From beginning to end: A vivid story of controlling and emotional abuse

Hard facts and research data often cannot replace a true account of what someone has been through personally. We have asked those who have experienced abuse situations to come forward, anonymously, and share their story with us. Through the coming weeks, we will be focusing on a series of these personal accounts. Our first is about a woman who was involved with a very controlling and emotionally abusive man who started off as the perfect gentleman.

“I met him while I was walking my dog near my home. He was working as a guard at one of the buildings across the way and he commented on the T-shirt I was wearing. He was polite, friendly, outgoing…charming and funny as well but not over the top. He seemed… genuine and honest. He asked a lot of questions and was interested in getting to know the real me. Every day I would walk the dog in hopes of seeing him at his post, and I often did. We would stop and have a pleasant conversation for a good few weeks. One day, he brought me a film that I had mentioned being interested in seeing. I told him I couldn’t take it, but he insisted I borrow it as he loved the film and did not want me to miss out on it. I watched the film that week and brought it back to him.

There was not a warning sign in site, to my knowledge. He seemed very patient and easy to be around. I felt comfortable with him and like I could be myself. In fact, he really seemed to want to know me in a deeper way than most would have so early on. He bragged a bit about his accomplishments, stating that his guard work was only on the side for a bit of extra cash but that really he was a writer and knew many celebrities. I was impressed that he had a high profile and this made me a bit nervous around him. I enjoyed our conversations and saw more and more of him over the coming months, our chats getting longer and longer as this went on. One day, on my birthday, he had bought flowers for me which he had tucked away in his car until I came out for my daily walk. Two dozen huge red roses in a gorgeous bouquet and I was speechless. No one had ever done that kind of thing for me, and it wasn’t until that day that I really had the idea that he was interested in me. He asked me if I would go out with him to dinner and the cinema, after the roses I simply couldn’t say no.

We went out the next week and I was surprised at how attentive he was. He was also very romantic and he would tell me all of these stories about the kind things he did for others, how he loved animals, that he was a family man, how honor was important to him, and more. He was very good at making a story elicit just the reaction he was after; of course, I did not know this at the time. Things with us became serious very quickly as he professed how much he cared for me and made grand gestures of love. I fell madly in love with him and couldn’t believe my luck that I had somehow found such a perfect guy for me. I was introduced to his family, to whom he lied about who I was, what I did, etc. He said they would judge me if they knew the truth so he insisted that we keep up the lie that he told—he was doing it for my sake, he said. Because he cared for my feelings and wanted me to feel comfortable, he said. It seemed strange but I didn’t know them and I trusted his judgment so I went along with it.

Over the next few months, he seemed to test me. Little by little, pushing buttons to see just what he could get away with. I was rather quiet and shy and did not much like conflict so I quickly apologized whenever any sort of disagreement came up. I noticed that the more I tried to be kind, the more he started asking of me. First it was little things, like asking who I was talking to and being a bit too interested about my day and my whereabouts. He started making small remarks about my clothes, that he didn’t like it when I would wear shorts when he was not around as he was worried that someone might get the wrong idea about me, he said. It was a slow process, but his true self started coming through.

He started grilling me every time I was away from him and basically insisted I spend every moment with him unless he was working (and he would even sneak me into work sometimes just to keep an eye on me). He would start fights with me and they would last for days as he would slowly wind me down until I finally gave in and said whatever it was he wanted me to say, with tears in my eyes, and apologize over and over until he was satisfied that I meant it. Only the more this happened, the larger the gesture was needed for him to be convinced. He wouldn’t believe me that my friends were only friends and so he started giving me time limits as to how long I could talk to them over the phone. Eventually he forbad me to talk to them, saying that if I really loved him that I would choose him over the others.

He also made me promise that I would never raise my voice to him. One day, the dog, which he tied to the door knob of the bedroom, got excited (as the poor thing was left there all day by the wall, aside from her walks) and pulled the door hard as he walked by, hitting him in the head… he got so angry he kicked her in the gut. I saw this and instantly ran up to him and yelled at him that this was not okay and I would not have him hurting our dog. He looked at me, dead cold in the eyes, and said, “I told you never to raise your voice to me” and slapped me hard across the face. I ran out of the house, in a bad area, while wearing only his boxers and a t-shirt, barefoot, messy hair, tears streaming down my face and no money or bag. I went to a pay phone to call my mother to come and get me as I was leaving him I said, and I did not have my car with me at the time. A few minutes later he rushed out and found me, apologized profusely and said it was only due to being hit in the head and he was dizzy and out of sorts and would never do it again. I forgave him, despite my gut telling me I shouldn’t. I mean, I loved him and he loved me so I figured he deserved another shot.

As the months went by, he would try to control me in every way, even telling me what I could and could not eat as he told me I was fat and that he wouldn’t want a fat girl. I weighed 100 lbs and was a size 0. He wanted my hair a certain way so I did as he asked or I knew I would be fighting again for days with him. I used to write in my journal but he started insisting that I let him read it or he would say that I was “keeping secrets”. I remember tearing out page after page of old writing, while he was at work, that I was dreading he might find and turn against me. I even wrote fake pages explaining why I ripped those out, with old dates and all. I wrote about how much I loved him and how much he mattered, simply to keep him from finding things to take out on me. He made me promise that I would kill myself if he happened to die somehow, and later that we might try to die together. He couldn’t bear the thought of me ever being with anyone else or even spending time with friends unless he was there.

I tried to leave him. A few times, as this was starting to kill me inside. I felt like I was trapped and like there was no way out as he was watching my every move. Whenever I would tell him I wanted it to be finished, he would tell me that I was no good and who besides him would want someone like me? He knew exactly what to bring up to make me feel as though I was unworthy of any love at all. It was always the same, I would cave in and start crying, apologize to him for being so stupid and tell him again and again how much I loved him and only him and to please forgive me and take me back. He of course made me say a good few times before he would “take me back”. In the end, I had to ask my family to step in and intervene. They had a talk with him and told him I no longer wished to see him. He requested to talk to me alone and I refused. Finally, it was over. I felt like I had been in prison for years and was finally set free!

As happy as I was to be out of my cage, the entire situation had a huge impact on my self-esteem and I spent years trying to rebuild it. I had developed PTSD from the situation and would shake uncontrollably every time I thought of or spoke of him. Part of me believed what he said about no one loving me like he would. That no one would really want me, why would they? I mean, what did I have to offer exactly? In time, and with a lot of support from friends and family, I slowly rebuilt my way of thinking and started to like who I was again. But to this day, there are times where I still think maybe he was right after all. I know this way of thinking is not good and I have to counter it with reasoning with myself and with the knowledge that he was an abuser and I was unfortunately his victim. I know that I do not have to be that victim any longer but I will always carry the scars.“

Abusers can be very manipulative and patient with twisting the circumstances around in just a way that they will break down even the toughest of characters. Even if they started out as exactly what you were looking for, be careful and cautious until you really know their true self. See how they react when they get angry and watch out for lies that they tell to others, as this means they are likely lying to you as well. If you are in an abusive situation, get help and get out. These people can leave a mark for many years after they have gone from a person’s life. They are poison and their toxicity is difficult to counter. The faster you can get away from these bad seeds, the better.

 

When overcoming an abusive situation, it may be difficult to think clearly and come up with a solution to remedy the abuse, while trying to implement it may feel almost impossible. However, given the right tools and the will power to create change, it most certainly is possible, even more so– it is probable. Many may feel overwhelmed and may not know where to start, but it is important to start somewhere.

Please continue to check in with us each week for a new post about abusive behavior and how it can affect your life and the lives of those around you. There is always that first action to helping someone you care about. Let this be it!

 

Author Bio - Anna Czarska is a writer and actor who has 15+ years of experience dealing with various situations of abuse. She has pursued business ventures and creative pursuits as well as spending time to study psychology in both formal and personal education. For more information, you may find her Linkedin profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kasiakraut/

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