The Warning Signs - The Invisible Abuse Part 2
My first job after university was the most intense time of the relationship, I was in this job for a year. In that time I missed multiple nights out, 'a quick pint after work', I went to work, I did my job and I went home. I wasn't allowed to go out because 'all the guys fancied me'. During this time I thought about leaving, just hopping on the train and getting away. Everyday I thought about this, everyday I didn't want to go home, so why didn't I just leave? It seemed so simple but I couldn't. It was like I was on autopilot, knowing exactly where I was going and I had no way of stopping it.
Getting to the front door was always a challenge. Mentally rather than physically as I couldn't stop myself from walking straight home. Maybe I was scared of what he'd say or do if I wasn't home on time. I'd get to the front door each evening with an overwhelming sense of dread not knowing what kind of atmosphere I would face. Every day I got to the door to find I couldn't get in. He would leave his keys in the lock on the inside, so I had to stand outside banging on the door of my own home. Looking back I thought this was just carelessness. Maybe he forgot he left his keys in. Maybe that was another element of control he had over me. I'd usually be met with a glare, he'd ask where I'd been if I was late, he'd turn away and I'd follow him inside.
Things rapidly went from bad to worse. One day he waited at the station so he could see who I was travelling with, as I was with two other guys from work he started screaming at me. Not in front of them, because he knew exactly what he was doing and knew it was wrong. I had 'fucking slut' and 'liar' said to me with such venom, inches away from my face. He told me I was a slut whilst on a bus filled with people, I asked him to wait until we got home to talk about it. I remember feeling ashamed, he made me feel ashamed for no reason.
We got home and he didn't stop, inches away from me screaming fucking slut. His fists were clenched and I genuinely believe at that point he wanted to hit me. I somehow found the courage to challenge him about it afterwards and he claimed he didn't remember, that he just 'saw red'. I went to bed and cried. As always it all came back around to everything being my fault, he came into the room, pinned me down and had his hands around my neck. He claimed if I didn't lie about who I was on the train with he wouldn't have got angry.
Why didn't I just leave? Every time he got angry he'd apologise, ask me why I was crying, apologise again but twist it around to place blame on me. 'What are you crying for now? You're so stupid.' There was affection, but only just enough to make me think there was still a nice guy in there who loved me.
Soon I was not allowed to go out with my friends. If I did, it would be at their house, on his terms, dropping me off and picking me up. At this point I think my friends knew what was happening, I told them about the night he waited at the station. They asked me to stay with them, I told them I'd be fine, 'I'm sure it won't happen again.' And still I didn't leave.
I remember cancelling a night out with two of my best friends, and going to see them in their hotel room instead, before they went out. I remember trying to justify why I wasn't going, I felt small and weak. I can replay that evening in my head, I looked small and weak. Completely defeated. My personality had been stripped of everything that made me feel like me, I don't know who that person was.
After months of attacks on my personality, I was broken. I felt like I was just trying to get through one day at a time, because that's as long as I could think about. Just one more day. I couldn't stand thinking long term, how long I'd have to be in this shrinking box. I couldn't see an end, he wasn't going to stop and for some reason I couldn't leave.