When I was 15, I started dating a guy who had some pretty weird behaviors. He would attribute them to trying to impress me, or they were always somehow my fault. When he started dealing drugs, he had this long, drawn-out reason for why it was my fault. Just every little thing became my fault, but that I should feel lucky because he put up with me and was trying to make me happy. I spent more and more time with him because it was an escape from my parents. I moved out of my parents’ house that year and spent most of my nights at his place, and occasionally slept at friends’ houses or my car. I was working 40-60 hours per week and going to school full-time, so there wasn’t much time in between, so it didn’t seem so bad.
Around that time, we were driving around – me in the passenger seat and him driving. I was just staring out the window, when suddenly I felt a sharp *thwack* and my nose was bleeding. It took me awhile to put together what happened… he had backhanded me while driving, and then gone right back to it like nothing had happened. Things like this started to happen more and more. When, I questioned it – he told me I was crazy, and that couldn’t possibly be what happened. This spiraled out of control to where he would do it just about anywhere. And, I stopped mentioning it. I just took it and assumed that I must be hallucinating or crazy or something because why would he possibly be doing something like that to me. I really thought I was so crazy and there was something wrong with me.
Somehow this made me apply this to my relationship with my parents too. It must have all been me. I must be such a bad person. And, I should have felt lucky to have these people in my life who were willing to put up with me and my craziness.
The relationship escalated and so did the incidents. When I was 18, he punched me hard enough to crack my jaw in front of his sister. When I was 19, he slammed my head in to a concrete wall with enough force to cause a concussion and make me black out. He also kept me steadily on illegal drugs as his “career” as a drug dealer and later drug trafficker took off. I scared to pieces to leave him, and few people really saw what was going on. He was a little guy, but strong. He would talk about wanting to molest our children if we ever had any and all sorts of horrible things as though they were completely normal. His sister kept telling me, “If he ever loved anyone, he loved you,” which now looking back makes me think she knew he had problems.
When I left him on my 20th birthday, a few months passed before he broke into my apartment. He raped and nearly killed me. I fell into a pretty deep depression and went back to my parents, where I detoxed from all the drugs in my system, swore off alcohol and healed physically and emotionally.
About six months after this, I had gone of a couple dates with a man, when he slipped GHB into my drink. He drove around, waiting for me to pass out. Then he would pull over and try to ripped at my clothes and grope me. When I would come to and demand he take me home, he would drive around more until I would pass out again. This went on for what felt like hours. I couldn’t focus on anything.
Eventually, he pulled into a parking lot, where I jumped out and ran. He followed me and caught up with me. It was a very violent encounter, but I managed to pull my mace out my purse and spray him, which is the only reason he didn’t succeed. I got the pepper spray all over me too due to the wind, but managed to run until I got to my parents’ front door. I have no idea how I managed to get there, but as soon as I did, I collapse.
It turned out that all the information the man had given me about himself was fake. I felt completely taken in because this is what he had in mind to begin with. I am just so happy I got away.
A few years later, I met my ex-husband. He seemed great at first. With him, I started drinking heavily again, which made him seem even better. It didn’t seem to matter that we had nothing in common. It was only after we were married, about a month in – when he had his first “black out.” That night he trapped me in the bedroom, held me down and raped me, all the while calling me names and saying that he was going to pass me around to his friends who were next in line. He was obviously hallucinating and thought there were other people in the room. Afterwards, he came to me crying when I was trying to leave the apartment and him for good, saying he didn’t remember any of it.
I decided that I wasn’t sure what he was capable of (which is such an understatement in hindsight) and was going to leave on Monday when he was at work. This was on a Saturday. On Sunday, we went to the store and on a whim, I got a pregnancy test. I took it and it was positive. At that point, I thought being a “dad” would change him for good. He said he would stop smoking pot and drinking. He never did.
I really couldn’t tell you how things from there went down hill so fast. Suddenly, he was watching my every move. I was accused of cheating. He would get drunk and tell me about his girlfriend. He was very violent toward our dogs, routinely kicking, punching and throwing them. When he did that, he let me know that it was really what he wanted to be doing to me. He was always trying to make me miscarry. He would get violent and aggressive, but I kept telling myself – at least it’s not as bad as my first boyfriend who hit me, but it became a lot worse. He would laugh when he would do it – like it was some big joke. But, he never seemed to remember any of it when he woke up.
Slowly, he started not being home as much, disappearing for days at a time. He would go to the store and be gone for 10-12 hours. He told me later he was just sitting in the car drinking, but I don’t know about that. He installed cameras at the front door with an internet feed, so he could watch to make sure I didn’t go anywhere when he was at work. He took my phone, my keys, everything. The only food he would allow in the house was a grocery sack full of candy bars once a week. He slept fully clothed with his wallet, keys, cell phone and two switch blades in his pocket. There are a lot of times that I don’t remember. I have a tendency to pass out and block out intense pain, but I would wake up with injuries.
When I finally left him to file for divorce, I came to in the emergency room. I was pregnant with a second child, which I subsequently lost at 5 months pregnant. Unfortunately, I was conned into the idea that we could work things out for our son. I really wanted for him to be a good dad, but he consistently told me that there could only be a relationship between me and him, if I gave my son up for adoption. When I left, things got 1000 times worse.
I ended up in a shelter. I had a restraining order, but he still had visitation rights. I was somehow convinced to continue “dating” my ex-husband for another several months in exchange for child support. I was basically “whoring” myself out, but that was after the divorce was final. The divorce itself took 9 months, which were the worst. He created a MySpace page devoted to the ways he would kill me. He left photographs for me which lead me to think he killed one of our dogs.
I finally had enough when one day – I called him on his BS. His mom told me that he was planning to move in with me and my son. I told her that wasn’t going to happen. He was so upset with me, that he and his mother took my son (who has a severe allergy to nicotine dust) into an enclosed space and chain smoked. I grabbed my son out of there and told him that it was the last time he would see me or my son, and it has been.
Darla Carmichael writes at both DarlasBooks and Darla Carmichael's Blog.
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