It was 8 months before the monster appeared again. The seasons changed, a new semester came with new classes and new stresses. The first semester’s routine gave way to new schedules and I was adapting to the fact that each new semester would bring it’s own unique challenges.
The incident so long ago, had been buried deep in my subconscious. I had almost but not quite forgotten that it had even occurred. He had come up for a visit over the weekend about a month before the semester’s end. We were sitting in his car talking as he was getting ready to leave. One thing led to another and we were arguing as couples do. One minute I was sitting there in the passenger seat listening to his voice get uglier and uglier as the argument wore on. The next thing I knew I was laying across the passenger seat, my back against the door and his hands were around my throat. It happened so fast again that it took me completely by surprise.
This time I saw stars and when he let go, I was choking and gasping for air. Trembling again, I tried to get out of the car but he reached across and would not let me leave. The rational part of my brain was telling me to run as fast as I could get away. The part of my brain and heart that loved this man was telling me that this was a mistake. He didn’t mean it. No way could he of meant to almost kill me. His now apologetic tone and kind hands stroking my hair and face helped to soothe the part of me that loved him. It did nothing for the frantic part of my brain that was telling me to be calm, act like nothing had happened so that I would be able to get out of the car at some point and back up to my dorm room. I knew I’d be safe there since the doors locked behind me and I’d not ever given him the code to bypass the door.
What felt like an eternity later, I kissed him goodbye, got out of the car and made myself slowly climb the steps until he couldn’t see me. I then ran to the door and fumbled with the code, tears blurring my vision. I got inside the door and practically flew up the four flights of stairs. Luckily my roommate was gone, and I had the luxury of being able to fall onto my bed and cry it all out. I remember holding my favorite stuffed animals and being curled up under my comforter trembling and crying. I still had no understanding of why. What did I say? What did I do exactly that made him act this way? By the time he got back to his dorm and called to tell me he made it back fine I was able to talk without any trace of my emotional breakdown.
However, the bruising both internal and external were just beginning. While the marks took longer to fade from my skin, they sunk down deep into my heart and soul. He was slowly leaving marks that only time would be able to heal.
The next several months went by without any more incidents. We both went home for the summer and living only 20 minutes apart, left plenty of time to spend together. His transfer was accepted to the college I was attending and he made plans to move in with a friend off campus. August came and off to college we went again. I moved back into the same dorm room much to his chagrin since he moved the heavy stuff for me. He complained quite a bit and didn’t seem to understand my reasons for it. I felt comfortable being back in the same room, plus the fourth floor tended to be a lot quieter for studying. While it didn’t raise the monster, it did show me his tendency to want to have everything to his liking.
I found a job this semester as well. I began at Wal-Mart as a sales floor associate in Housewares and Small Appliances. My parents needed me to start helping with expenses, which didn’t really bother me since I’d been working for them as long as I could remember. Working of course, cut into the time we were able to spend together
Looking back now it is so apparent that this is where the isolation began. I didn’t see it at the time however. What few friends I had soon fell by the wayside since I had an allotment of time where I needed to study and of course spend time with him. Every time I’d end up sad that my friends didn’t seem to respond or want to go do things with me anymore, he’d just say something like that I didn’t need them if they didn’t understand. It always sounded like he was commiserating with me but really he was encouraging my entire life only rotating around him as much as possible.
We settled into a routine around school, my job and our time we spent together. I was pretty well content with how life was. I felt fairly confident in the fact that I had found the one. Everyone who met him really liked him. He was friendly and charming and an all around kind of guy that everyone feels they can depend on in a pinch. The web was being spun, the spider taking his time and waiting on his prey to inch ever closer.
Kathie HittEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog series is from my personal experience recounting my side of an abusive situation. It is my hope that it will raise awareness and educate others about what this side of the relationship looks and feels like. It is a situation that I never thought I’d be in as a smart girl turning into a woman. I was salutatorian of my high school class. This type of thing can happen to anyone. It can blindside you and make you feel like you are literally nothing. Some people never recover fully from the events. I was lucky and can share my story in the hope that it will help others.