Him

His silhouette was dark in my doorway, my bedroom dark, the light of the hallway casting an amber aura around him. “Is there a reason why you can’t fully close the toothpaste cap?”

I laid there, half laughing, half in shock. “What?”

“Are you that lazy that you can’t even put the cap on the toothpaste? How much effort do you think it takes to do something so simple? If you can’t do these little things then how can I expect that you can maintain a relationship? A REAL ADULT RELATIONSHIP, JENN!”

I started apologizing profusely. He was right. I was lazy to not cap the toothpaste. I will do better, I will be a better person, I will make more of an effort. But that wasn’t good enough though… Nothing was.

We met in June at a rock benefit, but didn’t start officially dating until October; Unbeknownst to me, while he was with another woman. I was warned of his chronic womanizing, that he was a perpetual user, his “M-O” being that he goes from female to female for a place to crash, food to eat, and someone to care for him. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that he could be so evil, or apathetic. To me, he came off as overly caring and sensitive. He was highly affectionate and made me feel like I was the only girl in the room. He couldn’t be the same person that these people were talking about… Perhaps he just had a bad rep. We all have stories; perhaps his was just a bit longer than others. I should have listened though, because they were right.

He moved right in, manipulated his way into my life and the life of my daughter. The first few weeks he put me on a pedestal, almost smothering me. He wanted all of my free time and at first I thought it was cute, but then he began to give me hell when I would want to go out with my friends. If I even stepped out to get something to eat with friends I was given a massive guilt trip.

“Real adults stay home. Real adults shouldn’t have to go out all the time. If you want to be in a real adult relationship, then you should start acting like it, Jenn!”

I started to go out less and less, mostly because I didn’t want to upset him. He was right; I shouldn’t have to go out all the time. I should be home were I belonged, waiting for him. He wouldn’t abide by the same rules though because there were many nights where he just didn’t come home and would either attribute it to having to work late, or that he was staying with his friend. Those nights I didn’t hear from him at all, and if I so much as texted him “hello”, I was accused of being jealous and insecure.

I would often lie awake at night thinking “What have I done?” I don’t even know this person… How did I just let him move into my home-my life? Why was I so weak? I didn’t want him there, but at the same time I needed him. He knew my vulnerabilities and would play off of them often. The minute I started to question the relationship, he would become romantic, caring and sweet- The person that I fell in love with, the person that I initially started to date. The minute I felt comfortable he would revert right back to the person that made me feel insecure and unwanted. We rarely slept together, and If I even mentioned that, I was called needy, that all I cared about was sex and attention. I began to feel like I was a bad person for wanting to be intimate with my partner, so I eventually stopped asking. Aside  not being intimate with one another, he wouldn’t even sleep in the same bed. He claimed he needed to sleep on the couch because of a previous back injury. That “back injury” texted him often.

At first I had no real proof that he was cheating, other than my instincts. When I would question him I would get berated, told that I was too needy, insecure, and that no one wanted a girl like that. Over time I was manipulated into thinking I was crazy, that I had “trust issues” and was far too jealous and insecure for our relationship. Even though I was right all along, he literally had me thinking I was crazy, even when concrete evidence was finally put in front of me, I still believed his lies.

My home had to be spotless or I would have to listen to the endless insults against my womanhood. If I dare leave a plate in the sink, or a bobby pin on the counter, I would hear how I was a terrible girlfriend, a lazy human, and not marriage material. There were nights when I would wake up at 2 in the morning to the smell of bleach and rubbing alcohol, he would be downstairs having a fit while scrubbing the floors. I didn’t dare go down, I made that mistake once. He glared up at me in contempt asking why I was up and out of bed, then demanded that I get back to my room so I can “Get my much needed sleep” while he “Cleaned up after me and my child”. He hated the cats and I often wondered what he was doing to them while I was at work all day. Most of the time he kept them locked in the basement; I wasn’t allowed to let them out at night. My oldest cat would urinate on the floor whenever he would approach him, which deeply troubled me. He would often joke about killing them, or “throwing them by their head down the stairs”. He also made the same kind of jokes regarding me.. .That he knew how he was ‘going to kill me’, by either chopping me up into pieces or by striking me with a hammer. He would often make these jokes with a smile on his face… I would smile back, but deep down was concerned that he just may be serious.

I would like to say things never got physical but that would be untrue. The first time he put his hands on me was after he had too much to drink at a party. He sat in the reclined passenger seat of my car calling me a whore and a poor excuse for a mother; His eyes on fire and hot spittle flying from his mouth as he screamed obscenities at me. I didn’t even know what I had done wrong to deserve his anger. When we arrived home, and I made my way into the house, him close behind.. He was in my face, I could feel the spit hitting my cheeks as he slurred and screamed.. He said it again-“whore” and I slapped him. He stood there for a second, drunkenly swaying; As if in slow motion I watched him cock back, and felt the sting as his hand met my face. My jaw immediately throbbing, I was on the floor. Sobbing, I laid there afraid that he would strike again. He glared down at me, called me a baby and told me to get up. He then sloppily threw himself onto the couch and passed out. At first I was too afraid to move, but then I quietly grabbed my purse and keys and snuck quietly out of the house to seek the words of a friend. The entire time my jaw ached, I had trouble eating M&M’s that I grabbed from a vending machine. I just couldn’t believe that he had put his hands on me. As scared as I was to go home, I knew I had nowhere else to go so late at night. I quietly entered the house as he snored on the couch and inched my way upstairs, careful not to make a sound. I eventually fell asleep. The next morning he texted me apologizing profusely claiming that he had no idea what happened, he didn’t remember hitting me. I finally accepted his apology, but it wasn’t until then that suddenly he remembered everything… He remembered hitting me, but he also remembered “why”. I hit him first. I “deserved” it. Once again, I was apologizing to him, I would be better, it wouldn’t happen again. I would like to say that that was the one and only time that it got physical, but unfortunately it wasn’t. There were times when he physically held me down because he wanted to take my phone from me since he owned the contract. There was also the time when he dragged me through the streets of Providence, my arms bruised and face streaked with tears and eyeliner.

I know many of you are thinking “Why didn’t she leave?” Well it was a lot more difficult than you think. Most of the times that I tried to leave; he would revert to someone almost human, someone loving and caring of the relationship; The human side of him would usually last for a few weeks, or at the most, a few months then he would go right back to the person that I loathed and feared. If the loving and caring side of him didn’t come out, he would scare me into staying by threatening to ruin me to my friends and family by making defamatory posts about me or by calling the police or the state stating that I was the abuser. Often, he would play off of my sympathies by saying that he was going to kill himself or that he was seriously ill, knowing that I would immediately coming running. The mysterious illness would always disappear when I would let him back in though, and he would be miraculously healed. The suicide obviously never happened. Scared of the threats that he made against me and himself, I ended up falling back into the relationship, and the abuse.

His presence dominated the apartment and I felt like a prisoner in my own home, afraid to enter any room he may be in, in case he was in one of his moods. Even if he was not present, I was afraid of him walking in and seeing me resting or doing anything other than cleaning because then I was once again deemed lazy and not appreciative of his being there. He isolated me from my friends and was beginning to do the same with my family. He made me feel like everyone was the enemy, and that he was the only one that had my side. I found myself going into deep depressions and violent rages, unable to control my emotions. My relationship with my daughter started to fail, making things rocky between my family and I. My daughter felt like I was always taking his side, when in reality I was just trying to keep the peace. I was completely losing who I was, who I thought myself to be. My identity became “His Girlfriend” rather than Jennifer. I slowly felt myself morphing into the Stepford Wife that he wanted me to be. Alcohol became my means of escape, and I began to drink daily to the point when I just didn’t care anymore. I didn’t want to feel the pain. I just wanted to be numb.

I finally sought therapy so I could become the quintessential girlfriend and wife that he envisioned. I felt like I was the problem in the relationship. That my insecurities and emotions were holding us back from becoming the couple I wanted us to be. I wanted nothing more than to be a good wife to someone someday, and under the pressure of Him I was told to seek help becoming such… This move would become my saving grace.

My therapist taught me that the relationship was not healthy, and even though he claimed I was, I was doing nothing wrong. With her help I was finally aware of the abuse and my esteem grew with each session. His attempts to control me started to fall onto deaf ears. It wasn’t going to happen any longer. Not on my watch. He began to get frustrated and angry. He accused my therapist of being a quack because instead of helping me, she was in turn making me “defiant” (in other words, I wasn’t adhering to his rules). I was no longer going to be a victim. I was going to rise above. He pleaded to make things work, he even stated that we were engaged, which I fell into for a bit. He bought me a cheap ring to symbolize “the engagement” and even changed his Facebook status to say engaged; all a ruse to gain attention on his end. He kept telling me that marriage was a business agreement, by then I knew he was just looking to secure his place. I knew his desire to stay in the relationship had nothing to do with me, but everything to do with his fear of losing his “comfort zone”. I finally gained the strength to tell him to leave. He took my cell phone from me, and my daughter’s from her which was fine truthfully. I let him keep them and I opened a new contract and stuck him with the cancellation bills. He was plenty mad about the bills, but even more so when he went through my phone and read a daily journal that I kept. It contained every horrible thing he did to me, and how I felt about him. My words were not kind in that journal. He deserved to read it.I got a new number and blocked him from contacting me unless it was in writing. He began to stay with a friend, and finally moved out by Independence Day weekend, both symbolic and ironic.

Since then he tried to re-enter my life, but I have learned to recognize the signs and symbols of his desperation. He will come off as human, but the moment he is shot down he will go right back to the controlling abusive person that he always was, which only gives me confidence in my decision.

Since then I can’t say that it’s been easy to trust or date again. I’ve decided that I need a lot of time to just stay alone and figure out who I am first. I still have nightmares, and I still see my therapist to help me work through the aftermath.

Writing this blog hasn’t been easy, but I need people to know the story, or shortened version of it anyway.

The next time you catch yourself judging your friend or relative for being in an abusive relationship, think before you judge. Perhaps your friend knows just what they are involved in, but they are afraid to make the move to end it. Be supportive; be there for your friend. Even if your friend cuts you out of their life, know that they will be back. It takes time to learn what they truly need to do. You can’t tell them what they need to do; they need to see for themselves… And when they do finally see, make sure you are there to catch them when they fall. They are going to need you to help them pick up the pieces; they will need you to lean on as they piece their lives back together.

For those of you in abusive relationships seek help- if not now, then when you are ready. The longer you stay, the more they can manipulate, and the harder it is to leave.

Lastly, remember- it’s not you, it’s them. Abusive people tend to come from abusive households, or are just plain sick. Learn from it and accept that it is NOT you. You CAN get past it, you CAN leave. Nothing is impossible; you just need to know you can. There are people that are out there that love and care for you, which will be there to help you if you need it, and while it won’t be easy, it’s certainly not impossible. Breathe. Your time will come.

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Here’s the thing…

When someone close to us passes away suddenly, the general consensus is that we all wish we could have said goodbye, or that we had more time with that person. Being able to do either one of those things would mean that we would need to know in advance that that person is leaving our world. 

Here’s the thing though-I’m currently in that very position, and it doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, I would say that it makes things ten times-no-100 times harder. 

You are watching someone you love deeply slowly slip away from you with each passing day. You see them in pain and watch as they waste away. You see them in so much discomfort that you silently wish for their release just so they will no longer be in pain, but at the same time you aren’t. As much as it pains you to see them in agony, it pains you equally to say goodbye. The death is slow, and it takes days-sometimes months for it to complete, and during that time you are filled with anxiety, and dread. Dread for the day that your loved one is finally called home, and their life ceases. Anxiety for the day when you have to face the fact that they are truly gone.

How can you say goodbye to someone that raised you? Created you?

I’m left with all of these thoughts continuously streaming through my head. In August my father was given a year to live. This past Monday he was given 6-8 weeks. 

The cancer was far more aggressive than they could have anticipated. The cancer in his liver has significantly grown, and has spread to the bones in his hip and thigh; making it difficult for him to walk. His frequent severe headaches have lead them to believe that it is now in his brain. 

6-8 weeks

I literally fell to my knees, wrapping my arms around his torso as he sat motionless in that exam room. I sobbed into his grey champion sweatshirt as he comforted me, stroking the back of my head. 

And now, now I lay in my darkened bedroom sobbing into my pillow as I write this. Sobbing into my pillow like I have done every night since Monday, silently praying for a miracle. 

But no miracle came. My father returned home that day. As he was strangely calm in the doctors office, he was no longer when we arrived home. His anger taking over, first being angry at receiving a floral arrangement, then angry when learning that there were no hot dogs in the freezer even though he hasn’t had one in months. Nobody knew what to say. His impending death an elephant in the room. 

The next day when I arrived to pick him up for radiation, he acted as everything were normal. He greeted me and asked me “what was new”. I held back tears as I looked at him. My lip trembling as I mumbled “same old same old”. Suddenly I was looking at a dead man. I didn’t want to see him differently, but I did. I saw my dad, dying. I wondered how I washing to get through it. I wondered how fast he would decline, if he would make to Christmas, how the family would handle it. I worried about the ridiculous things like the care for his home, finances, and how my mom would react to his absence. Every day that I went to bed and woke up, was another day closer to the inevitable.. And it ate me up inside. 

 

One Year or less

I had the stomach flu. 

The up-at-3:30-in-the-morning-begging-for-gods-mercy stomach flu. If that wasn’t enough it came with a 102 temperature and body aches that could rival my most brutal workout. In adult terms, they should have been reading me my last rights. I laid there on the couch, shivering in the 90 degree heat, sobbing because I was thirsty but couldn’t get up to get anything for fear that the mere movement will send me back into the bathroom heaving. I texted anyone I could to please come help, bring ginger ale and saltines, perhaps a shot of morphine. I couldn’t take it anymore. 

I want to die

This can’t get any worse.

WHY ME?! Whhhyyyyyyy!!!!! (Yes you can read that in Nancy Kerrigan’s voice)

Yet as tortured as I was, nothing would beat the torture of hearing that my father is going to die. 

The prognosis …it isn’t good Jenn. The cancer has spread to his liver. Surgery is no longer an option. They have to start chemo right away, his cancer is.. It’s really aggressive. 

My mother told me this on the phone as I just sat there, wrapped in my snuggie, tears streaming down my face. Out of the corner of my eye my daughter glanced away from her phone and looked at me, her eyes too, instantly tearing. She knew. She knew and I didn’t have to say a word. I asked my mother what we had for a timeframe. 

They gave us one, but I don’t want to say right now. Not until I speak with them again tomorrow.

But you have one….

Yes but I want more information..

Is it at least two years mom? Do we have at least two years? Just tell me that much..

I can’t…

My heart sank. I told her I would be over. Fever or no fever, I needed to be there. I hung up the phone and Sarah looks at me through wide wet eyes 

Is it treatable?

I shake my head, immediately breaking down.

Is he going to die?

I couldn’t answer. I couldn’t answer not only because I didn’t want to break her heart, but saying the words would most definitely break mine. It would make it real.

I pulled on what I could, and slowly got myself out the door. Moving hurt. Not only was I in pain, but I was horribly dizzy. The humidity only adding to my misery. 

I knew my fever had broken by the way my knees sweat just sitting in my parents living room. Even though I didn’t want to make my father sick, I hugged him, and told him I loved him. He felt frail and thin even though still in his work clothes. My sister sat next to my mother on the couch, she was sobbing into her tshirt. My mother sat there, visibly upset, but taking notes. My father seemed the most calm out of all of us, at one point even asking why my sister and I were so upset. I wasn’t sure if it was denial or just his way of coping. He also told me I should be home resting, and that I didn’t have be to there for this “joyous occasion” as he called it. 

How does one knowingly say goodbye to a parent? How does one just accept that they will be losing this person within a certain amount of time? How can I even prepare myself and my daughter for the devastation that will be my fathers passing? You know you are going to lose your parents someday, but even knowing that you still almost feel as if they are immortal, that they will grow old with you, and just always be there. What do you do when reality smacks you in the face with her cold cruel hand and decides to take one of them? How can you fill that void not only for yourself, but everyone else as well? 

I find myself analyzing and thinking about mundane everyday life things that will no longer get done without my dad doing them. Who will cut the grass? Feed the cats? Complain about the mess on the kitchen table, or the sink? Who will play Yahtzee with my daughter and accuse her of cheating, or play a Christmas game of pool with my Cousin Andrew? Who will head bang when acdc comes on? Or bitch about the new upcoming democrat running for president ? But more importantly, who will catch me when I fall? Remind me how tough I am and how proud they are of me? Who will call me “Dolly” or “Kid”? Who will be “The Geep” for my little girl?

It’s been 3 days since we got the news and I’m plagued by these questions. My dreams plagued with subtle innuendo of what’s to come. Everything feels like a bad dream, as if I will wake up tomorrow and find that the past month has just been a horrible nightmare. 

Today my dad was diagnosed with Cancer

I never had a good feeling when this all began. I felt the threat of the “C-word” looming over all of us that day in the walk-in clinic. I felt it so much that I even pulled the doctor aside, away from my Dad, away from my Mom.. To protect them. To protect them from the “C-word” , as if hearing the word alone would make it a reality.

I watched my dad closely as he was stretched out on the gurney. His face swollen. I listened to the wise cracks of my sister, trying to lighten the mood, but deep down I knew. I knew when we left the hospital, leaving my dad behind as he was to stay the night. I knew as we drove to Gregg’s for a late night meal as none of us had a chance to eat earlier, being that we spent the day in the hospital with my dad. I knew the day after when he was out of surgery and told us that they didn’t take the infection that was making his face swell, that they took biopsies instead. I even knew before I got the phone call today to meet with my parents. 

Come to the house”

“what?! Why? What’s-“

“just come over”

Even though I knew all along that it was the dreaded C-Word, I can honestly say that it still did not prepare me for the rush of emotions I had when I actually heard the word spoken by my father. 

Cancer

My father said it. He said the word. My mothers eyes red from crying, immediately teared up again, as did my fathers. 

My father was crying

My father was actually crying. The only other time I ever saw my father cry was after the death of his own father. This isn’t good. 

Even though my tears had been falling before I even arrived, they fell freely now, as we all sat and cried. My father struggling through his own tears to point to my daughter and I saying “No tears, no tears”. 

My daughter…

My daughter is the epitome of grandpas girl. She calls him Gepa for short or “The Geep”. She is extremely close with my father, and I watched as her little heart broke in two, tears streaming down her face. If anything I thought she would be stronger than I, she is extremely thickskinned, much like my dad, but even that couldn’t save her from the overwhelming fear and sadness we all felt. 

What now?

What did they say?

What do we do?

Everything is so vague. We know the type of cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma), and that it is extremely rare where he has it (left sinus), but that’s all we know. We have to wait on an MRI that will determine whether my father, my daddy, will be ok. 

After the news we all just sat in silence. Not knowing what to say, or what to do. I had to hug my father, I had to tell him I love him. I didn’t want to stop hugging him, he looked so scared, so defenseless. We all just sat there, then repeated the talk when my sister arrived. I watched her immediately start to cry, and it surprised me. My sister is usually like a rock, but she broke down.. And we all cried again. We cried until our eyes burned, our heads aching, and yet we cried some more. As I write this now, I’m crying. 

I see my fathers life flash before my eyes, or at least his life with me. Our game nights playing mousetrap, nerd golf, and watching the Rocky movies. Him surprising me and taking me to the movies to see “Masters of the Universe”, the fun we had on our trips to The Enchanted Forest and New Hampshire. I was such a Daddy’s girl growing up, and I still am. 

We all agreed that we live life as normally as possible these next few days until we know for sure what will happen. As my father said, “Day by day”. It’s hard to imagine going about life normally now, especially knowing this information, but for my dad, I will. My days will resume as normal, but I will also be silently praying.. Every minute of every day, that God gives him a chance, and we get good news. 

Until then, “Day by day…”

Him

His silhouette was dark in my doorway, my bedroom dark, the light of the hallway casting an amber aura around him. “Is there a reason why you can’t fully close the toothpaste cap?”
I laid there, half laughing, half in shock. “What?”
“Are you that lazy that you can’t even put the cap on the toothpaste? How much effort do you think it takes to do something so simple? If you can’t do these little things then how can I expect that you can maintain a relationship? A REAL ADULT RELATIONSHIP, JENN!”
I started apologizing profusely. He was right. I was lazy to not cap the toothpaste. I will do better, I will be a better person, I will make more of an effort. But that wasn’t good enough though… Nothing was.
We met in June at a rock benefit, but didn’t start officially dating until October; Unbeknownst to me, while he was with another woman. I was warned of his chronic womanizing, that he was a perpetual user, his “M-O” being that he goes from female to female for a place to crash, food to eat, and someone to care for him. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that he could be so evil, or apathetic. To me, he came off as overly caring and sensitive. He was highly affectionate and made me feel like I was the only girl in the room. He couldn’t be the same person that these people were talking about… Perhaps he just had a bad rep. We all have stories; perhaps his was just a bit longer than others. I should have listened though, because they were right.

He moved right in, manipulated his way into my life and the life of my daughter. The first few weeks he put me on a pedestal, almost smothering me. He wanted all of my free time and at first I thought it was cute, but then he began to give me hell when I would want to go out with my friends. If I even stepped out to get something to eat with friends I was given a massive guilt trip.

“Real adults stay home. Real adults shouldn’t have to go out all the time. If you want to be in a real adult relationship, then you should start acting like it, Jenn!”

I started to go out less and less, mostly because I didn’t want to upset him. He was right; I shouldn’t have to go out all the time. I should be home were I belonged, waiting for him. He wouldn’t abide by the same rules though because there were many nights where he just didn’t come home and would either attribute it to having to work late, or that he was staying with his friend. Those nights I didn’t hear from him at all, and if I so much as texted him “hello”, I was accused of being jealous and insecure.

I would often lie awake at night thinking “What have I done?” I don’t even know this person… How did I just let him move into my home-my life? Why was I so weak? I didn’t want him there, but at the same time I needed him. He knew my vulnerabilities and would play off of them often. The minute I started to question the relationship, he would become romantic, caring and sweet- The person that I fell in love with, the person that I initially started to date. The minute I felt comfortable he would revert right back to the person that made me feel insecure and unwanted. We rarely slept together, and If I even mentioned that, I was called needy, that all I cared about was sex and attention. I began to feel like I was a bad person for wanting to be intimate with my partner, so I eventually stopped asking. Aside  not being intimate with one another, he wouldn’t even sleep in the same bed. He claimed he needed to sleep on the couch because of a previous back injury. That “back injury” texted him often.

At first I had no real proof that he was cheating, other than my instincts. When I would question him I would get berated, told that I was too needy, insecure, and that no one wanted a girl like that. Over time I was manipulated into thinking I was crazy, that I had “trust issues” and was far too jealous and insecure for our relationship. Even though I was right all along, he literally had me thinking I was crazy, even when concrete evidence was finally put in front of me, I still believed his lies.
My home had to be spotless or I would have to listen to the endless insults against my womanhood. If I dare leave a plate in the sink, or a bobby pin on the counter, I would hear how I was a terrible girlfriend, a lazy human, and not marriage material. There were nights when I would wake up at 2 in the morning to the smell of bleach and rubbing alcohol, he would be downstairs having a fit while scrubbing the floors. I didn’t dare go down, I made that mistake once. He glared up at me in contempt asking why I was up and out of bed, then demanded that I get back to my room so I can “Get my much needed sleep” while he “Cleaned up after me and my child”. He hated the cats and I often wondered what he was doing to them while I was at work all day. Most of the time he kept them locked in the basement; I wasn’t allowed to let them out at night. My oldest cat would urinate on the floor whenever he would approach him, which deeply troubled me. He would often joke about killing them, or “throwing them by their head down the stairs”. He also made the same kind of jokes regarding me.. .That he knew how he was ‘going to kill me’, by either chopping me up into pieces or by striking me with a hammer. He would often make these jokes with a smile on his face… I would smile back, but deep down was concerned that he just may be serious.

I would like to say things never got physical but that would be untrue. The first time he put his hands on me was after he had too much to drink at a party. He sat in the reclined passenger seat of my car calling me a whore and a poor excuse for a mother; His eyes on fire and hot spittle flying from his mouth as he screamed obscenities at me. I didn’t even know what I had done wrong to deserve his anger. When we arrived home, and I made my way into the house, him close behind.. He was in my face, I could feel the spit hitting my cheeks as he slurred and screamed.. He said it again-“whore” and I slapped him. He stood there for a second, drunkenly swaying; As if in slow motion I watched him cock back, and felt the sting as his hand met my face. My jaw immediately throbbing, I was on the floor. Sobbing, I laid there afraid that he would strike again. He glared down at me, called me a baby and told me to get up. He then sloppily threw himself onto the couch and passed out. At first I was too afraid to move, but then I quietly grabbed my purse and keys and snuck quietly out of the house to seek the words of a friend. The entire time my jaw ached, I had trouble eating M&M’s that I grabbed from a vending machine. I just couldn’t believe that he had put his hands on me. As scared as I was to go home, I knew I had nowhere else to go so late at night. I quietly entered the house as he snored on the couch and inched my way upstairs, careful not to make a sound. I eventually fell asleep. The next morning he texted me apologizing profusely claiming that he had no idea what happened, he didn’t remember hitting me. I finally accepted his apology, but it wasn’t until then that suddenly he remembered everything… He remembered hitting me, but he also remembered “why”. I hit him first. I “deserved” it. Once again, I was apologizing to him, I would be better, it wouldn’t happen again. I would like to say that that was the one and only time that it got physical, but unfortunately it wasn’t. There were times when he physically held me down because he wanted to take my phone from me since he owned the contract. There was also the time when he dragged me through the streets of Providence, my arms bruised and face streaked with tears and eyeliner.
I know many of you are thinking “Why didn’t she leave?” Well it was a lot more difficult than you think. Most of the times that I tried to leave; he would revert to someone almost human, someone loving and caring of the relationship; The human side of him would usually last for a few weeks, or at the most, a few months then he would go right back to the person that I loathed and feared. If the loving and caring side of him didn’t come out, he would scare me into staying by threatening to ruin me to my friends and family by making defamatory posts about me or by calling the police or the state stating that I was the abuser. Often, he would play off of my sympathies by saying that he was going to kill himself or that he was seriously ill, knowing that I would immediately coming running. The mysterious illness would always disappear when I would let him back in though, and he would be miraculously healed. The suicide obviously never happened. Scared of the threats that he made against me and himself, I ended up falling back into the relationship, and the abuse.

His presence dominated the apartment and I felt like a prisoner in my own home, afraid to enter any room he may be in, in case he was in one of his moods. Even if he was not present, I was afraid of him walking in and seeing me resting or doing anything other than cleaning because then I was once again deemed lazy and not appreciative of his being there. He isolated me from my friends and was beginning to do the same with my family. He made me feel like everyone was the enemy, and that he was the only one that had my side. I found myself going into deep depressions and violent rages, unable to control my emotions. My relationship with my daughter started to fail, making things rocky between my family and I. My daughter felt like I was always taking his side, when in reality I was just trying to keep the peace. I was completely losing who I was, who I thought myself to be. My identity became “His Girlfriend” rather than Jennifer. I slowly felt myself morphing into the Stepford Wife that he wanted me to be. Alcohol became my means of escape, and I began to drink daily to the point when I just didn’t care anymore. I didn’t want to feel the pain. I just wanted to be numb.
I finally sought therapy so I could become the quintessential girlfriend and wife that he envisioned. I felt like I was the problem in the relationship. That my insecurities and emotions were holding us back from becoming the couple I wanted us to be. I wanted nothing more than to be a good wife to someone someday, and under the pressure of Him I was told to seek help becoming such… This move would become my saving grace.
My therapist taught me that the relationship was not healthy, and even though he claimed I was, I was doing nothing wrong. With her help I was finally aware of the abuse and my esteem grew with each session. His attempts to control me started to fall onto deaf ears. It wasn’t going to happen any longer. Not on my watch. He began to get frustrated and angry. He accused my therapist of being a quack because instead of helping me, she was in turn making me “defiant” (in other words, I wasn’t adhering to his rules). I was no longer going to be a victim. I was going to rise above. He pleaded to make things work, he even stated that we were engaged, which I fell into for a bit. He bought me a cheap ring to symbolize “the engagement” and even changed his Facebook status to say engaged; all a ruse to gain attention on his end. He kept telling me that marriage was a business agreement, by then I knew he was just looking to secure his place. I knew his desire to stay in the relationship had nothing to do with me, but everything to do with his fear of losing his “comfort zone”. I finally gained the strength to tell him to leave. He took my cell phone from me, and my daughter’s from her which was fine truthfully. I let him keep them and I opened a new contract and stuck him with the cancellation bills. He was plenty mad about the bills, but even more so when he went through my phone and read a daily journal that I kept. It contained every horrible thing he did to me, and how I felt about him. My words were not kind in that journal. He deserved to read it.I got a new number and blocked him from contacting me unless it was in writing. He began to stay with a friend, and finally moved out by Independence Day weekend, both symbolic and ironic.

Since then he tried to re-enter my life, but I have learned to recognize the signs and symbols of his desperation. He will come off as human, but the moment he is shot down he will go right back to the controlling abusive person that he always was, which only gives me confidence in my decision.
Since then I can’t say that it’s been easy to trust or date again. I’ve decided that I need a lot of time to just stay alone and figure out who I am first. I still have nightmares, and I still see my therapist to help me work through the aftermath.
Writing this blog hasn’t been easy, but I need people to know the story, or shortened version of it anyway.
The next time you catch yourself judging your friend or relative for being in an abusive relationship, think before you judge. Perhaps your friend knows just what they are involved in, but they are afraid to make the move to end it. Be supportive; be there for your friend. Even if your friend cuts you out of their life, know that they will be back. It takes time to learn what they truly need to do. You can’t tell them what they need to do; they need to see for themselves… And when they do finally see, make sure you are there to catch them when they fall. They are going to need you to help them pick up the pieces; they will need you to lean on as they piece their lives back together.
For those of you in abusive relationships seek help- if not now, then when you are ready. The longer you stay, the more they can manipulate, and the harder it is to leave.
Lastly, remember- it’s not you, it’s them. Abusive people tend to come from abusive households, or are just plain sick. Learn from it and accept that it is NOT you. You CAN get past it, you CAN leave. Nothing is impossible; you just need to know you can. There are people that are out there that love and care for you, which will be there to help you if you need it, and while it won’t be easy, it’s certainly not impossible. Breathe. Your time will come.

My Dreams Haunt Me…

Some say dreams are our brains way of keeping us alive while we sleep, others say that dreams are our subconscious wants, desires and fears represented in story-like format..If this is true, then I am fifty shades of fucked..
My dreams have always been incredibly vivid; even as a child. I remember keeping a journal so I could remember the best or worst ones. I still remember some dreams and nightmares that I had over 20 years ago. Some so sad that I woke up with a soaking wet pillow of tears, others so scary that I laid paralyzed, afraid to move or even breathe and some that were so full of happiness that I hated to come back to consciousness.
Lately within the past two weeks, my dreams have all had a common theme; something or someone was missing.
It could have been a dream where amazing things were happening, or a dream where I was terrified..but one thing remained common; something was missing.
I found myself thinking in each dream that something wasn’t right, no matter what was going on. Throughout those dreams I continuously searched (almost consciously searched) for that one thing that I couldn’t place; the one thing I needed, the one thing I couldn’t find, but knew was there somewhere.
I don’t know what this “missing” item is. I’m not sure if its a person, a material possession, or just a certain feeling..but whatever it is, I search for it. I search on a nightly basis. I know I won’t be at peace until I find this “thing”..but whatever it is, I know it’s wonderful; it has to be…
Sweet Dreams….