Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Lenore’s Story Pt. 2
Ladydee’s note: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Lenore is a survivor and is sharing her story with us. This is part 2 of Lenore’s story. Read part 1 here.
Whenever things were going well, (and they frequently were), we had the BEST time. I think that’s something that a lot of people who haven’t been in a DV relationship don’t understand. I would watch movies about domestic violence, or hear these awful horror stories, in which the abuser was just pure evil. Spooky music would play the very moment they walked into a room. And the heroine of the film was always desperately trying to make a run for it, while he plotted out how to kill her in the end. Except she would end up triumphing over HIM, in a glorious show-down worthy of a Stephen King novel in the final scene. For me, and for many other women, it’s not exactly like that.
Since I didn’t see our relationship in movies or books, I’d think to myself, “Well that’s not what OUR relationship is like. So I guess I’m not actually in one of those freaky abusive relationships after all.” The reality is that we had a lot of fun together. We would frequently go to the movies, and out to dinner. We would hang out at the mall, and browse through shops while holding hands. We would have long conversations about our dreams in life, laugh hysterically together, and confide in each other about everything. We were the best of friends, in a way. It felt like we were each other’s family.
Moments of laughter and joy and happiness that we shared (and there were so many) became fewer and farther between. After a little while, these events didn’t scare me as much as they should have. I absolutely hated and dreaded them, don’t get me wrong. But they didn’t shock me anymore like they did in the beginning. I reached this really eerie and disturbing place where I would just stand there and think “Oh boy. Here we go again. Damn,” and sigh. And at a moment when I should have been screaming, or crying, or fighting back, I just stood there exhausted and drained. Taking it. Thinking to myself something along the lines of “This is getting really annoying”.
I cannot explain why I didn’t react differently. It doesn’t make any sense to me, even now. Even after all this therapy. Even after all this time. For example, there was the time he threw an x-acto knife at me, and I darted out of the way to watch it harpoon the wall directly behind where my head had just been. It actually made us both burst into laughter. There was time he threw a 6-pack of beer in glass bottles at me at the supermarket, so that glass shards had cut up my feet and ankles because I was wearing flip-flops. All because I wouldn’t buy him some item of food he wanted. I asked him why he never had money of his own to buy food for himself. Once the glass bottles suddenly crashed to my feet, I immediately protected him by grabbing him by the arm and forcing him to run out of the supermarket with me before he could get arrested for hurting me in public. We actually burst out laughing in the car once we drove off, and I felt like I was in some crazy movie that didn’t feel real while I picked out shards of glass from my skin. My flip-flops sticky with blood while we giggled in disbelief at what had just occurred. Then we laughed it off and went out for pizza.
The only way I could cope. But then there were these moments when I would be lying awake at night, sore from being grabbed or being hit, and I would get up and go to the bathroom to inspect my wounds. I would stand there in the glow of the bathroom light and peel back a bandage or a long sleeve to curiously inspect the damage that had been done. And in those moments, for some reason, rather than laugh, I felt a sudden urge to cry. It was in those moments that I would sit in the tub, try to muffle my sobs into a towel, and think to myself, “This is CRAZY! Why am I putting UP with this? This isn’t normal, is it? This cannot be normal!”. Sometimes he would find me there, and he would cry too. Riddled with guilt. I would look at him and see him as a 5 yr old boy who was crying over what his father had done, and I would always end up comforting him through it. This happened a thousand times. This was the pattern. This was our dance. I had lost the will to fight back, and just felt so exhausted and drained. I had given up.
Eventually, I bought my first computer and became addicted to the internet. The internet world was filled with online friends who I could hang out with without having to invite them over to uncover my shameful secret. Online, I could pretend to be whoever I wanted to be; someone with beauty, with confidence, and with self-esteem. Somebody who would never stand for the kind of life I found myself settling for. I made some new friends that way, and didn’t feel so lonely anymore. Even if they were all speaking to me through a big clunky computer. Thanks to this beast of technology, I had people to talk to again. And I could protect them from Russ, and Russ from them, because a vast majority of them lived very far away.
Click here for Part 3 of Lenore’s story.
For more information on Domestic Violence, please visit the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
SAFETY ALERT: If you are in danger, please call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233