“You’re so worthless!”
You’re nothing but a liar!
“You’ll never do anything with your life!”
“You’re such a slut!”
“How many people have you slept with? It’s like throwing a hot dog down a hallway!”
“WHY do you have to push me like that? You know you’re going to get hurt! Do you LIKE being hurt?”
These are just a few of the things I heard almost daily.
Especially right after I’d lose a job. Sure, some were my fault. But a lot of times I’d lose my job because my attendance would fall off after he would see or hear something he didn’t like on the tracker he had on my phone. He would start coming at me about a certain guy that I worked with and make me so self-conscious about this person that I would get awkward around them. My performance would slip and I’d start looking for any excuse to miss work. Eventually, I’d get fired. Of course, it was always my fault.
We met online. He said hi to me first. I looked at his profile and remember not being interested initially. Sometimes I wish that I’d stayed away. Other times, I’m glad I didn’t.
He said everything right. He told me I was beautiful. Told me I was a good person. Told me how proud he was to have me by his side. Constantly told me how lucky he was, that my beauty blew him away. We talked all day every day. When we were at home, while we were at work and when we were with family. We sent each other pictures of our day to day lives. I couldn’t get enough of his handsome face and his voice. I fell fast and hard.
I don’t remember who said “I love you” first, but it came early. Probably way too quickly. One night while we were cuddling on the couch watching TV, he told me to get over there so he could just look at me. I remember literally laying on top of him and looking him in the eyes that night.
What I thought I saw that night was love.
What I actually saw was a mask. An act. A game.
He had me and he knew it.
We had a minor argument (in my eyes) over information he wanted that I thought was none of his business. Because I thought it was none of his business, I lied and gave him false information. I should have kept my mouth shut. Because this set the precedent for our relationship. I would always be ‘lying’ about one thing or another, no matter how truthful I was.
Despite this, I moved in the day after Thanksgiving in 2018. Just 3 1/2 months into the relationship. (There were a few other factors that were involved in this decision!)
The First Assault
I should have left the first time he put his hands on me. It only took a month. I should have left the night he put his hands around my throat, threw me into the couch, and proceeded to crush my windpipe, with me begging to be let go the entire time. The marks he left on me terrified me, but I wanted to believe it was an honest mistake, a one-time thing. I wanted to believe that the fight we’d had is what led to what he did and that it wouldn’t happen again. I wanted to believe he was good.
While this is a story of domestic violence and the Hell it creates for its victims, I want everyone to understand that there are happy times, too. There were adventures with each other and our kids. There were wins, celebrations, and good memories that were made. Not every moment of a domestic violence-filled relationship is bad. This is why I stayed. I was forever chasing the high of the romance. I was trying to bring back the man who told me how lucky he was to have me in his life. I wanted the man who told me how my beauty blew him away to return.
He knew how to give affection and take it like it was nothing. He could be my best friend and a lot of the time he was. Part of this was because he was my only friend. By now he’d alienated me from all of the friends, and most of my family, that I had before meeting him.
The Worst Assault
It was a little while before the next assault, but sure enough, it came. As did the next. And then the next. And then the next. By the time the police got involved, we were up to assault number 12. Assault number 12 was the ending to three days of physical abuse Hell.
During those three days, I was pinned to the ground, on my stomach, with my hands held behind my back, and beaten over the head with a plastic mop bucket until it broke. After that, he grabbed a laundry basket. When I was able to get that away, he got up, grabbed a small garbage can, dumped it out, and came back towards me saying, “Let’s see how you like this.” I was sitting on the ground looking at the blood on my jeans. He told me it had come from my head. He had cut my scalp open with the mop bucket. I remember taking a shower that night and watching my own blood wash down the drain.
During those three days, I was thrown against a mattress that was standing against a wall with his hands around my throat. I remember thinking, ‘This is it. He’s going to kill me.’ Thankfully, he let me go.
During those three days, I was thrown against a set of stairs so hard it left massive bruising on my arms and bruising on my side. (See below: top right photo and both bottom photos.)
During those three days, I was punched repeatedly on both sides of my head, with closed fists, until there was blood splatter on the walls behind me. For the second time in three days, I watched my own blood wash down the drain. He gave me a concussion that day. (See below: top left photo.)
During those three days, I was repeatedly verbally and emotionally abused. It was three days of pure hell.
The worst part of those three days wasn’t emotional or verbal abuse. It wasn’t even the reality that I might die. It was the fact that four of our combined five children watched him beat the hell out of me, punching me. That was the absolute worst part.
The police got involved after I went to work with two black eyes and severe bruising on both sides of my head from the assault. There were many other bruises all over my body. Up and down my arms, up and down my legs. I was bruised from head to toe. The officer called me a battered woman. I looked the part. I was transported to the hospital at the recommendation of the EMTs who arrived shortly after the police officer. They were worried that my skull was fractured due to the bruising on my head.
To get from my job into the ambulance, I was put under a blanket to walk out the door so that if someone was watching my job, I wouldn’t be seen. When I left the hospital, there was no identifying information about me spoken over the radio, because my abuser had a scanner on his phone. We didn’t know if he was listening.
The day after the violent assault, he was a completely different person. That switch had flipped. He was happy, easy-going, simple, loving, and caring. We took our kids to the beach. We had a birthday party.
This incident wasn’t the first and was just one of countless where I was thrown down a flight of stairs, punched, backhanded, strangled, pulled backward by my hair hard enough to fall down, kicked, stomped on, slapped, thrown out doors, pinned to the floor and restrained, had my hair pulled, or beaten with furniture or other objects.
It doesn’t include the scars he left from beating me with a wooden chair until it was shattered into a dozen pieces, which I had to clean up. He hit me so hard with that chair that its seat broke in half. He beat me so viciously with that chair he left a permanent indent and bruise on my right leg. He also left a scar from the gash caused by the lip gloss tube that broke in half in my pocket because it was hit so hard by the chair. His parents saw the bruises and the gash. He made me tell them it was because I tripped over the dog going up the stairs and fell back down.
I lost count after that assault but would put the number near, or above, 20 by the time I finally left.
By this point, I was painfully trauma bonded to my abuser and thought I was happy. Looking back, I was miserable. I walked on eggshells daily. I had to consider what his reaction would be to every single thing I did. I was constantly verbally, emotionally, mentally, and physically abused. I didn’t really know what happy was.
However, when he proposed on August 9, 2019, I accepted. We had gone camping for our anniversary with his two kids. (Mine were no longer allowed to visit because of the last assault.) He bought me a bike as a gift and put the ring in a pouch he had bought and put on the handlebars. I thought it was just the bike, so I thought nothing of the pouch until he told me to look inside. When I looked, and then looked back up, he was on one knee and said to me, “Mama, you’ve been there through thick and thin. I think it’s time.” I happily accepted and jumped into his arms. I was elated. We told his family the very next day.
I tell you this to remind you that not every domestic violence-filled relationship is bad. There are happy moments. I also tell you this story to show you what can happen to a domestic violence victim’s mind. We are trained to accept the abuse little by little until, for us, it’s the norm. We accept it and find a way to make ourselves happy around it.
The Final Assault
February became the second time my life flashed before my eyes. February 7 would be the last time he would put his hands on me.
He and I were arguing. His jealousy and insecurities had raised issues and problems. Again. Because of this, he’d broken off our engagement. Again. I was looking for a place to live. Again. While texting back and forth with someone about an apartment they had available, I mentioned that I was leaving a domestic situation and asked if they would be willing to work with me on deposits and fees because I had nothing saved. I did not know that he was able to see every message sent and received. Especially since he was in the basement and I was upstairs while this was happening. This is what started the assault.
He came upstairs and asked to see my phone. I didn’t think anything of it and handed it to him. He took it downstairs and smashed it on the concrete floor, then smashed it with a sledgehammer. He said to me, ‘Telling anyone who will listen you’re leaving a domestic situation, here’s your domestic situation.’ I picked it up as he walked away and continued repeating ‘Really??’ after him as he picked up some boards, walked up the stairs, and out the back door. I slammed it as hard as I could behind him. I made it up the short second flight of stairs, through the kitchen, and into the dining room when he came in and threw one of the boards at my back. I continued to walk away, intending to go upstairs to bed, when he grabbed my hair and pulled it so hard I fell backward.
He started screaming that I needed to get out. I got up and must’ve mouthed off because he shoved me out the front door, resulting in me landing on my stomach and ripping my knee and elbow open. I got up to get my coat and he slammed the door behind me. I turned around and pounded my fist on the glass two times, bruising the entire outside of my right hand and my right pinky.
I turned around to get my shoes to leave when he opened the door, he grabbed the back collar of my shirt and dragged me backward, on my butt, through the front door, and into the living room. As he dragged me backward, he ripped my glasses off my face. When he dropped me on the living room floor, he punched me on the left side of my head with a closed fist. He then broke my glasses, snapping both sides off and displacing one of the lenses, in one shot, and then threw them in the corner. He then kicked me repeatedly on the right side of my body before making a point to walk to my left side and kick me repeatedly on that side. This entire time he was wearing heavy work boots and I was laying on the floor screaming at him and begging him to stop. This left me with bruises on my ribs, arms, and back, along with the knot on my head from being punched. It also left me with a broken left arm. Because of the adrenaline coursing through my body, I did not immediately feel the pain of the broken arm.
When he stopped kicking me, he started screaming that he didn’t want me, that he needed to be done, and he just wanted me gone with no problems. I repeated ditto after everything he said. After a moment of staring at each other in silence, I got up, grabbed the pieces of my glasses from the corner, and walked to the porch to put my shoes on. I was done. I was hurt. I was terrified.
While putting my shoes on, he came onto the porch and asked me where I was going to go. I told him ‘I don’t care. Anywhere but here. I’ll sleep in my fucking car if I have to. ’With that, I walked out the door of the porch and towards my car. I got about halfway before realizing I’d left my phone on the porch. I turned around to grab it. I’m not sure why.
On my way back to my car, I stopped for a moment before opening its door to look back to see him standing on the steps. It’s an image I’ll never forget.
I’ve remained no contact with my ex, aside from the required interaction for the Order For Protection modification I filed. He’s not allowed to contact me for the next two years.
He currently resides in the county jail (as of 5-3-20), where he’s sat since February 14th, 2020. Domestic violence charges are currently pending. He also has charges pending for the probation violations he now has to deal with in two separate counties. The virus has resulted in court hearings being suspended, so I have no idea when he will finally get his turn. Until then, the charges will remain pending and he will continue to sit in a cell and have time to think about his actions. I have little faith in it, but I really hope he learns.
This is a very summed up version of my domestic violence story and is, I’m sure, missing many things. (There are stories about the tracker he put on my phone which allowed him to see and hear all of my surroundings, listen to my phone calls, read every text sent and received, track my location, and my every move. Him taking every password to every account I’ve ever had and deleting everything. Stories about him downloading all the information about said accounts and then deleting them without giving me copies. There are stories about stolen SD cards that contained precious photos of my children, my dream vacation, multiple other vacations, and many, many concerts. There are also stories about the camper we bought and spent significant time in. The time we spent laughing and doing things we loved and stories of him teaching me how to repair certain things. Remember, there WERE happy times.) But this is my truth about domestic violence.
Domestic violence isn’t something to take lightly.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of domestic violence.
Most female victims of domestic violence were previously victimized by the same offender, including 77% of females ages 18 to 24, 76% of females ages 25 to 34, and 81% of females ages 35 to 49.
If you or someone you know is being affected by domestic violence, there is help. Please contact your local police department, your local crime victims crisis center or you can call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
Lucky mom of three beautiful children ages 9, 11 & 12. I graduated with a double bachelor's degree in 2015 from Ashford University. One in Journalism and Mass Communications and the second in Public Relations and Marketing.