Unexpected Friendship Part 2
Diving Deeper into the Red Flags of an Abusive Relationship
Hi and welcome back. We left off with me moving away to start a new life with this guy and from now on, we will just call him _____ because he doesn't even deserve a pseudonym.
Okay, so yes I wasn't allowed to take any of my furniture. I left in such a hurry that I forgot to pack boxes on my back patio that contained books, keepsakes, and dishes from my grandmother who had passed away. At the time, I did not even realize these things were missing. My head was so far up in the sky and my judgment completely masked that I was oblivious to red flag #2. When close friends and family don't like someone, they are usually right. Also, when that someone begins to bad mouth your friends and family and isolate you, that's a bad sign. You probably won't even see it at the time but you will start to agree with your abuser's opinions, no matter how extreme they may seem. My abuser had it out for three people in my life: my mother, my ex husband, and my son.
He had fabricated this judgment of my mother in his twisted brain. He believed I had screwed up my life because I had become pregnant and married at such a young age, and he blamed my mother for this. In his eyes, I was already a complete fuck-up because I had a baby, was married, and already divorced. He treated me like a baby deer on the side of the highway that had been struck by a car. He treated me like damaged goods and I slowly began to believe him. This tactic allows your abuser more power and control by making you feel like you can't trust yourself.
I left my hometown with about $6,000 that I had saved from my tax return that year. I paid for the U-haul, the deposit on our new place, first month's rent, filling the house with groceries, and buying odds and ends for the house. At the time it didn't bother me; I thought I was doing something good. I thought I was helping and being a good girlfriend. I used the rest of that money to pay the bills and to live off of since I had no job other than drill weekends with the National Guard, which paid me about $240 once a month. I was pretty broke most of the time, which made me feel sad and I was stressed out trying to find a new job.
About a month after we had moved into our new place together, I had to go back to my hometown for some work. I was still attached to the National Guard unit there, and I needed to go back for a weekend to process my transfer. The night before I left, he started to flip out on me and accused me of going back to my hometown so I could have my old life back, telling me I was a whore and that I was just going back to "hook up" with my ex. This behavior is red flag #3. Typically, when someone begins to accuse you of doing something extremely out of character or deceitful, it's a projection. They project their own feelings, thoughts, and/or actions on to you in order to make you feel like you are doing something wrong and distract you from whatever fucked up thing they're doing. He did this more often than not, and I am sure as this story goes on you will begin to see how scary this behavior is. I went back home for the weekend, and of course he apologized for accusing me of wanting to get back with my ex. I think he chalked it up to something along the lines of, "Oh I was just so scared you would want to leave me." *insert eye rolling emoji here*
My transfer with my National Guard units was approved, and in June I was scheduled to do annual training at my new unit location, about 45 minutes away from the town I lived in. I was required to stay on site for the full two weeks and work. I was nervous because I was new to the unit and didn't know anyone but I wanted to make the best of it. ____ had other plans for me. He made it his duty to try anything in his power to make my time away as miserable as possible. He belittled my decision to join the military; he had a thing against authority, go figure right? He used my fear and anxiety of my job against me, knowing that I had been sexually assaulted by a solider in my training unit two years prior. He made comments to me about being a shitty mom, told me how I was stupid to have a child, and told me I needed to sign away my parental rights. All of this was communicated through text messages, and left me feeling lonely, defeated, and afraid.
One day during the annual training, I had gone to a sexual harassment class provided by my unit, where a few of the guys were making snide remarks about rape victims. This really triggered me and got under my skin. I started to feel like I couldn't trust anyone I was around, afraid that I would be assaulted once again. ____ wasn't supportive or validating my fears and feelings. He basically told me it was my fault I had been raped in the first place and that I would just have to deal with it. I went into a spiral of emotions and broke down in a panic attack. The next morning I went to my unit command and told them I was feeling suicidal, that I didn't want to be alive anymore, that there was no way I could fulfill my duties as a soldier. They got me in touch with a veteran advocate to discuss therapy options. ____ and his friend drove to my unit to pick me up. When he got there I was in tears, carrying my giant duffel on my shoulder, and trying to get all my stuff into the car. He grabbed my patrol cap off my head and said, "You won't be needing this anymore." I was dismissed from the rest of the annual training and later that week I met with a counselor from the Veteran's Center to discuss my anxiety and PTSD related to the sexual trauma I had experienced. I liked my counselor; she was kind and understanding. I would meet with her once a week for nearly the next two years.
By the end of summer, I had finally found myself a new job. I had been trying to work at another doctor's office, but the small town I had moved to had limited resources and I was going back to college and it seemed as if no one wanted to hire someone to work full time while they went to school full time. It was unfair but I just accepted it and took a retail position at a shipping and mailing store. I worked 20-25 hours a week for minimum wage until I started college, and took more student loans than I needed so I had money to pay my part of the rent.
The first day of school is a blur to me now. I suppose it went well. What is vivid in my memory is that night. I was sitting on the couch and ____ left is phone sitting there. A text message came through from a girl we can call her Mary. The conversation was pretty inappropriate, a lot of flirting back and forth and talking about hooking up. I felt my heart sink to my feet, my blood beginning to boil, and I looked Mary up on Facebook. Hmm, so she's married, has three kids, oh and pregnant with a fourth. "WOW!" I thought to myself. What the hell was going on? I confronted ___ about what I had seen. He immediately went on the defensive. Here we have another red flag. When your abuser is caught red-handed doing something that shouldn't be they go into defense mode and start to twist things around. Part of me believes they live for this type of drama. its fuels them. I left the house and went down the street to a friends, still in shock of what I had just experienced.
To be continued...
About the author
I am a 27 year old mother, wife, and student. I love to write. Sharing my stories and experiences to bring awareness and show support for mental illness and domestic violence. I also do some food writing for fun.