Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Jane’s Story of Leaving Domestic Abuse

What happened that made you decide to leave?

I finally decided to leave for good after nearly four years together, when the cycle of abuse kept escalating from after the first year of being together. I went back to him, with him apologizing and re-introducing the honeymoon period, to the tension-building, that lead to abuse (verbal, emotional, physical) after his extremely terrifying raging, throwing, and destroying property, being completely out of control. His moods were classic Dr. Jekyl Mr. Hyde behavior. His physical abuse included pushing, dragging me off beds and couches, chasing me down the street and taking me down, grabbing, shoving me in walls, etc. about seven times. I am ashamed to admit I took those severe episodes that many times, which is not including countless smaller episodes that I began to get adapted to. Never knowing what would set him off, a look, a comment, anything at any time.

How did you feel about your abuser and/or your relationship in the days before you left?

Sadness, that it had come to this, with finally realizing that the cycle of abuse would continue until I decided to break it by leaving, and not returning. I was also fearful of him that if he even suspected that I was making a plan to leave and not come back that he could possibly hurt me. He threatened me that he could commit suicide (playing me to stay) which in the earlier days it worked. But just looking at that once beautiful man that I was so attracted to, turn into someone that resembled a monster when even slightly mad or angry, I began to see that face mostly toward the end—even when he was nice.

What three emotions did you most experience in the days closest to leaving Abuse? How did you deal with them?

Fear, sadness, I felt sorry for him, worried that he could not make it on his own. These feelings are the very reasons why I stayed longer than I should have. He was great at making me feel guilty and that all the violence he dealt out to me was absolutely my fault. He said he had a “temper” because I treated him like S…. I have to say I never took as much of anything from another man as I did this person, who I felt I treated well.

What planning did you do before you left? Who knew you were leaving besides you?

I had to do quite a bit of planning because he was vindictive from the past times I left. He destroyed property that I loved, and withheld property so that I couldn’t get the things I needed, including my cat. So I started smuggling anything out of the apartment that was small and that I valued and took it to another residence. I told my best friend and some relatives so that they were on the same page and they could help me. I figured out a way to call 911 without alarming him in my area on my cell by texting them (you can do that in some areas) and had it planned to do that if things got out of control. I also had a secret code to send my friend to call 911 if it was needed, as a backup plan.

What were the one or two BEST things you did before you left?

I believe it was just taking my time, to get my property out slowly and wait for the opportune time to make my escape without getting injured. I remembered too well two things he said to me, on one crazy occasion, he told me if I left, I would leave in a coffin. The second one that scared me to death is in a minor argument that he started because I simply asked him how his son was doing after he got off the phone, during that highly charged abuse incident, he actually went to the kitchen and brought out a knife (but it was him telling me to hurt him) because he couldn’t live without me….that incident is what woke me up.

If there was anything you wish you had not done before you left, what was it?

Before I left, I still feel like I turned into a silent coward and regardless feel I should have stood up for myself—but I knew in my heart I guess that if I did do that—I probably would have been seriously injured. I still am mystified by my own actions that I allowed him to rage over me, with the physical abuse, horrible name-calling, etc. as I sat silently just trying to not get him any angrier.

How long ago did you leave? How do you feel today?

It has been one month. Well, I am not feeling all that good. But at the same time, I am feeling an absolute release and freedom to get back to who I was before we met, so I am having good days, some sad days, depression days—but not once have I’ve even been tempted to revisit this relationship after all that has happened. We are in a no contact with each other by choice of each end.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I would like to say that I regret not ending this relationship the first time he pushed me in an argument in the garage. I had no excuse not to know that he was a potential abuser, as I worked in a field that dealt with domestic abuse, and I knew better. It was just that I ignored the red flags because by then we were so physically and mentally entrenched, I fooled my own belief system that it could be fixed—I still cannot believe I didn’t follow my own training and background.

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