I can't remember how I managed it but I did it again. I went out. A small victory, but it's all I had. It's all a bit of a blur, as it was definitely the most threatening part of the relationship. I guess I have blocked out some of it.
I remember going out again with work colleagues, and all I remember is leaving in a taxi, very drunk, with him on the phone asking where I was. I'm not sure if I was too drunk or just reluctant to tell him as I didn't want to go home, probably a combination of the two. I went back with a girl from work, eventually ended up telling him where I was, and he came in a taxi to get me. He had a car, so he'd obviously been drinking. I waited in the street for him and as the taxi pulled into the street I could see him looking at me through the window. I can't even describe the look on his face, twisted with rage and staring right at me. The journey home is a blank, again probably down to the alcohol and that I'd rather not remember it. What I do remember is him telling me how worried he'd been, walking up and down the road outside our flat asking people if they'd seen me. I never bought that, he would have been sat in the flat, drinking, furious that I was even out, calling me all night and playing out ridiculous scenarios in his head which undoubtedly involved me and other men.
The following morning I woke up with the usual sense of dread, only this time a lot more intense. This was fear hitting me like a lead weight in the pit of my stomach. Intense fear causing my heart to beat rapidly, my eyes transfixed on the ceiling above me. I was paralysed with this feeling, lying in bed trying to sense if he was awake or not, I couldn't even begin to imagine how he was going to react to the previous night's events.
All I remember is him being angry, more so than ever before, obviously hating the fact that I went out and did something I wanted to do. Maybe part of him knew that I got so drunk because I didn't want to go back there. Whatever he said to me over the course of that day was full of anger and hatred. I don't think I can put into words how vile he was that day. He kept asking me over and over again why I did it, I said I didn't know. At some point that morning I got a message, as I picked my phone up he grabbed it from my hand and threw it across the room. He didn't even know who it was, but he claimed that I had told him the night before that I'd 'been dancing with a lad'. I knew that never happened, I wouldn't have been with anyone else, and if I was I was unlikely to tell my abusive boyfriend who seems to think I can sleep with other guys on a 15 minute train journey home from work. So his reasoning for that outburst was completely false, likely to be something that he'd concocted in his head while I was out. He picked up my phone and made me text one of the girls I was out with to ask if I was with any other guys. I was asking about something that he made up, it was embarassing and degrading but I had no choice, in that moment I felt threatened and genuinely scared for my safety. I obviously got the reply back that I wasn't with anyone else, but of course this still wasn't good enough.
For the next week or so he'd randomly be waiting for me outside of work or at the station, watching from a distance so he could see me but I couldn't see him. As I type this it's a sickening thought, basically being stalked by your own boyfriend because he can't even trust you to get home on your own. This continued for the next few weeks, the anger, the turning up unannounced, the threatening behaviour.
The issue of trust came up a lot during this time. Apparently he wasn't sure if he could trust me again. For me this was another confusing situation, I hadn't done anything to justify this, not just on that night but during the entire relationship. Apart from what was playing over and over in his head of course. I was trapped in this situation of not knowing what I was doing wrong but at the same time not knowing what I should be doing to fix it. As I explained in my blog about my own behaviour, I completely withdrew from everything, I hardly left the house. He, however, continued a perfectly normal life. Aside from the heightened anger and threatening behaviour, he continued to go out, see friends, do whatever it was he was doing whilst I was at work, meanwhile I was smothered by that black cloud of dread from knowing I'd have to go home to that.
During this time I was paying the rent and all of the bills. I can attribute some of his behaviour down to the fact that this must have hurt his pride. I can't imagine him telling anyone that his girlfriend was paying for everything whilst he was unemployed. Although I can't quite understand why he didn't try harder to get a job or at least do something if that was the case. More examples of confusing behaviour that I still haven't quite figured out.
After we moved so I could start my new job, his behaviour began to change again. He got a job, he became more distant, the little affection he did show disappeared. It's funny how I was much more receptive to the loss of the very little affection, to the anger and abuse that I'd suffered for so long. When I picked up on this change in his behaviour I finally started to piece things together, figured out what was going on, picked myself up and finally got myself out of there.
In abusive relationships, sadly they all tend to follow the same pattern. The victim holds onto that affection, that little bit of light, the hope of having that little bit of love to sustain us. Tragic but true. I hope more people can break the cycle like I did. I hope people read this and relate to these feelings and behaviour and realise what's happening. If you think it could be abusive, there's a reason for thinking this. Don't ignore it.
- If anyone reading this has any similar experience, direct or indirect, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Particularly how this kind of abuse looks from the outside, can you tell what is happening? How can you tell? Have you ever told anyone to leave? I plan to continue this blog in stages of the relationship and recovery, and welcome opinions -