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Identifying Emotional Abuse before it Happens.

I want to tell you an important story, and here’s why: not a lot of people will share their versions.

It’s scary. Too scary, for many.

Like for my hairdresser, whose husband was “the sweetest guy she ever met” at first, yet ended up nearly choking her to death against the kitchen wall. He didn’t spare her—she would have died if her 11-year-old son hadn’t come into the room.

Like for a friend of a friend who wasn’t able to leave her abuser until the day he popped a blood vessel in her eye.

Like for another friend of a friend whose boyfriend, for years, would threaten to kill himself with the nearby gun if she tried to leave him.

Like for my colleague whose sister died at the hand of her abuser, though he is still walking around free.

Like for the millions of women, men and children who don’t speak up every day because they are exhausted, don’t want to be reminded of the situation, or simply can’t say anything because doing so would risk their lives.

I’m doing my small part by sharing my story because violence of any kind, but especially domestic violence, is perpetuated by silence. The more we talk, the more we know, the faster we learn and demand better.

I love my bike more than almost anything in the world.

I think there’s a disease for that–object sexuality, anyone? But really, I do. There’s nothing that compares to riding, whether or not I have a destination, I’m exhausted or energized, my music’s blasting or I’m just enjoying the silence of my surroundings.

This time last year I met a boy who loved bikes, too. So we loved bikes together.

We rode our bikes everywhere and then pretty soon we did everything else together, too. All. The. Time. Every minute together.

But I was always unsettled with all this togetherness, that went from zero to 60 in just a few weeks time. I blew off the discomfort as me just learning how to be less independent and self-sufficient, as if those traits could actually adversely affect my future.

So we kept riding. Boy told me some things that were massive red flags, akin to those at Running of the Bulls, waving in my face, yet I was still charging right at them.

“Don’t judge,” I said.

“He’s changing,” I convinced myself.

“I won’t be like the rest,” I lied.

Every time I said these things my standards dropped lower and lower, and I perpetuated my own lie that everything was okay. I knew that if my family even knew the half of it they would douse me in a bucket of ice water until I cycled away as fast as I could (which is pretty damn fast).

But I kept riding.

The fights got worse, the anger more explosive, the jealously and put-downs and blatant hypocrisy so intense, only to be appeased by a shoulder shrug or guttural laughter that didn’t even sound like my own voice.

What do you think?

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Written by Kendra Davis

Kendra Davis is just a lover of life, but especially of bikes, Italian food, and the ocean. She’s passionate about everything, and believes in truth over comfort.

7 Comments

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  1. I see why you say, “Don’t ask me why I stayed”. Most people who ask that have never lived through it and they don’t understand. The worst is when you get it from your family – and then when the shit hits the fan, you’re left with a lot of “I told ya so’s”.

    I was here too. My relationship only lasted 7 months – he worked fast. But it was long enough for him to do a lot of damage…both to me and my life, and to my relationship with my son (not his – we didn’t have children together). Mine ended up being a narcissistic sociopath, mixed in with a drug addict who simply refused to do the work that needed to be done in order to recover.

    The sad part about all of this is that it didn’t start to make sense until the relationship was over, I had kicked him out, and ended up becoming friends with someone from HIS past. The more she and I spoke, the more I was internally kicking myself and saying, “how could I have been so stupid!” and “I wish I’d known” because frankly I would have dropped him before the relationship even began.

    He put his hands on me a couple of times and it was a year ago yesterday. He also threatened to harm my child – which should have been the final straw…but even through that I tried to make things “fair” for everyone by explaining away and excusing his behavior with his drug habit – that and the fact that he had me terrified that if I called the police he really would hurt my kid. I was stuck and I was a hostage in the relationship.

    The day finally came, a couple of months later, where he basically did me the favor of robbing me to fund his drug habit, and leaving me stranded without a working vehicle. I told him if he showed up again he would have been met by the authorities. I finally grew my backbone, and told him I had nothing more to give him because he took it all. He tried to manipulate me one last time with the threat that he was going to kill himself but I surprised him when I told him I didn’t care.

    Most importantly, I’ve also fixed my relationship with my teenage son and things have gotten back to normal – like before I even met that guy. I had to take a long, hard look at the damage I was doing by just trying to make things fair and easy for everyone involved.

    So – this coming September, he will have been gone a full year. I’ve gone “no-contact” this entire time. I’ve written about him, I’ve bitched about him, I’ve joined support groups as well as some Co-Dependency Anonymous meetings (which really helped me put myself first). I feel like I’m talking about him less and less and I go longer stretches of time without letting the thought of his stupidity enter my mind. I’m even trying to date again, but I notice now that I’m always watching my dates…and still kind of suspicious of any kind gestures or nice words – maybe that means I’m not completely ready yet. Who knows.

  2. How very generous to share your experience on such a delicate matter . Thank you . I for one, am very grateful .
    I was not cognisant of the classic psychopathic / narcissistic relationship I was steeped in . I can’t afford a 6 year learning curve @ my age
    ( I’m 70 ) The greatest difficulty was in the logistics , ie. he had moved in as a tenant but repeatedly refused to leave .
    I now have a greater level of understanding , again thank you

  3. I love these articles. Oh yes, been through it all. Gaslight for me was having my belongings hidden and then”finding” them for me. Even said, “I find a lot of things for you. ”
    True crazy making behaviors.

  4. I love the articles. Oh yes, I’ve experienced all of the above. Especially the gaslight ingredients. For me it was hiding my belongings and then “finding” them for me. Crazy making stuff.

  5. I was married to a person who did the things listed. I was with her for 20 yesrs. When I wake up to it is when our son was a teenager. When she was doing the same things tp hom. Love can make a person blind.

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