It was a dark time…
I’ve thought about this post for a while. I keep convincing myself that this isn’t the place for it. Mainly because it contains memories that I don’t think about anymore. A dark time in my life that I’d rather forget now that I am encompassed by love and happiness in my everyday life.
But, maybe if someone has been through the same thing, or is currently doing so, it may ring a bell or two, or even serve to help or bring a little bit of hope to someone who reads it. And I think that trumps me not wanting to dwell on my unhappy past.
So here goes.
I made a real mistake on my first day at university. I was young, stupid, in a new city for the first night as an independent student and drunk – very very drunk. Doing as students do I hopped into bed with the first person who seemed willing. It was a moment I’ve regretted ever since.
I should mention that the encounter didn’t leave me with any diseases or anything, that isn’t the meaning of this post. Instead it left me at the mercy of the most unpleasant individual I have ever had the misfortune of meeting.
As I said, I was young and stupid, and thought I might ‘enjoy myself’ on my first night. Instead, while I was going to sleep that night thinking everything would be forgotten by the morning, she was planning the next 25 years of my life.
I may sound callous in this post, but, after going through everything that I have, by the end, I’m sure you’ll forgive me for not allowing this person a whole load of sympathy.
After that first night, arguments began. This girl shared the same student flat in the halls of residence as I did, and made not only my life hell, but those around us too. Doors were slamming constantly when the air wasn’t filled with arguments and profanities. This wasn’t what I had come away to uni for. It was meant to be a fresh start, a way to forget about the cheating girlfriend that had sent my world crashing down around me only a month or so earlier.
Eventually the arguments stopped, and it came down to the fact that I just wasn’t brave enough to deal with the situation. Instead of asking the university to move me to a different halls, I caved and agreed to be with her – if only for an easier life. It made things better for everyone, for a while.
However, as you could guess from the ridiculous situation I allowed myself to become a part of, it was less than plain sailing. She would go off the handle and accuse me of seeing other girls – even to the extent of moronic claims about her friends that everyone knew couldn’t be true. When things were rocky she developed a health issue. Her eyes used to roll back into her head and she’d shake. My downfall is that I was too caring to just walk away. I did all I could to help and snap her out of it. It took me 12 months to realise that each and every time she had done it – it was faked.
I can’t count the amount of times she threatened to take an overdose. The amount of times I found myself forcing my hand into her mouth to quite literally drag pills out of it. As I’ve mentioned, I was young and stupid, if I’d known better I could have let her swallow 12 paracetamol and probably be just fine.
While all this was going on I was being alienated from my friends. I had moved to a new city, surrounded myself with like-minded young people, and felt more alone than i ever had in my life. She had banned people from coming round to our flat, meaning that the others could go out and enjoy themselves with Their new friends. That wasn’t an option for me. I’d be punched, kicked and even once was hit by a flying chair. I’ll always remember the time a pint glass whistled past my face – missing me by centimetres. I was becoming a reculse, and thought I could hear the others talking about me behind my back. All in all, my confidence was shattered. I’d go home between terms and drink too much, go out too much and spend too much. I was reckless and, I imagine, not much fun to be around. I’d have screaming arguments with someone that was hundreds of miles away… It made me unhappy, and everyone around me.
Worryingly, all of this behaviour is somewhat small fry.
Months into the ‘relationship’ – she told me that she was pregnant. I’d always been careful, but knew that not everything in the world of contraception is 100% reliable. It was tough to hear, and left me feeling even more trapped than ever. My naivety and stupidity combined to great effect when she told me that using condoms anymore was pointless. I should have thought about it more. Though, to be fair, I never should have let myself get into the position in the first place.
I found myself travelling the length of the country to visit her parents. I was missing university and spending money that I didn’t have. I couldn’t contemplate having a baby with her. I couldn’t look after another life. I was doing a terrible job of looking after myself. After some hard times, it was agreed that we would go ahead with a termination.
I should have told my parents what was happening, but I was scared and ashamed. I didn’t want them to be ashamed of me. I am their eldest child, and wanted to make them proud at university, not get someone pregnant and be missing my classes.
It had been seven weeks since she told me that she was pregnant when we went to the clinic. They did their tests and told her that, yes, she was pregnant. She was four weeks.
I found it hard to process the facts. I was overwhelmed by the fact that I was hundreds of miles from home, in a scary clinic with her scary, big-shot parents the only people that I knew. But I saw the look on her face when she realised that I understood what she had done. How she had tricked me into making her pregnant.
She had planned it all along. She was willing to undergo the physical and emotion turmoil of an abortion in order to keep me with her. In order to scare me into not leaving. In order to keep me where she wanted me.
It’s painful for me to think back now that I had such a single-minded opinion of the whole situation. I wasn’t thinking in terms of being a father, I was only thinking about escaping the hell that I was trapped in. I’m not proud that I smiled when she came out of the clinic, not proud at all, but I also can’t even begin to imagine how life would have turned out had I made any other decision.
Things started to come to a head afterwards. She was at my parents’ house when she started to suffer some bleeding. There was no longer a way to avoid the issue, and Although I got a friend to take us to the hospital, I had to tell my parents everything.
I’ll never forget the look on my mum’s face when she realised that I’d kept the whole abortion from her. She was so disappointed in me – and although I’m sure it was for not telling her – I felt like she was ashamed of me, and that hurt far more than any of the punches or kicks ever did.
Looking back, the whole ordeal taught me more than anything to confide in those that love you. I have the most supportive parents in the world – and I’ve put them through some crap and wasted a lot of their money – but I wish more than anything that I had been honest with them from the start. My sister too, is amazing. I couldn’t ask for anything more from her, and though I was horrible to her when she was young, I’d like to think that we are friends now. I hope so, I lover her very much.
I hope that in the future my little man never hesitates to come to me with problems, and I can use my experiences to make me a good parent, learning from my own mistakes to make him feel that he can tell me anything. And that isn’t to say my parents didn’t make me feel like that. As I said, they are the most loving, supportive parents I could ever hope for.
When I finally escaped the ‘relationship’, I’ll admit that I began treating women badly. Not physically, I’d never raise my hand to a lady, but I wasn’t the greatest guy in the world. I was on a path to destruction, drinking too much and testing my boss’s patience with what I could get away with at work.
It may sound like a cliche, but everything changed when I met the girl I have now been with for seven years. She saved me.
For anyone who has experienced abuse, or even is doing so now, however difficult it may seem, talking to someone about what is happening is essential. Talk to a parent, a friend… Me if you like.
I would have never thought, during those dark days, that my life now could be incredible as it is. I wasn’t sure I’d be fully able to trust someone again, nor love my little family in the way I do.
There is always hope, and although it may be hard to see that faint light at the end of the tunnel, it is still there. Don’t give up.