because part of me still want to protect him. I think I am done with those ideas.
The first time my ex shoved me in a violent and physically aggressive way was the same night he also showed up to a date I was on.. That he knew about because we had decided to go poly. We had decided to go poly because he had been lying to me about being in contact with an ex (the same ex he had cheated on his wife with, which helped end his marriage), I knew and I knew that he was lying about it. I should have broken up with him then and there. It was 3 months into our relationship. Instead, I started flirting with a guy, started lying to him about it. I confessed to him, he confessed to me. I told him that I wasn’t really made for monogamy and asked if he really thought he was, since he had a history of cheating. I told him that I would have probably cheated before if I hadn’t accepted that I wanted to be with more than one person and been open to polyamoury with some core values surrounding honesty and openness. So he agreed to try it and to try to be more honest, as did I.
Back to the date… He had been drinking all evening while I was on my date, feeling jealous, and decided to come where I had honestly told him I would be. I had been texting him throughout the date with updates, trying to reassure him and be open, but my phone had died. That had infuriated him, he though I was just ignoring him. When he got to the bar, he started yelling things to the whole bar, things like “Let me buy a whole roung for everyone, to celebrate the new love between Christina ‘Blue’ Crow and [guy I was with]…” I rushed out, crying, and he followed me. He grabbed at me, asked me to just listen, then finally shoved me against the brick wall until my date walked up. Then he tried to talk to my date, saying, “I understand, I have cheated before..” and so on. We left in a hurry to his car. I didn’t go home for days because I was too scared to. I felt like I was 14 and my drunk mom had show up at school “to take me dentist” all over again.
He apologized, he begged, he pleaded. Somehow, I convinced myself that I deserved it because I had lied to him initially about that relationship… Even though he was lying to me. And, you know, he had never treated me like before. Somehow I convinced myself that shoving and trapping me wasn’t the same as hitting me. I was already caught, I couldn’t even see how fucked up it was or that I should get away from him.
The next few months, there were many occasions I should have left. He would yell at me most any time that I would be hurt about something (which was a lot, I was getting more and more depressed while with him), causing me to feel more hurt and cry more, then he would yell more, then leave and go drink the night away, coming back to the house sometimes, sometimes sleeping at his store, sometimes who knows what. Often when he would yell at me, he would also demean me and call me names out of anger. He got a DUI pretty early in our relationship, but would continue to drink and drive. One night, he picked me up from a volunteer shift that I had and we were arguing (about him lying about talking to a woman that made me uncomfortable) and he had been drinking, he was about to do the regular routine of leaving me after yelling at me for while on the drive home, but as I got out of his car, I took his keys. I told him to please leave, but not to drive because he had been drinking. This really triggered him in some way (he told me later that he thought I was treating him like a kid) and he started grabbing at me. I couldn’t quite get away, he tackled me and shoved my face into the ground. He sat on top of me, pulled back my arms, hit the hand I was holding his keys in, etc. I actually called him some names, I told him he was a selfish asshole and a coward, that he wasn’t facing his alcoholism and that he was going to loose everything if he kept drinking and driving. I managed to not let go of the keys and he left… Then I followed him, apologizing. Thinking back on this, I feel sick to my stomach. He had just tackled me, bruised me, and so on, then I followed him to apologize for taking his keys, for calling him names (even though he had been calling me everything in the book for months and accusing me of being like his ex) and I wanted to try to be there for him. To try to work it out.
During the past year, he would get mad at me for planning dates when he had none, rushing to try to sleep with other women, making me feel unsafe and uncomfortable… I tried to suggest we go monogamous to work on things between us, but he kept lying to me about who he was talking to and would randomly text women to hook up, so then I lied to him again about someone else and then confessed to him about it, a couple weeks before finally asking him to move out. We had tried to go open again in those couple of weeks, but he would cancel plans on me, he would still yell at me when I was hurt, he would try to turn even nice things around on me, like when I gave him a mix cd for Valentine’s day or made him dinner.
Over this past year and change, I hung out with my friends less and less. I felt worse and worse about myself. I felt too shamed to ever tell them everything, but some friends kind of saw what was happening and tried to talk to me about it. Even then I wouldn’t fully be honest with them or myself about what was happening. One time, 6 months ago or so, he heard me talking to my friend Katy and he freaked out on me. He tried to say some stuff to her to embarrass me, then, when she was gone, he yelled at me for not being private enough or for only giving my side of the story. Katy asked me if I had tried to talk to him about nonviolent communication, she told me I should feel like I could talk to my friends. She was right and she had no idea how nonviolent he was towards me.
In December, after we had been together for over a year, I became upset with him one night when we were with some other people and I slapped him. I couldn’t believe my behavior. I couldn’t understand where it came from. I felt ashamed, I felt confused. After I slapped him, we went into another room and I tried to apologize and talk to him, but he shoved me to the floor and hit me with the door of the room several times. The next day, he had a black eye and I was covered in bruises. Something was wrong. I didn’t know how I had gotten to this point. I blamed myself. I didn’t even consider that the way he had been physically shoving me around for over a year and physically intimidating me was a problem, still. I called up my counselor that I saw for 3 years when I was 19 to 22 and made an appointment for a few weeks later.
Before we ever dated, we were friends. I knew he was coming out of a bad marriage, but I saw him as the victim of emotional abuse from her. I knew he had cheated, but I blamed her because she was mean to him. Now I wonder what really happened between them. Now I wonder what to believe and what not to believe. I know that I saw countless texts from her to him that were really harassing and abusive, so I always thought that maybe he was so mad at me because of how she treated him or how his mother treated him. It was another way I excused his behavior, thinking he was just mad at them and would soon see I was nice and not trying to hurt him, then chill out.
When we first started dating, he was so fun and exciting, always ready to go out, always ready to try something new. I tried a lot of new things with him too, things I don’t regret but that were really life changing for me. I think how great our relationship was for the first 3 months contributed to me thinking I just had to try harder to be nicer or more fun so that we could go back to that. I thought that I should just try harder to be nicer, to show him that I wasn’t attacking him when I was crying, I was just hurt. I even started sitting on the floor below him to make myself as small and non threatening as possible. Sometimes he would try, too. That, I think, made it harder for me to see that he was abusive. I felt that sometimes he wouldn’t yell. Sometimes he would be hitting things around me in the car and I would get out and start walking, but he would drive around, beg me to come back in, that he would stop yelling and being aggressive, and I would give in. Sometimes he would be kind, so I got sucked into a real loop of thinking that, when he did yell at me, it was my fault. That I had triggered him or that I hadn’t said what I wanted to say quite right, that I had to try harder to be nicer or sexier or less weepy. I asked him if he would go in the other room when he was mad and then come back when it had past and he even did that a couple times. Every time he would lie, or yell, or shove me while angry, I would say that I just wanted to forgive him an move forward, that I just didn’t want it to happen again, that I just wanted to be happy with him again and have fun. But, every time, he would sabotage it. He would lie again, he would yell again, he would get physical when mad and drunk. I would skip work or even an volunteer shift because I would have been crying all night or bruised up, achey, from an altercation. I honestly don’t think he remembers half the times he hurt me as he was blacked out, but I know he must remember some because he wasn’t always that drunk or even blacked out.
As we tried to reconcile, I was really facing what had been happening. I was facing that I had been in a physically and emotionally unsafe environment for over a year with a partner that would lie to me consistently, constantly making me question my reality. I had completely enabled it but letting him cross my every boundary with no consequences. Even post-me-asking-him-to-move-out-finally (over a week ago), I asked him not to attend an event I wanted to attend because I wanted to go and feel safe and have space from him. He did agree eventually, but he argued first, one of his arguments being that I was having a “pity party.” Even now he still is trying to make me feel bad about being hurt, not just pretending everything is normal and keeping everything bottled up inside.
I have every reason to feel unsafe around him, especially when he’s been drinking and, even when we were together, he would show up at random places I would be at, drunk, with the intention of embarrassing me (that date was not the only time, there were other events he’d show up at, times he would drink all day, skip work, and show up somewhere unexpectedly). His latest status update, his passive aggressive revenge on me for posting that I was thankful to be around friends who would console me when I was crying instead of yelling at me (as I had been crying last night, at an event he might have been going to, feeling sentimental because I had been asked by some people where he was, people who didn’t yet know we were broken up and he moved out). Those people were all so nice about it, offering hugs and kindness, that it was a good reminder of why I was out of that relationship. His reaction was another good reminder. He’s willing to publicly talk about me slapping him (then complain about me not being private enough or airing dirty laundry), but still not willing to talk publicly about his yelling at me, shoving me, shoving me against things, grabbing me, hitting things around me (being physically intimidating while yelling at me), tackling me (even shoving and grinding my face into our front driveway), and so on. A couple days ago he agreed that he had been abusive and said that we had both made mistakes in our relationship. Now, just a few days later, while he’s mad, he’s saying he never did those things and that he never lied or cheated on me. He’s inconsistent and can barely keep his own lies straight, in denial about his alcoholism and his abuse. I don’t have a history of lying, cheating or being physical to a partner and I don’t ever want to live that way again.
I am done being embarrassed and silent.