My friend said something to me today that made me take a step back. She called me a “survivor”. I apparently “survived” domestic abuse. Did I? Am I a survivor?
I’m probably going to repeat things that I have already mentioned in this blog, but I had to talk about this. Yes, I agree that I was in a violent relationship. It was violent, abusive and very soul-destroying, or so I thought. Was my relationship as bad as those crazy women say on the Jeremy Kyle Show, or those horrifying stories that you read in crappy women’s mags. Was my relationship really that bad?
I told my friend that I didn’t think I was a survivor. Not in the way that she made it sound. She looked at me like I was insane. She told me to remember all the things that he had done to me and then tell myself I wasn’t a survivor. The “Him” I am referring to, of course, is the Hubby.
Let’s take a good hard look at what he did to me and then make the decision of whether I am a survivor. Maybe it’ll do some good and show someone else that they don’t deserve to be in the abusive relationship that they are in. If I can help just one woman believe that she deserves better, I have done a good job.
He pulled me around a parking lot by my hair because I asked him to buy me a burger in the kebab shop after a particularly heavy night out. He scraped the skin from the tops of both my feet to the point where they were bleeding pretty bad, and I still have scars 7 years later. And he broke my shoes. The cock.
He had this thing where he used to put his hands around my throat. I have one photo that I have decided to share with you.
This was his “thing” – it was his way of shutting me up when he had enough of me and what I had to say. He used to squeeze my throat so tight that on many occasions, I vomited on myself. I passed out once too. He used to leave amazing hand prints on my neck to the point where I had to phone in sick at work for a whole week because I couldn’t risk people seeing what he had done to me.
He punched me in the face once. This was when he left his knuckle in my top lip and seriously deformed my face. I had to eat and drink through a straw for a week, and I needed 5 stitches in my top lip because the gaping hole was so big, you could see my teeth through it. The punch made me bite through my own bottom lip, and my teeth almost went through the entire thickness of it. The left side of my face was purple, blue and brown. He really did a number on me that night. I had never seen so much blood before in my life.
He stabbed me with a screwdriver once because I tried to get in the spare bedroom to feed my pet snake. He was in there sorting out his work gear and I was in the way. That same occasion, he pushed me backwards out of the room, embedding the door handle in my back. That left a pretty deep gash. He also slammed the door back so hard, it smashed the glass tank that my snake was in; the same snake that he had bought me for Valentine’s Day the previous year.
I remember him having me by the throat pushed down into the bed once and I honestly thought he was going to kill me. I had been out with the girls and had high stiletto boots on. I kicked my boot and the heel embedded into his leg. He tried to have me arrested for assault that night. The cops laughed in his face. The cops were called to our home on so many occasions that they warned me the last time before I headed to the War Zone and we broke up, that if he did it again and they were called, they would press charges on my behalf… regardless of what I said or did.
He trashed my flat once; the one I shared with The Bestie I’ve Never Had a Dalliance with. After he had done this, he shoved me into my closet, trying to shut me in. I lashed out because I’m claustrophobic. I punched him that night and I broke my own knuckle. I ended up with hand marks around my neck, fingerprints on the top of my arms where he had held me so tight, and a smashed front door which he had put his hand through. I cut myself up pretty bad that night and I couldn’t go to work for a week because my wrists were so bad.
The night he found my razor blades; the ones that I used to cut myself with, he told me that I had better shut myself in the bedroom with my “best friends” and sort myself out because that’s the only thing I was good for. He cut my arm with my own razor.
He went away to another country for 4 months to work and snapped all of the bank cards so I was left with no money. He slept with more prostitutes than I can count. He caught an STD and then blamed it on me. He used to grab my hands and arms with such force, he left visible bruises on me.
He once stamped on my foot so bad while we were out because someone else tried to buy me a drink, he left an imprint that was a perfect replica of his shoe. You could even make out the brand of the shoe. He also smashed the guy so hard in the face that he knocked his three front teeth out. We left the bar fairly swiftly that night, and we had a blazing row. A lot of pushing and shoving followed. He smashed my head off the wall in the hallway, and kicked me in the stomach while I was crying on the floor. He spat in my face, in fact, he used to do that a lot.
He used to say a lot of horrible stuff too. He told me that my figure repulsed him and that my stretch marks reminded him of a map of the London Underground. He said my breasts were saggy. He said I had a horrible shaped ass. My double chin used to disgust him. I would just like to point out that my double chin runs in my family. My Mama and my Lil Sis are the skinniest bitches I’ve ever met and they both have the same double chin. He used to say a lot of things to me that made me feel shit about myself. He also told me I was bad in bad and I bored him. He wanted a skinnier, prettier wife and that’s why he cheated on me so much. He used to hurt me because he could. He used to shut me in my broom closet until I had a panic attack, at which point, he would throw a plastic bag at me and tell me to sort myself out. I started having panic attacks on a regular basis, and was very depressed. The doctor put me on Prozac. I was on them for a while, but they made me a monster. That’s what he told me anyway. He encouraged me to stop taking them so I did. I just stopped. It was hell for a few weeks but once they were out of my system, things went back to normal. We started fighting again and the pushing and shoving started.
As I write these things down, it’s almost as though they didn’t happen to me. It feels like I am writing a story about another girl in another lifetime. Technically, it’s true – that was a totally different girl in a completely different lifetime. It’s like a smack in the face (excuse the pun) when I see all the things that he did to me written down in black and white. Did I think that he would kill me? No, of course not. There were times where I thought he might go too far, like the time he had me by the throat on the bed, and also when he was pushing and shoving during fights so that I hit my head or almost fell down the stairs, but I don’t think he was purposely trying to kill me. I just think he couldn’t handle his own temper or anger. I think we were a recipe for disaster.
I was one of the lucky ones and I managed to scurry away as fast as my little legs would take me. It took a six month stint in a War Zone to make me realize that I could manage life by myself, but that, in my eyes, was one of the best decisions I ever made. I met Big Love, left the Hubby and … well you kinda know the story from there I guess.
Seeing all this and reading it back to myself, I realize that technically, I was a survivor of domestic abuse. And it wasn’t all physical either – it was mental. And it was utter torture. If I hadn’t left when I did, I would still be there now and we would still be going around in the big circle of disaster. I think that if we stayed together, one of us would have seriously hurt the other. If he hadn’t have gone too far and landed me in hospital, I would have ended up losing it at him and probably stabbing him with one of the kitchen knives that we argued about buying.
The people I feel for the most, however, are not him or I; it’s the people that had to listen to this hell. Towards the end, these abusive, hitting, punching, pushing, shoving fights were on an almost daily basis. What started as violence and abuse when he was drinking turned into an almost every day event. People had to listen to these fights. My downstairs neighbour once described to me how she heard every word that he had shouted at me and every thump as I hit the doorframe in the living room, was pushed onto the floor in the hallway, and dragged by my hair into the bedroom. She heard all of that. So did her young children. That’s not something that anyone should have to listen to, let alone deal with.
I feel sorry for my family. My downstairs neighbor started calling my Mama to tell her what was going on as she was sure that he was going to kill me. She went through hell and I never realized. She had sleepless nights, long and tearful conversations with my Papa and Aunt to figure out how to get me to leave, and in the end, gave up and refused to listen to anymore in a bid to shock me into leaving him myself. What makes me laugh is that she is in a similar predicament now. He doesn’t beat her on a regular basis, but he has laid his hands on her, and more than once. And the funniest thing ever is the fact that they are talking about getting married. What a fucking joke.
In conclusion, I think everyone involved in this horrid situation was a survivor. And yes, after this long and complicated debate with myself, I realize that I am too a survivor. I survived a guy that may have loved me, but sure didn’t show it. And every day I hope and pray that he never does to another girl what he did to me. I am also thankful to him – I would never stand for that shit now. I may still have nightmares and the panic attacks still creep up when I least expect them, but I am a much stronger person now.
It’s because I’m a fucking survivor!