I grew up in a very strict household, where understanding to obey and respect the law was the expectation. When I first met my abuser, I was just shy of turning 21. Only once did I drink before the legal drinking age, and at the time I was just being a stupid 17-year-old girl. I had never experimented with marijuana before this abusive relationship, and I had no desire to. I was known for being “a good girl”, and I just wanted to get through nursing school and start my career.
Nursing school has a reputation for being difficult, and let me tell you, it is. What makes it even more difficult is being in an abusive relationship while trying to navigate through it. I began having migraines towards the end of my first year in the nursing program, and I even had a MRI performed to make sure that I didn’t have a brain tumor. It was harder to focus on lectures in class, my memory was slipping, and I was finding it difficult to critically think on my clinical days. I even remember one of my instructors at clinical asking me, “what is going on with you?”, when I could not answer a simple question that she had asked me. At the time, even I didn’t know what was going on with me.
Things got even harder when we moved in together. I was in my second year of nursing school when my abuser made the decision to move to another city and to buy a house. He invited me to live with him, but didn’t seem to care if I moved in or not. I was afraid that I would never see him if he moved without me, and that we would therefore break up. I ended up moving in with him and commuting to school and to work. My parents told me their concerns and asked me not to move before finishing the nursing program, but I moved anyways. I wish that I would have listened to them, but I also know that there was no way of knowing that this was going to happen to me. It’s taken me a long time to voice that I know that I should not feel shame for not doing what they asked of me.
Upon moving in together, the abuse became more frequent and more intense over time. The first evening that I moved in, he messaged me from work to ask what I would be preparing him for dinner. I had very little experience with cooking, and I was so worried that I would mess something up somehow. I had never lived anywhere other than with my parents before. After spending hours in the kitchen that night preparing a nice meal, he ate dinner and voiced what I could have done better. While cohabiting, if I didn’t start washing dishes before he did, I was lazy and I wasn’t doing my chores; Same with the laundry. Once while recovering from one of my surgeries, he even suggested making a chores list, because I just wasn’t “holding up my end” and it wasn’t fair to him. Keep in mind that I couldn’t walk while recovering from surgery (for several months), yet I was expected to split the chores with him… that should tell you a lot.
He also was jealous, and would project that on to me. If a man messaged me via text or social media, no matter how harmless the context of the message, he acted as if it were unacceptable and as if I were his territory. As if I were is object. He once told someone important to me to “fuck off” from my phone because he didn’t want him to try to talk to me ever again. All that person had told me was to have a “Happy Thanksgiving”…
I caught him looking through my phone while we were dating a couple of times, and he would assume that any males in my life besides my family were trying to sleep with me basically. I would try to be understanding, but he then made me feel like it was unacceptable to have any male connections at all. He would act as if it would be cheating if I responded to a male’s message politely. Meanwhile, he would be telling me about how he was texting his female coworkers late at night, and he would come home telling me stories of how he had been making sexual, but joking comments to his female coworkers during his shift that day. It was clear that he was trying to rile me up. In response to those comments of his, I would react frustrated and angrily because of the double standards that he had implemented. He would then make me feel like I was crazy for being upset with him for “communicating” with his coworkers. He could talk to whoever he wanted, however he wanted to, yet I was verbally and emotionally abused if I so much as responded to a purposeful, yet harmless message from another man? Makes sense. NOT. Although I was a very loyal partner, my abuser eventually made it clear what he would do to me if I ever did cheat on him. In fact, he specifically told me: he would stab me in the chest with a knife. He would kill me.
Still wondering why some women “stay”?…. In my posts to come, I will share many more instances of the abuse that I endured while in this previous relationship.