For this prompt, I’ll have to use one of my very good friends as an illustration, because nothing has happened in my life that would make it applicable to me. I’ll call her “Amy” for the purposes of this post, not because she would be angry at me for talking about her story, but because it’s just more respectful that way.
Anyway, “Amy” had been in an abusive relationship when we were in high school. I mean, smacking, punching, kicking, insulting, you name it. It was horrid, and even that word is putting it mildly. Me and several other of her friends all begged and pleaded with her to break it off him with before he killed her, which we all believed was a distinct possibility. She loved him though, or so she said, and refused to break up with him. Finally, when we were all in college, she caught him in bed with another woman and dumped him. I mused to myself that it was sad that it took him screwing around for her to leave him, when beating her senseless and calling her names didn’t do the trick, but in the end, I was just glad he was through with him. Flash forward 10 years. She’s married now, to a pretty great guy. Treats her well, doesn’t run around, has a nice job…all-around good guy. Out of the blue one evening she calls me, whispering from the sound of it, saying she’s at a train station outside of town. I ask her what the hell is going on, and she said that when they were making love that evening, he said he wanted to try something new with her, and she said it was fine, not knowing what it was. He put his hands around her throat, not tight enough to actually choke her, but enough that she couldn’t move her head around that well. She freaked out and practically threw him off of her, hurried up and dressed, threw some clothes and other personal belongings in a small suitcase and left. She told me she’d been there before once, didn’t want to go through it again, and never dreamed “Jim” would be the same as “Joe” was.
I tried to calm her down, as she was near hysterics, and I explained that it was wise of her to stop that situation right then, but that it didn’t necessarily mean “Jim” was abusive or wanted to be abusive. He had a right to know why she reacted the way she did, because he had no clue what was going on, or that he’d done anything wrong. I wasn’t into that kind of stuff myself, but I knew some people enjoyed rough sex, and there was a difference between that and domestic violence. I managed to convince her to go back home and talk to him, to let him know why what he did scared her as much as it did, because if this was indeed just him wanting to try something different in the bedroom with her, he needed to know what was off-limits and what wasn’t. She called me a few days later saying they’d had a long talk about it, and that she told him about “Joe,” which made “Jim” start crying because he felt horrible for making her relive that, even accidentally. He told her the next time he wanted to try something new with her, he’d talk to her about it first.
They’re still married now and have a baby on the way, which they’re both very happy and excited about. What I took away from this was that her past relationship made her skittish around men, even “Jim” to begin with, but it also helped her better understand what real abuse and control was, and what wasn’t. I hope I never find myself in a situation like she did, but if I ever do, I hope I come through it as strong and as tough as she is, because she’s my hero. Truly.