BETHESDA, Maryland, October 14, 2014 — Naomi* is a survivor of domestic violence and pathological abuse living, raising her children and recovering in The United States.
Before the relationship, I was on a great path. Picking up new hobbies and skills, working out regularly, eating healthy, caring for and bonding fully with my then one-and-a-half-year-old son.
Then I met him.
At first, it was like nothing I had ever felt in my 30 years of living. We had so much in common, he was talented, daring, funny, adventurous, handsome and a truly affectionate and passionate lover. I was in love. According to him, he was too.
He told me he loved me first, and he told me often. He told me he wanted me to be the mother of his child; and I, already being a mother of a brilliant little boy, said let’s do it. After all, everything was perfect.
I ended up pregnant. After telling him the news, he happened to leave his Facebook open. A message from someone was there, so I read it. It mentioned him doing crack. I immediately began shaking. Of all things…crack?!? I broke off the relationship immediately as I was freaking out. He called me all night, begging to see me. I gave in. He brought flowers, sparkling grape drinks and my favorite chocolate. He was drunk. He said he was so upset. I believed him. He said he used to do it, and he was just telling the other person “what they wanted to hear” to shut them up. I stopped arguing.
A week went by, and he came home drunk.
We argued; he beat me up – punched me twice, choked me and pulled me to the ground to choke me. When I picked up the phone to call the police, he grabbed the receiver, and I instinctively hit him with it. His nose drew blood instantly. He saw the blood and yelled, “You hit me!!!”
He proceeded to spit his blood all over my face and all over my house. He took the battery out of my phone and threw it. All of this while my son was sleeping upstairs.
He fled when I ran outside and screamed for help. He was arrested. That brought a social services case onto my family. I stayed away but not for long. I bought the, “I’m so sorry. I need help. I’ll go into a program” bull.
I celebrated my 29th birthday with a black and blue face and pregnant. It only got worse from there, not physically, but mentally and emotionally.
The spring and summer came. He would disappear for weeks on end to do drugs and party with his friends. It was always random. I was always heartbroken. He would come back a few weeks at a time, and each time seemed better than the last. More love, more hugs, more beautiful words and more dedication. Then poof.
He also had a temper on him. He was the most patient person when he wanted to be; but whenever he decided it was time to unleash, it was ugly. I became a mouse. The strong, motivated, beautiful person I had been became scared to talk, unmotivated, and I aged ten years over night or so it appeared to me by the wrinkles and grays I was noticing.
One day I went to check my son’s piggy bank that I had been putting money into since before he was born. I had collected hundreds of dollars, but that day there was nothing but change in it. Hundreds. Gone. I drove right to where he was, and gave him a long and hard speech about how he is not a good person.
I said, “I hope you know I’m raising good men, and I won’t let anything come in the way of that!” He wiped a tear off of my cheek, and said “I would never steal from a kid.”
That was scarier than him beating me up, that he could actually do that. Just flat out act and with such sincerity in his eyes. The truth came out eventually, but I had no contact with him for weeks after that.
He called me one morning at 4:00 a.m. crying about how he was going to kill himself, and he wanted me to pick him up. I said no.
He said, “Then you’re worthless!”
Weeks went by and he got arrested for stealing a car and getting a DUI. This was two weeks before the baby was due to be born. He called me from jail and asked me to bail him out. When I said no, he responded with, “Then it’ll be your fault if I don’t get to meet the baby.”
He claimed he wanted to meet the baby. I thought about it all day, found out where he was when he got bailed out, and I told him he could come over to talk. He took it as an invitation to live with me again.
He played the seducer, lover, charming and handsome-as-ever part all over again. Just like that, I was in bed with him and in love again. I made him pay me back what he stole and had new rules. He said that was fine with him and he needs me in order to become a better person.
The baby was born. We each made a list of names. Even though I named the baby while I was pregnant, he convinced me not to use the name I loved. His side of names were all his idols, including his name. We had one same name on each side, so I suggested using that one. He said no. He then went on to cry about how he wants his name passed down. I said, “I would never name my child after someone like you.”
The baby did not have a name for days, and they would not let us leave the hospital without naming him. He got into my head, and the baby left with his sociopath father’s name.
He was helpful, fun and the perfect person for two weeks. Then he stood over us while trying to decorate the Christmas tree, telling me how stupid my choice of decor is and how he “doesn’t even have words” for how stupid my choice of white lights was. Since his mommy, his biggest enabler, uses colored lights, that is what he wanted. That is what he needed.
It was the first Christmas for my then two-and-a-half-year-old son who could finally have fun decorating with me. But it was all ruined because of some guy yelling about colored lights.
He had been sober 50 days on Christmas Eve, so I made him a personal certificate of recognition for his progress and success. He was in a program, it was also our anniversary, close to the anniversary of his sister’s death. He used her death as an excuse for everything he did wrong. Not surprisingly, he relapsed. He came home on hard drugs, and booze.
Christmas Eve morning, he raped me while I held my four-week-old newborn in my arms. I cried for him to get off of me, the baby was crying and my toddler was in his bedroom knocking on the door calling out, “Mama! Mama!”
His eyes were rolling around in his head from the drugs, but the more I cried, the more he pushed. When I finally got up, I instantly remembered social services saying that if one more incident happened with him involved, they would take the children. So I called his mother and said, “Come get him out of the house before I kill him!” She came, and I called my first born’s father to come get my son out of the house.
When his mother showed up, he curled on the couch and kept repeating that he would kill himself if he left. I was in shock. What was happening? He ended up staying. I cried and said I needed to tell someone. He hugged me and said, “Shh, you can talk to me.” I felt dead inside.
On more occasions than one, I imagined killing him. I could not walk. So for the family Christmas celebrations the following day, he helped me walk around, pulling out chairs and everything. Everyone thought he was being so amazing. Little did they know my vagina was swollen from the beating it had just taken, and I could hardly move. I begged him to leave after the holiday.
He would take the baby and stand by the front door and say, “If you make me leave, I’m taking him with me.” I was so afraid.
I finally yelled at him one day in front of someone, so he could not do anything back. He left that day, and we packed his things together knowing he would not be back this time. It took a good friend and a couple of weeks of letting it all sink in for me to go to police. While writing the report, I thought, “Oh my god. What was I thinking!” It all hit me.
The next day I got a temporary restraining order. A couple of weeks after that, I got it extended to a year.
That is when the “She’s crazy!” rumors about me started. Some people knew better. They just knew. I was a mess. I ended up with PTSD and PPD. What a horrible and traumatic combination.
Eventually, the district attorney and detective on my case contacted me and told me I was going to go in front of a grand jury to testify. Long story short, he is in jail now being held on $10,000 bail, and the trial will begin soon. We will see what the outcome is, but I have a good feeling about it. Also, I filed for a name change for the baby, and that is such a happy thought for me.
Getting my life back and taking care of my children is my life now.
Looking back, I can see that our relationship became intense the day we met. Within a week, he wanted me over to his mother’s house for dinner, and he quickly introduced me to all of his friends. He told me he loved me within 15 days of our meeting and talked about having kids not long after that. I was “the best” at everything, I was “perfect” and “beautiful”. He was protective of me, and I loved it. He was always by my side, showing me love and affection. In public, it made me feel special. He knew what he was doing.
In the beginning, he would constantly compliment me on how good of a mother I was. Then, in front of my child, he would try to make new rules, tell me I was doing it all wrong and even say, “If I’m going to live here and be in his life, I’m gonna have a say, too!” This is coming from a boyfriend who I was with only a few months.
If I confronted him about anything I thought was off, he would say things like, “You’re delusional!”. Among many, many other things. Oh, after he raped me, after he said I could talk to him rather than anyone else, I went to him crying and feeling so, so horrible. He said, “Stop crying. You sound like a retard.”
Does that seem reasonable to say to someone you just raped? No.
We took breaks, we got a counselor (that we never ended up seeing because we showed up late), we talked and hugged it out. It was doomed. He was too sick, and I was too strong.
I contemplated suicide often during my pregnancy. I would drive myself and my toddler to the hospital in the middle of the night and sit in the parking lot. I felt safe there. After I got the restraining order, the thoughts become worse. I contemplated suicide and homicide often. I told people and my therapist. I overcame.
I was a recovering alcoholic. Post-pregnancy, I met with a substance abuse counselor once a week. I was sober for a while after the pregnancy. Until one day, I said to myself that it is either suicide, homicide, running away or having that drink. I did not over do it like I would have before, but I did have that drink. It numbed pain only for a short while and then back to reality. Nothing helps besides sobriety and strength along with patience and talking to others.
My biggest challenge has been overcoming PTSD while caring for my newborn and toddler. I am very distant now and randomly being touched makes me feel horrible, even when it’s my own child. That is the most heartbreaking part of all of this for me.
To recover, I have been doing outdoor activities once in a while, doing photography, finding the beauty in life, helping others by staying real and remembering it is all so real.
My best advice to anyone who finds themselves in a situation like this is to talk to people. Talk to friends and family, read articles online, write a list of how you were before the relationship and compare it to now. Trust your gut, and if you have children, think about the kids. Put them first.
I find a lot of people like to ignore the reality of abuse in relationships, especially if it is emotional abuse. There are many of us here who know what it is like to have given all of our energy to someone who did not deserve it. In the end, we are left with almost nothing to pick up the pieces and try to rebuild ourselves. Know that you are not alone. You are not alone.
Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.
*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.