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When my counselor told me that I wasn’t crazy, Frank really was being abusive, I felt an enormous weight lifted. I’m not big on labels, but being able to define what I was experiencing in my relationship was a huge relief. Below is my story.
How I Got Out of an Abusive Relationship
The beginning of the relationship.
So there I was, at a party after the Friday night football game where our High School team had won. Everyone was in a pretty dang good mood. I was feeling good, having fun, when in walked Frank, a football player that was 2 years older than me. Me, not being shy at all, strolled right up to Frank and said “Hi”. Told him I liked his letterman’s jacket and asked if he wanted to sit with me and chat. We talked for hours that night. Eventually, we parted ways but forgot to give each other our phone numbers. However, I was confident I’d see Frank again since we lived in such a small town.
The very next week I saw Frank again in the very same place as the week prior. We ended up talking and kissing the whole night and it was that night we made our relationship, “official”. We fell in love and dated all throughout high school. Although we broke up a few times during those four years, we always ended up back together.
Since I was a little girl I wanted to be an artist, musician, and actress. I was going to go to college for the arts and was all set up to go, all that was left was to complete registration. Frank said acting or the arts wasn’t a real job and the odds of me “making it” were so slim. He said I shouldn’t count on that being my career and that I should do something better with my life than a pipe dream.
So I never went for that dream. I pushed my creative side down because Frank didn’t like it. However, I got brave on several occasions, each after breaking up with Frank. I ventured out and got several modeling and acting gigs. Those were some of the happiest times in my life. Unfortunately, I went back to Frank and again gave up on my dreams.
Immediately after I graduated High School (and I mean immediately, it was the very next week), Frank and I moved to the biggest city near our small town to start our lives together. We got our first apartment together and life was going pretty nicely. Frank had a stable job, I was about to start a really good job and we had just got our first pets together (ferrets).
Shortly after Christmas, there was a night I really didn’t feel good. I felt like I was getting the flu. Not wanting Frank to get sick, I asked him if he could go sleep on the couch. I really felt like crap and just wanted to rest alone especially since Frank had a tendency to snore pretty loud.
I can’t tell you how many times I repeatedly requested that Frank let me get rest alone. He just absolutely REFUSED to get out. I snapped and pushed him out of bed. Yelling at him to just leave me alone and go sleep on the couch.
Frank swore obscenities back at me and refused to leave the bed. Finally, I said fine, I’ll leave. I got up to leave and he followed me out to the living room. Pinned me up against the wall, and yelled in my face. I yelled back and told him to get out of my way so I could leave.
He refused to move and then all the sudden I see this fist coming at me.
It was like slow motion.
His fist barely missed my face and went into the drywall right next to my head.
I was in complete shock and now terrified that my face would be next. Frozen for a few seconds, I finally snapped back and managed to get away, grab some sweatpants (I was just in a t-shirt and underwear), grabbed my keys and ran out the door.
Frank just stood in the spot where he punched the wall, seemingly frozen in shock at what he had just done.
I got in the car and just drove away, pulled over somewhere and just completely broke down. I had no idea what to think or what to do.
“What the hell just happened? Did he really just almost hit me? Is that abuse? Why would he do such a thing? Should I leave him?”
I had nowhere to go. So, I called a co-worker friend of mine to meet me at a local breakfast restaurant, which was one of the only places open at 1:30 am. Confiding in my friend exactly what had just happened was something I needed to do to help process the situation. As we were sitting there, I noticed there were several red spots on my arms and neck. I had chicken pox! THIS was the “sickness” I had which I contracted from Frank’s niece at Christmas.
I talked, ate, calmed down and went back home. Frank was still awake and wanted to “talk”. He was pissed at me for leaving but was a little remorseful for what he had done (and by little I mean, not really at all).
When I pointed out that he almost hit me and punched the wall. He response was, “at least I didn’t hit YOU, so it’s really no big deal”.
I actually believed that. He convinced me that it was not a big deal since he didn’t actually hit me. Looking back on all this, I realize how big of a mistake that really was.
Deciding to Get Married
Post a breakup and a reconciliation, Frank and I decided to get married. All this after pretty much 7 years of being together and me thinking that’s exactly what I really wanted from Frank was marriage and kids. Reflecting on all this after the fact, that’s not what I wanted at all.
Going to College.
Subsequent to the birth of our first child, I decided I wanted to go to college to further my education so I could provide a better income for my family. It was only a two-year college so I’d only be attending school for a shorter amount of time but still getting my Associate’s degree. I told Frank about my idea to go back to college (in a “normal job field”) and he thought it was a good idea and encouraged me to do it.
A few weeks later, I signed up for classes that were going to begin in about two months. I came home with all my paperwork and a scholarship I ended up receiving for math aptitude. I was so excited, SO excited!
Excited like I know I had just taken a huge step in the advancement of my career and life and dang it I was PROUD! Frank asked why I was so excited. I proudly informed him, “I signed up for those classes today!! I’m going to be in college in just a few months! Oh, AND I got a scholarship that will help pay for it!”
Frank looked at me like I grew 6 heads and got this look of, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”
Seeing this, I immediately felt deflated. I asked what was wrong. He proceeded to tell me that he didn’t think it was a good idea. What were we going to do for money while I went to school? When would I ever see my family?!
We had just discussed all this a few weeks earlier and he was on board with everything. What in the crap?? Now he’s back peddling? Frank was like, “well I didn’t think you’d actually do it, so I just said it was fine”.
This incident escalated into a pretty bad fight and Frank claimed: “You would be a bad mom if you went back to school, because that would be depriving your son of time with him”. Frank liked to use our kids against me by guilt tripping me to do whatever it was he wanted. Regardless, I finished school, with honors – mind you! Frank, of course, was “proud of me” at my graduation.
Birthday’s with an Abuser Really Suck
There were several other fights where things were thrown, holes were punched in the walls and silent treatments were given. Frank started making it a habit, it seemed, around my birthdays to get into fights. He had also, on several occasions, told me he didn’t get me birthday presents because he didn’t feel I deserved them!
We were out at a local bar celebrating, the day before my birthday, with several of my friends. Our plans were to hang out at this bar with my friends, sing some karaoke and then later meet up with our other friends, Randy and Lucy, who were going to have a house party.
About an hour into the night at the karaoke bar, my friend and I were patiently waiting to go up and sing together. Frank, was getting antsy. He thought we should leave right then and there and instead go where Randy and Lucy were at.
His logic was it was rude to just show up to Randy and Lucy’s house without first spending time with them out at the bar. Like we’d be intruding by not spending time with them before going to their house. What in the actual hell??!! I was so flabbergasted by this logic. It didn’t make any sense! But to Frank, it was a big deal and he wanted to leave, NOW!
I insisted that we at least have to stay so I could sing with my friend.
We were, in fact, actually out to celebrate MY birthday. I should at least get to do that. But no, he kept insisting and insisting, making both me and my friend really uncomfortable. I put my foot down and said no, we’re not leaving until my friend and I can sing our song. He got angrier with me and said, no we’re leaving right now, get your stuff!
Fed up, I said:
“You know what you can give me for my birthday? You can give me a divorce.”
Immediately after I said it, he grabbed my purse and threw it across the bar hitting a cardboard sign above the entrance door. The sign fell down and actually hit a few people.
I went to go retrieve my purse and apologized to the people affected (even though it wasn’t my fault). Frank went outside to have a cigarette.
The next song, they called us up to sing our song.
My friend and I sang our song and then we went to go sit in her car. Not knowing what to do, I cried for about 20 minutes. I called Randy and told him what happened. He said: “just come to our house, forget about it for now and come celebrate your birthday with us.”
I go back in the bar and Frank comes up to me and says, you need to go pay for the beer I just had. I said why would you order a beer? You didn’t even know I was coming back in. He said: “I knew you would come back, now go pay my tab”.
Also, something to note, Frank, at this time, was jobless and didn’t have his license because he had got a DUI a few months prior. So I also couldn’t drink at my own birthday celebration since I was automatically designated driver (yay me).
On the way to the house party, Frank tells me I need to stop at the gas station and buy him some cigarettes.
I said, no, I’m not buying you cigarettes. I passed the gas station and Frank got furious. We get within a few blocks of our friend’s house and Frank goes off on me, yelling and screaming at me. It was so bad I pulled over and told him to get out of the car.
He got out and slammed the car door so hard it didn’t even latch shut, it just bounced back open.
I didn’t care, I just sped away trying to get away from him.
I called Randy and told him I wasn’t coming because of what Frank did now. Randy convinced me to come anyway because they wanted to see me for my birthday and celebrate. It took him a good 10 minutes, but he finally convinced me.
I get to Randy’s house and it’s just a few minutes before midnight. As soon as it hits midnight, everyone says Happy Birthday, to me.
Except for Frank. Frank just ignores me like I’m not even there.
He laughs and jokes and acts normal with everyone else, but completely ignores me. Randy decides we should watch a scary movie since it’s now officially Halloween. (Yep, my birthday is on Halloween – best holiday ever!)
I don’t even remember what movie it was, not that it matters. About 20 minutes into the movie Frank falls asleep (or passes out). I pull Randy aside and tell him, I’m leaving and ask him to take Frank home in the morning. I was just done with this night.
The abuse didn’t stop.
The next day Frank gets dropped off late in the morning. I had to go pick up our kids from the babysitters and get ready to take the kids Trick or Treating. We take the kids out trick or tricking and the whole time Frank completely ignoring me.
By the end of trick or treating, I wanted to salvage what little bit I had left of my birthday. I told Frank I was going to pick up some Burger King for supper. I bring supper back for my boys and I tell Frank I’m leaving to go have supper with my friends and try to be at least a little happy on my birthday and be around people who care to treat me better.
Frank tells me I can’t go and literally tries to wrestle the keys away from me. Telling me it’s HIS car and I can’t go (the car is in both of our names, btw). Then Frank tries to use my kids against me and tells me that he’ll leave too if I do. That he’ll leave our kids home alone if I leave.
My oldest son at the time had his own basic cell phone. So I pulled him aside and told him to call me if daddy does leave after I do. I also told him if daddy gets weird or anything to call me right away and I’ll come right back home. I wasn’t going to let this man blackmail me with my own kids. Of course looking back on it, maybe I shouldn’t have “called his bluff”, but it was just one of those things where I was trying to take back control of my own life.
Continue reading Part 2 Here. Also, read How YOU Can Get Out Of Abuse.
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