So Mr Serious and I became an item very quickly. In hindsight far too quickly. But we all know that hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it?
Now, this is a long one, so grab a coffee and put your feet up.
The day we met. He zeroed in on me. And yet again I look back and wonder what on earth attracted him to me? Was it something tangible that screamed pick this one, she won’t give you much grief? I was a pretty averagely rebellious teenager. I didn’t think I was anything special.
But something about him, or maybe the attention he offered, drew me in. And within a week, I was seeing him every day. A few months later he was picking me up from and delivering me to school. I thought he was being sweet, but actually he was ensuring that I didn’t speak to anyone he didn’t allow me to on my way to and from school. He would also take me out on free periods. And at that time he would being my school friends along too…. and he seemed okay with them. I guess because he couldn’t stop me from going to school so he had to deal with them. And slowly but surely, the friends I had out of school dwindled away without me even noticing. And when I realised it had happened it was too late to salvage many.
By the time he had convinced me that he was madly in love with me and everything he did was for me. He had already had several of his episodes. Which if I’d been older and wiser maybe I would have seen for the manipulative and abusive behaviour it was. But I couldn’t see it then.
We had been together only a few months at Christmas. Remembering I was under 16. A child.
Our family had big Christmas Day celebrations and when I told him my parents were taking me to our family Christmas, he initially told me I couldn’t go. Which as you can imagine is a hell of a position to be in as a child, living at home. So I went, I didn’t want to but I had to. My parents made me. And when I returned home that afternoon they did make the concession of offering to drop me to his house to see him. I didn’t know then that his family didn’t do much for Christmas. So I arrived wondering what to expect and it was pretty horrific looking back. I spent six hours trying to get him to speak to me. I cried so many tears that day. And it was four days before he spoke to me again. It was my fault for deserting him. When he finally deemed it time to tell me what I had done wrong, I had deserted him and put my family before him. Which was not acceptable to him and he punished me for it by withholding his attention and with a lecture on how it was all my doing and I shouldn’t hurt him like that ever again or else.
Looking back, it was a mastery of emotional manipulation at it’s finest, and I honestly don’t know why I found it okay. Or normal. Or why I allowed him to make me feel like my emotions didn’t matter. My family didn’t matter. Only he mattered.
And my guilt and distress meant nothing to him.
I was a child in a grown up body and dealing with that was hard. I had no idea how to handle it. So I did what I do best and I buried it. Particularly easy seeing as once I’d admitted my faults and he’d gotten over his mood he was back to the person I liked.
Really…. I should have run. A thousand miles. I always regret not because it got worse from there in.
He convinced me to run away from my parents….
Somehow he convinced his parents to abuse my parents for being horrible parents because they wanted to protect their young daughter.
There were endless fights… always something wrong and always something I needed to be reprimanded or punished for. And they got worse and worse until I moved out of home. He skillfully worked out how to remove my parents influence from my life. And I didn’t even notice….
I can’t count the number of hours I spent apologising over the years.
Trying to talk him round in his tempers.
Trying to convince him that I knew it was my fault and that I wouldn’t do that again. Wearing the blame for all of his misgivings. His jealous rages. His hate for my family and friends.
Agreeing that he was just trying to protect me and I would regret losing him.
I wish I could have seen the damage he was doing to me.
The longer we were together the less I was allowed to converse or socialise with people. Friends were out. Even his friends. I was only allowed to see them with his permission. And we stayed only until he was done and he was ready to leave. And then we left.
We would often go months without seeing a single ‘friend’ and that became normal. Because if I didn’t have dinner prepared (and he was very particular about food) and a tidy house, with laundry done so that he could come in and sit down and eat…. or throw the food out because I’d allowed two food types to touch on the plate, or worse, I’d cooked two vegetables together! He would want to sit down and we would watch whatever program he was watching at that time.
Unless of course he had stormed out in a rage…….
Last year one of our mutual friends commented on some of the things that had happened in the past. And he apologised to me for not seeing what was in front of him. Not recognising the signs and not doing anything about it. And I cried. Because so many times I had wished that people could have seen what he was doing and helped me. When I couldn’t help myself.
We talked for a few hours. And I told him some of the things that would happen behind closed doors. The abuse I wore for wanting things to be different. And in the end I felt more guilty for his sadness at not knowing what was going on.
I feel guilt about that still. Every time I share my stories, and finally release the ‘other’ side to the people we called friends, I see the looks of horror, and the wheels clicking in their heads as they realise they helped him and I feel immense guilt for putting that on them. It’s inescapable really.
Like, he mentioned a memorable period of several days when Mr Serious turned up at his house and hung out for a few days… like old times.
And I pointed out that I remembered that day well, as that was the day he threw a huge tantrum, gave notice on our flat and took off, cutting ties with the house owner (because of the abuse he threw at him) and giving me 36 hours to get out of the place… then bolting and leaving me to organise to move house alone. To figure out how to pay the remaining bills alone. And leaving me to deal with all this, when i was 4 days out of hospital having had major abdominal surgery. I could barely walk….
And I wouldn’t have sex with him. Because I was in so much pain.
So after screaming at me….. at our landlord….. and at me some more….. he went off with our only car, and got drunk with his buddy. Had a blast. And left me reeling, with no idea if he was coming back, or not. Or what would happen when he did.
I know I soured a perfectly good memory of his friends. And I hurt deeply to do that to him. But he had to know. There was an ulterior motive for his turning up on his doorstep.
His control over me though was so absolute by the time I was 18. Every escape path was blocked. No one had any idea of the hell I was living and those that had a clue couldn’t get me out. He controlled every aspect of my life from work, to home, to the bedroom. Nothing was sacred and I had no say in anything.
My friends fell back. A few hung on for a while. But even they eventually backed right away. Other than some very old friends who stuck with me through all the worst times. Who let me hide them from him without complaint and who at my request closed their eyes to things that should have been obvious warning signs and they let me do what I needed to. They tried to get me out but I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t strong enough. Not then. I had to lie about where I’d go. I’d say I was meeting my Mum so I could see my best friends for half an hour.
If he would come home and my friends had been there, I would be lectured and yelled at for hours. And he would always know.
I developed a series of friendships. Where I’d meet people, I’d get to know them, and they me. And they would be scared off, threatened away or treated by him so badly, I wasn’t worth the drama to stay. It became bit of a pattern.
Meet someone, they would want to become friends, they get to know me, and him, then they disappear. *poof* No more friend.
I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere. Even though he could disappear for days on end. When we were living together I left him once. Because he went for a drive and didn’t come back for 4 days. Yet I would get followed to the store… He would know where I went, when, who with and what I did there. Nowhere was safe.
I was ‘rescued’ by a friend I had known since I was 9 years old once. And I had my car trashed because I was with ‘him’ to which he was right. But how he knew I’ll never know as I left my house hiding in the boot of a car and changed cars twice before getting to B’s mothers house where they were going to hide me. I desperately wanted away from him but he wouldn’t let me go. B and K escorted me away from him with weapons one night when I called in a panic because he had locked me in the house and was refusing to let me leave. I was pregnant with my daughter and I was terrified of what he would do to us. Knowing someone was willing to commit a crime to keep me safe was empowering. But I was never truly safe as long as he had a hold over me, which made me go back.
We had broken up because I made a friend, who happened to be unthreatened by his demeanour and accusations. Because he had nothing to fear. We were friends.
He couldn’t cope, so I had found the courage to walk away. Again.
After I left that night, he would call me. Over and over. Threaten my friends. Be waiting outside my house when I returned.
I couldn’t cope, and I ended up allowing him back, yet again.
I moved house once to get away from him. I’d told him to leave and he wouldn’t. He convinced my flat mates to let him in and he took a key. I couldn’t get him to leave so I moved house. And when I moved into my new house which I never told him where was, he turned up and helped himself to a key there too. I made the mistake of allowing his mother to watch my baby for a couple of hours, and when I came back, he had excused her, taken my keys, taken my daughter, and refused to leave. He announced he wasn’t going anywhere and moved himself in.
We separated yet again…. and one night, I decided to take up a friends invitation to town. I wasn’t a big party girl, as I rarely was allowed out. But after much cajoling on her behalf I asked his mother to watch the baby and I agreed to go out and try to meet new people.
I had told his mother I would be home a little after 3am because that’s when the bars closed. And I was.
I walked in the door at 3.05am. And as my friend and I walked through the door, I felt crunching glass under my feet.
We turned the light on, and found a painting I had done in school, a very rare thing for me, completely destroyed on the floor. Glass shattered, the picture torn to shred, the matte and frame in slivers.
I was devastated, as it was something I had worked so many hours on and it was such a special piece to me, something I had displayed in every house I lived in. It was part of me. And the only thing like it, I had ever done.
I think I knew right away who was responsible, so I sent my friend home, so I could find out why she had let him in my house.
I went to the bedroom, to ask his mother whether she knew what had happened, and he was sitting on my bed holding my daughter.
I know he startled me. But I had consumed a glass or two of wine. That and the shock made me ask what he had done…. because I knew it was him.
His excuse, was that he was destroying something I loved, like I was destroying him.
It was my punishment for being such a slut and that I shouldn’t have left my daughter. I should have been at home being a good parent.
I was punished that night in more than one way. And I closed my eyes, because I deserved it.
By that point, my self-esteem was beyond visible.
I deserved everything that I got.
I was fragile. And stuck.
I caught meningitis. Just a month or so after the painting incident.
My Dad rushed me to the hospital and I was in ICU for a week. He never visited me as he hated hospitals.
When I finally woke up, I asked for him when I realised how long I’d been unconscious for and I was sadly unsurprised he hadn’t been anywhere near me. I was shocked he had not allowed my daughter into see me though. He’d instructed his mother to keep her away.
My family picked her up and then picked me up and I spent 3 weeks recuperating at a family members house. They helped me with my daughter and when I finally went home, I was punished for deserting him again.
It took weeks for him to stop his flights between tirades of abuse, and complete silence and pretending I didn’t exist. I remember being exhausted beyond belief and fighting depression hard for the first time in my life.
I didn’t know which was worse, the anger, where he would expect me to service his needs. Or the silence where I didn’t exist. But at least he left me alone.
The refusal to leave my house and my bed were excruciating.
But I kept moving.
I survived everything he threw at me, I don’t know how sometimes but I did.
And I need to stop here and breathe. Because there is so much more, but the next two parts are so important to me to get right, that I need to separate them out. Get them out of my head properly. Because to this day they still eat me up inside.