I can still remember the first time he hit me. I don't remember what I did, or why he did it. But I do remember the soft embrace after, feeling his tears and remorse as he held me in his arms and told me he didn't want to end up like his mum and dad. I also remember believing him. I don't think it happened like this ever again, him being so sorry. After that it was always my fault, both him and I believing this lie. The jarred finger never healing has been a constant reminder of that day, and the turning point in the relationship. I hadn't really seen it coming, the physical abuse that is, however if you ask my mum she would tell you the truth, that it was always going to be that way, right from the start.
She says she could see from the very beginning that he was going to hit me. The first time she saw it was when I was still living at home. She could hear me telling him "no stop it" as he forced a small hickey on my neck, lying on top of me on my bed so that I could not move. My mum could hear my cries from the lounge room. She said there was something in the tone of my voice that made her freeze. Then, like many times later she could nothing but sit, listen and watch as her daughter got abused. She did try to discuss it with me, but as always I didn't want to see. She told me that she had heard everything that had happened in my room and could see the hickey on my neck. She warned if that is what he is doing now just imagine what he will do later on. Of course I responded with "no he would never do that to me". My mother remained unconvinced.
There were many reasons why I continued to stay in the relationship, even before I was abused and had no self esteem. His parents had emotionally and physically abused him and then told him they no longer wanted to be a part of his life. He was left, and not cared about by the two people that are not meant to do that to you. My heart went out to him and I decided that I would never be like them; I would never let him down in a time of emotional crisis, even if that meant I was abused. I kept my word and never let him down.
People tried over the years to make me aware that I was being abused and that it was very wrong but I refused to believe them, thinking that it was my fault. I thought I wasn't being loyal to him if I didn't defend him. I honestly thought that there was nothing wrong. I reasoned that it was normal for relationships to exist the way mine had, and that every relationship had things like this happen all the time. When talking to people about my relationship with him I would hide the ugly facts and tell only the positive qualities he occasionally displayed. He continually presented positive qualities to people so they would never question his behaviour. There have been people that were not tricked by his deceit of character, these people he ridiculed and was able to convince me they were not worth believing and giving respect to.
The main reason for accepting his behaviour towards me was because I saw myself as the reason why he hit me. I was unaware about how negative the relationship was and how much it had affected and changed me for the worse. He was able to, over the length of our relationship convince me it was my behaviour that caused him to become so volatile. I was the one that had pushed him too far, and therefore should not have bothered him and left him alone to calm down. At these times, I was so scared and stressed that he would never talk to me again that I thought that the only way to get him to talk was to nag him, and make him talk to me that way. So I nagged him to talk to me and answer my questions and accept my apologies. Any attention I got from him at this stage was fine, even if it was abuse; it meant that it would be alright. This is what he classified as pushing him over the edge. He claimed that I made him angry with all my nagging and that the only reasonable way to deal with it was to grab me, sometimes throw me to the floor and squeeze my face in his hand and yell at me with his face only inches away from mine. This would occur nearly everyday, as there was always something we did not agree on or something that he considered I had not done right. I would never tell anyone that this was going on; I would intentionally leave bits out when talking to people about my relationship with him so no one would know the truth. How clever I thought I was, thinking people never suspected a thing. I thought I was able to fool people and hide the truth. How wrong I was.
It was never great with him. We were together six and a half years and had broken up at least five times. Within a year of dating we had started the cycle of breaking up over differences, that being mostly me not conforming to him. I never questioned that this was not normal behaviour. Often when we would argue he would say "I think it would be best if we broke up". It got to the stage where I didn't know what to say anymore, thinking that anything I did he would respond with that answer. My stomach would just churn if he uttered those words to me, hoping that if I did or said the right thing sometime soon that he might change his mind. Sometimes he did. Other times he would keep me waiting from any where between a few days to a few weeks to change his mind and take me back. Through this time all I did was cry; I hardly ate a morsel of food as my stomach was churning too much. I would sit and wait for the phone to ring, hoping and willing it to ring. Every time the phone rang, my stomach lurched and my heart pounded in anticipation that it might be him, forgiving me for the error of my ways.
The emotional and verbal abuse had gradually seeped into the relationship over a long period of time, so I didn't notice its arrival. Even though I was not aware, it had been there from the beginning, constantly becoming more and more a stable part of our relationship. I never questioned him, always trusting that the people closest to me would look out for me. He was able to justify every time he beat my self-esteem down. It was something I said, didn't say, something I did or didn't do, it could be anything... and it was. There were a lot of moments when I thought I could do nothing right.
I can't remember now all the reasons why he hit me. I remember having bruises on my hips, arms, and arse. He never hit me on the face, maybe he thought that was a little too obvious. I got to know the colours of bruises and the order in which they healed. I had heard that putting toothpaste on bruises made them heal quicker, it was often tried and with little success. I remember having to wear a long sleeved shirt to a performance, (my third year recital) because I had bruises along my arms from where he had grabbed me and squeezed my arms just a little too tight.
I remember one day "pushing" him too far and feeling so scared that he was going to hit me on the face so I lay face down on the bed in an attempt to hide, but instead received a clenched fist punch on my arse. There was no sympathy from him at this stage, only the look of "you know you deserved it". It took weeks to heal and I was reminded of it every time I tried to sit down and would experience discomfort. At that stage he was able to blame me for his actions quite easily. My self-esteem was so low I was able to swallow the lie quite easily. I actually thought that I could not live without him.
The absolute fear of him leaving me, to find "someone better" consumed my entire existence. He would frequently tell me that there were other women out there that would suit him better than what I did. I remember one night being at the pub and we were sitting near pool tables and he pointed out a girl across the room and said that she was his type, perfect in every way except that she was smoking. This made me feel so worthless and pathetic, and that I would never be able to make him happy. The fights became so frequent that I feared everyday that he would break up with me. I thought that one way of him forgiving me would be to give him sex. So I would cheapen my self-worth and be at the mercy of another who took full advantage of the situation. The sex would be in positions of his choice and I would let him do what ever he wanted.
Sex was one of the worst parts of the relationship, always on his terms and conditions. In our six and a half year relationship he had only made me orgasm twice. One of those times because he wanted sex and we were not able to. The other was in the early days, when he still cared about my enjoyment.
I wanted to wait for a while until I gave my virginity away and that in itself seemed a hassle. I had never expected an understanding partner to have such time restrictions on sex but I had made him wait too long, it was obvious. I always thought that he would get it elsewhere whilst waiting for me; I was convinced that I would find him one day in bed with another girl. And as he frequently claimed there were always girls with an interest in him. So when I finally did fuck him it was just that, a fuck, there was not much magic and definitely no fire works. The first time being the hardest, it took courage to do it again. However I never found much empathy coming from him about my uneasiness with sex at the beginning.
Sex was the best at the beginning; it only got worse from there. There were moments of pleasure, often masked in pain. I would sometimes say no I didn't feel like it and he would say "if I didn't make you, you would never have done it, and plus once we get started you always enjoy it". Which apparently has no argument; nothing I would say would make any difference.
He started to finger me sometimes using more than one finger, which I didn't like, but it made no use asking him to stop it. Then the finger up the arse while we were having sex, which I didn't like, and the response would be "you just don't like the thought of it that's all, and you would never have had sex again after the first time if I hadn't of made you". Then he forced me to try anal sex, twice in fact, both times were very horrible, and the last time I actually derived pleasure from the fact that he got shit on his penis afterwards. It never happened again after that, thank goodness.
Then there were the demands of how often and what time of day. He wanted it every day, which he had "discussed" with me was not too often, any couple would see that as reasonable. He had also decided that night time was best because he had to be up early in the morning and that meant getting up even earlier and he didn't really feel like it then anyway. Throughout my protests his "reasonable" requests continued. I would do anything to distract him, read to him so he might fall asleep, massage his head, and say I was too tired. Nothing worked. It eventually progressed to him forcing me, and always having sex in a position I would hate, mostly because it hurt. Through these times I would cry from beginning to end and would be told "if you made an effort and played with yourself it wouldn't hurt". Again my fault.
Sex was also horrible because of the length, this also being my fault. His enjoyment was affected because I over produced mucus, that of course not being nasal mucus. He would fuck me sometimes for an hour, and it would be very hard, and sometimes painful.
After he eventually came, he would show me his cock and say "look at the shit you put on me, that's disgusting". What was unknown at the time was that I did have an infection in my womb and when I told him that certain positions hurt more than others he just didn't care. I saw a doctor about my over active mucus, and he said that it was quite common for women who were under a lot of stress to produce lots of mucus and there was nothing wrong with me. What a surprise that I may have been a little stressed. Of course I stank as well. Apparently when he went down on me, which probably only happened a hand full of times anyway, he complained that I gave him a throat infection. So of course it was my vagina again that was causing the problems. Poor little fanny couldn't get much right those days.
There were the times when he wanted sex in places that were really awkward for me. When I was at home and my parents were out, when I was at home and my parents were trying to sleep in the next room. I remember him grabbing my face and saying "I will make a scene soon if you don't stop it". Of course a scene would have made me look bad not him and probably been violent as well. There was the video recording of us fucking in my parents lounge room when they were on holidays, again not my idea. I have thankfully destroyed that film, however the film I carry in my mind can never be destroyed.
About half way through our relationship he decided that I was fat and that he wanted me the size I was when we first started going out. I did not feel that I had put on any weight, however because he didn't agree with me he must have been right.
He would grab my arse and my stomach and tell me I was fat. I had a "huge arse". He would say "how can I make love to you when you are not even attractive". So off I went to a gym, which of course he was a member of and I walked every day and lost weight but still I did not do enough. I did not make enough effort with the weights, I was wasting his time and I should make more of an effort. He in turn looked after his body quite well and presented me with a beautiful body, shame about everything else.
He was trying his very hardest to push me away from my parents, making me think that they were trying to hurt me and that he was there for me. He wanted me to only have him in his life so I could never leave him. He would bitch about them all the time, it nearly broke my heart to hear it, but nothing I said would stop him.
Ahhhh, there was also the issues with me having other interests in my life. I was a vegetarian, had become after we met. Apparently that stopped him from going out to certain places. He said it was stupid, "how could I not eat meat but wear leather". Never just accepting my choices.
He somehow managed to argue against all the feminist books I read. How funny that I was reading about equal rights and somehow could not see the truth. I would somehow disassociate myself to the books; I was able to convince myself that it was not that bad; I was just making more of it.
The most surprising part about this story is that it was he who broke it off with me, claiming that it just did not feel right and that it had something to do with me. Often throughout our relationship he would say I was not making enough effort and that I should change things for the relationship. I often argued that I accepted him for the complete package that he was and why couldn't he do that for me.
His reply was that he wanted certain things from his girlfriend and that if I wanted to be his partner then I should fulfill those things. The feeling of never being good enough existed in my relationship from the very beginning and continued right up until I began my healing process, which was a little after we had broken up and has continued to this day and will continue far into the future.
The nastiest thing I think he did to me after we broke up was to continue to fuck me and abuse my self worth. I was still thinking that if he had sex with me after we broke up then maybe, just maybe he would change his mind and reconsider going back out with me. That was never going to be the case, whenever he wanted a fuck he knew where to find it. He would take full advantage and only fuck in the one position that I had constantly said that hurt me. Afterwards he said to me, "this doesn't mean we are back together". One time he actually said "I didn't really want the fuck I was just wondering whether you would do it ". That was the ultimate slap in the face.
I am lucky, I was able to get out of the relationship and move forward. I have cried a lot, been sad a lot but have been able to find happiness in life. I think what really helped me to be able to get my life back on track were the wonderful supportive people in my life, the people who never lost faith in me even when I had. I am forever grateful to those people; I think they would know who they are. I have been blessed with finding someone who respects and accepts me for who I am; just what I thought would never happen.
© 2005 Chloe