I'm a smart, well educated, and strong woman with good judgement. I feel a positive or negative 'vibe' in people when I first meet them which has proven itself to be quite accurate over the years. But contrary to my 'woman's intuition', I fell into a relationship with an abusive person. I've contemplated the reason for this especially after writing the webpage article on this site about the behavior of abusive people. Despite people's accusations that victims of abuse are attracted to 'bad boys' or that they deserve the abusive (I prefer to be called a SURVIVOR), I want to share how someone can unexpectedly become a victim as it happened to me not too long ago:
When I first met My Abuser (to leave out names this is how I will refer to him), I was not comfortable with his 'vibe'. Mutual friends introduced us, vouched for him, and then he asked me out a few weeks later. I politely told him I wasn't interested but he still sent an expensive bouquet of flowers to my house (after acquiring my personal address from a mutual friend). I was flattered but still not interested.
Some time went by and I received a Facebook message from a woman whom I had dozens of mutual friends with. Her email went on about My Abuser and how he was misunderstood, had been through a number of hardships and trials, and what a 'great guy' he was. She was friendly, sweet, and seemed very sincere. We began to correspond talking about life, our jobs, friends, and this man that I had previously turned down. I've always been slightly uncomfortable around men due to being molested as a child and raped as a teenager but as she opened up to me about her past and shared things about My Abuser's past I began to trust her. I went from being not interested in him, to feeling sorry for him, to eventually feeling curious about getting to know him in person.
We finally went on a date and quickly fell into a relationship, moving in together before I really had a chance to get to know him. I noticed things that set off alarms inside me, but I ignored them. I always try and believe the best in people and I had come to believe my first impression of him was wrong. My mysterious and trusted pen-pal (whom I never had the opportunity to meet in person due to her recent move to New York) vouched for My Abuser. He absolutely adored me and I wanted so badly to have finally found Mr. Right.
He slowly began to voice disapproval of my friends and was not supportive of me going out without him. He consistently lied to me and posed as the victim in every circumstance. He was as hot and cold as Jekyll and Hyde. He told me stories of fights he had gotten into in the past, people he had hurt and almost killed, and sadly how his dad has abused him and his siblings. A few times he got angry and threw things, red in the face, spitting mad about the simplest of issues. He was controlling and manipulative. He jealously always accused me of cheating on him. He went through my computer and phone every night never allowing me privacy. I was not in control of my own life anymore, my confidence drained I became severely depressed.
I was afraid of him, yet I still stayed with him because he seemed like a hurt puppy I could fix. He was very emotional, clingy, and had quickly fallen in love with me telling me I was his soul mate. "No one else will ever love you the way that I do. No one else will ever understand you the way I do. I can never live my life without you in it" were constant words out of his mouth. We had fallen into the cycle of abuse, the honeymoon stage was heavenly when he was on his best behavior. I had to walk on egg shells in an attempt keep him in a good mood because once he became agitated or insecure... he turned into the devil, a real life nightmare appearing before my eyes.
I started realizing how unhealthy the relationship was but I was afraid to get out, I had forgotten what a healthy relationship looks like. He had threatened me and my reputation with my friends and my job, and even threatened death to other men if I were to communicate with them.
It was around this time I accidently discovered a profile on Facebook... one he had forgotten to log out of on his computer. It didn't belong to him, it belonged to my mysterious pen-pal who conveniently lived in New York. Suddenly everything fell into place and I felt like a fool, totally and completely manipulated and taken advantage of! He had gained my trust by pretending to be this woman. For a brief moment I wondered if I should be flattered or if I should be running to the police because of his psychotic behavior?! I did find a way out of the relationship but only after he nearly killed me, you can listen to that part of my story here.
After getting out, I slowly began to rebuild the confidence he had destroyed. I came to a place where I could learn from my past...the biggest lesson in my story is to trust your instincts. I ignored mine and it nearly cost me my life. When I saw the early warning signs and experienced a number of the different types of abuse, I should have gotten out immediately. Its my mission in life now to protect people from relationships like the one I was in, especially as I personally understand why victims are tempted to stay in the relationship. I've turned a negative experience into a positive mission.
Please join me in my campaign against domestic abuse, become familiar with the behaviors of abusive people and learn how you can safely intervene to save someone's life.