I’ve only ever told one best friend, my mom and the police about the first time I experienced physical abuse with my ex. They don’t even know the half of it. That is probably because at the time he convinced me that what happened was in fact, not abuse. Now if you look abuse up online you’ll read that it is “the improper use of something”. If you look up physical abuse, google says that it is “any intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body. Sometimes abusive behavior does not cause pain or even leave a bruise, but it’s still unhealthy. Examples of physical abuse include: Scratching, punching, biting, strangling or kicking”. Trust me, I experienced all of those with him and it all started one weekend in Vegas.
The first time blindsided me. I guess that’s the reason that I let it go so easily. I felt that it didn’t really happen. It just felt like a bad dream that I woke up from. The first time was about 7 months into the relationship. We were on a trip with his fraternity in Las Vegas. The weekend started off right away with a huge fight. And guess how stupid this fight was. Insanely stupid. We were at the pool and I decided that I should socialize with the other dates. I’m usually pretty anti-social with other girls and wanted to branch out and be nice. I met one date who’s date was ignoring her a bit and so I decided to try and hangout with her. We were pretty sober and everyone else seemed pretty intoxicated so we decided to go to one of the bathrooms to drink some of our own alcohol. (since drinks in Vegas are $55 for a sip of alcohol). He asked where we were going and I told him ” Don’t worry, just going to the bathroom”. He automatically assumed that “the bathroom” was code word for something sketchy. He automatically was FURIOUS. Now if you know my ex, you know how his temper was. I continually reassured him that I were going to “the bathroom” with a new friend. We knew each other pretty well at this point and I assumed he knew that I was likely going to get a drink. Now when I look back I realize that he probably wasn’t comfortable with it being a new person that I was going with. He, like most emotional and physical abusers, are controlling that way. He followed us out of the pool area. I should say stormed out, not followed. Because he STORMED out after me. He grabbed my arm and began yelling in front of everyone. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I did know that he was going to ruin the rest of my day. He said that I was terrible and up to no good and that he wanted nothing to do with me for the rest of the weekend. When your faced with this situation, you just think “hey, he’s probably just really drunk”. So he yelled and yelled at me in front of all of our friends and their dates. He stormed up to the room and I of course I followed right up after.What followed afterwords was a full 40 or so minutes of yelling. All I can remember from the fight was how much I apologized. All I can remember was saying I was being careless and it was my fault I didn’t clarify anything to him. The girl I was talking to was watching the whole fight downstairs. I remember her saying that no guy should treat me that way. That he was an asshole and seemed a bit crazy. But I said it’s ok, it’s just how he is. He loves me a lot, we’ve just been together a long time and we fight. That it was my fault because I was the one who didn’t clarify where I was going. I look back now and realize that this is how he got me to stay. He would yell at me for hours and I would apologize and crawl right back into his arms. So i apologized and said how stupid I was, yet again and the fight for the day was over.
Thinking back on this day, I realize how manipulative he was. That’s how they rope you in and get you to stay. They find someone who is compassionate and caring. He chose me because I am everything he wasn’t. He was harsh, violent and brutal. I made up for all of the qualities he lacked. I made him feel like he was a better person because he was with someone that was sincere and understanding. I made him feel like a better person because he knew he was with someone he could manipulate. He knew that I would tolerate his abuse and I would be compassionate enough to try and fix him. I fell in love with a lie. I fell in love with someone who knew I would blame myself for his insane and abusive behavior.
The next, and final night was when it really happened. Now if you were there, you probably remember how he was acting that night. He was drugged out and drunk as ever. Nothing new. It got pretty late in the night and we decided to go explore the suite. He ended up leaving me asleep on the bed upstairs in one of the rooms (this may also be the time to tell everyone that I may actually have narcolepsy and that’s why I fall asleep in about 2 seconds). We were leaving in the morning super early and since I passed out without warning we had no alarms set. I knew that we would probably get left behind if we didn’t get up and moving. I woke up in a frantic that morning, not knowing what time it was and scared that the bus was going to leave us in Vegas. It was about 7:30 and I think we were leaving around 8/8:30 so of course, I panicked. I turned to him and tried to wake him up but he wasn’t budging. I continued to try and tap him to wake him up. I was quietly whispering his name when he flipped around in about a second.
Next thing I know I was pinned to the bed and getting pounded on the back of my head. Full fist and everything. I don’t even remember how I ended up there. I just remember being hit. I tried to stand up to run away, but he came after me. I was shoved to the floor with full force. I can’t even remember the details because it was such a blur. I don’t even remember if he said anything at all. I do remember the way he was looking at me. His eyes were wide open and blood shot but he didn’t seem to be in there. It was like in Zootopia when the animals get shot with the poisonous berries and turn rabid. He was the otter. He seemed gentle and kind, but in that moment he was crazed and confused. I continued to yell stop. Stop. Stop. But he kept going. Every time I stood up I was pushed back down onto the ground. At one point I stood up and my knees buckled under me and the world went black for a second. I’m still not sure if I fainted or if I was in shock.
After finally crawling away, with tears streaming down my face, he ran downstairs. I of course, stormed after him.
We returned back to our room in silence, me quietly wiping my tears away slowly following behind him. My head was beginning to throb and my back felt like I had been hit with a soccer ball in the middle of winter. When we got back to the room however, he was calm. It was like the entire thing had never happened. We silently packed up and went downstairs. The entire time I was holding back the waterworks.
Once we were on the bus I finally mentioned the situation. He seemed confused. Like he wasn’t the one who just beat me to the ground. “I did what”? He said. I still don’t know if that was his trick to get me to stay, or he really wasn’t himself when he was having an episode. He must have been a pretty good actor because he convinced me that he wasn’t fully aware of what he was doing. “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m so stupid” “I didn’t know what I was doing”.
I forgave him. Of course. He had a rough childhood, it must have been that, is what I told myself. He must have not been aware of what he was doing. He didn’t mean to do it. He told me it wasn’t abuse. It wasn’t an abusive relationship. He didn’t mean to do it, so in turn, it wasn’t abuse.
But that’s the thing. He always meant to do it. He knew exactly what he was doing. And who he was doing to. He knew I was the one who felt bad for him.
And so that’s what began my mission to try and save the man that wasn’t savable. To try and save the man who would eventually almost ruin my life.