The End of an Abusive Relationship – A True Story

May 15, 2007 by Carolyn McFann  
Published in Dating

What it is like to get out of an abusive relationship, by a survivor who lived through the experience.

After leaving a crazy ex-fiancé a few years ago, I now know how to spot men who have anger management problems and dangerous personality disorders. Here is what I’ve learned from my ordeal.

In my experience, my ex was charming in the beginning, the picture-perfect boyfriend who flew me around the country, held open doors and treated me like a prize he was lucky enough to win. Many psychopaths and narcissists are attractive, charming and witty. He was all of the above.

As time went on, we got engaged and he moved me into his condo far from my hometown. It was lovely, and all seemed well for awhile. But, in time, I began noticing he lied about little things. Then he lied about big things. He was telling people he didn’t have a home phone, only a cell, when in fact we did have a home phone. If his cell rang, he’d jump and run out the door to talk outside, at times. Being a salesman who had many clients all over the region, at first it didn’t bother me.

In time, though, it became clear that he was up to something. When he got home from trips, I would find his shirts with perfume on them, and other signs that he was doing more “business” than just his work assignments. I started to snoop around, wondering what else I didn’t know about him, since he was lying and sneaking, he must have had something to hide. I checked the history of his use of my computer, and found a long list of women’s’ email addresses. By their cutesy names, it was obvious, these weren’t business contacts. I kept all information to myself as the investigation continued.

In his desk, I found the business card of a local woman with his last name. His name was unusual, so that seemed odd. He was originally from California, not from where we were in Pennsylvania. I asked him about it, and he fessed up that he had “just gotten divorced” right before meeting me. That made it ex number three. He’d only had two ex-wives that I’d known about.

Digging even deeper, I found a bible with inscriptions from his ex in the front cover. He was mad at being found out and tore it to bits, throwing a huge hissy fit, and trying to blame me for his bad behavior. It had no effect on my self-worth, it was his problem, and I told him so. He then got apologetic and took me out to dinner. Abusive people do this. They try to cover themselves and make you love them again after an abusive episode. It didn’t work on me, I knew this was a sinking ship I knew I’d have to bail out of soon.

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7 Responses to “The End of an Abusive Relationship – A True Story”
  1. Celeste- Someone who is concerned Says:

    I really respect you. It’s amazing how you know how to handle this situation. My friend might be in an abusive relationship. I haven’t seen her in a while and she told me many things about her one year boyfriend and the good and bad stuff about him. At first I just simply brushed it off but after being assigned to an Abusive Relationship assignment at my school, I looked at the signs of being in an abusive relationship and most of the things my friend told me related to it. I’m going to tell her about it but I recently found out she is pregnate with his child. This is going to be hard. Most articles say that this is when it iss hardest of people to leave someone. I’m gonna try my best to make her understand because I’m afraid for her future and want to at least make her see what might come.

  2. Similar Situation Says:

    Thank you for your post

  3. Margaret Says:

    Yes, i have been divorced from a narcissist and have to be careful still, as we have a child. I have nothing to do with him, although lately he has abused me via phone and texts.

    I had my phone blocked and didn’t give him my new landline no and now it’s cool. Also I did go to a counsellor and if he ever abuses me again she wants to get an avo.

    So it’s good to tell someone professional so you feel a bit more secure, cut off from the abuser and try and live your life with richness, I would suggest a holiday, pampering, good friends and family and talk about it to trusted people.

    You can survive, remember you were a target, not a victim

  4. Sam Says:

    I have been in a relationship with a man since January 2008. As stated in the article, he pursued this relationship as a real gentleman, holding doors, filling my car with gas if he noticed it was low, calling me at work, flowers at home and work, bottles of my favorite wine, cards, nice emails, cards, attentiveness to my every want or need…compliments on my appearance, etc. Within a few months I started to notice that he was an extreme manipulator. I noticed that he had all kinds of female “friends” but no male friend. His email was full of female admires from work, social events, church, everywhere…he was desperate for their acceptance. But when he moved in with me is when everything went to hell in a hand basket. He because very verbally abusive on the smallest issue, his rage was not in proportion to the minor occurrance that triggered it. I later found out he was exibiting sign of a condition called IED, intermittant explosive disorder. It is high level rage, his eyes go beady and his nose flared, his mouth was most foul and he would bang the wall. After a rage episode he would beg for forgiveness and promise that he would never do it again…just to have another episode with in hours or by the next day. He called me stupid, the B word, and ignorant. I am none of that. I am a professional woman who met him in a professional capacity. One day on the way to church he yelled at me so horribly in the car that I sat in church and cried…I could not believe that this was happening to me. He began to try and control everything…he showed up at my job to see the men who work there..he purchased an engagement ring to ” keep the guys off of me” and would yell bloody murder if I did not wear it. But I was smart, I never gave him ammunition to accuse me of anything, I never yelled or cursed. I have left the home many times to sleep over in a hotel because he was yelling for a couple hours and it was driving me crazy and made me sick to my stomach. On several occassions back to back my neighbors called the police because they heard him yelling at the top of his voice at me because I cooked too much food that night and he wanted to know just ” who I expected to eat all that food”.
    But when he is around his colleagues or other folk in general, he is a prince…one would never, ever, suspect that he is a monste behind closed doors. He is impossible and tried to control every aspect of my life. I have lived on this earth for 40 years and have managed without him.
    He once told me that he would kill himself if I ever left him. He has been married twice. I found the divorce decrees in a box and both cases accused him of cruel and unusal treament and emotional abuse.
    so,
    last night 5/5/09. I told him that the relationship was over because I can no longer stomach the verbal and emotional abuse. He became enraged…I almost left the house again but did not and treatened to call the police if he didn’t calm down. He has a reputation of maintain so he is mindful of that. He has emailed me today to say that he had a terminal heart problem and the he is dying of a broken heart and that he will not survive the break up.
    I have a plan to move out of state to get away…I have tried to leave him several times but I was emotionally unprepared…now after being called a “B” so many times, and being accused of everything under the sun. I am ready.

  5. Not afraid any more Says:

    I am currently in an abusive relationship. He moved me from one state 2500 miles away to his home. He was abusive the day he arrived at the airport and on the drive back to his state. I thought of leaving in Idaho but didn\’t… I ran out of the military base where we were staying the night while traveling with my young daughter who knew nothing of his rage at the time. He did not hit me just yelling and uncontrolled rage. Wild almost. Well I told a cleaning lady I needed help to get away from the abusive situation and she just said that she could not help me. I knocked on the door of another couple there in the hotel and the husband said he could not help me. We went down the hall and out the back door. My car was in the parking lot and I thought if I could just get back to my car and drive away I would. I did not know where I was in the lot and so just hid in a door out cropping of another building on base. He called my cell and I lied and said I was just looking for rocks as souvenirs from our trip. He came for me in minutes. We got in the car and drove away. A year passed. He was nice, took me places, cared for all my needs etc. After a year he began to tell me that I could not go to church, the gym, jogging or riding my bike. I love all of the above so I could not understand this ridiculous demand. He told me I did not have to work so I was not working during this time or currently. One night while listening to an interview online about a current issue he stormed into the room saying calmly he wanted me to come to bed. Mind you he was calm. Moments later he came back again and was far from calm. He had gone from zero to sixty in mind and all kind of madness was coming out of him mouth from his mind directed at me and my child. After several hours of this craziness, I called the police who promptly arrested him as he pushed me, he is 190 lbs 5\’6 and I am 5\’3 120 lbs. He stroke me on the left side of my throat as he pused me. The officers were kind and attentive to my child and I, they helped us file and EPO while he was in custody that kept him away from her school and the home for 30 days. As the 30 days approaches I feel slightly sick to my stomach. That will be in 6 days he texted me to remind me. The weather matches my thoughts on the coming of the days… windy, rainy, and unstable, if not detached. I need to find a job, relocate and just be at ease. Thanks for sharing your stories with me. I believe when I leave that I will not make it a public notice so as to avoid the unmitigated madness which is his insecurity, not mines. I am beautiful! I love to exercise and I love church. More importantly I love me! Life is good and I want let him or any other take it from me! Not without a fight.

  6. Never looked back. Says:

    Hello,

    I came to this site today to share my story and hopefully help other women (or men) who have been victims of abusive relationships, as well as give tips on leaving. I got out of one and yesterday it was exactly 3 years since I left. I met him at 16 years old through mutual friend and fell quickly and hard. He was perfect, or so I thought. Things were great at first, he was a little older and I liked that, it felt “cool” at the time having an older boyfriend. But about 6 months in, he started to show his true colors. I was not allowed to wear make-up, not flip flops or heels, I was not allowed to straighten or curl my hair, not allowed to wear certain things. I was basically under his control, I was miserable but didn’t want to leave, instead, I would do those things when he wasn’t around. Luckily, I was still living with my parents since I was still in high school, or else I’m sure it would have been worse, that would come later. I thought things with him couldn’t be worse, I was so young and naive, I thought it was just jealousy and that jealousy was kind of cute, I was wrong. A little over a year into our relationship I snuck out of my parents house to stay the night with him, that was when things took a turn for the ugly. I was wearing a polka dot shirt, not realizing he didn’t want me to wear bright colored polka dots either. He got so mad he ripped the shirt off of my body. Shaken, I just stood there and cried, of course he sweet talked me back in, claiming he had a “bad day”. Things were ok for about a week. I was at his house another time and we got into an arguement about me changing the channel. He pinned me to the couch and hit me with the remote control. He immediately apologized and talked me back in yet again. Pathetic. Things only got worse, he would hit me, kick me, push me, yell at me, cheat on me, etc. on a regular basis. I wanted to tell my family and friends, but was too afraid of any ramifications that would occur had I said anything, so I bottled it inside. My parents moved because of my job, I was 18 at this point and decided I didn’t want to live at home anymore, so I stayed, what a mistake. Things were awful, he would drag me and throw me, I’m 5′4 113, he was about 6′2, so I was powerless, but I was my fathers daughter and I would fight tooth and nail, until he would overpower me to the point that I just couldn’t fight back. One day, I had enough. He hit me one too many times. He left the house for a while, when he was gone I called my mother and broke down crying. She told me to pack up and leave, she said she and my father would fund my move since my boyfriend wouldn’t let me work, I had no money coming in. My parents were in Colorado and I was still in Florida, so my mom offered me to come there, I accepted. I knew I couldn’t sponge off my family, so I talked to my mother again and told her I was going to move to Scottsdale, Arizona. We had vacationed there when I was a child and I loved it. She thought it was a great idea. This is when the leaving process started. I had to be an “actress” for the next week and a half. I had to make him think things between us were great, that was difficult, at this point I had no feelings for him whatsoever, not love, not hate. I was over him, I was starting to regain the emotional strength I had lived without for so long. I went to the bank and opened a secret account and my mom deposited money into it to fund gas, food, hotels, deposit on a new place in my new state, etc. My family was my saving grace. I hid a map under the floormats in my car so I could get to where I was going, and then took my car to the BMW dealership to have it serviced. We were both on a cell phone account that was under his name, so I went and got a secret cell phone under my name that I hid from him. I created a new email and cancelled my old one. I cut off contact from friends, with the exception of my best friend who was the only one who knew of the abuse and hated my boyfriend. She had moved to California and had no contact with him so I knew she wouldn’t give away where I was. The morning came for me to leave him. I’ll never forget that day, it is forever engrained in my mind. We woke up like a normal day, I showered and made his lumch to take to work. I acted extra sweet that morning. He left for work and that was the last time I ever saw him. I ran to the bedroom and threw all of my clothes, shoes, purses, make_up (which I wasn’t “allowed” to have so it was hidden) and threw it all in suitcases and garbage bags. I took my toiletries, as well as personal things such as pictures, except ones of him and I, books, jewelry, a teddy bear my grandmother made for me as a baby, food for my dog, my laptop, and my beloved Sex and the City all six seasons DVD box set (believe me, I can’t live without my Sex and the City), and that was it. I threw everything into the car, I wasn’t worried about big stuff since it was mostly all his anyway. I had everything packed, I took the dog out for her last time in that yard. Wrote him a note which I vividly remember, it stated “I LOVED you, but I LOVE me more. You no longer have control over me. Bye.” I took the dog and got into my packed car and pulled away. I gelt a huge rush of power, but calm as I pulled off of our street. It was just me and the dog now. He got home from work and called me as I was passing the Florda-Alabama border. He called on the phone that was on the account we had together, since he knew nothing of my other one. He begged, yelled, pleaded, and threatened. He didn’t have a car, so he couldn’t follow me, plus to throw him off, I told him I left for South Florida, so he would really have no idea where I was. During the phone call, I said “Screw this” and threw the phone out the car window on the interstate going 75 in the middle of his rant. It was the last time I heard from him. It was the most empowering feeling I’ve ever experienced. Four days later, I arrived in Arizona, away from him, and away from being abused ever again. I have a fabulous job as a flight attendant, live alone with my dog and have lots of amazing friends. Leaving was the best decision I ever made. My advice to women in a similar situation, as hard as it is, GET OUT!! It is beyond worth it! You are beautiful and deserve the best things in life!

  7. Never looked back. Says:

    Hello,

    I came to this site today to share my story and hopefully help other women (or men) who have been victims of abusive relationships, as well as give tips on leaving. I got out of one and yesterday it was exactly 3 years since I left. I met him at 16 years old through mutual friend and fell quickly and hard. He was perfect, or so I thought. Things were great at first, he was a little older and I liked that, it felt \”cool\” at the time having an older boyfriend. But about 6 months in, he started to show his true colors. I was not allowed to wear make-up, not flip flops or heels, I was not allowed to straighten or curl my hair, not allowed to wear certain things. I was basically under his control, I was miserable but didn\’t want to leave, instead, I would do those things when he wasn\’t around. Luckily, I was still living with my parents since I was still in high school, or else I\’m sure it would have been worse, that would come later. I thought things with him couldn\’t be worse, I was so young and naive, I thought it was just jealousy and that jealousy was kind of cute, I was wrong. A little over a year into our relationship I snuck out of my parents house to stay the night with him, that was when things took a turn for the ugly. I was wearing a polka dot shirt, not realizing he didn\’t want me to wear bright colored polka dots either. He got so mad he ripped the shirt off of my body. Shaken, I just stood there and cried, of course he sweet talked me back in, claiming he had a \”bad day\”. Things were ok for about a week. I was at his house another time and we got into an arguement about me changing the channel. He pinned me to the couch and hit me with the remote control. He immediately apologized and talked me back in yet again. Pathetic. Things only got worse, he would hit me, kick me, push me, yell at me, cheat on me, etc. on a regular basis. I wanted to tell my family and friends, but was too afraid of any ramifications that would occur had I said anything, so I bottled it inside. My parents moved because of my job, I was 18 at this point and decided I didn\’t want to live at home anymore, so I stayed, what a mistake. Things were awful, he would drag me and throw me, I\’m 5\’4 113, he was about 6\’2, so I was powerless, but I was my fathers daughter and I would fight tooth and nail, until he would overpower me to the point that I just couldn\’t fight back. One day, I had enough. He hit me one too many times. He left the house for a while, when he was gone I called my mother and broke down crying. She told me to pack up and leave, she said she and my father would fund my move since my boyfriend wouldn\’t let me work, I had no money coming in. My parents were in Colorado and I was still in Florida, so my mom offered me to come there, I accepted. I knew I couldn\’t sponge off my family, so I talked to my mother again and told her I was going to move to Scottsdale, Arizona. We had vacationed there when I was a child and I loved it. She thought it was a great idea. This is when the leaving process started. I had to be an \”actress\” for the next week and a half. I had to make him think things between us were great, that was difficult, at this point I had no feelings for him whatsoever, not love, not hate. I was over him, I was starting to regain the emotional strength I had lived without for so long. I went to the bank and opened a secret account and my mom deposited money into it to fund gas, food, hotels, deposit on a new place in my new state, etc. My family was my saving grace. I hid a map under the floormats in my car so I could get to where I was going, and then took my car to the BMW dealership to have it serviced. We were both on a cell phone account that was under his name, so I went and got a secret cell phone under my name that I hid from him. I created a new email and cancelled my old one. I cut off contact from friends, with the exception of my best friend who was the only one who knew of the abuse and hated my boyfriend. She had moved to California and had no contact with him so I knew she wouldn\’t give away where I was. The morning came for me to leave him. I\’ll never forget that day, it is forever engrained in my mind. We woke up like a normal day, I showered and made his lumch to take to work. I acted extra sweet that morning. He left for work and that was the last time I ever saw him. I ran to the bedroom and threw all of my clothes, shoes, purses, make_up (which I wasn\’t \”allowed\” to have so it was hidden) and threw it all in suitcases and garbage bags. I took my toiletries, as well as personal things such as pictures, except ones of him and I, books, jewelry, a teddy bear my grandmother made for me as a baby, food for my dog, my laptop, and my beloved Sex and the City all six seasons DVD box set (believe me, I can\’t live without my Sex and the City), and that was it. I threw everything into the car, I wasn\’t worried about big stuff since it was mostly all his anyway. I had everything packed, I took the dog out for her last time in that yard. Wrote him a note which I vividly remember, it stated \”I LOVED you, but I LOVE me more. You no longer have control over me. Bye.\” I took the dog and got into my packed car and pulled away. I gelt a huge rush of power, but calm as I pulled off of our street. It was just me and the dog now. He got home from work and called me as I was passing the Florda-Alabama border. He called on the phone that was on the account we had together, since he knew nothing of my other one. He begged, yelled, pleaded, and threatened. He didn\’t have a car, so he couldn\’t follow me, plus to throw him off, I told him I left for South Florida, so he would really have no idea where I was. During the phone call, I said \”Screw this\” and threw the phone out the car window on the interstate going 75 in the middle of his rant. It was the last time I heard from him. It was the most empowering feeling I\’ve ever experienced. Four days later, I arrived in Arizona, away from him, and away from being abused ever again. I have a fabulous job as a flight attendant, live alone with my dog and have lots of amazing friends. Leaving was the best decision I ever made. My advice to women in a similar situation, as hard as it is, GET OUT!! It is beyond worth it! You are beautiful and deserve the best things in life!


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