It’s day 11 of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Men comprise approximately half of all domestic violence victims, but receive very little attention and support. In this sense, men are the invisible victims of domestic violence.
Today’s In His Own Words is yet another tale of what can happen when a lonely, vulnerable man ignores his better judgment and gets involved with an abusive, toxic woman who, in this case, was also a raging drug addict and violent criminal.
Summer From Hell
I was in an extremely vulnerable state of mind at the end of April 2010. I had been carrying on a “friends with benefits” sort of relationship with an ex-girlfriend for a year. She constantly promised that she would “kick the father of [her] child out, SOON, and then we can finally be together. But it is not that easy! He just lives here, it’s not like we are together or anything!”
After being fed this nonsense for over a year, I had enough and yearned for a real relationship. I dated a couple women who turned out to be quite unstable, but I always managed to catch it after a couple weeks and pulled the plug immediately. I was an expert at weeding out the “crazies,” or so I thought. Boy was I mistaken.
I made a profile on an Internet dating site and eventually received a message. I checked out the woman’s profile and responded, which turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life.
She was an attractive woman, but not my type. She had lots of tattoos, piercings and dyed hair, but I thought, “Oh, why not?” “Megan” and I began talking. She seemed funny, witty, and intelligent. I was intrigued.
She asked if I wanted to hang out and have a few beers and I agreed. “What’s the harm?” I thought. I picked her up in a town about 45 minutes away, went back to my place, and we had a few drinks and a chat. She seemed so intelligent, so friendly, sweet, and compassionate. Nothing seemed amiss and I didn’t want her to leave.
We agreed to be in a relationship and she moved in. It all happened so fast. She had made it clear in the very beginning that she had nowhere else to go. I don’t know what I was thinking. I wasn’t thinking, that was the problem.
I was coming off of a bad relationship where I’d been strung along. Prior to that, I was a 6-year relationship. I was lonely, vulnerable, and not thinking clearly.
The first month, everything was wonderful. She immediately got a job, the sex was amazing, and she spoiled me rotten. Then, like the flick of a light switch, things started to change. She no longer wanted to do anything with me or go anywhere. She claimed to have “fibromyalgia” and said that she had “flare-ups” that caused her to be in severe pain.
Pretty soon she just wanted to stay in bed all day. She told me she needed some painkillers, but that doctors won’t prescribe them for her “condition.” She coerced me into making several calls for her to try to get a prescription. Then we went to the emergency room where she pretended to have a urinary tract infection to get a prescription for painkillers. This was my first real hint that something was amiss. I wondered, “Does she really have this condition, or does she have a drug problem that she’s trying to hide from me?”
Turns out she had a MAJOR drug problem. Before I knew it, she was setting up “meetings” with strangers on Craigslist to score whatever she could get her hands on — ecstasy, painkillers, heroin, and cocaine. She threatened, bullied, and manipulated me into driving her to these drug deals, and I paid for all of it.
I was so completely blindsided by this behavior and so caught off guard that I went along with it without opposition. When I would say “no,” she would literally have a fit like a child or threaten to hit herself and call the police and have me arrested.
She quit her job and became a complete parasite. She belittled me, called me names, told me I was fat, ugly, not her type, told me that she doesn’t like muscle, which lead me to wonder what the hell she is doing with me then, because I am an extremely muscular man, and told me I was an asshole just like all her other exes.
Cocaine became her major vice real fast and she was snorting hundreds of dollars of it a week. MY dollars.
Like a fool, I let her do it. When I didn’t, she would steal my money or debit card while I was asleep. She had “pity parties,” where she would sit on the couch, snort cocaine for hours, and proceed to bitch and complain about how her past is so screwed up, her exes all screwed her over, the death of her father damaged her, her family treats her so badly, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.
It was the most pathetic thing I have ever seen. And yet, like a fool, I tolerated every minute of it. I wanted to help her. I wanted to change her. I wanted to be different than all the rest.
She started cutting her legs, made suicide threats and acted paranoid. She begged me not to call the cops, saying that she will be thrown in a mental hospital where they treat people like dirt. Like a fool, I listened to her. I had no experience with this kind of drama. I was paralyzed.
Finally, someone she had been texting god knows what called the police. I begged the cops to get her psychiatric help. She managed to manipulate her way out of that, too. Until they discovered she had a warrant for her arrest, much to my surprise. She had been scamming people online into “trading her makeup for other brands of makeup,” only she never sent them anything in return.
This was my ticket out! I would be free from this nightmare! This was my opportunity — my opportunity to be a sentimental fool and bail her out. Right back to square one we went. I was too kind, too naïve, and way too stupid.
For the next couple of months, it was more of the same — severe drug abuse, emotional abuse, and physical violence. She sucker-punched me several times in the face, full force. Every time she did something, I would call the police, and she would run out the door and hide like a coward.
The police were completely useless and didn’t put any effort into tracking her down. Every time she ran out the door, she grabbed one of my valuables — my laptop, wallet, my car keys — just to ensure that she had a way back in.
This insanity went on for three and a half months. I refer to this period in my life as the summer from hell. During this time:
- She completely drained my bank account. Every dime I had went into “keeping her happy” (i.e., supporting her drug habit and other extravagant desires).
- Any time I said “no” she would break up with me and bullied me emotionally until I did what she wanted.
- Manipulated and bribed me with sex. “Let’s make a deal. I’ll have more sex with you if you do this and this and that for me.”
- She physically assaulted me countless times, throwing objects and punching me in the face.
- I came into contact with dozens of shady, unsavory characters. One of them even flashed a pistol while the drug deal went down. I am a licensed firearms carrier, but this freaked me out to no end because I’m sure this guy wasn’t and I was unarmed at the time.
- I had some of my belongings stolen by a stranger she met online and invited over my house while I was at work.
- Flipped through her phone to discover that she had performed oral sex on a stranger for cocaine. I never touched her after this. She claimed that she was just having “phone sex,” even though it was crystal clear what had actually happened.
- Dealt with bizarre and irrational lies. She created fake Facebook profiles, hit on herself and sent me threatening messages, told me things her friends were supposedly saying about me just to get me angry, hid my car keys and then miraculously found them in places I know I looked and then expected praise for it, etc.
- She threatened to kill my cats.
This episode nearly landed me in jail. I completely lost my temper, grabbed her by her hair and threw her to the ground and told her if she hurt my animals I would end her. I am still amazed that I managed to scare her enough to not call law enforcement on me. Or maybe she just knew that without me she’d have neither financial support nor shelter.
This doesn’t even begin to cover all the manipulative and outright bizarre lies she told me and the abuse she put me through. I wanted out, but being a kind hearted man I didn’t want to just throw her out on the street. What a fool I was.
My way out eventually came along. She missed a court date, which meant there was another warrant issued for her arrest. I called the police and asked what I should do if there’s someone at my house I don’t want there. They told me all I had to do was call them and they would remove the person immediately.
I told Megan, “As of tonight, you are either homeless, or you are going to jail until your case is resolved. Either you leave on your own, or I will have you removed.” She completely freaked out and began chasing me around the apartment and begging, “I’m sorry! I don’t want to lose you! I will change! Please! No.” She offered sex and anything she could think of. I wasn’t having it. I wanted it to end. She left, but not without stealing a silver necklace my grandmother bought me.
Even after she was gone, the manipulation didn’t stop. She sent nude photos, pictures from the beginning of the relationship, dirty texts and emails. Then she made a fake Facebook profile and sent repeated messages saying that Megan had killed herself because she was so devastated by the breakup. I wasn’t buying that either.
Then she sent me a picture of her with another guy, pretending like she meant to send it to her girlfriend. I wasn’t having any of it, and told her if she doesn’t stop messaging me I would track her down and have her jailed. Eventually, she found other victims and stopped bothering me.
The three and a half months of that relationship damaged me more than I can put into words, but it has also taught me so much and made me stronger. I survived. She didn’t.
About 6 months ago, I learned she died sometime in March 2013. She was only 26 years old.
The damage she did to me was so extensive that I still hate her and feel as though she is out there ready to strike at me, even though I stood right over her grave and know she is gone. Today, I am doing much better, but the scars are still there. They are a reminder of my injuries and a testament to my survival.
My advice to other men in abusive relationships is:
- Never, ever abandon who you are for a manipulative woman.
- Never go against your own good judgment and common sense.
- If you have a way out, TAKE IT. Things will NOT change! This is who she is! If there is no way out, make one!
- Do not, under any circumstances, ever put up with a drug habit! It makes a person with a personality disorder even more crazy and unstable.
- Be strong, and stay strong! There are people out there who love you and don’t just want to use you.
- Don’t be a “white knight” and try to save women with personality disorders. Ride off into the sunset alone or find a woman who deserves your efforts.
- Learn and recognize the signs of manipulative behavior, and never tolerate it.
- Listen to your friends and family. They have your best interests in mind, unlike your abusive partner.
- Start every new relationship with a clean slate. Keep in mind this is a different person, but always remain vigilant.
In His Own Words is a joint effort between DAHMW, Shrink4Men and AVoiceForMen to help raise awareness about the invisible victims of domestic violence, men. If you would like to submit your story, please follow the guidelines at the end of this article.
DAHMW (Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women)
If you are in an abusive relationship and don’t know what to do or where to turn, DAHMW provides a 24-hour free helpline (+1 888 HELPLINE).
Shrink4Men Counseling, Coaching and Consulting Services
Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides confidential, fee-for-service, counseling, consultation and coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.