|February 10, 2011||Posted by revelation under Features, Guest Posts|
Is This an Abusive Relationship?
Since this is my first contribution to this website, I feel the need to preface this “article” with a few things: 1) I am not a prolific or poetic writer 2) I don’t mean to be self-indulgent, but…I, like you, am a woman trying to figure out some things about myself, men, relationships and life; therefore I will regularly speak to the things that are currently going on in my life, that maybe you can relate to or have wondered about yourself.
So with that said here we go…
It was about 2 weeks ago that I was sitting on my best friend’s bed at about 11AM on a Saturday. I sleep over there every weekend and usually spend the first 2-3 hours of my day rehashing my most recent breakup, all while apologizing for “obsessing” or “ruminating,” while she nods, contributes her thoughts and assures me that “he’s not worth it.” (She’s a good friend for that). So as I’m rambling on, I asked her
“Is this abuse?”
She already knew about the time that my boyfriend of 2 years came home to his house (I would always stay in his apt when he was out cheating on me with the money he didn’t have, while I researched and worked from my computer, on his air mattress… true story) drunk and not wanting to talk to me about another lie he told. I was badgering him, I will admit. “Why did you tell me that you didn’t go anywhere that Friday night?, when clearly YOU DID because I see a picture on your desktop that has that date on it, and you’re wearing a shirt that says ‘causal sex is ok’.” He begged me to leave him alone because he was drunk, I was ‘trippin’, ‘he wasn’t lying’ and ‘you really have issues with snooping’. I kept at it even when he was hitting me in the arm harder than I felt comfortable. Yet, I continued asking ‘why are you SUCH a LIAR????!!!!!!’ (not yelling…just indignant). At that point, he grabbed me by the neck and “guided” my body down to the bed.
Was that abuse?
I also asked her about the time that we had gotten in to an argument that lasted a day or two (I think he created these arguments so that he could spend time with his other women) and I came over to his house to “make up.” We talked it out, had sex and started to watch TV. As we’re watching TV, he starts slapping me in the face. Now, he wasn’t slapping me hard enough to leave a bruise, or hard enough to sting but JUST hard enough that it didn’t seem playful. But then again, who playfully slaps a woman in the face. I tell him to stop “STOP hitting me in the FACE, FOR REAL!!! Don’t hit me in the face again.” He keeps doing it and saying “ohhhhh what are you going to do?? What are you going to do?” But he wasn’t saying it in a threatening way, so I was confused. I was baffled really. Again, I said “DON’T TOUCH ME IN THE FACE!!!” He kept on though. I eventually started crying because I got scared and this “playful game” was beginning to make me feel uncomfortable. When he saw the tears, he immediately stopped, cuddled me from behind, and said “I forgot how sensitive you are! I was just playing with you and I was getting ready to do the whole ‘aggressive sex’ thing”. We dropped the conversation and didn’t have sex. I told ONE friend who responded with an “ehhhhhhhh.” Yet, I always wondered…
Was that abuse?
Then I asked her about the time that we were sitting in the living room with his boys. I was sitting up and he was lying down so that his feet were touching my thighs. He began to kick me. He had been mad about something earlier but I thought the argument was over. He kept kicking me in the thigh, enough that it was hurting, but not enough that it seemed overtly threatening. I told him to stop kicking me, but he kept doing it, probably about 5 times. After the 5th time, his boy was like “YO…Chill with that!!” I felt stupid because his boy noticed that there was something wrong about the interaction and intervened before I could even process what was going on.
Was that abuse?
As the number of stories accumulated during this conversation I really had to take a good look at myself and ask if I had been in an abusive relationship.
There was the time that we got in an argument about his infidelity and he didn’t want me to leave until the conversation was done. He held me up against the fence to the point where I had bruises on my arms the next day. He jumped in my car, broke the lock off of the door and wouldn’t get out of the car. To be completely honest, he put his hand around my throat that night too. Again, he didn’t “squeeze” my throat so I was able to rationalize this as not being abusive. I eventually called his roommate to come and get him, he got out of the car, threw the keys at my back and called me a “stupid fucking bitch.” After that time, I had visible bruises on my arms from the fence and my mom asked me “is someone hitting you?” and she laughed… because we BOTH knew that those types of things don’t happen in our family. It wasn’t even a realistic question on her part. Yet…was it?
As my friend and I continued rehashing the experiences of subtle physicality in the relationship, I STILL couldn’t figure out if this was in fact an abusive relationship. Yet, it is SO clear that it was. I mean, I broke up with my last boyfriend when he grabbed a fork out of my hand. At that time, I felt that him even beginning to intrude upon my personal space was a clear violation. Yet, with this boyfriend I couldn’t quite figure it out. His pathological lying and passive aggressiveness clearly was playing out in his subtle ability to use physical force to control me. He could put his hands around my neck and lie to himself that he didn’t actually “put his hands on me” because he didn’t use force. Clearly, I bought that lie too.
I was convinced.
I am STILL not sure if the aforementioned anecdotes “count” as abuse. However, I do know that if it was you writing this and me reading it, I’d be wondering WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS CHICK???????? Hopefully, one of you may be reading this and beginning to recognize, that you need to ask yourself … “Was that abuse?”
I hope you ask yourself this question before it turns to blatant and overt abuse that leads to actual physical harm. My situation ended when I caught him cheating AGAIN and he slashed my tires. The tire slashing illuminated the fact that he was in fact an emotionally unstable and violent man. Again, some of us are reading about this tire slashing and wondering “is that really considered violent?”
Well…The police sure thought it was.