Don't know.

This will not be well-written. 

I have allowed myself to remain in a relationship with a man who, in the end, two days ago, put his hands on my throat, broke my ribs, bruised my back, and split my lip. Splintered a chair, glass Christmas ornaments, bottles. The signs were there before. I feel stupid and ashamed. Educated, strong-willed and successful was I. I’ve been in AA, and one of the tenets of that program is to take responsibility for one’s role in what has happened. What he did is not my fault, but I'm forced to acknowledge that I put myself in this position. My role is complacence. My role is a desire for chaos. My role is the acceptance of a vision in which my value is not worth worn shoe leather. 

I defended him, after the throat. I defended him against the people who were defending me. 

Years ago, I defended him after a deep and angry bruise on my wrist, after he wrenched my arm to make me listen. The fight was my fault, actually, because I had cheated on him (I think to try to get away, but I can’t be sure), and the bruise was my fault, because I was drinking too much and prone to easy blueness. 

I defended him after he slammed and shattered my side door. I was angry with him for not fixing it, but I understood. I really did. 

I felt that if this man couldn’t love me- a man with no job, no car, little affection, no prospects, and a lot of judgement- then no one better would ever love me. I wanted his love so I could leave it, so I could believe I was worth more in the eyes of a man who might one day save me. But he knew better, or knew what I was up to, and kept me returning, with a willingness and insistence that if he could accept my faults, that I would be better, I promised. I pleaded. 

I did leave, by the way. Lots of times. I blocked his number, screamed at him, calmly walked away, moved on, went on dating sites. But each time, I so badly needed him to know he was wrong, that I was the one he’d let get away. I couldn’t let go of the idea of leaving him wanting me, which I suppose is abusive in its own right. 

Tonight, with broken ribs, I can’t take a deep breath. I can’t cough. I can't cry properly, which may be a blessing. I can't drive. Pressing the clutch on my stick shift sends dizzying pain through my body. Makeup successfully covers the two bruises on my face. While no one can see these things, I can feel them. I can feel all of it, every last day and year of fear and anger and resentment and pain. And I don’t understand myself. I don’t understand him. I don’t understand anything. 

I’ve blocked his number with the conviction that I’ll leave him behind, but my will grows weak with the desire for him to know what he’s done to me. I'm so tempted to tell him. I want an apology. I want pleading, flowers, cries of devotion. So I can refuse them. I want to hurt him back. He can take me physically, but I can hurt his heart. Like an abuser, myself. 

Am I like him? 



Richmond, VA

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