Tuesday, 27 June 2017
I'll never have another you.
As though it's easy.
There's no set of reasons. Often there is very little a woman could have done. Whether she is aware of domestic abuse or not. Many times a woman knows some things and is ready.... "if he EVER hits me I'm out of there!" "I would NEVER stand for a man telling me what to do!". She means it. She just never sees it. It is slower. It is more brutal in its creeping and creepy ability to drop us to our doom while we think it isn't even happening.
I know that writing anecdotally seems self-indulgent and pointless regarding change. I defend myself with the fact that some woman always tells me it helps them. So. Once again. Forgive me if you hate this kind of writing.
I knew my abuser already as someone I encountered in pubs occasionally. I have no idea whether he hated me from the start. Probably though. He hates most women. Openly. The phrase ...."All women are nutters!" is common with him. He made me feel quite special even before we became involved. I would encounter him and he would be charming and funny and complimentary and..... dangerous.
I was a bit bored. He was a bit "different".
"Different"- I could now rephrase as "psychotic".
A friend and I discussed our abusers the other day and how they lured us in. We discussed the tactic of offering excitement. Of offering the feeling that we were doing things the "ordinary" people and relationships weren't. Falling for a "bad boy" is a romantic trope. We are having a fabulous time and later, if we need to, we can change them. At least they aren't boring right?
No. Being hurt is never boring. Living with trauma could never be called dull. Being brainwashed is disorientating and soul-destroying but not predictable.
When an abusive man begins his quest it is often in the gentlest and loveliest of ways. Love bombing is a tactic you will have heard. If I pinpoint it to one moment that sealed my fate it would be this.
In the early days. When I thought he was falling in love with me. This....
We had been out drinking and gone back to his flat. He had told me he had no furniture in the lounge. He had one chair. I asked why and he proudly said... "I don't want anyone to feel comfortable enough to stay long." He is a control freak. He had a big leather chair like a throne and anyone else had to sit on the floor. He always has to make himself feel more special and important than anyone else. It stems from deep insecurity. At the time I thought it made him more interesting and quirky. He is only quirky in that he hates women. He hates anyone he thinks is better than him. He needs to hate a lot of people. His hatred is dangerous.
But this particular night he offered me a glass of wine in what he told me were very expensive wine glasses. A present from his parents. I took the glass and began to drink. He had a balcony. There was music playing. It seemed rather romantic. Even sitting on the floor whilst he sat on his "throne". I read nothing into his power/domination techniques then. I later told this whole story to friends as though it was incredibly lovely and a sign of him really caring about me.
Unfortunately for me... in ways I could not judge then... I dropped the glass and it shattered across the floor.
I know what you are thinking. He hit me? He shouted? He called me names?
Not at all. He smiled.
I cried actually. I was embarrassed and felt really bad. I had smashed something important to this new man on whom I wanted to make a good impression. So what did he do?
He walked over and took my hand. Picked up the glass and cleared it away. I was very upset. He walked to the balcony with his own glass and grandly, and with force, deliberately threw it over the balcony. I gasped. I heard it smash on the driveway below. He turned and smiled and said...
"I have another four of those. I'll never have another you."
And that was it. I was in. One romantic gesture for a working class girl brought up on the myth of Prince Charming. The one who would sweep you off your feet. The one. Surely this was the thing such a Prince would say? This was probably the one I'd been waiting for? I'd been groomed for?
I was groomed. By my upbringing. By society. Finally .... by him.
Months later he broke my rib. I had 23 more of them. But I'll never have another him.