I once saw something that captured my attention and I didn’t know why. Something that I
thought was so important at that moment, something that came all over me like it was happening to me.
That day, I went to the bus station as I did every single day. But that day I got up a bit earlier and I decided to leave immediately, despite the fact that I was going to be early for the bus. I thought, what the hell, I’ll grab a cup of coffee and I’ll walk around; it was a lovely day anyway.
So, there I was. I took my coffee to go and I put on my headphones. I grabbed a smoke and I sat on the small wall that was hidden in the bushes. Oh God, it was such a good place to enjoy and hide when you didn’t want anyone to bother you. You know, just in case you meet someone at the bus station when you don’t feel like talking that much.
I sat there for a good half an hour. I drank coffee and I occasionally looked at the people casually passing me by. I was wondering what all of them were doing, where they were going. I was so interested in their lives. So as I was playing a bit of psychological profiling, when that scene I will remember for the rest of my life happened. Suddenly, I saw a small, gray car heading toward the bus station at high speed.
The driver hit the brakes so hard that the tires left marks on the road. The next thing I saw was a very angry woman rushing out of the car, slamming the door behind her. She opened the trunk, took out two huge bags and threw them on the curb with every ounce of her strength. Then out came a guy from her car. That is a scene I’ll remember for the rest of my life. That is a scene I survived like it was happening to me.
You see, he got out of the car, looking all poor and broken. He looked like he didn’t have a reason to live. She kicked him out of her life, she kicked him out of her car. And she left. She left without looking back.
But that moment, seeing him alone and abandoned, captured me. I’m not saying that he didn’t have it coming. Maybe he did but somehow I was on his side. Somehow he got my sympathy.
I had no idea why I was rooting for him in that situation. I don’t know why I felt so sorry for him. But something inside me woke up. It’s like I could have understood exactly how he was feeling. I could feel the pain and I felt uncomfortable and scared.
But after so many years had passed, something happened to me. After so many years, I finally had the answer to the question of why I felt such empathy toward that poor guy left at the bus station.
You see, I lived with an abuser. I lived with a man who used me in every way possible and I couldn’t leave him.
I couldn’t break free from the chains he kept me in. I had no one and I had nowhere to go. For so many years, I put up with insults, with screaming and threatening. For so many years, I walked around him on eggshells because if I did something he didn’t like, he would flip out. He would go crazy. I completely adjusted my life so it suited him. Actually, there was no more me in that relationship, it was only him and his wishes.
And the worst of it was that he claimed he loved me. He tried to convince me that I was not quite myself, that Satan had got into me and he had to get him out. He tried to convince me that I was a bad person but that somehow it wasn’t my fault. He tried to make me believe that everything I did was wrong and everything he did, every hurtful word he screamed at me and every insult he gave me, was right.
He would lay a ton of hurtful things on me because ‘I had it coming’ but he always did it in a way that I believed he was my savior. He ruled over me because he would hurt me and offer me help at the same time.
I was scared for my life sometimes. He would go crazy and throw things around the house. He would break things because I’d said something that he didn’t want to hear.
I slowly got tired of carefully choosing my words and giving up on my dreams because he had a problem with something, because he was jealous or because of any other reason you can think of. I slowly started showing him that I wanted my life back and you can imagine his reaction when he realized his little prisoner, his puppet, was slipping from his hands.
And now we get to the part that is carved deep in my mind. It was a day like any other. We were at peace that day because I hadn’t given him a reason to flip out. Of course, that wasn’t a guarantee that he wouldn’t. I came home from work and there he was, sitting on the couch, doing absolutely nothing, like always.
Since he was so bored with his life, he took my life to play with. He decided to manipulate and harass me because he had nothing better to do. I saw it in his eyes the moment I stepped into the house. I saw the suppressed anger hiding behind an indifferent face. I knew that this day wouldn’t end well for me and I was right.
I tried to avoid him and talk to him as little as possible. I knew if I made one wrong move, all hell would break loose. So I was so careful, I was invisible in my own house. But that wasn’t enough, it never was.
When an abuser wants to create you a problem, when he wants to stress you out, he will do it. Even if you don’t give him any reason to do so, he will create a reason, from scratch. From nothing.
It all began with just one question. I knew where he was going with that. His jealousy was so sickening, it consumed his mind every time. I know he had no idea what he was saying and what he was dong. Actually, I comfort myself with that thought. I simply can’t accept the fact that someone who is supposed to love you and someone you love back could do something like that to you intentionally.
Then the screaming started. Yelling. Cursing. Insults. The whole repertoire. I just stood there with no tears left to cry. I had cried them a long time ago. I stood there and listened to every nasty word you can think of. I just prayed to God for all of it to be over as soon as possible.
But there was no end to it. Even when I stayed quiet, he forced me to talk. He threatened to smash my stuff, he threatened to hit and kill me. So I had to be a part of his little show. I had to answer his question by giving the answers he wanted to hear. I had to become someone else until it was all over.
He always threatened to kick me out of our apartment. He always threw my things around the house but he never actually kicked me out. I honestly never thought he had the balls to do it. Until today. I was standing in the hallway, hopelessly looking at him packing my stuff. I couldn’t get anywhere near the room. I couldn’t talk to him. I even found myself begging him to let me stay.
I know that’s so pathetic. A grown, independent woman begging her fucking abuser to stay. But at that moment, I had no one and I had nowhere to go. He was the only ‘safe’ place I knew. I was scared of what was ahead of me. I was scared to take that step into the future.
We pushed each other in the hallway. Me trying to stay and him trying to kick me out. I wasn’t that strong and I fell and he dragged me to the floor. I will never forget the moment when he finally opened the door out and kicked out my stuff. I knew I was next but I didn’t have the strength left in my body to fight. Maybe I did and my body didn’t want to listen to me.
I will never forget him pushing and dragging me out while I was holding onto the doorjamb like my life depended on it. But he did it. He pushed and kicked me. He spat in my face. He got rid of me forever.
Now I know why I felt sorry for that guy at the bus station so many years ago. I know exactly how he felt. Maybe he fucked up something, maybe he didn’t. Maybe he had it coming and maybe he didn’t. But me and him, we were in the same mess. My heart ached then as it aches today.
I took my things and I left for the bus station. I sat in the exact same place in the bushes where I had been sitting so many years ago. No one could see me. You know, the perfect place when you don’t want anyone to bother you.
Only this time, I didn’t have anywhere to go. I didn’t have to catch the bus. I had all the time in the world and I didn’t know where to start or what to do.
The only thing I knew deep inside my mind and my heart was that my story didn’t end there . It had just begun. Now I’m lost, hurt and confused. Now, I’m alone and have nowhere to go. But at least I’m free. At least I’ve got another chance to start all over again.