I knew it was over. I had to leave. Fuck this guy, he’d treated me so poorly for so long. I gave him everything, and he gave nothing back, even when I told him that I was struggling emotionally and needed someone to lean on, he told me that his feelings were more important and that mine didn’t matter since he was dealing with depression. But in the beginning of our relationship, when I was going through depression and anxiety so bad that it made my physically vomit, he just told me to suck it up because I looked miserable. Apparently I wasn’t pleasant to look at.
He’s lied to me consistently about everything, his Dad dying, meeting up with his ex, him being a certified builder, that the tattoo on his arm wasn’t his ex’s initials, that he was going to get a job, that he loved me…. All lies. He probably thought he loved me, but let’s be serious, you can’t do the things he’s done to someone you love.
Tina* texted me, she was on her way to pick me up. She saw him treat me badly early the night before, but she had no idea what went down after she’d left. I looked down at my engagement ring. Fuck this ring. I took it off and put it in my wallet. I didn’t want to wear it, but I certainly didn’t want to leave it so Mike* could pawn in. When she arrived I got in her truck and she started driving, I started crying.
My life was falling apart. I was giving up on the man I’d been rooting for and defending for 6 years. My emotions were everywhere, I was sad and I was extremely angry. How dare he do this to me after everything I’ve done for him, after everything I’ve given him, how dare he.
I told Tina what happened after she left. She was disgusted in her uncle. She told me that leaving was the right thing to do. She’d been in a very similar situation recently, and knew how horrible it all was. I knew she was right, but I was still hurting a lot. I’d waited for so long for Mike to step up and be the man I’d hoped he was, the man he told me he really was, but he simply wasn’t that guy. What he was, was a lying, abusive, narcissistic, nutcase, and it was clear that nothing was going to change that. I knew that I had to leave, but I felt guilty, because I knew it was going to hurt him. How messed up is that? He could hurt me every day and not blink an eye, and here I was, beating myself up because I knew I was going to hurt him.
We drove around for hours making a plan. My first plan was that I would pack my things when he was out of the house and put them in my car. I needed to save some money so I could rent a place to live, and when I had one, I would just up and leave. I could buy furniture as I was able to once I left. I started to get excited at the prospect of getting out of that shitty relationship, of having a house where I wasn’t constantly yelled at for not doing everything his way, to start dating again. I hadn’t felt affection from someone in so long, what did it even feel like? I’d forgotten.
My second plan was more realistic and could be implements right away, I would go back to my parents’ house.
When Tina dropped me off, Mike was still in bed. I went inside and stood in the lounge room, it didn’t feel like home anymore. The house was a disaster, it was filthy, there were beer cans on the floor. I didn’t clean any of it. I didn’t want to pick up after him anymore. I sat on the couch and turned the TV on. Now it was just a waiting game until I could leave. Mike came out of the bedroom and made himself a cup of tea and walked outside for a cigarette. No apology, not one word. Two could play at that game. We ignored each other for about an hour. Really, I had nothing to say to him. I was going to leave, there was no coming back from what he did, there was nothing I needed to fix or sort out, I was done.
He asked me what my problem was, why was I so angry. I asked him if he remembered the night before. Of course he hadn’t, but he defended himself anyway. Said I was overreacting, making it bigger than it was. I told him that I didn’t want to talk to him, and I went to bed.
Mike wanted to talk. He wanted to know how to fix this. I told him he can’t, that I was going to leave. He begged me. I told him that he didn’t even know what he did that was so bad. He begged me. I told him that I recorded it. He was silent. I told him that he should listen to the recording so that he would know what he did. He said no. I told him not to ask me for forgiveness again if he can’t even stand to listen to what it is he was asking for forgiveness for. He asked again anyway. I started playing the recording and he walked away. I followed him. He was angry, he didn’t want to hear it. I told him to grow a set and listen to it. If he was such a big scary man that he could do that to me, he should be able to listen to it.
He heard his first death threat of the night and told me to turn it off. I said no. He continued listening, he started crying. He begged me for another chance. He begged and begged, and I tried my hardest to stay strong, but it was so hard. I hated that I was hurting him.
Below are some thoughts that I wrote down in the following days. They’re word for word how I wrote then, apart from names being changed. You can see how messed up my frame of mind was at the time, it doesn’t make sense, but that’s what abusers do to their victims, they make logic go out the window. This exact frame of mind is what makes it so difficult for victims to leave.
Back at work today, which gave me some time to think without his influence. If there is ANY chance we’re going to stay together he needs to stop drinking all together. He won’t, but I’ll use that as my out. If he doesn’t want to stop drinking, I’ll leave.
I told him this when I got home. He told me he’d only have a few drinks a day, and I said no. I said that if he’s drinking at all, it’s only a matter of time before he loses control and it happens again. I told him no more alcohol. And I told him that he needs to treat me better, that I’m sick of being treated like a piece of trash. He’s agreed to do both of these things, although he’s not happy about stopping drinking.
While he was taking the bin out tonight I found alcohol he had hidden in the shed. He had a can open and was sneaking sips of it whenever he went out for a cigarette. He doesn’t know that I know. I don’t want to confront him right now, I want to wait until the weekend so I can move all of my stuff out and not have to take time off work.
Caught him drinking tonight. He was on the phone with him Mom, so I just walked away. He came after me and asked me what was wrong, and when I told him he started defending himself. Said it’s his release, and that he’d only bought a six-pack of bourbon. I reminded him that I told him that if he drank again, I would leave, and here he is drinking, so I’m leaving.
He got his Mom on the phone. Said she’d be able to explain his alcoholism to me better than he could. I told her exactly what had happened, and she condemned him, but tried to get me to see reason. She explained to me how hard alcoholism can be. I already know about alcoholism, I’ve been living with an alcoholic for over six year.
I was adamant that it was over, and he got angry and started calling me horrible things again and yelling at me. When he calmed down, he called him Mom again, and then came in the room and implied he was going to kill himself and drove off. I feel extremely guilty, but one of my first thoughts was that I was going to be stuck with the bill for his new car that he was about to total. And then I thought that he probably has life insurance through his super, and that would be able to pay for it.
He came back and was very upset. He asked if it was really over and I said yes. I told him that he keeps promising that he’ll change, and that nothing ever changes. He begged me and said that he didn’t realize how serious I was when I said no more alcohol. I felt so terrible, he was literally begging me. I told him we’ll see how he goes with changing, but that I don’t know if he can fix this.
I wish I’d just stayed strong and said it was over. Why does he have this control over me? I was so sure and firm in my mind, and now I’m second guessing myself.
I wrote the letter below today, although I haven’t given it to him. It expresses how I feel about our relationship.
I’m writing this to you so I can say everything I need to say without getting emotionally overwhelmed.
We have had some great times in our relationship, but they are outweighed by the negative times. You have been emotionally abusive for a long time, and it’s taken me a long time to really see it. I used to make excuses for you, that you were going through a bad time, that you were depressed, whatever I needed to convince myself that it was okay. But it’s not okay. I’m not okay with being treated the way you treat me, and even though I’ve told you this many times before, you’ve never done anything to fix it. You don’t treat me like the woman you’re in love with and about to marry, you treat me like I’m the annoying kid at school that won’t stop following you around. All I ever feel from you is annoyance and anger. I’ve told you so many times that this isn’t okay, yet it still remains the same.
I’ve had a problem with your drinking from day one. Admittedly you’ve stopped getting blind drunk every weekend, but you still prioritise alcohol over everything, including me and our relationship. You’ve made me so many promises in regards to alcohol, and broken every single one of them. I understand that you’re addicted, and you need help with it, but I can’t help you. You need professional help and support Mike.
Your violence is inexcusable. Although your violent episodes aren’t very frequent, even once is too many. We both know there’s been multiple occasions, and it’s escalating. Every time you promise me it won’t happen again, and every time it HAS happened again. Your promises don’t mean much to me anymore considering you’ve broken every single one of them. I believe you when you say that you don’t want to be like that, but you’ve allowed this to happen over and over, and you’ve done nothing to fix it. There is no reason for me to believe that this time will be any different.
The fact that you are able to identify all of these issues, and admit that you have them, and know that they’re wrong, and yet you’ve done nothing over the years to change them, speaks volumes about the respect that you have for me. I can’t keep waiting for something to change. I’ve been waiting too long already, and your history has shown me that you will just continue in the same cycle you’re in, and that change is never coming. I have held hope for so long that things could be better, and we could be happy, but I don’t have any hope anymore. I’ve given you what I had, and now I’ve got nothing left to continue in this relationship.
A lot of women would be resentful and hateful towards a man who did this to them, but I’m not. I’m truly upset about this situation, and I really hope that we can both find happiness within ourselves and move on to live happy lives. Unfortunately the window for us to do that together has closed. There’s just too much hurt, and no trust left.
I feel like he still loves me. I feel like he’s devastated about what happened, and I feel like he’s trying to change. I feel stupid for feeling these things. How can someone who loves someone put hands on them? How can someone who feels so bad about what they did, continue to repeat it? I know that those questions are the logical ones. Logically, if he loved me, he wouldn’t have done what he did. But I feel like he loves me still. Is he just a really good actor? Is he confused? Does he know exactly what he’s doing? Is he manipulating me? I still feel terrible when I think about breaking his heart, but if he doesn’t really love me, can I actually break his heart?
Something I heard that spoke to me was a woman in a similar situation, and instead of feeling like a victim of domestic violence, she saw herself as a woman who was with a man with problems, and she was trying to help him, and save him. That is exactly how I’ve been looking at our relationship for a long, long time. I feel like this is his last shot at happiness, and I don’t want to give up on him, but then I think, well why hasn’t he put any effort in before now? Why should I keep trying to drag him to his happiness when he just keeps digging his heals in? And when did it become my job to save him? Why is he my responsibility?
I don’t think the changes will last. He’s been nice, and he didn’t drink anything yesterday, but it’s only been one day. It’s easy to fake it for a day. I feel like when he messes up again, I can get mad at him and leave. If I leave right now, then I’ll just be the bitch who abandoned him when he was trying to get better and be better. I know no one would judge me for leaving him right now. I know most people would be relieved and tell me I did the right thing. But I would feel so horribly guilty. If I can wait until he screws up, I can leave angry, knowing it was all his fault. I don’t mean wait till he gets violent again. Any drinking, or talking to me poorly will be enough. I know that he won’t be able to last in the state he is right now, that’s just not who he is. I feel bad that I’m letting him think there’s a chance things will work out, but really I’m just waiting for him to mess up again so I can leave.
I know deep down that leaving is the right thing to do. It’s just hard when I can see him trying, even though it’s only been for a day. The time will come, and I will get out. And then I can start a new life, in a new house, and find myself again. I always thought I was a smart woman, and I always thought women who stayed in abusive relationships were stupid, and that I was so much smarter than that. I had no idea what it was like. It’s crippling, and terrifying, and it fills you with guilt, even though you’ve done nothing wrong. I understand now, and I have sympathy for the women still stuck, and I have great admiration for the ones who got out.
There’s excitement mixed with my guilt. I’m excited to have my own house, and decorate it the way I want, and take care of it the way I want, and be there when I want, and not be there when I want. I’m excited to push my limits and step out of my comfort zone. I’m excited for new experiences and exploring new places. I’m excited to heal myself, and to find myself again. I’m excited to build myself into who I really want to be, and to figure out who that even is. I’m excited to eventually date, and be treated well, and I’m excited to be assertive and end relationships early when there’s something I don’t like, instead of just accepting it. I’m excited to actually be able to save money and make progress in my life. I’m excited to just do the things that I want to do without having to take someone else into account.
I’m stuck in a deep dark hole right now, but I can definitely see the light. All I need to do is crawl out of the hole. It’ll be hard, but once I do it, I can be happy.
I feel so guilty. I know that I’m going to leave, but he doesn’t, and he’s trying. He hasn’t had anything to drink, that I know of, since Tuesday when I confronted him. There’s was a glimmer of his usual self yesterday when we were getting ready to take Floyd, the dog, to the park. He said he felt as though he was struggling with his depression, and that he just wanted some time to work himself up to going out. So I left him alone to do that. After a little while I heard him sigh, and thought maybe that was his cue that he was ready, so I asked if he was ready, and he got angry that I wasn’t helping him with whatever he was doing. I told him that if he wants help, all he needs to do is ask, and that I can’t read his mind. He told me that I always do the “easy” stuff, and was talking poorly to me, so I just walked away. About 5 minutes later he called me back and civilly told me that he had wanted my help, and again I told him that I can’t read his mind.
I’ve been listening to a few videos about domestic abuse, and it’s obvious that’s what’s going on. He doesn’t just have some issues that my support will fix, he’s likely to be like this forever. I want to be happy, and I want to have kids, but I will never have children with a man like this.
My emotions are starting to numb now. I feel guilty, but not teary anymore. There’s not even a hint of a question anymore about me leaving. I feel as though I’m lying to him by letting him think there’s a chance, and that makes me feel bad. I feel like I’m not being fair. But then I think about how it was unfair that he’s treated me like this for so long, and then I don’t feel as guilty.
Tina told me a couple days ago that she walked in on him telling a woman who worked at the shop that I’d left him. This happened before that night that he hit me. He has since brought up this woman a couple times, including the fact that he spent an hour chatting to her a couple days ago. I don’t know if there’s anything going on, but it just helps me stay focused on what I need to do, which is leave. And even if he hasn’t actually cheated, he lied to a woman about his relationship status, and my friend caught him (he doesn’t know that she heard though), and that’s not something someone does when they love their partner. He obviously doesn’t care about me and my feelings, so why do I care so much about hurting him? He’s never had a problem hurting me. Should I just leave now and say fuck his feelings? “I know you’re trying now, but it’s just too late. The damage is done”?
I had coffee with Tina tonight and he got mad about it. I told him that’s it, that it’s over. He threatened suicide again and left. I took the opportunity to pack as much as I could. When he got back I stayed up with him to make sure he was safe.
That’s all that I wrote about these days. Expanding on what happened this Monday night, while Mike was out I texted my Mom to tell her I was leaving him. I knew that as soon as she knew, there was no going back. I hit send, and I knew that was it. It was going to end. He came home and I stayed up with him until he stopped talking about killing himself. Then I tried to go to sleep, and he wouldn’t stop talking or let me go to sleep. He kept me up until about 3am, my alarm went off for work at 5am.
Mike tried to keep me home from work that day. He said it wasn’t safe for me to drive. He was right, but it wasn’t safe to stay in the house with him either, and I didn’t want to be around him. I got in the car and started driving. My Mom called as soon as she saw my message from the night before. She asked me what happened and I started crying and told her. She asked me where I was, and I told her I was on my way to work. She said no, I needed to go to her house and deal with this.
I hesitated, she insisted, and that was the moment I left Mike.