Telling Violent Stories with Dignity

For 4 years now, I have kept it a secret. For a multitude of reasons, I haven’t come forward on social media, or really talked about it with my close friends and family. The first year, I denied it, because there is no way it could have happened to me. My friends would have been more up front with me, my mom wouldn’t have loved him so much, and it was certainly easier to blame to break up on him cheating on me. However, only 2 people know what really happened that last night of our relationship in 2012, and perhaps he doesn’t even remember.

(Before I begin, I need to state that this is my story, and it is scary to share. The last thing I want to do is hurt any of this person’s friends or family. I have not named any names for this reason, but some people will know who it is.)

I had driven to Roslyn to visit my best friend and have a couple beers. Naturally, as soon as I left, the whiskey began to free flow at the corrupt little housing place we lived at. I was in the bathroom and on my second beer when he called. I never thought much about, but my friend answered my phone because she was aware of his temper and perhaps not answering it would be worse. Convinced he heard a male voice in the background (we were at a bar…), I was forced to scurry out the door and rush home over Snoqualmie pass in October.

Of course it didn’t end there. On my way home, I got phone calls with my dogs crying and threats saying that he was “taking really good care of my dogs”, one of which just had knee surgery. When I arrived home, I loaded up my car as swiftly as possible, although a majority of my stuff had been thrown out the second story window.

This wasn’t a one-time occasion, and there were certainly times that it got a lot worse, both verbally and physically. There were times when it happened right in front of our friends and our family. Just that one cloudy memory was challenging enough to write about, and I don’t see a need to bring up more details.

I would also love to say that this was the last time I was ever with him, but it 3 years ago I allowed him to come join me in my safe place in central Utah. For 2 secret months we were together and it ended with involuntary police involvement, him going to jail, and me being forced to call it what it was: domestic violence.

The second year was full of suicide threats and a plethora of new email addresses. After dropping the domestic violence charge because of pleading by his father and other personal reasons I haven’t put much thought into, the restraining order was dropped.

At the time, I still had hope that things could be different. This would scare him into treating me well. He would stop drinking. He loved me so much and I loved him and we were supposed to start a life together. I wouldn’t physically see him for most of this year, and I kept outstandingly busy, even for me. The discomfort of no rest was less than the discomfort of facing the lasting effects that would come from such degradation.

The third year, I started to develop plans to do the things I could not do when we were together. Going to school was something he had not allowed, because I already had a degree. Going backpacking alone and travelling to different countries and still seeing him, although rarely, filled up the summer. He had no leverage on me anymore. Anxiety and depression manifested is my life in ways that I had not seen it before, such as not being worthy of my education or talking to anyone I perceived as better than me, and feeling guilt for living my life the way I chose to and still choose to live.

I’m in the fourth year now, and I started telling strangers and acquaintances. I write about it after having too much wine and tell my friends that I have last effects without going into too much detail. I don’t want to face anyone asking questions about it when I am not prepared to talk about it. I do not blame the relationship for my back and forth depression and anxiety, because it always existed a little. What I do know is I still suffer. I haven’t had a relationship since then and I still don’t talk about it.

I don’t talk about it, because the people closest to me already knew. It is embarrassing to bring up to the people who told me all along it wasn’t right and tell them that it still haunts me.

I don’t talk about it because I don’t want to lose friends, some of which are his family.

I don’t talk about it because there are way worse things happening in the world.

I don’t talk about it because I don’t want to seem like a victim. Another person hoping for sympathy. I don’t want sympathy. I just want this thing off my chest and I don’t want people to look at me differently.

I don’t talk about it because I am not perfect, and I still blame it on me from time to time. But, no matter how unreasonable I can be, I never deserved those things.

I don’t talk about it, because I stayed. I am out now, but it took me a long time. I also still make mistakes, like at the beginning of this fourth year.

And finally, I don’t talk about it because I still love him.

The last lingering thing and the most toxic thing of all. The thing that I don’t have an answer to. The thing that I want to go away, with all of its’ baggage. While I would never be in a relationship with him again, I am not to the point yet where I need to be.

I want to talk about it because I know I am not alone. And maybe my story can help someone else.


One thought on “Telling Violent Stories with Dignity

  1. The words you wrote “I never deserved those things” are very powerful. Healing takes time, a commitment to self and the ability to forgive yourself and the perpetrator. All things you are working on. I love you deeply Carly. Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable story.


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