I received the following as a direct email but know that it will greatly benefit everyone here so I have posted it along with my response below. You don’t think that if you are not living with someone you can be stuck in the abuse but this clearly shows that you can.
I just wanted to say thank you so much for your blog. I just left an abusive relationship last week- after seven months. I would like to share that abuse can happen, even in a long distance relationship.
My ex and I lived in different states and would see each other every few weeks. We were on the phone many times a day. We had been friends for many years before and there had always been an attraction, and finally the time was right for us to get together. As soon as we got intimate we started to fight. But we had been friends for so long I thought it would pass. His mother had just died and I thought he was just grieving. He said the fighting was good- it was good we were working out “our issues” now, so we wouldn’t have to do it later.
The name calling started early. I would ignore it because he was on the phone and I could just hang up. Or I wouldn’t hang up but would take and then get off the phone and just go on with my life. When he visited me the fights were horrific. Screaming, name calling, throwing things. It was like he had a different personality all of a sudden. It was always right before he or I was going to leave to go home. He would slam the door and I would be left crying. Later he would call and apologize and I would forgive him. Again, I figured we didn’t live together and he was so far away it wasn’t affecting me.
As time went on he would call to see what I was doing and who I was doing it with. He would berate my friends and family who I was spending time with, and “jokingly” threaten them. Eventually I stopped hanging out with them because he convinced me they “weren’t good enough for me.” Soon after that if I hung out with anyone he would tell me I could never talk about him or he wouldn’t come up to see me anymore. I stopped hanging out with people, and when I did, I didn’t talk. He hated where I lived and told me everyday. I started to hate my little town too and dreamed of moving to be with him.
He told me how to dress, what to eat, where to go, even what career I should be working at- and he was hundreds of miles away! Why did I listen? I must have been crazy. But he was my friend for a long time and I didn’t believe that this was “the real” guy. How could he have been so different?
He came up a few months ago and abused my dogs. I was devastated. But he told me he “was training” them. I believed him. I was scared to stand up to him. He joked constantly about he was going to kill my dogs when I was sleeping.
We fought every three days- like clock work. It didn’t matter if we were together or not. The insults got worse and worse. Two weeks ago, after weeks of telling me that I needed to be committed, how much of a nightmare I was, how no one would ever love me but him (no “real man” would EVER put up with me), he told me he didn’t care if I killed myself. I knew that was the last straw.
I lied to get out. I said whatever I needed to end it. He didn’t listen. He started calling incessantly. Then came the suicide threats. I responded. He was furious that my response “wasn’t more loving” (I had signed it with “xoxo” instead of “love”). The emails became more intense, and then threatening. Two nights ago, he showed up at my new house- even though he didn’t have the address- after driving five hours. I had talked to a DV counselor in the morning and she felt I was in danger so I was staying at a friends house. He said a delivery was being made, it was from him, but he wasn’t anywhere around. My friends were in town and saw him sitting outside my house! Scary.
He called, he emailed, he tried to convince me I was safe, that he loved me, needed me, couldn’t be without me. If it wasn’t for my friends surrounding me I would have gone back. I called the police. I filed a report that night. Yesterday, I had the police call him and give him a warning. He has been silent ever since. I haven’t been to my house in days and I am sleeping on people’s couches.
I have been so manipulated that I can’t get his voice out my head. But I know time away will change that. Right now all I hear is all the things he told me about how awful a human being I am. I will never go back. I deserve better. But the emotional scars will take a while to heal.
I am mourning the loss of our friendship, our relationship, the good times and dreams we had made. I can’t believe this could happen and I feel like an idiot. I wasn’t even living with him! (Thank god for that). He wasn’t even in the same town! The DV people say I have definitely been “battered” and have been the subject of various abuse levels (threatening, insulting, isolation, emotional abuse, manipulation etc…) and I am in danger. I am scared but I am out- and there is relief in that.
I wanted to share my story because abuse can happen even when there is distance between the partners, it can be emotional and verbal, and it can be devastating.
Thank you again for your blog- I really need it right now to deal with all the emotions and thoughts I have in the aftermath.
emailed response June 25th at 10:19pm
Forgive me for taking so long to respond. I get so many emails that some get lost in the shuffle and I do not show a record that I ever responded to you. I have added your email as a separate blog post as I feel that others in your situation will be helped by it.
We think that another can’t control us if not under the same room but as you write, it can happen. It is amazing the power an abuser has over us. I commend you for standing up for yourself.
I started the blog because for me I felt the aftermath was as bad as the abuse. Yes, I was not physically being abused but I live in the same state of anxiety and fear every moment. It took a day at a time for him to take from you and it will take that time forget you back to where you used to be. You may be helped by an article I posted recently called Facing yourself in the mirror after domestic violence https://thelaststraw.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/facing-yourself-in-the-mirror-after-domestic-violence/
I have also added a new post chain for you, your situation is unique and I encourage you to share with others the struggles you have faced and face now that you are free. Give yourself the time to properly heal so that you will never allow a man like this back in your life. You are worth so much more.
Write again, we wish you all the best and let us know how we can support you.
Love & Peace,