Gaby’s Story

I was a senior in high school and my parents had recently gotten divorced. I came from a good home in Southern California. My dad was a stock broker and had always provided for us and my mom stayed at home, and I had never once doubted I was loved. Unfortunately, things quickly changed once they split up. My dad turned to drugs and my mom was emotionally unavailable most of the time. Socially, I had a good group of friends. I was on the cheer team but I had always felt like the ugly one. I was bigger and most of my core group of girls were insanely funny and pretty. I had guys like me, but it wasn’t like my friends, where guys were chasing them. So low and behold my excitement when we get new neighbors next door who happen to have a son my age. We kind of just admired each other from afar at first. He would drive by fast in his huge truck and I would make any excuse to walk to the mailbox or be outdoors which is totally unlike me. As my dad and his mom became friends we started to see more of each other. He would come over and watch movies or we’d all have dinner together. I’d fall asleep on the couch and he would cover me with a blanket and rub my back. We made out a little and stuff but it was mostly being there for each other when we both had no one. However, the reality was I really didn’t know him very well. I had never met any of his friends, seen how he was socially, or any “normal” things people get a chance to observe in a relationship. I knew he had a really rough childhood, his mother was an alcoholic and his father wasn’t in this picture. He didn’t graduate high school, slept a majority of the day and played video games all night…he also smoked weed and relied heavily on Xanex. I didn’t care though, it was someone who liked me and listened to me and at that time I needed that. Eventually we started a seriously dating. I had never had a boyfriend before so I was unaware what was normal and what was not. He never came off as abusive at first, in fact I don’t even remember arguing ever. I do remember the first time he hit me though. We were sitting in his truck after running errands and I made a joke about how his big truck was “making up for something”, I was clearly kidding but he didn’t take it that way. He looked at me and slapped me across the face, hard. I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. I got out of the car and went into my room and the next morning there was roses and a card waiting. Like there always was, and I forgave him. What else was I supposed to do? He was all I had in my wildly unstable world. The next 3 years was quite a blur, I can honestly say when things like this happen you become so emotionally destroyed and find yourself blocking memories out. I don’t remember specific details of everything but I do remember how it felt. To feel like if I lost him I had nothing. How he must care about me even though he hurt me, how he needed help and I could “fix” him. Over the course of this “project” I got choked, I got hit, I got bit, scratched, kicked in the stomach, pinched etc. One of the last fights I remember was when he refused to wake up for Father’s Day brunch. We HAD to leave or we would be late and I didn’t want to risk that, let alone he didn’t even want to go. He was complaining about wanting to smoke weed and not having any money. He looked at me and asked me dead serious to steel money from my dad over lunch and bring it back for him. I simply told him he was crazy and walked out. I was so furious that A) he was making me late to this lunch B) that he wasn’t coming and C) that he was just an idiot. I walked out and I told one of his family friends that was staying at the house what had just happened. As I proceeded to walk out the front door he comes up and grabs me and says ” Did you just tell her what I asked you” and I bluntly admitted I did. He punched me in the face, grabbed my over night bag and ran into the street throwing my stuff everywhere. I picked it all up while he stood over me yelling. I got into my car and he rammed his knee into my car door, leaving a lovely $1,000 dent. After this things took a downwards turn for him. We had not spoken in a few days and his mom called me crying saying “he’s lost it, we lost him”. His sister explained he must have done something drug related, he was in the street naked and crying, saying he was in heaven. They called 911 and he was placed on a 5150 and stayed for about a week at the hospital. I came to visit one, he was beyond out of it, trying to leave and saying I was an angel there to take him. It turns out he had been taking 4 times his dose of Xanex and decided one day to stop cold turkey. Withdrawing off something like that and not being careful can make you exhibit signs of schizophrenia. I didn’t go back and visit, even though he put me through so much pain its still hurtful to see someone you love suffering. After he got out he was never the same, I went over a week or so later and went to lunch with him and his mom. He stopped the car on the middle of Sepulveda Blvd in Los Angeles and told us he was going to kill us. We had to pin him down and take the keys and he ran into the street sobbing. I told his mom I was sorry and I couldn’t do it anymore. I left and never saw him again. I don’t know that I have ever really faced what happened, sure I’ve talked about it in therapy often, but it still dangles over me like a bad dream. I think of him almost every day and how different my life is now because of that. If there is anything I want to share its that you cannot fix anyone. If you are being treated poorly you need to know you deserve better. We are all human and deserve the love and respect we give. XO, Gaby