I have been avoiding writing the second part of Verbal abuse. The only love I ever knew. For me living the pain again, remembering the verbally abusive relationship with my now ex-husband weighs me down. I want to share my past to help spread the message that verbal abuse is not love. That abuse, either verbal or physical is NEVER ok. I want to save the young girls who are just like me. To save the women, to save them all. I just want to spread the message that there is life after verbal abuse. However at the same time I just want to continue to sweep it under the rug. Guilt still lingers with me, it seems. Guilt for staying in an abusive relationship as long as I did. Guilt for putting my family through hell. For putting myself through hell. There are so many small things that he did to me during the time of our relationship. Things that I would much not rather remember, or even share. Far to personal, to embarrassing. Things in my closet that I have attached “shame” to. The bruises of a verbally abusive relationship that never healed.
Ex and I had been dating for a few months when his mom had flown into town. She had come in from a small town in Texas to help take care of her mom for a while. I think his Grandma had broken her hip, or something of that sort.
The Ex was living with his Aunt and his young nephew in the same complex as his Grandma. So, when the Ex’s mom flew out to help take care of her mom, I naturally had the chance to meet her. At this point in time, the Ex and I were spending every single minute together we could. I was rebelling rather hard at this point. After all, I knew it all. And I knew if I went home, my family would tell me things I did not want to hear about him, you know? It is like when you quit smoking, or you go off that diet you told everybody you were on. The moment somebody sees you smoking or eating something you shouldn’t, you hope they don’t say something to you. You already know inside that you shouldn’t be smoking, and you don’t want it pointed out to you!
I had gotten to the point that I was avoiding going home. So much so that my mom felt the need to shut off my cell phone. The phone that I was paying for. My mom was trying to get my attention. And she did get it. It just backfired on her.
All this did was push me farther away from my family and more into the arms of the understanding boyfriend. He saw my family as crazy and over-bearing. I saw my family as crazy and over-bearing too. I was PISSED at my mom. I took the boyfriend and paid for us to stay in a hotel room together. Shall I mention, at this point in our relationship; the boyfriend had quit his job because he didn’t like it anymore. This would also become a pattern in our relationship. I worked full-time and I had just inherited about seven grand. It’s those little details, I tell you. I would spoil him with nice hotel rooms, new clothes, an expensive jersey. I even bought him a 1987 Honda Prelude. We impounded that before we moved.
A few days later, as we were leaving the hotel, I had forgotten my phone in the room. I sent the boyfriend back to get it for me. Had we left instead of him going back for my phone, my mom wouldn’t have found me. But she did. It was a moment I will never forget. As were getting ready to leave the parking lot my mom pulled in right behind me, blocking me from being able to leave. This is what it had come down to- my mom was hunting me down.
From then on my relationship with my family got even more distant. The Ex was homesick and I was sick of my family. He wanted to move back home to Texas and his mom invited me to come with him. A few weeks later my best friend at that time drove us to the Sacramento airport. I spent a month in Texas that first time.
One night while we were watching T.V the boyfriend said something to me. It was in his normal “just joking” manner, when he says he is joking, but he really isn’t. Ever experience that one? How they use ‘jokes’ to cut you?
If I remember correctly he told me about a girl he had worked with one night-that they had kissed. I was naturally upset. He just laughed it off, down playing my hurt. His sister, trying to keep the peace, told me to let it go. It was in the past. I could not just let it go. No. I knew that it wasn’t right. All the acid he could spew at me I could take. This had crossed the line. I went and talked to his dad. His dad saved me that night. I borrowed his phone to call my mom. I was crying on the phone with her, and I remember worry on her end. She wanted to save me from the situation I had put myself in. And she did. She booked me on a flight back home to California. The Ex begged me to stay. He used every which way he knew to keep me from leaving. I left.
I left him because I saw who he was. Because he told me about the conversations he had with another girl, and how he didn’t see it as a big deal. I left because he didn’t care how it made me feel. He didn’t care that he talked to other girls, but god forbid a guy would look at me, or would even say something to me. When we lived in California the boyfriend had told me to report a comment that a co-worker had made to me. To the Ex, the comment was sexual harassment. But mind you, he could tell me about how he and another girl wanted to get together. He could do no wrong.
When I got back home to California I had regret for leaving him. I missed him. I forgot why I had left him. Or maybe my mind smoothed over the harsh truths of who he was, because my heart didn’t know how to deal with the hurt. Years later I would realize it was because it was easier to be with him, than to let my heart bleed for a while. I did not know it would eventually heal.
Back home my mom started showing me articles on signs of verbal abuse. She was trying to crack at those rose-colored glasses I had been wearing all along. It was hard for me to read those articles. I didn’t want to see the truth. To admit I was wrong.
One day I decided to call the Ex. I wanted to get back together with him. Apparently I had forgotten the reasons I had left, (or had justified them in my mind.) Either way, that phone call changed my life. For the next ten months we would be long distance, on and off. Off and on. One time, when we were on, I flew out to go see him. I took a week off from my job, because my heart hurt so bad from missing him. The night before Valentine’s day/ early morning of, we had a talk about how he wanted to start dating other people. There was a girl he worked with that he wanted to try to date. He also thought I should date other people. My boyfriend had dumped me. After I spent the money to come see him. The worst part? According to his sister, he KNEW he was going to dump me before I came for the visit. Payback for leaving him?
During the times that we were off, I had met another guy. He was kind to me and paid attention to me in a way the Ex had not. It scared me that this guy was nice. I didn’t know how to take it. How to handle it. At this point in my life I knew how to avoid certain landmines within the abuser. You know what I mean? I was always ready to pull back within myself at the moment I would set my abuser off. This guy, was not my Ex though. And while I was single and so was he, he knew that I wasn’t going to pick him. There I go. Not allowing the nice guy to be nice to me. Living in that space of kindness did not feel natural. I had to go back to the land of abuse. It was what I thought I deserved. It was what I knew.
When the Ex and I were back on, I told him about the guy who I had slept with. Why? I can’t remember now. To be honest with him? I do not know. All it did was give him ammunition to use against me when it suited him and his needs. According to him, it felt like I had cheated on him.
Being the sweet guy that my Ex was, he let my sins go. I mean after all, he broke up with me, right? He was the one who wanted to see other people. For the reasons of insanity we were back together again. And again I was packing up my bags to move back Texas. The boyfriend had kept a job long enough to move us into our very own place. Beeville, Texas, use to be military town. The apartment that we got was a converted barrack. Super small, covered in cockroaches and all ours. We were happy and in-love. Jobs came. Jobs left. For both of us. Fights happened. He threatened to leave me. I would cry and beg him not to.
With both of us unemployed, the Ex wanted to be just like his dad and join the Army. So one day, when we were walking around town, we went in to see an Army Recruiter. They helped him get his GED so he could join. The recruiter also set us up with the judge who would marry us.
We got married On Texas Independence Day, in a saddle shop, by a judge.
A few weeks later he left for basic training and I moved back in with his parents. I got a job at a local restaurant washing dishes. Six weeks later the husband came home. He had received a medical discharge from the Army due to an allergic reaction to one of the vaccines they give you in basic training. We lived with his parents for a while, while he got another job working 12 hour days, and I continued washing dishes.
Soon enough we were back in our own apartment. I was excited to be out of his parent’s place, but also scared. It was safer to be around other people. My sister-in-law would tell him off anytime he treated me like crap in-front of her. She, in a way became a source of protection against my husband.
One day after my husband and I had moved into our new apartment, we got into yet another fight. He threatened to leave me. I remember him going and getting his military papers, and walking out the front door. I did not care. I wish that I had actually locked the door instead of letting him walk back in. This time his threat of leaving me did not scare me as it had done once before. Those rose-colored glasses had taken another hit.
At some point in time I had quit my job as a dishwasher and I had been hired at our local Wal-Mart. I was in orientation filling out my legal documents. Life insurance, etc. I stared at that paper. I did not want to put my husband’s name anywhere on them. This was the beginning of the final end. I spent the next few months trying to fix our marriage. I asked anybody who would listen to me what I should do. I talked to his family, I talked to my co-workers. I talked to him about counseling. He refused. I went back and forth, back and forth. What finally shattered the control he had over me was when we had gotten into another fight. This night he was studying for his newest job as a security guard. I got pissed off and walked away from the situation. It scared me to see the anger in myself that I had seen in my dad. I was on our bed sobbing when he came and asked me what the hell I was crying about. I asked him, ” What do you do when you realize you have become the person you hate the most?” In this case the anger of my dad I had seen in me. He told me to “deal with it”.
I looked at my husband as he walked away. In that very moment every single layer of doubt, of confusion, of loving and protecting him had shattered. Every single layer. I looked up at the ceiling and I said “Thank you god.” Thank you for giving me the clearest answer I could have asked for. I pulled myself out of that darkness my Ex had sent my into. A darkness that I was afraid would consume me.
Almost a year after getting married I found the strength to leave my verbally abusive husband. When the good no longer outweighed the bad. When I got on the flight leaving Corpus Christi, Texas I did not cry. My heart did not regret. My heart thanked me. I did not miss him. I did not love him. In the end he himself had shattered the glasses I had worn for so long. I was finally free of him.