Was it abuse when it doesn't involve a fist? part 1

by jessica thompson
(new zealand)

I Survived !

As I sit back now I realize more and more that the signs were there, how could I of been so stupid. How did I fall into this trap so easily? Nearly 2 years of my life wasted and trapped away and I didn't have a clue.

I was 18 at the time and I was in such a good place in my life. I had a good job, heaps of friends and a family that supported me. I live in the small town of Ngaruawahia, so it was hard to meet new people. But I decided now was the perfect time to make new friends and maybe meet my prince charming, so I started to talk to new people online. A few weeks after I started messaging a guy named matt, I was really interested in him. We had so much in common and we would write novels to each other online, after a month of talking we decided to meet in person. Sparks flew and we instantly connected and had a huge bond.

I thought I had met a real keeper, he was in his final months of a Law degree at Waikato University and worked a part time retail job. I thought I found an amazing guy who was going to be a lawyer, which you would presume had good ethics. I felt this was too good to be true all the time. Little did I know my gut feeling was right? We rushed into a lot. After about 2 months we had moved in together, and it was the first time I had moved out of home. Only realizing now, this was the start of being isolated.

My parents had met him a few times and instantly did not like him, so from then on I didn't bring him to my parents. Everything seemed normal for the first 4 months. We had arguments here and there but nothing too big. At that point I realized he liked to yell and call names and people who know me well know that I just cry and I never call people names. But I started losing friends left, right and center. Whenever I wanted to go see friends or have a girls night out I wasn't allowed, or I had a short time limit because he would make me feel guilty for leaving him at home alone. Things only started to escalate from here. He had my passwords for everything and told me who of my friends I could talk to and which ones he didn't like. There was even an incident 8 months into the relationship where he had threatened to stab two of my friends I had over at our house, one of them was my best friend who told me I had to go to the police station and file a trespass on him and end the relationship. She kept saying that I wasn't safe and that she didn't feel safe coming over anymore. I waited a few hours so I could calmly make a decision on what to do and by the time I had decided to file a statement I arrived at the police station to see him there waiting. He had filed a statement against me, my friends and family. When I saw him he smirked and then left without a word. We sat with the officer and explained the situation. The officer said there was nothing we can do and it was just another teenage drama that can be easily resolved. From then on I didn't rely on the police for anything.

So I moved out of the house we were living in and moved into my own place. We still kept in contact and not long after he had spoiled me with expensive gifts and dates and apologized for what he had done, I forgave him easily and I believed that everyone makes mistakes. But shortly after we had patched things up, things started to happen. Whenever we got into arguments, I would leave but he was always determined to not let me go. It started with him grabbing my arms and holding me when I tried to leave. Bruises started to appear. I always told myself at the time that it was nothing and that I just bruise easily. In my mind at the time I didn’t think that was abuse, I kept every incident to myself as I had no friends. I would make up stories and lies to my family about the bruises.

Ten months into the relationship we decided to travel overseas to Bali, which seemed like a trip of a life time. But in the first day there I had the worst day of my life. We had woken up in our hotel and we started getting ready to go out for the day. I was putting sunscreen on his back, and he was starting to get angry saying I wasn't doing it right. It all happened so quickly and it took me by shock. His anger just snapped and he grabbed me by the neck and held me against the wall. I used my hands to try getting his hands off my neck, but he was too strong. I remember being against the wall and not being able to breathe. I was in such shock and disbelief that this would happen to me. It felt like a decade that I was trapped, but I managed to get free and made a run for the bathroom. I locked the door and luckily had my cell phone with me. He was continuously trying to get in the door. It was like a nightmare come true. Banging and yelling was all that I could hear. He would switch and try being sweet and getting me to open the door, then he would snap and start yelling and calling me names. I was trapped in the bathroom for hours. Constantly crying, I had no clued what to do. I looked in the mirror to see my neck was red and beginning to bruise. I still hadn't caught my breathe, and I was finding it hard to breathe. I had my cell phone, but I didn't know who to call. I didn't know the police number overseas or the hotel's number. And I didn't want to call my parents because I didn't want to scare them as there was not much they could do. After about 3 hours I came out of the bathroom to Matt crying and saying he was sorry. I told him we were over, and we would just do this trip then go home and he needs to get help. But the way he manipulated me, lead me to believe it was my entire fault. So I forgave too easily, I told no one and moved on. At this point he never got help.

After spending 2 months during summer with my family, Matt wanted to move to Auckland to finish his Law course, which would allow him to be admitted and finally be a lawyer. So I decided to transfer and start a course up in Auckland myself. We moved in together again.

Continue reading Part 2 of "Was it abuse when it doesn't involve a fist?"

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