Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for violence and mature content.
I read something once, that there are two definitions of respect. One definition is the respect given to all life on earth, respect for each being's individuality and right to life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. The other definition is the respect given to authority figures, ones with power and knowledge, respect for those of higher status. Some people will expect the respect of authority figures, and if you don't give it to them, they will not give you the respect that all life deserves. It was put much more eloquently than that, but I can't remember the quote exactly. It was the the meaning that stuck with me. I look at my life, and I find that this is happening to me. I am expected to give him the respect of an authority, but I may only be given the respect of life if I some how convince him that I deserve it that day.
My family is on the other side of the country. I have no friends here. My natural awkwardness has played some part in this, I must admit, but I can't help but feel that he has isolated me. So therefore I can't leave without having to go to the salvation army. This is a wonderful organization, and I have stayed there before, but somehow, having to give up a warm apartment to live among strangers who have their own problems is less than desirable. Especially when I have the comfort of routine. It is a routine of constant pain, but still it is familiar.
He will come home, and even if I have cleaned up, gotten dishes done, and tried to set things up nicely, he will find the first thing out of place, such as a door open, and belittle me. Make me feel small and worthless. This was true even when I had a job, but now that I am unemployed its even worse. I am looking for work, but halfheartedly. I feel somewhat depressed, and I think, what's the point. Besides, if I find a job, it will be one more excuse to stay here, under his thumb.
I could move back home, but I don't want to. I moved so far away for a reason. I won't go into that now, that's another whole essay's worth of bullshit. I feel so stuck, and when I feel stuck, I just shut down. Character flaw, I suppose.
Also, he takes all my money. He has been doing so since the beginning of our relationship, when I felt I needed to pay him back for taking care of me when I dropped out of college because of a severe case of depression that landed me two different stays in the psych ward of the hospital. Not a good time for me. I was alone, and very vulnerable. And he was there. He is the only man I have ever been with, emotionally and physically. How can I give up on 5 years of relationship? If I try to not give him all of it, it is terrible, screaming and threatening. I know he can make good on his threats, he has done so before.
Oh yes, it has gotten physical, 4 or 5 times that it left visible bruises. The first few times, I tried to fight back. I have a temper of my own, you see. But that only made it so much worse, he is stronger than me, and has training. I will not try that again.
I have halfheartedly tried to leave on many occasions, packing a suitcase, having a screaming match about how he treats me. About a month ago, I dared to try and get him to go to work on a day he was scheduled, and I ended up getting hit across the face. I got up, took a shower, and was going to go to the gas station to get some quarters to do laundry. He tried to get me to stay and "talk it over" (continue to fight.) He pulled my arm and I screamed, "LET GO OF ME" and yanked it back. I dropped my wallet and as I reached for it he punched me twice on the hip. I grabbed my wallet and ran.
I went to the gas station. As I was walking there I was sobbing. He drove by me a few times, but I guess he didn't know it was me, because he didn't stop. I got to the gas station and went to the bathroom to try to get a hold of myself. I realized that I didn't want to go back. So I didn't.
I went to the salvation army, and they referred me to a women's shelter. I stayed over the weekend, and as I had left my phone behind, I didn't hear from him. Then it was Monday, and I had to go to work. He brought my phone, and I agreed to go talk to him. He cried. I cried. I missed him, he missed me. He was so sweet, and begged me to come home. I wasn't ready yet, so that evening I went back to the shelter. By Thursday, I came back home. Our puppy missed me.
The problem is, I love him. I love him so much. I want to see him happy. And when he is happy, he is charming and intelligent and interesting. For a few days, it was like that. I tried to work out some rules so that I wouldn't get taken advantage of anymore. We made love. It felt like it would work. That we could make it work.
Then we got back to our routine, the constant bickering, put-downs, perfectionism. I lost my job. And I can't tell anyone about it, because when you stay, you are weak. You are foolish and stupid. I know it, you know it. Why don't I just leave? Because I am weak, and alone, and afraid. Because I have lost myself. I have nothing, and no-one. And I love him. Maybe if I can just show him, he can change, we can change. But you and I both know that never happens. So here I am. Stuck.