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Simply Solo Spotlight: The Great Departure

June 28, 2011

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: shewhofightsinfront@gmail.com.

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: simplysoloblog@gmail.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.

Photo courtesy of haifischmaedchen

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)

 


22 Comments leave one →
  1. little sister permalink
    June 28, 2011 10:11 am

    Ramona, I loved that you were able to share this story. I hope it helps other women in similar situations.Thank you.
    little sister

    • Ramona permalink
      June 29, 2011 9:25 am

      Thank you, little sister!

  2. June 28, 2011 11:03 am

    Ramona,
    Thanks for having the courage to write this post. I can’t imagine looking over my shoulder the way that you have had to, and you are so strong for finding a path away from this man. I’m so happy that you have been able to reclaim your life. I really appreciate your sharing your story here on Simply Solo, because I know that at least a few people that read will be able to identify with it. And, hopefully you will be able to help someone. So often we don’t feel comfortable talking about abuse (physical and emotional) because it’s taboo or because we have some kind of personal guilt involved. I have some abuse in my past, and it’s a topic that I’ve never really touched on on the blog. But these moments in our lives really affect us, and if we stay silent about them, it’s almost like we are taking the blame upon ourselves. Take care of yourself and thanks again for your guest post.

    • Ramona permalink
      July 1, 2011 3:20 pm

      Thank you so much for letting me share my story, Catherine!

  3. June 28, 2011 12:11 pm

    Ramona, thank you for sharing, for not only the women (and men) in this situation, but for their friends/family.

    When you’re an outsider, so often you’re fearful of saying something… you don’t want to butt in. But, BUTT IN! If just to say, ‘I love you’ and ‘here if you need’.

    • Ramona permalink
      June 29, 2011 9:30 am

      It’s often nerve wracking, whether or not you want to get involved with someones affairs – A lot of my friends are very private people in regards to relationships and didn’t want to butt in. I had friends say things like, “I thought you guys just fought a lot,” or, “The way he talked to you was terrible, but I figured if it was really bad, you would have done something.” It doesn’t matter how strong a person is, these situations are terribly difficult to wrap your head around. I assure you I walked around for a good few months thinking, “Holy Crap. I’m in an abusive relationship. How did this happen.”

  4. June 28, 2011 1:44 pm

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

    • Ramona permalink
      June 29, 2011 9:31 am

      And thank you for reading!

  5. MyLifeUntangled permalink
    June 28, 2011 6:04 pm

    Ramona – I feel like you are telling my story. Abuse-emotional and physical, keeping secrets from friends and family to protect them and myself, sneaking to therapy and paying cash so no insurance bills show up, making an escape, looking over your shoulder. I understand what you are talking about. I left this past November while he was working, cut all ties to a man and his family that I have been with for 24 years, my entire adult life. It should be easy to leave someone that treats you horribly but its not. Like you most of my family and friends don’t know the extent of what went on. If someone asks a question I give them an honest answer but I don’t generally offer details. Thanks for sharing, it makes me feel less like a weirdo.

    Catherine – Thanks for an entertaining blog!

    • Ramona permalink
      June 29, 2011 9:41 am

      I couldn’t imagine being in a relationship that long with a man like this – I am so happy you were able to get out safely. I think you hit the nail on the head about what confuses your average person the most – why is it so hard to leave. I kept thinking things would get better, that I could salvage this, that if I just tried harder I wouldn’t make him so mad. But after a while I realized it wasn’t me, of course, that I couldn’t have done anything to make him truly happy. Leaving was a different can of worms entirely – because leaving meant that this was really happening and that was really hard to accept. Also leaving meant getting rid of him for good and he wasn’t too keen on that for the first bit. All of these things and more horrendous details is why it’s hard to leave – I wish it was taught in schools that horrible things happen and to just be supportive of your friends and family, but alas.
      I’m so glad you got out and starting to move on – as I said (or maybe just in one of the earlier drafts…) any day without him is a step in the right directions 🙂

      • MyLifeUntangled permalink
        June 29, 2011 7:50 pm

        As you probably know there is a cycle of abuse and things are not always bad. Sometimes they are incredibly good. That’s what is so confusing and draws you in. He’s changed you think. Then nope here HE is again. Luckily I was finally able to hang onto the way I felt when things were bad through the good times so I could get myself out. Thanks again.

  6. 2newbeginnings permalink
    June 28, 2011 7:15 pm

    I can’t tell you how much I get your words and completely understand where you are coming from. I too come from a physical and emotional abusive relationship. I’m having a hard time letting go and being free of the pain and heartache of it all. He is in a new relationship now. Says he is a changed man. Saught the help he needed. But, why couldn’t he get the help when we were together. Why wasn’t I good enough? Is the person I am now with going to turn out to be the same way? When does the pain go away?

    • June 29, 2011 9:29 am

      2newbeginnings, I hear you.

      Although I was not in an abusive relationship, my ex did a lot of immature, bonehead things. He has seemingly matured, treating his new lady with love and respect. I ask myself many of the same questions, and all I can come up with is that I deserved better/more than what I received from him. Does it hurt to see the ‘changed’ person do the things you always wanted him to do? Sure. But, have faith that he was not the right person for you and so much good will come your way.

    • Ramona permalink
      June 29, 2011 3:08 pm

      I read a great book that really helped me called “Why does He Do That” about the psychology of abusive men that was really helpful to me and I think it may help you, too. As for the pain, time is unfortunately the only answer. Take time to wallow in it, treat yourself, bur don’t let it get you down for too long. Make a plan and move forward – the achievement of goals is powerful in the happiness department.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0425191656/ref=redir_mdp_mobile/188-4700242-9209557

      • MyLifeUntangled permalink
        June 29, 2011 7:53 pm

        This book Ramona mentions by Lundy Bancroft is phenomenal and really helped me also. I’ve given a copy to a friend and had another woman buy a copy for her daughter. I have another one on hand ready for the next person I meet that needs it. Its incredible how after I opened up about my relationship how many people have come forward either in, knows someone in or been in the same situation.

        • Ramona permalink
          June 29, 2011 8:19 pm

          This book was actually recommended to me by a friend with a nasty partner as well – so glad that you liked it too!

  7. June 28, 2011 11:32 pm

    Very powerful story. Thanks for sharing.

  8. June 30, 2011 1:23 am

    Romana,

    I know exactly what you went through. And just because we are out of it, doesn’t mean we aren’t looking over our shoulders. It took me two years to leave, but after the constant punches, throws up againts the wall, being thrown to the floor, being pulled by the hair, emotionally abused, and the worst I didn’t sleep because for no reason at all he would wake up in the middle of the night and just start punching away. Finally, during the last encounter when he was punching me, kicking me, punching me more, he started choking me. I could feel my eyesight started to go black, I couldn’t breathe. I just said in my head ‘god please help me’ and as soon as I said that he let go. He continued with his beating. I ‘made’ him hurt his hand and he made me go to walmart to get him some neosporin, but went to my friend who lived right down the street and that is when I finally broke free. This happened about 6 years ago, and I’m still afraid. I’m not only emotionally scared, I still till this day have back problems because of this incident. I’m actually crying while writing this because I remember it like it was yesterday. I pressed charges, had to go through the gruesome process of getting photographed, and he ended up going to jail. I am happily married now and my husband trys to help me through this as much as he can. I have night terrors where I’m literally screaming and crying and scaring the hell out of my husband till he wakes me up and holds me till I finally do fall asleep. I have anxiety attacks (sometimes) when I see movies or shows with abuse in it. As people tell me, he is probably not even thinking twice about me, and I’m here scared that one day he will come and finish the job. I encourage everyone out there to help if you see someone in this situation. True they will leave when they are ready, but hopefully it isn’t too late. We were lucky to get away from this. Not everyone is so lucky.

    Thank you for sharing your story again. The more people share their stories the more someone in that situation know that it is ok to get out and there is help for them.

    • Ramona permalink
      July 1, 2011 3:18 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear about what you went through and am very glad that you got out and are safe from him. Stay strong.

  9. July 3, 2011 2:36 pm

    Ramona, I lived a very similar life to you. It is beautiful to see that other women were also able to go through something like this and come out stronger on the other side. It is insane how much they can break our spirits and tear us down, but it is even more amazing when we are strong enough to share our stories. Thank you so much for putting this out for the world. I wish you all the best.
    EJR

  10. July 6, 2011 7:49 am

    Ramona, How brave of you to share your story. My ex was very manipulative, so I completely understand how it wears you down and chips away at you.

    I’m glad to hear that you got out!

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