Am I capable of being loved? Am I willing to accept someone’s words when they say “I love you”? Am I able to love someone? At this point, I’m unsure. When I was about eighteen, I thought I was in love and I accepted everything my boyfriend told me.
The first time he struck me, I forgave him. He loved me and I knew I had a terrible temper. I knew it wasn’t right for him to put his hands on me, but I retaliated and did the same. That rationalized the situation in my head and made things “even”. I wasn’t a victim because if he hit me, then I’d hit him back.
I wouldn’t sit in a corner and cry in defeat. I wouldn’t beg for him to stop. I wouldn’t run away looking for help. I wanted blood and I didn’t care what it took. Once I got to that level of anger, it was hard to stop me. And he was even worse than I.
He packed all of my clothes that were left after he cut up the others. He shredded my college books that I needed for class. He would get aggressive whenever I became irritated or annoyed with him. I’m fantastic at the silent treatment and looking back at it, I believe his physical aggression toward me was his way to get my attention back.
There were no apologies or promises after a fight. We would just stop. These fights would last for hours at a time. Once we were out of energy, we’d clean up. Sweep up the broken glass, throw away our broken belongings and damaged clothing and cleanse our bruised bodies.
Sex would follow. Not angry sex, not make up sex. I can only describe it as sex reclaiming our control over one another. He loved me. The dreadful events that had just occurred over hours was in the past and we were rejoining forced as a couple. It was a toxic, vicious and dangerous cycle.
At one period, I was at a very low point. I wasn’t happy with myself and I didn’t know what was next in life. We were constantly fighting and I finished my college courses. I was still unable to see my sisters at the time and my close friends were away at college.
He and I live in multiple apartments together. I filled every second of my days with him. We had some great times but the bad definitely outweighed the good. It seemed we were only civil when we smoked, because I was too zoned out to argue or care.
One afternoon, we were arguing in the car and he stopped at a red light and head butt me in the face. He pulled over and dumped my purse all over the road and left. I ended up staying in a hotel with a complete stranger that wanted to “help” me. I had nothing to give and he gave me a bed to sleep in so I (unfortunately), gave the only thing I could. I was disgusted and secretly left the hotel after 2 days.
I went back to the toxic relationship. We went to visit his father a few weeks later and we stayed the night. Of course we fought. I told him I was done with him and I left. I didn’t have a car, so I walked around all night until I felt it was a sensible hour to call someone. That sensible time didn’t come in my head. Instead he did. He drove the streets all night looking for me and I would turn a corner when I saw him coming. I’d sit at a bus stop for a while to blend in with others hoping he wouldn’t see me.
I finally gave in when he found me and tearfully promised me that things would change in that early morning hour. That we would be happy together and make plans for a future. That he loved me. That we would make goals and do whatever I wanted. That we wouldn’t fight and he would stop being selfish. The cycle continued.
Fuck it. I don’t know who the hell she is but she isn’t me. She wasn’t me! But my biggest fear had come true. I was becoming my mother. She was me and I was her. I was depressed and angry and reckless. I had no fucks to give. I just knew something had to change one way or another.
He was at work. It was one of the worst nights we ever had. The fight was so bad I could barely walk. We fought and I remember sitting in the dark cold and alone. I was balling my eyes out and so lost. I eventually dozed off and I only know that because I woke up when I heard the door open. My heart dropped as I felt fear for the first time. Then he began punching me and kicking me. I’m not sure how long it took place. Unbeknownst to me, there was someone in the car waiting for him. I only know because that guy ended up coming in and tearing him off of me and telling him they had to go.
At some point that afternoon, I went to a neighbor’s house and begged him to help me. I had never met or seen him before. I was nervous when I knocked on the door thinking that my ex would be back any moment. The neighbor helped me get my things, took me to lunch and took me to a relative’s home where I took residence.
One night, my friend came over and we were having a girls night in. He was being his usual controlling self. Calling me non stop and seeking attention. He had calmed down a little since I had gotten the restraining order (although neither one of us abided by it). I noticed a few days before that he had been driving up and down the street non stop. It was normal. Just the week before, he had parked his car two houses down and sat on top of his car just watch me.
I was in the driveway talking to my friend as she was getting ready to leave after our girls night in. He drove past us quickly and parked the car. The next thing I remember was him on top of me and my friend trying to get him off. That’s the last bloody nose I ever had.
Ironically, I am a very private person. What made me end the cycle was the fact that he caught me off guard and had exhibited this behavior in front of my friend. We never fought in front of people. I was embarrassed that the conflict took place and having a witness there made it more real to me. I ended the cycle in that very moment.
He didn’t love me. But that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of being loved or incapable of giving love. I had a misconstrued idea of what love was and that proved to be dangerous. When I was about eighteen I thought I was in love and I accepted everything my boyfriend told me. Then, I had to get away.