Drugs or Me?

I have so much on my mind. I can’t sleep. I had group therapy at the Domestic Violence Shelter tonight and my mind is on overdrive. This post will be a little jumpy, as far a chronological events go. I want to focus this time on DVP’s drug usage because I didn’t think he was a regular user when we first got together, but he got back into it once me moved to Big City, and I need to emphasize the impact it had on our relationship.

I mentioned that DVP was in the military and got kicked out. The first time I encountered him using drugs was while he was still serving Active Duty, but this was during the 30 days notice he had to move back home. I came into his dorm room to visit right after work, and I would come over without telling him, cause he knew I would just come right over. In fact, I think I was “living with him” at that time. Yeah, you’re not supposed to have civilian, unmarried, members of the opposite sex living in the dorms, but I was there regardless of the rules. He could have got into trouble if his roommate didn’t cover for him all the time. Anyone catch this as a warning sign? Good job. Many abusers adopt the attitude that they are above reproach, rules don’t apply to them, and they can do whatever they want.

He was smoking what is called, “Spice”, synthetic marijuana which is very bad for you (see article below). At the time, it wouldn’t show up in a drug test, so he would smoke it in his dorm room. I just thought it was so stupid to risk smoking that on base. I didn’t like it, but I justified his usage for getting kicked out and feeling bad about it, so I let it be.

spice-diamond-open-packet

http://spiceaddictionsupport.org/what-is-spice/

When we moved to Big City, we started hanging out with his friends a lot, who were all heavy pot smokers. Some of them did heavier drugs like cocaine and ecstasy. He admitted to using those in his past, but the only drug I was aware of him using while we were together was marijuana and spice. Now, with the recent push for legalization of marijuana, a lot of people don’t see this as a big deal. Okay, maybe marijuana isn’t as bad as everyone thinks, maybe it is. I’m not here to judge, criticize, take sides, none of that. He abused this drug, abused our relationship and physically abused me while high so in the context of this post, I am against it. Don’t take offense.

A typical night at the beginning of our relationship would consist of dinner together, maybe some T.V., video games, something out on the town. We switched it up. Pretty normal stuff. But once we moved to Big City and started hanging out with his friends, it became all about getting high. One of his friends built a shack in his parents back yard. He was 26. And basically lived in this thing. I mean, it was kinda cool if you were in middle school, but at 26? The group of his friends always hung out in this shack in the summer, or in the garage in the winter. I hated it. We’d sit around watching stupid T.V. shows, while they passed a joint and snacked like they’d never heard of potato chips before. I wanted to be out doing things. I had just moved to Big City for crying out loud, and I wanted to see the city! But, he constantly put weed and his friends over me.

It got to the point where I just refused to go out with him. Instead of spending time with me, he’d just leave me at home (home was his mother’s house) and would be out until between two and four in the morning. He wouldn’t call to tell me when he’d be home and his phone would always be dead or turned off. I would wait up, worried sick. If I was ever out late, even if it was for work, he’d yell and threaten to make me quit my job or stop hanging out with certain friends, but it was okay if he did it.

Because of his drug usage, he was in and out of jobs. The longest job he held was six months. We were together for seven years. He talked and talked about wanting to be a police officer, and had every opportunity to have a good police officer job. It was practically handed to him because his father was a police officer and could help get him on. We were really struggling with money, and all he had to do is stop smoking. He made it 30 days, the time it takes to be clean, but a few days before the test, he smoked. Failed the test. Didn’t get the job. We desperately needed him to have that job. This joblessness and lack of support of their partner is a tactic that abusers use against their partners, even if they can come up with every excuse in the book. They are completely selfish.

Now I will jump ahead four or five years into our relationship and after we were married. After I went full time in the military, we moved to another state but it was only three hours from where we had lived in Big City. I hoped that getting him that far away from his friends would keep him from doing drugs so he could get a better job. Instead, when we were still very tight on money because I alone was supporting us and he couldn’t get a good job (didn’t try is probably more accurate), he’d spend all of our gas money to drive to Big City to buy weed, spending around $150 at a time. He didn’t seem to care that we could barely buy groceries that month, he just had to have it.

Jump ahead again to about a year ago. When we moved back to where I am from, he hated not having his access to marijuana. He was miserable. The abuse got really bad during this time. He choked me at least once a week for a month. He would be quicker to lose his temper, he’d throw things at me. He would say how much he hated my state and all of it’s “stupid liquor laws”,  and the “Mormons”. He would threaten to leave me and go back to Big City. He would make me feel horrible about taking him away from where he grew up just because I wanted to be closer to my family (Crazy, right? Abusers never care about double standards). He would pull my hair, slap me, punch me, kick me out of the car just like that time when we were dating, etc. But, his main, “go-to” form of abuse was CHOKING me.

The abuse was so bad that I thought the only way to stop it was that I had to find him a dealer. He told me I had better find one. He made threats about what he would do if I didn’t. I knew of a guy from high school that smoked, and he was able to direct me to a dealer. This is another warning sign that I didn’t know about that is common among abusers: getting their victim to do things for them that are illegal.

Did it solve my problem? Once DVP had his high, things calmed down a bit, but not much. The next issue was that now he would stay up late every single night and never wanted to have sex, because he was always high. We never went to bed together. I rarely got the intimacy I needed from my husband, and my already low sense of self worth was plunging deeper and deeper down the drain.

Finally, fast forward to five months ago on the occasion of our daughter’s birth. I don’t want to go into much detail on this event because that is a whole story deserving a post all its own, but here is the nutshell version relating to the topic of drugs: The second day after giving birth, the day we were supposed to bring Baby home from the hospital, he got kicked out of the hospital by security for abusing me. He didn’t care that the nurses could hear- what did he think was going to happen?! When they moved me to a different room for security, they cleaned out the other room and found a marijuana pipe and weed that he had left behind. I had no idea. Later I realized that he had kept coming up with stupid reasons to go to the store (that should have tipped me off because he normally would never go to the store for himself, he would always make me go, or his mom) so that must have been when he’d go smoke. The hospital said that only I could report the physical abuse to the police, but that the hospital would report the drugs regardless of what I chose to do for myself. So in the end, along with several other convictions, he received a Class B Misdemeanor for possession of marijuana and now has to be clean for a year. Maybe that is a small win for me for all the times he lost a job or neglected me or abused me because of his stupid drugs.

In closing, let me clarify: Does marijuana, alcohol, or other drugs CAUSE abuse? No. Do all abusers use drugs or excessive alcohol? No. Is it more common that men who are drug/alcohol abusers will also abuse their partners? Yes. They often go together. Drug usage can make the abuser more irritable when they’re not high, increasing the risk of abuse. And if drugs/alcohol are a focus and a frequent habit, then at the very least there isn’t much room for a happy, balanced relationship to exist, but at most it can make them worse and even get you killed! It’s the truth. Don’t put up with it, no matter how infrequent or under control he thinks it is. Nothing good comes from using drugs- just look at all the famous people in Hollywood that have been ruined by it or killed by it. It happens all the time. Why risk it?

Stay safe,

Amanda

 

How Does He Treat His Mother?

Before I begin, I want to welcome all my new followers, and to say THANK YOU to all the support, kind words, and friendships I have received over the last 24 hours. I love you all, and I hope you will find strength as we journey together.

It is really hard to decide what to write about next. I just have so much to say.  I left off writing about moving to Big City. I will dive into this subject more in a future post, but my mother-in-law was just as bad, if not worse, with emotionally abusing me (Please remember that my intention is NOT to bash or degrade them. I’m simply trying to convey what happened so others can learn the signs). When we were about 500 miles away from Big City, she called (I’m going to use DVP for domestic violence perpetrator from now on) DVP to tell him that we wouldn’t be able to stay with her for a few days because she was thinking about divorcing her third husband, and didn’t want us around with all the fighting going on. That’s a great first impression for someone you’re about to live with for the foreseeable future (and a warning sign I missed!).

When we did finally move in with her (they didn’t get a divorce), things were okay for a few days. But, I started to see just how dysfunctional DVP’s relationship with his mother was. In normal family relationships, it isn’t uncommon for children to argue with their parents. It happens. Especially in those teen years! However, the arguing that happened between DVP and XMIL (ex-mother-in-law) was far from common. It was EXPLOSIVE. The entire house suffered when they fought. It was a two-way street: He was extremely disrespectful, and she was extremely stubborn (for lack of a better word).

argument photo: argument argument.jpg

They would fight over the smallest things, like him playing video games too much (another form of abuse, but more on that later), to debating about politics. I never understood why they would debate so much over politics. They usually shared the same view, but if DVP said anything somewhat different than her beliefs, she’d argue the death out of it, even when what he was saying was almost exactly what she was arguing. The fights would get so bad that he would end up calling her bitch, cunt, and whore (I apologize if I offend anyone, but it needs to be said). Both of them would talk over each other, make silly noises while plugging their ears so they couldn’t hear what the other was saying. She’d tell him things like, “I don’t know how you became so ignorant when I raised you differently”, or “You must get that from your dad”, and “What is WRONG with you?”.

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Her husband also did not like DVP. Because of this, he spoke maybe five words to me the entire five years we lived in Big City. I’m not even kidding. He loved XBIL (ex-brother-in-law) and his then girlfriend. He would buy them things, talk to them (it is sad that I even have to clarify that), watch television with them. But never, ever with me or DVP. XMIL said it was because he can’t stand how DVP treated her and me, but why exclude me? It was like I didn’t exist to him. I would pass by numerous times a day while he watched T.V. to get to the kitchen and I felt like a ghost passing through.

I want you to understand that she wasn’t all bad all the time. She did a lot for me. We had a good relationship for a long time, though I didn’t recognize her abuse until towards the end. She would listen to me sob when DVP hurt me. The most confusing thing though was that she would take my side while listening to me talk about how her son hurt me, and say things like, “I wouldn’t blame you if you left him!”, and then later deny that anything ever happened between me and her son. She would eventually even tell me that I was the one to blame, that I was at least partly to blame for his abuse. I’ll get to that later. But the most infuriating thing was that she would constantly degrade and bash her son to me. When we would be in the “honeymoon phase” of the abuse cycle, I hated hearing what she had to say about him. His mother should not be telling his wife all of these things. She should be confiding in a friend or other relative if she wanted to gripe about him. Sadly, I felt like I had to side with her too, just like I had to side with DVP because of the backlash I would get if I disagreed with her or stood up for him (she was using the same domineering and fear tactics that he was using. More signs).

So why tell you all of this? Well, have you heard the saying, “Watch how he treats his mom, because that’s how he’ll treat you”? It is 100% accurate, and a warning sign of abuse if he treats his mom in any of the ways I described above. Her treatment of him (and me eventually) is just as much of a sign of emotional and verbal abuse as his. Please, please, please, don’t take it lightly. If his family doesn’t get along with each other, or doesn’t get along with your significant other, there is always an underlying reason. Do not dismiss it. And trust your gut! I will say this often, but I mean it. Your intuition is there to save you. Every horrible name he called her, he called me, and worse. The way she would treat him in arguments, he would treat me. I could see it clear as day. When he’d yell or argue at me in those ways, it was as if she was yelling at me. The disrespect he had for her was hard for me to comprehend, and I didn’t understand that I was being disrespected as well.

Please tell me how I can help you! I have a long, long list of topics to write about, and telling you my entire story will take time. If you need to hear about something, let me know. I’m also looking for stories to share of other victim’s abuse for a later post, so if you feel comfortable, please let me know.

Stay safe,

Amanda

 

 

 

 

Love is Blind

The first topic I want to focus on is how perpetrators are not obvious about their true nature. Duh, if we victims knew from day one, do you think we’d even pursue him? No. Our perpetrators seem like normal, loving, individuals, and the possibility of abuse being present in the relationship is far from being obvious in the beginning.

I was 18, fresh out of high school and not getting along too well with my parents. I wanted to drink and party, and they wanted me to live my life to the standards and values I had learned growing up. I was going through a difficult time in my young, adolescent life. My ex-husband and I met in a restaurant where I was working. I was his server, and he was with a bunch of his buddies. I wasn’t in the habit of giving out my number, but he was cute, charming, and I lost a bet to him, so I gave it to him. After talking with him over the phone, I learned that he was in the military and from a large city back east. Things moved pretty quickly for us. I went to parties with him on the military base and we did exciting, fun activities. At parties, guys who would hit on me would immediately back off when I said who I was there with. At first I thought that was a sign that the other guys respected him, but now I know it was not that at all (I’ll explain that later). We visited his hometown, (I will call it Big City), after only two months dating, and I fell in love with the city, and the spontaneous trip we took together.

After two months of dating, he got deployed for seven months. I was in love with him, or so I thought. I had a hard time with the separation. I wrote him every single day. I sent him care packages. My whole evening revolved around the possibility that he would call me within a certain timeframe. I was smitten.

When he returned after his seven months deployment, things began to change, although I wouldn’t admit that something was different for many years. When I would go visit him on base, he would play video games non-stop. He didn’t seem to care that I was there, but when I wasn’t, he’d always try to get me to come, mainly to be intimate. We’d go get dinner or go to parties, but it wasn’t the same. When we were with other guys, my ex would get into heated debates with them constantly. My uneducated, immature teenage self saw this as passion and knowledge for what he was debating about. But, he wouldn’t ever let me in on the conversation. I would just sit there as if I was a spectator at a presidential debate.

One evening, about a month after we started dating, while he was driving with me in my car, we got in an argument. He told me that someday, he planned on sharing a house with his best friend and his wife and kids. Not because they had no where to stay, but because he just wanted it that way.  I didn’t like that idea, and after voicing it to him, he flipped out. We were driving on base (he was behind the wheel), where I was unfamiliar (I wasn’t in the military yet at the time). He screamed and yelled at me like never before. He stopped the car, forced me out (of MY CAR!), and drove off. I was on a military base with customs and rules and gates that I was unfamiliar with. I was scared and felt trapped. I couldn’t even have any family or friends come pick me up because they wouldn’t have the military ID to get on.

About five minutes later, he came back. He didn’t say a word. He drove me to his dorm room and left me there. He went to a party without me. When he came back, a little drunk, I felt like I had to apologize for his actions. Although I felt strongly about how I felt about the argument, I already knew, just that once, that if I didn’t agree with him and apologize, I would lose. I was scared too. So I apologized and we went to the party as if nothing happened.

Many of you may be thinking, “why didn’t she just leave him then?” Well, I can’t give you a straight answer. The good traits he had, the fun things we did together, the excitement of him being in the military, were all enough to keep me in his grip. I thought that this would be the worst of his behavior, and that I must have really hurt his feelings by not agreeing with his dream.

A week later, he got discharged from the military because of some trouble he got into while he was deployed. (Another warning sign I did not see!) He had to move back to Big City in 30 days, and he offered to take me with him. Because of my relationship at home, I said yes. We had only known each other for 10 months, and 7 of those were while he was deployed, but I went. It was a long drive, and when it was my turn to drive, I took a wrong turn, and he yelled at me. Called me degrading names. I remember thinking, “what have I done?” but it was too late to turn back.

I’d like to end this post here. I want to point out the warning signs to this point before I continue my story. Although there was no physical abuse at this point, there was some extreme emotional abuse going on. The first major, major sign is isolation. He took me from my family, from the west coast to the Midwest, thousand’s of miles away, to isolate me from everything familiar and everyone I knew. He knew he had me wrapped around his finger. He never wanted to meet my family, and everything we ever did was always with his friends, on his terms. Isolation. I forgot to mention too that even though my family only met him once or twice, they did not like him.

Another warning sign is the arguing. When he would “debate” with other people, it was all one-sided. He was the “expert” on every subject. Abusers use this tactic to control their victims, to confuse them, to stop them from voicing their opinions and feelings. Another sign was obviously kicking me out of my car and stranding me. He did this to scare me, to control me. If he scared me enough, I’d agree with him. And it worked. When guys would back off after finding out I was with him, that wasn’t respect. They worked with him. They knew that he was trouble, and they didn’t like how he treated others. They backed off because they didn’t want to associate with him, or make him mad and get in a fight, verbally or physically.

I intend on using the book I mentioned in my introduction post to explain some of the things I’ve experienced, so if you have the chance, I really hope you can start reading it. I will start on that tomorrow as I go deeper into the advanced stages of my relationship with him and the abuse that steadily got worse. Thank you for reading.

Amanda

 

Introduction

Hello everyone. My name is Amanda. I am a proud single mother to a beautiful baby girl. I am a KC-135 Crew Chief (Airplane Mechanic) in the Unites States Air Force. I am an aspiring singer/songwriter. I am not a victim. I survived domestic violence and sexual assault.

First, before we begin, I want to speak to those who are currently experiencing abuse. I want you to do three things: One, if you are comfortable, ready, and can go without your perpetrator knowing, go to a Domestic Violence Shelter  in your area. This is not a homeless shelter, although they do provide housing for those who need to get away from their perpetrator. The shelters provide numerous FREE resources and counseling. Even if you don’t want or plan on leaving your perpetrator, talking to someone who will be understanding and will not judge you is a good step. Second, I highly recommend you read, “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft. This book changed my life, but more on that later. Third, I want you to close your eyes and repeat after me, “I am strong. I am beautiful. I am worthy of love and a life free of abuse. I am not broken, filthy, weak, pathetic, or hopeless. I love myself for who I am, no matter what I’ve experienced”.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0425191656?keywords=why%20does%20he%20do%20that&qid=1454515848&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Before I begin telling my story, I want to first explain that this blog’s sole intent is to help others who are going through any type of abuse, but specifically physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal. My hope is that through sharing my experiences, someone can find the support, resources, steps, and a friend they can use to get through their abuse. I do not intend to be vindictive or to retaliate against my perpetrator or his family. For this reason, I will not use names, locations, or any other detail that would single him out. I’m putting myself in a vulnerable situation, giving my personal experiences to the world, but if I can help save at least one person, then it is all worth it.

If you choose to follow my blog, which I really hope you do, my plan is to talk about specific experiences I had from sexual assault and domestic violence, how I decided to leave my abuser, the many resources I’ve used to heal, and stories of other women who’ve given me permission to share their experiences. I hope you, whether you are a victim, know a victim, or not, know that I am open to any questions, and am here for your support. Please consider me your friend as you journey along with me over the next few weeks as I tell you my story.

Feel free to share on any social media site you see fit to spread the word so more victims can hear my story.

Amanda