The Aftermath Of Domestic Abuse

Flickr, Alicia Soltani
Flickr, Alicia Soltani

Well, I finally did it. I finally got out of my abusive relationship. After the last time he was arrested for trying to kill me, this time by crashing my car doing 70 on the highway, I finally told the police the truth. The whole truth. How he punched me in the face while I was driving, how he pulled a knife on me and tried to cut my seatbelt, how he grabbed the steering wheel and fought me for it trying to run us off the road, how he told me he would kill me and, when I told him I knew that, he just laughed. I agreed to testify in court, I filed a restraining order, the judge who presided over his trial issued a criminal protective order against him protecting me. I testified, I looked him in the eye and identified him. I told the whole truth. Finally.

It nearly killed me. The anxiety, the crying. Sometimes, I would just cry. For no apparent reason, I would just cry and cry. Ugly cry face, burning eyes.

Then my chest would tighten up and I couldn’t breathe. I spent an entire week at court running either into the bathroom or out to my car to have a panic attack in peace. I haven’t slept an entire night since I got out. Not that I slept before that. All I see is that night, or any of the prior ones. All I see is him chasing me with a champagne bottle, yelling at me about how he was going to enjoy bashing my skull in. How he was going to “teach me a lesson” and how I should come out and take what’s coming to me. Or, worse, even worse than those unwelcome visions of the past, are the good memories. The memories of us having fun, of being in “love.” Camping, mini golf, hiking, what a fantastic relationship. A fun day at the park. Him chasing me with that bottle. A ride a Magic Mountain. Him picking me up and throwing me down to take my phone away. A beautiful hike to a waterfall. Him jamming his fist into my back, then trying to dislocate my knee. Or maybe him trying to break down the bathroom door to get to me because it is the only one in the house with a lock. What is worse? The terrifying memories, or the good ones? It doesn’t matter, because regardless, I no longer sleep.

So, now they finally release him from jail. They ensure me that he wouldn’t be stupid enough to contact me. Certainly not to come find me. God how I wish that was true. But, if one thing is sure, everyone always underestimates him.

Now he is texting me. He doesn’t tell me it’s him by name. No, he’s too smart for that. But he surely lets me know it’s him. He uses a special inside phrase we always used to say. I know. He tells me he still loves me. He is SO sorry. The same things he always said before. The cycle of violence continues, the only difference is now I know what it’s called. So I freak. Probably exactly like he wants me too. Hello again uncontrollable crying. Hello again inability to breathe. I can’t breathe, and deep inside I know that this would make him happy. I can’t see straight, and I don’t know what to do. Do I call the police? He’s violating the restraining order. But, he’s not saying anything threatening, nothing mean. Of course he isn’t. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a threat. He’s doing this on purpose. He thinks he can do no wrong.

I call the police. They say they will send someone out to take my report in the morning. That I should call them back if he shows up. The texts continue. How am I supposed to survive the night, to make that report in the morning? After all, a restraining order is just a piece of paper, and he is a real live boy. TC mark

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