I’m not bending tonight
But, I’m twisted and turned
And broken down
But I’m starting to know
The sound of something,
No one, and yet,
Well if God’s here tonight
Are you here tonight?
Maybe you could grab me up,
Stand me on my feet
Give me strength
Set me free.
I’m not giving in till
I’ve had enough.
Even though my relationship with him had an explosive and scary end, it wasn’t over. I continued to stay in contact, by choice. If only he’d change, I’d have someone. Please change. I don’t want to be alone. He didn’t change.
I carried on with my life. I met other boys. I had quick successions of short, guarded and superficial relationships. As soon as someone started to like me, I’d run. No one could know my past. I couldn’t tell anyone the truth so it was better to leave than be honest. Besides he still wasn’t really gone.
I dated inappropriate men. Married men. Much older men. Men living in other cities. Damaged men. I sought out men that would never stay, or men that were not the sort I’d ever stay with. That was safer. I could hold a man at arm’s length emotionally and physically easier than I could if I really liked him.
Several months had passed but my ex was still lurking. He was feigning kindness and trying to get me back, but I’m quite certain that had nothing to do with love – but rather the rage over losing his prize. The manipulation continued.
I was out on a date one night and walked into my dark apartment. I shut the door behind me, put down my keys and walked into the living room. And there he was – sitting on my couch in the dark – waiting for me. He had broken into my apartment. I honestly thought that I was going to die on the floor on my living room that night. He didn’t even look at me; he just continued staring straight ahead into the dark and asked where I had been. I knew that “on a date” was one of the many wrong answers so I made up something else. I’m not even sure how I did it or what I said, but I managed to eventually convince him to leave. I knew then it was finally time to completely sever all ties with him because it became suddenly clear again that one of us was going to get hurt, or worse.
I cut all communication off and he started following me again. I was truly scared now and was always on the lookout for him. But I still needed to get some of my things from our old apartment; there was a TV there that belonged to my parents. They wanted it, but I was too ashamed and scared to explain the situation; instead I promised them that I would get it back. There was still a part of me that didn’t believe that I had been in an abusive relationship. That part of my brain tried to convince the other part that I was overreacting; he wasn’t that bad. It was somehow my fault; we just weren’t a good match and I brought out the worst in him. But the lucid side of my brain knew enough to be scared. But I had to get the TV back…because somehow facing him was easier than telling my parents why I couldn’t get it.
So I reluctantly called the police for help – for the first time. I was meek and apologetic…downplaying his abuse…apologizing repeatedly for wasting their time. The officers agreed to meet me at our old apartment as escorts so that I could get my TV. I was shaking. I wanted to barf. They banged on his door for a long time before he finally opened it and they quickly blocked him from closing it again. There was a girl in there with him; I wanted to run in there and drag her out. He told me to ‘fuck off’. The officers tried to reason with him. He quickly lost his temper and grabbed the female officer, trying to push her out of his doorway. They both tackled him and held him face down – knees in his back on the floor until he promised to calm down. I was shaking and I think I was crying. We left without the TV, but I didn’t care. I had won; for the first time, I knew I was right about him. And when the officers left and told me to be careful – that he was dangerous, I felt vindicated. I so desperately needed to hear from someone else that I wasn’t imagining my fear and that I was not the one with the problem.
I never heard from him again.
Even though I was finally free of him, I was still in pieces. I hadn’t healed anything. I was still numb, even more broken, angry, alone, scared, ashamed, guilty and ever silent. And when I wasn’t numb, I needed to be. I started taking pills to knock me out – sometimes an entire bottle. I was drinking a lot. Several nights a week were spent at bars – drunk and numb. And I walked home by myself late at night – bargaining with the universe in my drunken numbness. Please Universe – let me die. Please Universe – I’m drunk and alone at 3am – I deserve to be attacked, just please make sure that this time I die. I hated my life. I hated myself. I just wanted out.
Still, I had a job and went to school – pretending, lying – hiding my hell.
To be continued…
*This five-part series will be featured each Thursday in October.
About The Author
My story began 20 years ago. It began with a sexual assault – all because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then my broken soul left me vulnerable to another predator – an abusive boyfriend. Posting this story will finally end my silence; I will finally be free.