Leaving Him

This is the final installment of my story about being in an abusive relationship as a teenager.

Here’s Part 1.

And here’s Part 2.

I’m sharing this because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and this is an issue that affects so many. If you suspect abuse in your own relationship or that of a loved one, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. And please consider donating to an organization that supports victims and raises awareness. Thank you.

Leaving Him

dickandJane

1/17/02.

I feel fine. Notice how my penmanship is completely normal right now.

Dick thinks I’m not fine. He thinks that I need to learn respect and what I believe in, etc. I need to find out who I am and what I want even though I’m like, 18 years old.

I’m afraid of him. I know he always apologizes and that he “really doesn’t mean it.” But this feeling I have inside just doesn’t sit right.

If my friends drove me home, I would have been fine. I wouldn’t have cried my eyes out, or gotten stuck in the middle of nowhere being yelled at. I wouldn’t have almost been killed going 110 miles an hour on the highway in a car where the passenger seat belt is broken.

No. None of that would have happened.

If you love me, then why do I fear you?

You said you would blame it on me if the car crashed. You said you would tell the police I turned the wheel because I was “drunk” (after three drinks over the course of three hours). You said you would make it look like my fault.

FUCK YOU.

1/18/02

Had a nice, long talk with Dick tonight… phew. It went very well. We covered a lot of topics that we needed to cover and decided to cool off for a little bit… because I really don’t know what I want and I need to figure it out… alone.

I do love Dick. I will always love him. But I’m not sure if we’re perfect for each other. We are so different in so many ways. So this is good. I feel a lot more relaxed right now.

dickandjane4copy

5/26/02.

It seems like every time I’m with Dick now we argue. I don’t know what keeps us together. I wish we had more in common. I wish it could work out better, but I’m just so afraid of life. Whereas he’s ready and set to go. What makes me so immature? I don’t know.

I want it to be fairy tale-ish. I want my parents to love him and for his parents to love me. I want to have someone who makes me laugh all of the time. I want it to feel new and exciting every day. I don’t want it to be predictable.

I want someone spontaneous and someone who doesn’t mind my spontaneity. I want someone not to tell me to quiet down when I feel angry or upset. I want to have the right to raise my voice. I want to have the right to make a scene, because what do I care what others think?

I want to be free to be different. I want to be and act like the person I am.

I want to have time to be with my friends alone. I don’t want to be afraid of offending Dick by some trivial action I make.

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9/8/02.

Today was a fun day. I just wish Dick and I didn’t argue so much. And I wish he didn’t leave me at Six Flags by myself, waiting for the last bus to Amherst at the end of the night.

But I guess I had more fun by myself. I waited in line for two hours to ride the Superman Ride of Steel. It was well worth the wait.

12/23/02.

Got into a big argument with Dick (once again) this afternoon and it wasn’t cool… apparently I’m a very difficult person to communicate with.

My friends understand me. At least my close friends. We don’t have to speak one word to express how we’re feeling. We just know how the other is feeling. It’s hard to describe.

UMass Laura Tina Lisa

Life feels like such a movie lately… the constant struggle, the high stakes, the music playing in the background of my mind. I don’t know if I like it much, but it sure makes life interesting.

Christmas is almost here. I don’t deserve anything. I’m so awful. Dick is going to get me something nice like he always does, yet all I do is hurt him and bring him misery. I’m such a bastard. Sometimes I just want to punish myself.

7/9/03.

Went to Sebago Lake in Maine the weekend of June 28th. It would have been great if I was with anybody but Dick. I’m sure he felt the same way.

Went to the Cape with Robbie J. and Greg Squared for July 4th. Good times, good times. (Lotsa burgers… mmmmmmmm)

P.S. I met a guy who’s really cool and nice. Ohhhh Jesus.

Me and the ocean

The Aftermath

That weekend at Sebago Lake was the last time I willingly saw Dick. I didn’t journal about it all, but that weekend he hurled literally every insult in the book at me. He was mad that I “got fat” at college (I only weighed 135 lbs. at that point), that I continued to wear clothing he didn’t like, that I didn’t have my life figured out yet, that I was disrespectful, you name it. I felt like complete shit. And I felt like I deserved every hateful word he spewed at me. Because he made me believe I deserved that.

I became so upset that I considered drowning myself in Sebago Lake.

Instead, I cried the entire day and begged Dick to take me home. He refused, but then agreed to do so early the next day. He treated me like I was being such a pain in the ass and disrespectful to our hosts.

When he dropped me off in front of my house, I told him to never contact me again. He continued trying. Luckily, I was two hours away from him when I returned to college in the Fall. He kept trying to call me, and my roommate kept taking the calls, telling him to never call again, and hanging up on him. He also showed up at my brother’s wedding, even though I didn’t invite him to be my date. He acted surprised when I told him he couldn’t come to the reception.

One day that Fall, I was visiting home and went out to a movie with friends. When I returned, my Dad told me Dick had called.

“Why?” I asked.

“He told me he’s engaged.”

“Oh. Why does he think I care?”

Dad shrugged. “He wanted you to call him back.” My Dad is such a nice guy that he likely spoke with Dick for a little while and congratulated him.

After that, he finally left me alone. I was lucky.

10 years later, Dick Facebook messaged me to apologize, because he ran into a mutual friend of ours. It was only then he realized that he had treated me poorly.

I accepted his apology, asserted that yes, he was abusive toward me, and essentially told him to have a nice life.

And I hope he does. I hope he has changed.

The happy ending to the story is that during that July 4th weekend I mentioned above, I began dating Greg, the amazing man who is now my husband.

Looking back, I’m thankful for the experience I had with Dick. If I could go back in time, I would still choose to be in a relationship with him. It taught me that I deserved better. And it led me to being with someone who is kind, caring, and accepts me for the person I am.

I’ll count that as a win.

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