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Domestic Violence

Question:

Its hard to know where to start. Well, for the last year I’ve been dating someone quite a bit older than me. He is 38 and im 19. He was in prison for 15 years. I know how cliche it is to say "he’s different" but he truly does have the mindstate of someone my age. When I met "Stan", I had been sober for about 6 months and was doing very well in methadone treatment. Since dating him, he’s gotten me hooked on methamphetamine. I dropped out of college, dropped out of beauty school, lost two apartments because of him stealing something or threateneing someone, lost my car, lost my laptop most valuable possesions including TVs, heirlooms, over $1000 worth of clothes, I lost my health, my dignity, my self respect, my parent’s trust, my newest apartment, and has cost me thousands of dollars in terms of phone bills, utility bills, etc. He is incredibly cruel and abusive. He throws things at me, picks me up by my hair, hits me, spits in my face, humiliates me. He is convinced Im cheating on him. I have before (so has he) therefore I must be doing it now, too. The only problem is I’m not. He knows I hate being alone and that Im going through a really tough time, so he leaves me alone in my apartment for days at a time. So far it’s been about two weeks. He’s come home only to scream at me, pass out, and leave as soon as he wakes up, a total of about 4 hrs. every other day or so. He doesnt come home at night–I stay inside all day long–and Im the suspect? I feel myself starting to slip off into the deep end and my self-destructive patterns are getting more and more severe. I know I need to leave this man because the entire relationship is so messed up beyond repair and is most likely based on him conning me out of my things. But I dont know how to escape! im afraid he’ll come after me, and the things he says to me are so hurtful I feel like I’m being torn in half. What can I do to leave this crazed dictator? -Please help.

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Answer:

This man is violent and paranoid. He is terrorizing you. He is a threat to your physical safety as well as your emotional well being. He may literally end up killing you or at least putting you into the hospital after beating you half to death. He is also almost certainly sociopathic and narcissistic, meaning that he is unable to view the other people around him as full people, but rather only as objects that either help him meet his needs, or are in his way and can be discarded. When you are in a relationship that is this abusive, there is really only one thing to do and that is to leave.

Don’t think about it too much – just go. When next you have an opportunity, gather up your things as best you can and find a temporary place to stay. That may be a domestic abuse women’s shelter in your community (if your community has managed to continue funding the one they once had). That might be a friend’s home, or your parent’s home. It might be a rehab for your drug problem. What is important is that you get out of the dangerous situation you are in as soon as you can. In addition to protecting yourself from further physical and emotional abuse, you need to get out so as to have the opportunity to gather yourself up emotionally so that you can think straight about what to do next.

As soon as you are away from Stan, go to the local police or court system and ask them how you can initiate a restraining order against Stan, so that he will be brought up on charges if he goes near you. Restraining orders are important to put into place, becuase they are ways you can create a public record of the abusive situation you are in. They aren’t magic bullets and they don’t actually keep the abusers away on their own (you have to keep yourself away as best you can), but they help you build your legal case against Stan if it becomes necessary for you to do that.

When you are in a safe place, let Stan know that you are leaving him for good, and doing so in no uncertain terms. He may get mad at you at first, but what is likely actually is that he will become sweet and charming and well behaved, in an attempt to lure you back towards him. He will likely be convincing too, and you may find yourself wondering why you felt the need to leave this man. Hold onto your resolve and don’t fall for this change of heart. It is not necessarily an act, but it is temporary. As soon as he has you back in his power, he will go back to his ugly and brutish ways.

If he can’t charm you back to him, he may become angry. If he can figure out where you are, he may come after you, and the potential for violence is increased. Call the police to report such danger as soon as you are threatened by him. Again, this may not result in any actual action by the police, or (if it does) the action will only be temporary. However, involving the police makes the dispute between you a matter of public record, and the case against this guy gets built.

You may be angry with Stan and find yourself wanting to start a fight with him. This will not be in your interest under any circumstance. If Stan can show evidence of any bruises, the police could potentially come and take you away and not him, for one thing (as women do abuse men). More likely however, you are just not his match physically or violently, and you will be the one who becomes harmed.

You may want to return to where you were living to get the stuff you weren’t able to take with you when you left the first time. This is a reasonable enough thing to want to do, but don’t go alone when you go. Instead, enlist the help of several friends or family members to go with you. The more people who are present, the less chance that Stan will try anything while you are getting your stuff (whatever is left of it anyway).

Get yourself into a domestic violence women’s group, and/or into a therapy relationship with a qualified therapist. Doing so will help you gain advocates who can help you see things the way they are, rather than the way that Stan wants you to see things. Abusive men such as Stan are good at making you feel like it is your fault for all the trouble you find yourself in. Talking out your situation with other women and with a counselor will help you regain your independence of mind and see your situation more clearly.  You might also do well to read about abuse in our Abuse Topic Center

Once you are independent of this man, you have another serious problem to cope with, which is your addiction. Get yourself into treatment for your methamphetamine addition as soon as you can, and stick with it so that it doesn’t come to take over your life.

At age 19 you are still very young and capable of recovering from life mistakes. The difference between people who make the best of their lives and those who don’t isn’t that those who make the best never fail. Most everyone fails and messes up in life and often these messups and mistakes are large. People who make the best of things do what they can do to learn from their mistakes so as not to repeat them. That is the difference. So do what you can to recognize your mistakes, extract yourself from them however you need to do so, and then go on to learn from them so that you don’t repeat them.

In closing, strength and luck to you. Leaving Stan might be hard, but it is doable, and you need to do it to preserve your safety and option to have a life you enjoy living.

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Comments
  • no name

    Thank You you should just call 911 and say your calling the bakery or something

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