On our first date, he placed the restaurant receipt in front of my face, pointing to the total. It struck me as odd; however, it no longer perplexes me as I now understanding that he was an abuser and one “by proxy.” My name is Angela Lee and I am a Domestic Violence Survivor turned Advocate and Victor. Because he was so forthright with “honest opinions,” even including his candidness about the world, I felt confident that I had met someone sincere who would never conceal the truth from me. The reality of who he really was surfaced, however, with the passing of each day. The second time I left him, I watched in horror as he berated my best friend and screamed at my dog, pushing him out of the home. When I confronted him immediately he aggressively put his finger in my face stating that he never hurts animals. Shortly thereafter, on October 1, 2010, I wrote: “You always boss me around and when I do not obey, you get upset. I am no longer going to tolerate your physical or verbal tirades.”
His rage could be triggered at random for things such as forgetting to turn off the lights, loading the dishwasher in a way that didn’t please him, reprimanding me for not performing household tasks to his specific likings. And even when I tried to comply to keep him happy, such as remembering to never leave the lights on, he remain dissatisfied and would tell me how I blew his harassment out of proportion. On a trip to the beach, he screamed at me in front of crowd and a police officer saying: “Where the f**** were you!?!” Later that night he became angered by my refusal to comfort him; he grabbed my thigh very forcefully and proceeded to have his way with me. I slept on the floor that night. On other occasions when displeased with his perception of the world being unfair to him, he threw his cell phone at me in the presence of my two closest friends. Later he explained that his anger was due to “being used”, however he frequently became angry when I spent time with friends.
Even before we became an official couple he began texting me early in the morning.; and when I did not reply right away, an e-mail was sure to be waiting for me when I returned home. Whenever, I simply got up at night to go the bathroom, he would question where I was going. I could not breathe nor have privacy! He contently bragged about how smart he was and that past girlfriends were stupid and not attractive. One such girlfriend was a medical student from India who had been raped and beaten in her country for which he showed no sympathy but rather said she deserved it because, as he claimed, she liked it when he raped her too; and loved for him to ejaculate directly onto her face. He said that all women liked to be raped and began doing this to me and demanded that he be allowed to do it on my chest although it would often hit my face and even get into my hair. He took great pleasure in bragging about his sexual prowess; and made comments that past women had told him to custom order condoms to fit his size and searched for sexual toys that could resemble him in size. He intimidated that nothing could measure up to him. And when I refused to have unprotected sex, he berated me to friends inferring that I did not enjoy a normal healthy intimate life.
His abuse toward my pets started within a month of dating. He previously referred to my dog, not by his name but as “goofy” which later turned to “stupid.” On a camping trip he grabbed my dog’s collar and lifted him off of the ground so much so that the dog began choking. On another occasion, he took both of my cats and rubbed their faces in urine all the while saying with a smirk on his face: “she didn’t like that!” My cats and my dogs would quiver in fear and refused to go near him whenever he was around. I never formally met his family, but I could never understand why his mother was so terrified of his father. His mother would drive him to and from public transportation each day so that he could go to work. She walked his dog, paid his bills, e-mailed and sent texts to him incessantly and even sent greeting cards to him and his dog and cat each month. Even she was subjected to his power and control. She would grocery shop for him and leave him with gift baskets, like a child trying gain the approval of a parent. He even convinced her to pay half of the condo fees since, as he put it, “it was her duty since she owned the place.” Her attempts to gain approval had no end, as I watched in astonishment as she scrubbed the carpet for two hours when his dog had diarrhea.
In time, the house became disheveled because he would always throw things around, misplace my belongings after throughly rummaging through them, and would simply tell me that he would buy me more clothes. When I didn’t appear happy with the clothing that he picked out for me (typically clothes that were less flattering), he became upset. He would always remind me that he made sacrifices to please me yet while reviewing my Face Book photos and high school pictures, he made comments such as “That’s an ugly picture,” or “You must have been the biggest dork in school.” And while he footed the expense of an urgent care visit or simply taking me out for a meal, he gave the receipt to me so I could see how much he paid.
Despite showing a confident and secure exterior, he constantly barraged me with questions as to my whereabouts and would follow me from room to room asking the same questions repeatedly. When I told him that he was harassing me and that I needed space, he became enraged and would start to slam doors, hit walls, and stomp around the house. He always spoke negatively about my circle of friends and forbade me from seeing them; and even scolded me for doing favors for my friends. When a female visited me at the home, he openly said: “I wouldn’t mind ‘tapping’ that!” I found no privacy in the house, as he began to storm in on me while in the bathroom. And while I slept, he would place his hands into my underwear and once rammed himself into my rear, which was excruciatingly painful. He claimed that it was an accident. The week that I had realized I could take no more and wanted out is when he forced himself on me and repeatedly raped me. I noticed that he seemed to take great pleasure in attempting to have sex with me while I lay asleep, which began to concern me.
When moving day arrived, he dragged me by my hair and assaulted me. I asked him if he was going to kill me because his abuse knew no limits and only escalated during the course of our relationship. He had once pulled out a gun when he heard the dogs barking in the backyard, which left me frightened. He often cleaned his gun outside on the balcony in plain sight of neighbors to instill fear. After meeting his friends, I no longer wished to be around them. One had killed her pet when she went away for the weekend without leaving food or water; one was so violent that he was remanded to anger management therapy; and another was sexually promiscuous with both men and women. He would laugh at and berate his friends and call them idiots but never considered the proverb: “You are what you eat.” Although he was the “best man” at his best friend’s wedding, he refused to go out to celebrate afterwards because the groom did not select the bar he chose.
He had a stealthy handshake and took pleasure in watching people wince in pain; and would simply shake his head and say they were weak people. When his dog and a neighbor’s dog got into a fight, a neighbor’s arm was bitten and it swelled to which he said incredulously “Really, THAT hurts?” I went to check in on the neighbor and had bought him a box of chocolates but he declined saying that it was not necessary. He constantly screamed at and insulted me and even became hostile with me when I used a metal spoon on a pan. And whenever I cried, he promised that he would never do it again but then later would refer to me as crazy and when I began removing my belongings from the house, he referred to me as a victim to which I told him, “Victims do not leave!”
After only four months of dating, he told me that I was the love of his life and wanted to marry me. I never answered him because I had suffered through so much abuse. To gain more power and control, he opened a new checking account bearing both of our names and asked me to close my personal account; however, when the statement came in, he questioned where all of the money went. His behavior at this point became even more bizarre. Whenever I closed a door, he would open it; and if I ever locked a door, he would sternly question me. I realized that something was unhealthy in our relationship and began to Google “Abusive Boyfriend,” and that is when I discovered that he was, in fact, an abuser and one “by proxy.” When the answers to my questions quickly poured in saying “Leave Now!,” the reality of what I had experienced set in and I was never more resolute in my decision to leave while I could.
On the day of my move, I went to run an errand after securely locking up my pets. I asked him to leave them be but when I returned, he had let them out. And when I threatened to call the police and asked him to lock up his guns because I was afraid of him, he obtained a domestic violence restraining order against me claiming that “I “had abused my pets! Two days later, he was seen walking by my apartment peering into the windows and asked the judge to dismiss the case against me. Unbeknownst to him, I, too, had filed a protective order against him although it was denied because nothing was witnessed and I was left in amazement because my girlfriend had previously obtained a restraining order against him. I was humiliated so, as he had disgraced, assaulted and stalked me. He told me that he never wanted to file an order against me but he did it for my protection and then asked if we could attend couple’s counseling to which I declined. When attempting to retrieve the remainder of my belongings, he would confirm one time then suggest alternate times or days, as he put it, “to help me.” I finally told him to simply throw my things away.
They say hindsight is “20-20 vision” and even now, as I pen this story, I am able to think with a clear head and realize that I missed so many queues. One message in particular haunts me. I asked him to attend a stress management workshop to which he replied: “So you think I am dangerous, too, huh?” I never breathed a word of what happened to me until recently but interestingly enough, my friends, co-workers and neighbors already knew. I still keep the power cord that he slashed under my bed as a reminder that I am finally free from what could have had a disastrous ending.