So, I had a broken face. I had a broken heart. I had a concussion, PTSD (Slowly developing over time), and I was confused even after all that had happened. I loved him still. Yeah, this is generally the part where everything seems a little crazy…..How do you love a man you are terrified of? How do you miss someone who tried to kill you? How is it even minutely possible to think you can still help him, fix him, be with him?
I tried to ignore these feelings. My doctors upped my anxiety medication, put me on a mood stabilizer that they believed could help with the up and down swings that came with the developing PTSD and the overall depression I was experiencing. My parents helped me pack up my apartment and emergency move in 3 days so [L] wouldn’t know where I was living. I found out who my real friends were during that time, the ones who show up to help when everyone else was confused and scared about the situation and were trying to remain “neutral”. Most of my real friends had been cut off during my relationship with [L] so I was fairly alone during this time.
The assault happened in the Spring of 2019, I can honestly say I don’t remember much until fall. I generally know what happened but everything is behind a wall of fog. [BABY] and I went and stayed with my parents for a while. We camped with my parents, I drank a lot (too much) with childhood friends, I stayed in my childhood home in a makeshift set up in the basement. [BABY] and I played as much as we could, but thank God I had my younger siblings, his aunts and uncles, there to help me through the summer. I was a shell of myself. There were days I could hardly get out of bed, especially when [BABY] went to visit his father. I suffered from severe migraines, the result of my concussion. I was forced to leave my job, even after my 12 weeks of Family Medical Leave Act I still wasn’t healthy enough to go back to work. The computer screens and bright lighs made the migraines worse. My vision in my left eye had changed pretty drastically and was continuing to change as it healed so that definitely added to the migraines. The depression was crippling. I felt so betrayed, so lost, so hopeless.
There were definite moments of bravery and clarity scattered in there that I remember more vividly than the rest. Like my parents headed back to their house and took [BABY] so I could finish up some legal stuff and join them later in the week once I had more of my house packed up. I went out with some friends, the real ones I found I could depend on….. and one night I decided to say “F*** it” and I went out without makeup on. I learned pretty quickly how to cover and hide the bruising and holes in my lip as they healed but this day, I just didn’t care. I remember thinking “let them look, let them see, I survived.” I was brave. My mom was pretty insistent I keep my bruises and face covered with makeup as much as I could while I was healing. I wore huge aviator sunglasses for months. They became my favorite way to hide my face. I resented having to hide sometimes, I wanted to be brave and say this is who I am now. Broken but alive.
I remember showing up to hang out with a group of friends when I was home and I decided not to wear makeup, I had healed a lot by then. I warned my cousin as he’s one of my best friends. The weird thing about my cousin is that he is very close friends with my first highschool boyfriend. I don’t know how to abbreviate him here. His name also starts with the letter L, so we’ll just go with [X]. [X] and I have remained friends off and on for several years and we’ve had our little snuggly “more than friends” moments off and on before [L] and I were together. I showed up that night feeling fearless, and terrified by what people would think of my bruised and broken face. [X] pulled me aside and we were talking and I mentioned my face and he laughed and said “[NAME REDACTED] you’re beautiful, you’ve always been beautiful and broken faces heal. You’re strong and you’ll be even more beautiful after this.” Yeah, I definitely cried. Like hurt my torn up face crying.
I came back to my current home mid summer, it was time for another visit with [BABY]’s father, so I needed to drive back to meet him at our normal airport where he usually flies out of. I felt like I had been with my parents for too long and it was time for me to start healing on my own and I decided to stay home. I wanted so badly to be brave. I tried to break out of my shell and go out with friends again. In our small little town there’s really not much to do so I went out with my friends a few times.
July- durring a celebration in our town. [L] was hospitalized. He later admitted he remembered that I was his emergency contact and was hoping they would call me. Thankfully his mom went with him to the ER and demanded that she go inside. He had slit his wrist, he still has a deep ugly scar from the attempt. Of course I found out about the attempt anyways, even though his mother was there to stop the emergency contact call. News travels fast in a small town. I wanted so badly to go to him then but I held off, I couldn’t face him. I blamed myself for his attempt.
One night they had early obligations in the morning but I had run into other friends/acquaintances that had come from out of town so I decided to stay out late. They had also been [L]’s mutual friends at some point or another but weren’t really close with him. One of these friends happened to be the guy who was there during the assault. The one who pulled [L] off of me and probably saved my life. This was the first time we had actually ever hung out besides saying hi in passing. The other guy works out of town and likes to come back and party on his time off, so I ended up taking far too many shots and drinking way more than I ever would have on normal circumstances, I was still coherent, I didn’t black out, and [BABY] was with his dad. I deserved to cut loose and have a little “safe” fun after everything I had been through. While sitting at the bar with them I learned that [L] had come back to town that day for his arraignment on the felony assault charges. We decided it wasn’t safe to stay out drinking so we ended up going back to the out of towner’s house and played fetch with his dog and just hung out BS-ing. Honestly we just had good clean fun, drunk fun, but nothing nefarious. At some point we were outside playing fetch with his dog, and the moon was lit up, several significant landmarks in our town were lit up, it was a beautiful clear night–but maybe that’s the concussion speaking. We decided we definitely needed to take some selfies to remember the night. We laughed, we took pictures, we made silly faces, we posed with the dog, it was funny and exactly what I needed. I needed to feel normal after so much SHIT. I needed to forget the hurt for just a little while.
Prior that week [L] had posted the Dan and Shay song “Tequila makes me think of you” to his facebook. I am a known tequila drinker. It is definitely my drink of choice and when everyone else is shooting whiskey I am usually the lone tequila shot. I used to bartend, I used to go up to the bar when [L] was bartending, it is a well known fact in our small town that I love tequila. Within hours of him posting that song I had several people send me screenshots of his facebook laughing saying things like “hmm wonder who that could be about” and other off hand comments. I did my best to ignore it, but it also pulled on my heart strings. It was clearly a message to me and with all of my mixed emotions I knew he was saying he still loved me, and I… still loved him. That night one of the guys forwarded [L] one of our silly selfies and captioned it “tequila makes you think of who?” without informing me until after he sent it. I went home immediately after having a full blown panic attack.
About 6am that morning I received a call from a “restricted number”. I’m the one that taught [L] that trick. I used to use it when he blocked my number when he was drunk and belligerent and I was worried. I answered, probably still a little drunk, and said “who the F*** is calling me at 6 in the F***ing morning” I was almost certain it was him and I knew it was about the picture, and I just wasn’t ready to deal with the emotions yet. I heard breathing and then the other side hung up. I texted him and said something along the lines of “if you’re going to risk jail and the restraining order by calling me you might as well make it worth your while and actually say something”. I realize now I never should have sent that text; but I was just so frustrated by being woken up, I had just gotten to sleep after my panic attack and deep down I was still very confused and missing him. I wanted to hear his voice. I wanted to hear that he still loved me and forgave me for sending him to jail.
Lets take a minute and ponder that for a second. I wanted HIM to forgive me for him going to jail AFTER HE was the one who BEAT ME. I’ll say it here and I’ll say it 1000 times again trauma bonds are a bitch. I truly still loved him with my entire being (minus one tooth).
He finally contacted me again later that day and we finally spoke. We drove and talked. He asked me if he really did it. He claimed he didn’t remember that night. I’m not sure if this is true or not,now I believe it was his way of not fully taking credit for his actions. He said he just needed to hear it from me to know it was the truth. I showed him the pictures; he had already seen them. I told him what happened, confirmed what he had already heard, and he just broke down sobbing. He said he was just going to end it. He couldn’t, he wouldn’t go to prison. He begged me to just let him die…. I said no.
I was mean, I was cruel even. I told him if he killed himself I would not come to his funeral (not that his family would let me anyways–although he did beg his mother to let me attend his funeral in one of his phone calls from jail). I told him I wouldn’t write his eulogy (he was there when I wrote my grandmothers earlier in the year) so this had significance to him. I told him I would never visit his grave. I would never mourn him. I would burn everything of his, of ours, all of the memories and be done with it.
I made him promise to never do that to me, to never attempt suicide again, I couldn’t handle that and finally he did. I would have his death on my concious and he knew that. Justified or not it would feel the same.
** I have lost loved ones to suicide, I do not blame them I do not believe it is a selfish act and I resent those who say so. This is not at all a reflection of my beliefs on suicide, at this moment I was soooo angry and so tired of his constant threats as a way to control me that I just snapped. I am not proud of this argument but I feel like I should be as candid as possible.**