2 Spring semesters ago, I walked in to my new Physiology class and upon noticing a boy, was very excited at my promising prospects. The nursing program has very few boys. It turned out he signed up for the wrong class, but it met his requirement so he stayed. I was interested immediately, which never ever happens. I have always fallen for my best guy friend. This stranger came to my lab table and sat down next to me three classes later. Apparently, he had noticed me too. That day we had to do chemistry problems, and him and I were deemed lab partners. He fell in love with my potty mouth and laid-back friendliness, I fell in love with his awkward social quirkiness. With a shy and goofy goodbye, "Well..... have... fun." I was hooked. I knew he had to be mine. A month later, we were official. He was so wonderful, so sweet, so shy, so innocently adorable and loving. He had a strong group of friends, was very close with his mother, and took me over to his grandparent's house to meet them. I was in love. His family, his candor, he was the glue for his entire world. He was people's hero. Like I was for my people. My previous boyfriend, having been physically abused by his mother, wore me out and I was so excited to have someone strong by my side. One night, we had a deep conversation about the baggage I bring with my diabetes. He confessed he had baggage too. He had been suicidal in high school. His step father and he had a very tumultuous relationship. Justin had found cocaine hidden in the basement, resulting in a year-long restraining order against the step-father to protect both Justin and his mom. Jim, the step-dad was court ordered to therapy, and though on the brink of divorce, Julie stayed in the marriage. Justin has never recovered. He begged Julie to leave, but she chose her husband. To further the scars, Julie refuses to tell Justin who his real dad is, listing the grandfather instead on the birth certificate. Justin still does not know who his dad is. The disfunction and abuse ran so deep in this family. I felt so sad for Justin, yet so proud he had a strong support network of friends and he fought his way through to learn good skills and find his way. Until I found out I was the only one he ever told about his suicide attempt. "I know what gun metal tastes like," he said. I began to notice the control Julie had over Justin. Never having her approval, he constantly felt compelled to please her in every way. She through constant wrenches in our plans. Justin and I began to fight constantly. His response to fights was to go missing. He wouldn't answer his phone or texts, he would show up hours and hours after he had originally said. He constantly found excuses to not attend functions when my family came to town, he would get mad and blame me for his blow up, he threatened to kill himself all the time. "If you leave, I'll have nothing to live for. I won't even care anymore so I guess I'll just kill myself then. What's the point, if you leave?" So I would make sure we worked it out, and I would always stay. But the truth was, nothing ever got worked out. He would do precisely whatever it was that he wanted, then know exactly what to say and do to make amends afterward. He pulled the wool over my eyes time and time again. Somewhere in there, the flowers stopped coming, the good morning greetings were gone, the kiss goodnight had fallen away. The first 4 months of our relationship, I had hundreds of sweet nothing texts saved on my phone. I haven't gotten a nice text from him in over a year. Last July, he decided he wanted a puppy. And wanted us to raise it together. He told me to pick out one that I liked, and he would get it. I thought it was adorable. We found out the breed is one of the longest living breeds, a 20+ year life span. He said, this is perfect, now you have to stay with me for the next 20 years. "You can't leave now." I thought it was sweet. I thought he was making a commitment to me. This past March, things finally came to a head. He wouldn't go to therapy for any of his issues, he began to lie and dodge me, he was withdrawing, and we both fell in to a comfortable well-rehearsed cycle of abuse. The Justin/Mandie dance. He would do something awful, I'd speak up, he'd blow up, I'd blow back, he would rage, I would cry, I would threaten to leave, I would walk out the door, he would cry, he would tell me he was sick of MY ****, he would beg me for forgiveness and promise it would never happen again, and I would stay. We did this for months upon months. And in March, he blew off a trip to Colorado for my mom's 50th birthday. I had my final straw. I dumped him. But I couldn't stay away. He promised me the world, and I wanted to believe it so much. Then in June, we were bar hopping in Iowa City with his friends that hate me and ignore me. I was trying to be a good girlfriend for once, as I had finally convinced myself Justin was right and I was the problem. He and I were on the dance floor, Justin didn't know the song so he danced so goofy. I said "babe, dance normal I want one sweet memory with you." He began to rage. He stormed off the dance floor, found his nearest bro, and left the bar. I was left all alone. When the bar closed an hour or two later, he was outside waiting for me. I told him not to talk to me, that was so disrespectful and dangerous, and I was furious. He said I made him feel stupid on the dance floor and he overreacted but I made him feel stupid! My fault, again, of course. I was more mad than ever. I told him if he felt that way it was all his own doing, and in fact now I think he's pretty stupid for leaving me alone in Iowa City at 2am. This caused him to rage immediately all over again. He stormed off screaming "You ****** up, you ****** up!" To this day I don't know what I ****** up so bad, nor do I care. Believe it or not, he begged his way back in to my heart after that one too. It wasn't until our dogs had a litter of puppies together that I managed to open my eyes. I was left to take care of them all alone. He promised all kinds of things, and never provided. When I discovered an ad for my litter of puppies on Craigslist put up by his mother, I asked him about it. I told him she was manipulative and had no right. I told him I was sick of her in our relationship. I told him I wanted to date him, not the two of them. He defended everything she did, and instead told me he didn't want my family in his life anymore because THEY and I were the reason we had so much trouble in our relationship. So I ended it, and I haven't looked back. The moment I hung up the phone I knew it was done. I wouldn't have to worry about what he would throw his cell phone at next. I didn't have to worry about his lies, or the next date night he would blow off or the next time he wouldn't show up home until 7am. I was free. It wasn't until 3 weeks later that I was far enough out to be able to recognize all the abuse I had suffered. There was so much, too much to write here. But he was the son of an abusive alcoholic drug addict, and that is all he knows. Justin is 16 out of 16 warning signs for an abusive relationship. Heed my advice, the red flags are real, and should be trusted.
mcmermand mcmermand
Jul 21, 2010