I Keep a Scrapbook of Our Life Together

I had this post scheduled for this morning – and I changed my mind. I asked my friend to read it and let me know if it’s too much – she gave me wise and loving words – as she always does.  This is dedicated to my friend for what she gives me.

My heart is racing – thumping wildly. My body is tense. Writing that title is makes me emotionally distraught. Figuring out how to begin this is difficult.  I wrote about a disturbing incident in my life called Collusion a week or so ago. That was an easy post to write. I could disassociate myself from the events and write them in a fairly concise and emotionless state of mind.  I can’t write about Eric Z like that. This post is purely about revealing something that haunts me – it will always haunt me. It is somewhat disjointed – please be patient.

Why am I writing about it? To what end and what purpose does it serve to tell of the overwhelming horror that one person can inflict upon another – how they can emotionally strip away your self-worth and tether you to their own sick and deranged mind? I don’t have the answer to that.

But I feel like I’m about to pull back a curtain to expose a train wreck –

However, as I’ve said before, it’s a story and stories are meant to be told…

For the most part – I don’t think about Eric Z anymore – I’m immensely grateful for that. I’ve dealt with most of crap he left me with when I was finally able to break free of the complete mind fuck he inflicted upon me at age 16 (my apologies – I don’t typically write this crudely – but, well, that’s how this post is going to go).  I had some really good therapists and friends to thank as they helped me along the way. I’m not ashamed to admit that there are some things that happen in our lives that require us to reach beyond ourselves and seek help else we’ll self-destruct.   But every once in a while something will trigger those emotional memories – and it all floods back. A song, a question, a comment….

Every time I hear a person judge a woman  and say something to the effect of “I don’t know why she doesn’t just leave “ – I want to know if they’ve walked a mile, hell, 12 feet in the shoes of a woman that has been in an abusive relationship. I suspect they have not.

I suspect they have never been caught in the cycle of complete madness of a volatile, crazy, possessive boyfriend. A boyfriend that subjects you to humiliation – sexual and emotional– then cries for hours – begging you not leave. I suspect they have not had calls all hours of the day and night from that boyfriend– crying and sobbing about how much they ‘love’ you and how they can’t live without you and how they are going to kill themselves if you leave and how YOU will we be responsible if they die…I suspect they have never had a boyfriend shoot a gun off in the phone and you’re left standing there holding the phone, freaking out that he’s dead. Coming apart at the seams because you think you’ve caused someone to kill themselves and you’re only 16. When you find out he’s OK – you stay because you think he’ll do it again and you feel responsible for his life. Knowing you cannot confide in your parents because you are afraid to have them know you’re having sex – even if it’s more akin to rape than mutual consent.  Knowing that you can’t escape the endless, harassing phone calls and emotional manipulation because you don’t know how to make it stop.  Not knowing how to break free of terror – having nowhere to run because you’re a junior in high school and to everyone around you things look ‘normal’ – he loves you – look how much he loves you – he’s always with you. He wants to know where you’re going – he wants to go with you.

Mary, Mary, where you goin’ to?
Mary, Mary, can I go too.
This one thing I will vow ya,
I’d rather die than to live without ya.
Mary, Mary, where you goin’ to?

Mary, Mary, it’s not over.
Where you go, I will follow.
‘Til I win your love again
And walk beside you,
But until then.
Mary, Mary, where you goin’ to?

I suspect if this happened to them, they might be a little less likely to judge that woman so harshly.  They might be more understanding about what’s going on.

I was lucky –

Eventually, my Mom realized that I was having a problem breaking free of Eric, he was possessive and not quite ‘right in the head’ (he was 15 – the only saving grace was that he couldn’t drive and you can’t really stalk someone when you have to ride the bus).  The final straw occurred when he came to my Mom’s deli (I worked there) and had a complete mental break when I broke up with him an hour before I went to work. I think my Mom was shocked when she saw how crazed he acted. I finally broke down and told my Mom some of what was going on (not the sex part) and she arranged for me to stay at my friend’s house for a week after I broke up with him.  Eric’s Mom, who KNEW what a psycho her son was, called to beg me to get back with Eric because he was so upset.  I was frantic because I didn’t know how I was going to continue to go to the same high school that he went to.  I don’t know what transpired at Eric’s house, but he was out of school for a couple of weeks and then a mutual friend, Chris, told me that Eric had been sent to California to live with his father.

The last thing Chris told me was that Eric kept a scrapbook of what our future life would be like together and Eric told him if he couldn’t have me, no one will.

I never saw Eric again.  Like I said, I was lucky.

I learned a lesson from Eric – I never tolerated possessiveness.  The first time a guy would demand to know ‘where I was’ – I was gone.  One of the things I love about my husband, Scott, is that he is not jealous – he is not possessive. Sometimes he doesn’t quite understand it when he asks an innocent question (like, what are you doing?) and I occasionally lash out like a trapped cat in a cage.  If he reads this – I hope it helps explain it.

I am also lucky that this is the last kind of story like this that I have to share.

About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
This entry was posted in Aversions, Mental Health, Possessiveness, Relationships, Story and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to I Keep a Scrapbook of Our Life Together

  1. runningonsober says:

    Thank goodness you broke the cycle when you did. I can relate in many ways. Thank you for sharing this, I’m sure it was a tough piece to pen.

    • It made me feel weird to know my family would read it (like my mom) AND that I’d posted about another incident – like I was a sap waiting for abuse – but I think it was b/c I was thinking of that incident that made move forward with this one.

      I saw the title for 6 months of sobriety! CONGRATS – I’ve not read posts b/c I’m wicked behind in my non writing life but will be there soon 🙂 Miss ya!

      • runningonsober says:

        Take your time, I’ve been swamped too (hence the delay in commenting).

        I liked Grippy’s Jaycee comparison of shining light on it until nothing about it scares you or evokes emotion. “Stare it down until it can’t scare you anymore,” is one of my favorite quotes; Jaycee said this in an interview.

        That’s the only way to truly heal. Good for you. And it’s something not often discussed, so shining light on it helps everyone.

        Catch up with you soon, miss you too!

  2. Although this must have been incredibly scary, I’m so glad you didn’t meet him in college or later in life, when he could have freely stalked you. Also, so happy to read that your mom read the signs AND STEPPED IN TO HELP. So many people will just stand helplessly by, and that just perpetuates the problem.

    • I found him on FB and immediately blocked him and took of any kind of information that would lead him to me.
      Yes, I was lucky it happened when we were so young for just that reason. Stalking is the scariest thing –

      My mom was pretty awesome for that incident – I needed help and asked for it. I think sometimes a young person doesn’t ask for help b/c of shame or they truely think that they will ‘fix’ the broken boyfriend OR that possessiveness = love. So many reasons that we contiue with abuse. Mostly b/c it’s hard to escape the mental ties that bind us.

  3. Jillian says:

    I’m so sorry you ever had to suffer a relationship like that. It was brave of you to share your story, and I hope that it was a cathartic experience for you!

  4. jiltaroo says:

    I’m so glad you have found a wonderful man and I agree…no one should judge. It’s very difficult to leave these types of men/boys. I wonder if girls should be educated about this so that they know the signs and how to break free. I was in the same situation at the age of 18. He was violent, possessive, jealous and suicidal when I tried to leave. Perhaps girls/women need to know early on how to recognize the signs and hence avoid heart break, pain, abuse. The MO is quite strong but the signs can be subtle at the start but then escalate insidiously. Jen xx

  5. I’m proud of you, my friend. You shine like a bright light through the darkness. Sharing our experiences help others and I have no doubt that you’re touching someone with this. Your story definitely gives me more compassion for women that I’ve judged with “why doesn’t she leave?” I don’t think you can understand the level of manipulation unless you’ve lived it.

  6. Brigitte says:

    Ruta, what a horrible experience for you and you were so young! I’m glad that you had the strength to do what needed to be done. And I agree with you, people don’t know what they’d do until they walk in someone shoes. You sound like a very sweet soul with a very strong spirit. But I have sensed that from reading you from the start.

    • Thanks Brigitte –
      Aside from a couple bleck things – I really have had a lovely life -and most of the stuff that was less than stellar had some sort of funny associated with it or something that I could take away.

      It’s interesting to have people see thru what you write – I thought a lot about what it would mean to have two postings about some similar experienes and if people would think I was just railroaded by men .. but it’s just a slice –

      Thank you, as always, for reading and commenting – you are such a lovely soul.

  7. Wow, wow, wow! What a scary thing to go through at that age.

  8. Kim says:

    I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. What a nightmare! Thanks for the reminder to be more compassionate towards women who are trapped in a relationship like that. It’s always so easy to pass judgment when we are on the outside.

    • Thanks Kim –
      running away seems so natural – it’s no wonder we don’t understand when on the outside. We cope with life by judging – for good or ill – it’s how we are – and it doesn’t make us good/bad – it makes us human. Thank you for reading.

  9. lolabees says:

    Another close call! Think of how much worse it could have been… had you been older, you probably wouldn’t have had your parents so directly involved to successfully help you put an end to this. We do the best we can to get over these kinds of experiences, and I think the best thing you did was to learn from this. That’s what life is about… (hopefully) learning to live each day a little bit better.

  10. It’s a testament to your emotional strength and intelligence that you got through this. 🙂

  11. I’m so sorry you went through that. Isn’t it amazing that those bits and pieces from our past have the power to keep popping up, even when we’ve processed them. I say beat it like a dead horse. Anything that causes you trauma and takes away your sense of power needs to be talked about until it elicits no emotion. Until it means nothing. As long as you feel residual crap you should probably keep working through it.
    Look at that book by Jaycee Duggard. She took her power back by retelling her story over and over again. She’ll always have some residual stuff, how could she not, but she did the best thing she could. She shined a big fat bright light on the whole dark mess.

  12. TAE says:

    I think it’s not my place to say this, because I don’t really know you, but from a fellow-woman I hope you’ll let me say that I’m proud of your for sharing this experience.

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