Simply Solo Spotlight: The Great Departure
Today’s Simply Solo Spotlight is written by the very brave Ramona, who contacted me a few months ago because she wanted to share her story in hopes of helping other women going through something similar. If you’d like to reach out to Ramona personally, she can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at: email@example.com.
The Great Departure
It still doesn’t seem real, not really. It feels like an invented memory that rushes back like a train at the slightest trigger – there are things that he did that are buried so deep that when they surface, I’m bewildered by my behavior.
I’ve read countless books and articles about abuse and my case is textbook. I am grateful that I got out safely and I am very lucky in that regard. The actual violence (which wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been) wasn’t the worst part. The manipulation left a never-ending pit in my stomach. It was like being on a roller coaster that never stopped – little he did or said made any sense at all and he acted like I was the crazy one for not understanding. He claimed he didn’t love me, that he never did, but he didn’t want me to be with anyone else. He said he had been through enough with me and I deserved what I got.
My music, my clothes, even my job wasn’t good enough, and my family were all idiots – including the children and the dogs. Nothing I was passionate about was worth my time and I had zero talent for anything. Oh, and I was pathetic and fat (I’m a size two).
I never really believed any of what he said, he was clearly outside of his mind, but it wore at me. It was easier to go along with him after a while as no pair of shoes (no matter how cute) was worth a three-hour fight and being eventually ditched somewhere. I felt trapped. I was terrified and broke and didn’t know what to do. He wouldn’t leave me alone and since we were always in contact, he usually knew my schedule. He expected that I would spend all of my free time on him, assuming he was available, and decided when it was bedtime. (If I went to bed early, I clearly didn’t love him.) I felt suffocated. I snuck to therapy.
I was so grateful that I was able to end it, even though I had to wait longer than I would have liked. I had a ball once he left, doing anything I liked – I was finally in control of myself again.
As time moves forward, the waves of guilt, regret and general anxiety hit like a ton of bricks. At times, all I want to do now is talk and talk and tell everyone how horrible it was – and then other times I don’t want to talk about him at all. I sit in my room and go over and over every little detail, trying to understand, but it never adds up. I think about him every day and I have horrible nightmares that we’re still together.
I had kept everything a secret, even once I got my head out of the “but I love him” clouds, as a way to protect those I care about from being upset and then possibly interfering. I couldn’t handle telling my dad what this man was doing to me. To this day, most of my friends and family don’t know the whole story.
It’s been a year since the great departure and I’m still ill at ease. I’m excited for the future and I know it can only go up from here, as every day without him is an improvement. I know I’ll be okay in the end and I’m not letting this define me, but it will never be really over. He’s still in my peripheral, just in case. My greatest fear is being found, even contacted. I always have an exit plan and I always lock all of the doors twice, always. If he does show up, there will be hell to pay, but I can’t dwell on that.
I was awed, and still am, at how helpful and kind friends, family, even strangers were. No matter how hard I tried to hide it, people could see the truth and supported me in their own way; I am so grateful for all of them. It is because of this compassion and support that I know not all men will treat me this way, and that someday I’ll meet a caring and kind (and handsome and smart and likes dogs and…) guy who thinks I’m as awesome as I think I am.
If you know of someone in bad situation – say something! She won’t leave until she’s ready, but she will know you’re there if she needs you. You can’t force her to leave, so stay by her side – she’ll need your support.
If you’re in a similar situation, I urge you to make a plan and get out. There are support networks all across the country to help you. This is not your fault and I know you’re doing the best you can, but if you’re in a dangerous situation, you need to protect yourself. Please, tell someone and please, stay safe.
Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)