It’s taken me four years to put this into words. Most of my friends don’t even know what I went through because I spent so many years keeping quiet, even more trying to protect someone who didn’t deserve to be protected. Worrying about what people would think of me or say about me. I spent seven years in what I have now come to accept was a physically and emotionally abusive relationship.My boyfriend had a terrible temper. He had been known to act violently when things didn’t go his way.
When I tell people my story they ask
why I stayed for so long it takes me a while to work out exactly what to say.
When you’ve just left school and your friends have all moved away you’re lonely. You’re looking for a connection. Someone starts to give you that attention you are craving and before you know it you’ve emerged yourself into his world.
I didn’t grow up with parents who had a healthy relationship. Leaving the house with mum in the middle of the night was the norm for us. Massive arguments with things being thrown were not uncommon. At one point I shared my room with my mum for over a year. We all lived together in a three bedroom house but mum and dad didn’t speak for 18mths.
So when my relationship displayed aspects of the life I had grown accustomed to I thought nothing of it. I made excuses for his behaviour. I blamed myself for upsetting him. It was never his fault. He would always apologise later on and I would forgive him and let it all slide.
Early on in the relationship there were lots of arguments because he did nothing but smoke weed and write music. Most of the time when he was angry he would throw things or punch things. So many times I had to make excuses for holes in the wall. He kicked a massive whole in our kitchen and I moved a pot plant in front of it to hide it. When someone asked me what happened I said we were playing soccer inside.
I remember one day he hit me with a drawer, he ripped it out of the cupboard and slammed it into my leg. I had a massive bruise for weeks. I thought about leaving him. I even took photos of the bruises and wrote under them, remember this every time. I later deleted them during one of my forgiveness periods. I convinced myself it was my fault because I had upset him and pushed him to lose his temper, which was what he always told me.
He never hit me but he always shoved me or threw things at me. He would say the most horrible and hurtful things about me and my family. I was constantly told I needed to get in shape. I gained 20kgs over the time I was with him. Mainly because I was on inplanon but a massive factor was how depressed I was. I didn’t realise at the time but I was a hollow shell of a human.
Nothing I ever did was enough. I never worked hard enough. My voice wasn’t good enough for his music, I didn’t help him enough. I left my underwear inside my pants when I took them off, I left a damp sponge in the sink. He criticised every little thing I did. He constantly put me down in front of people. He never once said anything positive about me or my family to anyone.
He wouldn’t let me see or speak to anyone I had been with in the past. If I did he went ballistic. I was even allowed to be friends with one of my best friends from achool because we dated for two weeks in year seven, he is gay!
When we argued he would shove me or slam doors in my face, throw things around the room. Stomp up and down the hallway like a child having a trantrum.
I remember one morning going to work with coffee in my hair after he threw it all over me. My work mates could see something wasn’t right, despite me telling them we had been “playing around” I knew they could see through it. Later that day my bosses wife pulled me aside and told me no matter how much you love someone you should always have an escape plan, have your own car, your own money and a bag packed ready to go. I didn’t realise till years later that she knew how bad my relationship was.
So many times when he was flying off the handle for something as simple as a computer crashing or a PlayStation game not saving I prayed that the neighbours would call the police. I thought they would hear things breaking and hear his shouting but they never did. They never once checked if I was okay.
A few years into the relationship he got fired from his job for flying off the handle at work. He was swearing and throwing things around on the job, which happened to be at a primary school. Apparently parents and teachers witnessed the behaviour and were frightened. The company lost the contract for that school thanks to him and he lost his job. If you asked him the story though everyone else was out of line and he lost his temper because he wasn’t allowed to move his car out of the storm.
The final straw for me came just after our seven year anniversary. I had spent the last six months working 6 days a week to pay our rent and bills while he concentrated on study. He wasn’t working at all.
I took him out to dinner at one of the nicest restaurants around. I didn’t care what it cost I had just wanted to do something special. He didn’t believe in making a big deal over anniversaries or Valentine’s Day. He used to say it’s just a Hallmark holiday and flowers just die anyway.
At this point He had just been diagnosed with depression. I was paying for him to see a psychologist. I was trying my absolute hardest to get him to stick to the routine she wanted him to try. Healthy eating, no smoking weed, exercise. He did none of it. He continued to smoke weed, do no exercise, eat crap food and lock himself in his studio all the time.
When I pushed him to try and help himself he would throw it back in my face. I didn’t know what it was like to have depression, I didn’t know how hard uni was because I was too stupid to do it.
He would bring up the three months I was without work when we first got together and he supported me. Constantly saying I was a loser and an alcoholic and how dare I not support him when he had supported me.
I had never considered that my relationship was abusive until I went to the psychologist appointment with him. On the way there we had argued because he didn’t want to go. I was driving down the highway and he tried to grab the steering wheel and ripped the handbrake up. He kept saying he would kill us both. When we got to the appointment i told the story to the psychologist. She asked if I knew what emotional abuse was. She told me the things I had told her he did were physically and emotionally abusive. Before I left that day she gave me business cards for women’s help centres and an emergency mental health hotline. I cried the whole way home because that was the first time I had told anyone the things that happened in our house and I finally knew it wasn’t right.
The day I decided to leave I had spent all day preparing what I would say. I felt physically sick. I got home and quietly approached him. I said I can’t do this anymore. I want to help you but you won’t even help yourself. It’s not fair for me to live like this.
He started yelling and screaming at me. He told me I was a horrible cunt and I would never be happy. He kept saying how could I leave someone when they have depression. How could I be so selfish. He threatened over and over to kill himself.
He started shoving me and screaming at me louder and louder
I couldn’t stand there any longer. I ran to my room, grabbed my keys and made a run for the car, I called the dog and put her in the car. All the while he was pegging potted plants and anything he could get his hands on at me and the car.
I drove off as quick as I could. In my rear view I could see the smashed pots littering our driveway and again wondered why no one called the cops.
I stopped down the road and called his mum and his best friend. I told them what had happened and asked them to keep an eye on him.
I spent the next few days at my family home preparing for what to do next. I had never told anyone about the issues in my relationship and it was so hard for me to admit it was wrong.
On the Saturday I went back to the house with my best friend and her sister. He was supposed to be at a party. My plan was to gather my things and be gone by the time he got home.
Unfortunately he was there when we arrived. Straight away he began to scream at me. He kept saying so what this is it you don’t even want to try. You’re a bitch, you’re a cunt, how could you do this to me.
I just kept saying please just let me get a few things and leave. I’ve tried my hardest and I can’t do it anymore.
He was holding a glass of water, he pegged it at my head. I ducked just in time and it smashed against the wall. My friends sister screamed at him that he can’t behave like that. He picked up a large vase and swung it at her hitting her in the arm. He then started throwing anything within reach at us.
My friend said we had to get out of the house so we ran outside. We sat in the car across the road for 10 minutes listening to him screaming and smashing things before we decided to call the police
We waited 40 minutes for the police to arrive, all the while listening to my things being broken.
The police knocked on the door and asked to speak with him. He told them to fuck off and barricaded himself inside. You could hear him stomping up and down the house smashing everything in his path.
This went on for hours. 11 police had the street barricaded off. A swat team had to surround the house and a hostage negotiator was trying to engage with him to get him to calm down and open the door.
He carved holes in the walls with a knife, he ripped up floor tiles with a hammer. He pulled the cupboard doors off. All up there was $10,000 worth of damage to the house and every piece of every dinner set, glass set, coffee mug was smashed.
He eventually collapsed with exhaustion and they broke through a window to get into the house.
The last time I saw him he was being carried out of the house handcuffed on a stretcher bed.
The police didn’t want to let me back into the house. They were horrified. They escorted me back inside. Told me to grab what I needed and to never come back. They immediately put a restraining order in place and told me to cut all ties with him and his family.
That was it. I never saw or heard from him again.
I heard rumours along the grapevine that he was trash talking me to people. Saying that I was a bitch and I called the cops on him for smoking weed and got him arrested. People were saying what a horrible person I was for leaving while he had depression.
I just kept my head down. Didn’t retort. I’ve never said a bad word about him until this day.