This is the post I have been most dreading. This is the night that is the source of the worst parts of my PTSD. This is the night I still can’t process. TRIGGER WARNING: This is a very graphic account of the worst night of abuse I survived. This is the night I struggle with the most, this is physical violence and can be very disturbing to read to anyone, but especially to those who have lived with physical violence in the past.
After the first PFMA, I wrote about in “The Beginning” [L] could no longer have contact with [BABY]. I knew he was dangerous, too volatile, and couldn’t continue to expose my child to him. [Baby] had never seen any of the violence but I couldn’t risk it. I was in no way giving up on [L] yet though. I thought I could still fix him and he would be safe to be part of our family again one day. During this time [L] moved 2 states away with some friends of his. We continued to do long distance, things were ultimately much better and much safer for me. He was working as a bartender again but said he had managed to get his drinking under control now that he was out of [his toxic hometown] where I still lived. He was still controlling and would freak out and threaten me whenever I didn’t answer my phone immediately or if I was busy with work or school. The emotional and mental abuse continued but I had distance and safety. It still affected my day to day life, I was still at the whims of his temper but things were okay.
[L] came back to visit one weekend with his friends he had been living with. We had been fighting and our relationship was very strained. The plan for the weekend was to spend one last weekend together and see how we felt, see if it was still worth being together. We were talking about the real possibility of breaking up and calling it quits after this weekend, and that conversation led him to accuse me of cheating and believing that’s why I didn’t want to be with him anymore, because I had found someone new. One thing most don’t know, that I truly didn’t consciously admit until after this, was that the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when you’re leaving.
He told me he was going to have them drop him straight off with me and then they had things to do, that was the plan. He told me he was just getting to town around 3pm that day and would be “home” soon. [Baby] was having his first sleepover with his best friend for her birthday. I was all set up to spend some much needed time together. I started asking when he’d be here around 4pm. He said soon. He finally showed up at 6:30 and had been drinking. I was a little worried but he was so lovey and excited to see me he seemed safe, and he had told me he had it under control. He was full of excuses about how he got stuck going to one of his friends’ family things and just had some drinks with the family…… turns out, I found out months later, he decided meeting up with some buddies and going shooting and drinking outside of town was more of a priority than coming to see me. Even though I was “supposedly” the whole reason for the trip (I always came second to his friends).
He wanted to go out so I got ready. It had been wet outside the past few days and not very warm for the season yet. I remember debating between a dress and flats and just casual jeans with a t-shirt and boots, I put the dress on before deciding it would be too cold and my feet would get wet in flats so I decided to change, thank God I did. The dress could have cost me my life, flats are hard to run in.
We went to a few different places, we played a game of pool, and then we went to a local bar that had a show that night. We had both had a few drinks, he had taken a few shots with old friends, we were both still just enjoying finally being together again. The bar was starting to get packed so we went and sat down somewhere else and I was lounging against him when I got a snapchat from a male friend, he saw the name pop up on my screen as a notification. I had never had any history with this person, it was a mass snap he had sent out to many people at once. [L] freaked, took my phone and threw it and threw me on the ground. This was in a crowded room of people, everyone saw. He had never been this violent in public before. The police were called, someone had said I had a restraining order against him from the first PFMA (but I had dropped it at this point). They took him away in the police car and I asked what I was supposed to do, he had my keys, he had my money, my ID, my debit card….. they basically said oh well. As most girls know our pockets are small and suck so I had handed my stuff off to him early in the night to carry like so many of us do with our significant others.
***I had to take a break writing this, This is hard for me to relive even in the safety of my own home to be able to write this all out, But I am determined so here we go again, IF YOU HAVE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TRIGGERS STOP READING HERE! PLEASE!***
[L] Started calling immediately after they dropped him off. Screaming threats, telling me I had to come get him or he was going to hurt me and my child. He was belligerent. I didn’t have a way to get back inside my home. The police were not helpful about my belongings so I felt I had to go get them. Not the best idea in the world I’ll admit but I had a few drinks and was desperate, embarrased, hurt, and wanted to go home and I was afraid of what he was going to do if I didn’t go down there. My next decision, the one I truly honestly believe, saved my life: I grabbed one of [L]’s friends. We were barely acquaintances, I knew his name, I said hey I need you to come with me. He was pretty drunk and confused but kind of shrugged and just went along with it.
The cab ride to where he was at took 10 minutes. I was shaking and crying when we got into the cab. The cab driver was telling me not to go and offering alternatives to try and get my belongings back but I was already trapped inside my fear brain. I felt like I needed to do what he said otherwise I would get hurt. He called several times on the drive there screaming obscenities and threats, I put it on speaker just so the driver and his friend in the car knew what was going on. We finally got there and he was standing in the shadows of one of the apartment stairwells.
I got out of the cab and so did [FRIEND], He decided to hang back while I tried to get [L] calmed down. I approached him and he was breathing heavily and looking a little wild. I was talking softly, I finally got close enough to touch him. I put my hands on his chest and he started to breathe and calm down more and more. I kept reassuring him “I’m here, It’s okay, just breathe….” he started to come around more and more. I was pretty skilled at calming him down during his episodes of anger at this point. He calmed down and gave me a hug, it was a really long hug and he seemed to kind of relax and melt into me. This was good, this felt safe, finally safe enough that I broke the hug and looked at him and said okay I need my stuff now. His eyes flashed and he took a step back and threw his wallet at me, harder than necessary but not dirrecly aggressive. I took a few steps back because I could see him getting worked up and tried to find my ID and Debit card. I was still shaky and trying to find my cards when I said “I need my keys too” without looking up.
Thats when he lost it. He started screaming about how I was stealing his money, he was holding my cash for the night at this point too, but I wasn’t even in the money pocket of his wallet, I was looking for my cards still. He ripped my phone out of my hands and smashed it. He launched at me keys in hand and started beating me. My keys were on a small paracord loop lanyard so I could connect them to my backpack at school. They had a large, heavy metal commemorative/memorial bottle opener attached. It was 1.5 by 1.5 inches approximately and solid, made to last. He was holding my keys by the lanyard so the mass of keys and bottle opener were hitting me in the face. I curled up on the ground in the fetal position. I couldn’t get up. He was above me still beating me across the head, arms, and face with my keys. I remember feeling my tooth on my tongue, realizing it was broken. I vividly remember thinking “Swallow your tooth, You need to scream”
[Friend] came running up and pulled [L] off of me, but [L] was a big guy [FRIEND] couldn’t hold him. I rolled away and got up and started to run, I made it about 4 steps and was wrenched backwards by my arm and thrown to the ground but I was already in flight mode at this point. I jumped back up and [Friend] was still intervening and I ran.
I ran across a main road and into the country club area of our town. It has a brick wall running all the way around it, I jumped the wall, I was in someone’s backyard and [L] was after me. I jumped into another backyard and then another fence and I was to the street. I don’t know when I started screaming for help but I know I was screaming as I took off down the street finally able to openly run. “Somebody help me, Call 911, Help”
He was still behind me. We were both winded at this point, running and screaming doesn’t go well together. I was slowing down and so was he. He called out behind me “are you finally going to stop being crazy and talk to me?” I turned around under a streetlight to see how close he was. He saw me, He saw my face, He saw the blood, He saw my eye…..
He said “Oh shit….” and lunged towards me again. I turned and ran like hell. I saw lights, finally I saw something that looked like there were people there. It was the country club, they were having a wedding reception.
I ran into the wedding reception. I don’t remember it but someone later told me I yelled “He’s chasing me, he’s going to kill me” or something to that effect. Some of the women pulled me off to the side and sat me down. I think they got me Ice? They called 911 and told them where I was at. The police had received several calls of me running yelling for help but I was always ahead when people came outside to help (so I was told, I have no idea).
-I did not know this at the time but when I yelled that and went running inside some of the grooms men went running outside into the parking lot. During this time they chased [L] for a few blocks and tackled him and held him until the police could get there. [L] had to get stitches in his knee and it was always a little messed up, I don’t think he’s had any further treatment yet but it seemed like he needed it.
Anyways one of the bridesmaids sat with me until the ambulance arrived, she asked if I wanted her to come with me to the hospital, I said yes. I didn’t have a way to get a hold of my parents or anyone, my phone was broken. We got in the ambulance, I remember the flashing lights while the back doors were still open and they were asking me questions and the police were asking me questions. We made it to the hospital and they put me in a room and the doctor came in and fixed my lip. I had 3 punctures through my bottom lip from where my teeth had gone through it and one tooth broken off down at the gum line. I had major trauma to my right law, right bottom lip, left eye and orbital, and left temple area. Basically a straight diagonal line across my face from where he had hit me repeatedly. I had other bumps and bruises. My whole body hurt. They did x-rays and a scan of my head of some sort (I don’t want to call it the wrong thing).
I used the bridesmaids phone to call my mom, and then to finally take a selfie to see what I looked like and to send that to my mother. I was numb, I looked at my face and couldn’t believe it was me. Mom told me her and Dad were leaving that second and on their way. The doctors tried to get me to stay overnight but I was adamant I needed to go home. They gave me pain pills and let me leave.
I was concussed, now on pain pills, had been drinking a few hours earlier, and it was about 12:30am. The assault happened about 945 ish? I think? anyways. No one told me they had caught [L] I had learned from the previous assault that if they don’t arrest the offender within a short time window then they have to go through the warrant process and it is much harder. He also lived in a different state at the time so I knew he would be leaving town as quickly as possible. In my mental and physical state I was determined to make sure he was arrested that night.
I went up to the bar he usually frequents, where his friends usually hang out. When I arrived I was looking for one person specifically. I ran into someone I knew, and asked if she had seen him. She instantly freaked out and was like “OH MY GOD what the F*** happened to you????” I repeated my question, she hugged me and pointed me to a back room. I walked in and, sitting around in a circle, were 5-7ish of [L]’s good friends all talking about how they were going to pool money together to bail him out. They all stopped and stared, we ended up in a group hug where I kept asking them to find him and they kept telling me he was already in jail.
One of [L]’s best friends was skeptical. He kept asking me to explain what happened and I finally said “Call [FRIEND]! He was there, if you don’t want to believe me that [L] did this then f***ing call him and ask what happened”. The skeptical friend went and made his phone call and came back and confirmed that [L] was to blame for my broken face. The guys kept hugging me and apologizing for not believing me after the first PFMA. They were his friends, and they believed him. I get it.
Finally I knew [L] was in jail. I was safe. My parents were on their way. I went to get [BABY] in the middle of the night, he slept through it all, and I took him home. I needed to confirm that he was safe. I snuggled up with him and fell asleep waiting for Mom and Dad. They arrived not long after, record time down some sketchy dark highways, to make it to me that quickly.
They knocked on the door and my dog, –ugh I just realized I’m not going to be able to use the dogs names even!– [TWEEDLE-DEE] has never been aggressive in his life. That night when my parents knocked on the door he hit the middle of the window full on attack mode. He knew I was broken and the knock had startled me awake and he was going to take care of us.
I was terrified by that knock, everything from earlier came back all at once and my only thought was “Oh my god its [L]” (irrational I know) I jumped out of bed, and went to the door where [TWEEDLE-DEE] was doing his best rottweiler impression. As soon as I heard my dad’s voice I knew I was safe.
[L] bailed out just a week later, and I still went back to him, even after all of this.
Thank you for taking the time to read my experience,
**This took a lot out of me to write. I cried a lot. It took several different sessions and breaks and many hours to write. Self care is important so taking breaks when I got overwhelmed was required for my mental health. If you are triggered by this post please take the time to do your own self care and make sure you are in a safe place mentally**
This story is hard and it cuts deep, but it also gives me courage and I hope it gives someone else courage too. I survived. I lived. I outran. [L] was physically bigger and far stronger and more fitness oriented than I am, I don’t know how I made it, but I’m so glad I did. But most importantly, there were people willing to help!