When we first moved in together, I was working as a Certified Nurses Assistant (CNA) at a local hospital. I was working just part-time since I was required to be at school five days out of the week (until the last term of the program, when we were there much less). Due to my limited income at the time, I agreed to pay for the groceries for both of us. My abuser was heavy into lifting weights at the time, and it seemed like I was constantly buying groceries to keep up with his calorie intake demands. He agreed to pay the mortgage each month until I started working as a Registered Nurse (RN). It was clear that once I started working as a RN I was expected to pay half of the mortgage.
Upon graduating and passing my state boards for nursing, I immediately began working as a RN at the same hospital that I had worked at as a CNA. My abuser actually worked at the same hospital as a RN, but he worked in a different department than I did. My abuser had previously worked on my unit before I started working there, though, so he knew almost all of my coworkers. He had worked with most of them for several years. My abuser was confident, competent, outgoing, humorous, and attractive. These attributes made him very well known throughout the entire hospital. People would joke sometimes that he was like the “Ken doll” of the hospital. I would be told how lucky I was, and that we were “so cute together”.
My abuser “persuaded” me to match my schedule to his as best as I could and so that, although we were in different departments, we would always work on the same days. You often hear of abusers isolating their victims and restricting them from maintaining an occupation, but mine encouraged me to work and to make as much money as I could for “us”. He never tried to keep me from working, as he was almost always at work on the same days, and at the same times as I was. In fact, if I was sick and needed to call in to work, or if the staffing office placed me on-call for the day last minute because the hospital was over-staffed with RNs, my abuser would make comments that I needed to work to make money and that I wasn’t going to have any PTO for when we (he) decided to take a vacation. However, if he was placed on-call, it was great because he had a day off to “get so much done” (we both only worked three days a week).
Although he encouraged me to work a full-time job, my abuser would distract me on the days that I worked. He would call me every shift on my work phone around the time that he wanted to take a lunch break, and he would expect me to be able to drop everything I was doing at that moment to be able to join him on his lunch. With nursing, it’s impossible to just drop everything that you are doing; someone could be dying at that moment. With my abuser, he didn’t care. He expected me to be able to ask my nurse “buddy” (the nurse who had agreed to keep an eye on my patients while I took my breaks that day) to be able to take over for my patients at any moment and so that I could go eat. If my nurse buddy was on break, he would suggest I ask the charge nurse, or really any other nurse for that matter, if they could watch/care for my patients while I was off of the unit. It was all about him, all the time, so he was used to either bullying or charming his coworkers into letting him take his breaks whenever he wanted. He expected me to also bully or guilt-trip my coworkers (if needed) into feeling like they had to watch my patients for me whenever I wanted them to (which just isn’t in my nature). If I wasn’t able to get someone to watch my patients for me, then he would say that I just hadn’t tried hard enough.
I soon found work to be even more stressful, as I was worried about making it to lunch on time with my abuser every shift. It was as if my abuser expected to be priority over the well-being of my patients. Bottom line, I couldn’t focus. I was too stressed over my own consequences (if I missed lunch) and my own-well being to be able to focus on all nursing tasks at hand. I began to find almost all patient assignments from that point on to be very challenging and stressful, and that wasn’t like me. I began to feel incompetent for the first time in my nursing career. After my stressful shifts and being made to feel incompitent, instead of relaxing, I would have to ride passenger with my abuser on our way to hell (aka home).
I forgot to mention that my abuser proposed to me just after I graduated from nursing school (he actually proposed at my graduation party, just before I began working as a RN). Keep in mind that the obstacles that he was creating for me at work were happening once we were already engaged to be married.
I apologize for jumping around with some of the content in my blog entries (I especially apologize in advance as I know it will likely get worse). I am mainly using this blog as a coping tool for myself to use, and I’ve found that at times, memories will come back to me that I haven’t remembered or thought of in a very long time once I start to type. I also have a lot to my story that I would like to share, and those thoughts and memories can be very overwhelming at times.
In my next entry I will talk more about the proposal, and I also want to share how my abuser and I’s religious/cultural backgrounds contributed to our relationship.