Lisa's Story of Emotional and Physical Abuse leading to Self-Harm
Lisa's Story of emotional and physical abuse leading to self-harm starts with a man who forged his own background to emotionally manipulate her into helping him - to her initial detrement, but finally realising this was not "her Fault"..
When I was in my early 20's I decided to go to South America to teach English. Before I left I had been very depressed. I was in therapy which was going nowhere, I was self harming and drinking heavily and had a failed suicide attempt under my belt. Needless to say I was extremely vulnerable, and my self esteem was at rock bottom. My reality of the world was completely twisted.
When I met the man in question we were only platonic associates and I knew him through friends I had. I used to see him out because he came to the same places I hung around in, and knew some of the same people I knew. I felt sorry for him because he told me how he was a 'gutter kid' living on the street who came from nothing, had nowhere to live and was from a broken home where he was abused by his father as a child. I have worked with the homeless in the past and I have a big heart for people who are in trouble. He was often beaten up with black bruises all over him. I felt sorry for him so I started helping him out when I saw him. I'd buy him a hot meal, or give him something to keep warm when I saw him cold on the street.
He soon started obsessively pursuing me despite me telling him I wasn't interested and that I just wanted to help him. He would come to the hotel in the middle of the night where I was staying and hang around trying to get inside. In the mornings he was there waiting for me to leave for the day. When I left he would always aggressively question me about where I was going, when I would be back and why wasn't I going to spend time with him, and who I would be with all day -all this despite the fact I had only known him for about 2 weeks. This was the first time I began to see the extent of his jealousy.
One day I was with a group of friends including a platonic male friend at a club and he flew into a jealous rage when he saw us there together. He started screaming and shouting right in my friend's face and then stormed off.
He then developed a bizarre pattern. I would often give in to his demands and take a short walk with him when he waited outside my hotel for me in the mornings. During these walks he would bombard me with compliments and be extremely charming. Not in an overtly sexual way just in a flattering way. He would make me feel good about myself and I liked the fact I was helping someone in need because I felt sorry for him. However if the slightest random thing upset him he would fly into a rage and become verbally abusive and threatening towards me.
One night I asked him for a jumper back that I had leant to him. He told me it was in a hotel room and that I could come get it. Then he would walk me back to my hotel (which was situated in the middle of the crack cocaine district and was dangerous to be alone in at night). When we got to the room he locked the door and immediately started taking crack cocaine and this was my first realisation he was a crack addict. He started coming onto me and I got uncomfortable so I told him I wanted to leave. He flew into a rage and started screaming and shouting, waving his arms like a lunatic and calling me all the names under the sun. He was throwing things around the room and I was terrified. He then made me have sex with him and it was only when I complied that he seemed to calm down.
You would think that after this I would of run as far as I could. The thing was that I didn't understand what was happening at the time and I didn't even know I was being abused. He knew my daily routines and where I lived, and began stalking me every day.
I was told by someone that he was a crack dealer and addict, and he had links to the Russian mafia who he brought his drugs from. However it was strange because I became like a zombie. Instead of recoiling from him, I became like his slave. The more abusive he was to me, the more subservient I became. He would often tell me how useless I was, how I was a whore and worth nothing and I accepted this like the truth. It became normal to be spoken to in such a way.
One night he found out where I was hanging out with a group of friends and came to the house. He started trying to smash the windows of the house to get inside. He was in a rage screaming at the top of his lungs like he was possessed by the devil. To give you an idea of how psychotic he was, four big men were cowering inside, not daring to go out and face him. After police threats failed, the 'friend' I was with told me I had to leave the house because he was making too much of a disturbance. So there I was turfed out on the street, alone, at night with him in this psychotic rage.
I just ran as fast as I could and he ran after me. He had some metal darts in his hand. I stopped out of breath and he grabbed my arm and pulled me towards him. I cowered because I thought he was going to stab me. He had the darts poised towards my face. He started screaming at me again and abusing me, brandishing these darts inches from my face. Eventually I just gave in, stopped struggling, and became subservient, which seemed to pacify him. He explained it was all my fault for not letting me know where I was going and I was to blame. It was my behaviour that was always the reason for making him angry.
Then he started to steal money from me. At first it was sneaky, money went missing from my purse that I couldn't account for but it always happened when I was with him. The he started demanding money from me outright and would get abusive if I didn't give it to him. It was always for drugs so that he could go off and score.
He had moments where he could be kind to me, then seconds later he would fly into these rages where nothing could calm him down. Breaking point for me was one day when he was abusing me in the middle of the street. He was screaming at me in front of some horrified people, telling me how worthless I was and how I should be dead. I broke down and slit my wrist in the middle of the street because I wanted to die to get away from this man who I felt I had become possessed by.
I knew I had to get away. Before I fled the country, I found out from a reliable source that his whole sob story had been a lie. He was a child from a wealthy family, who had a privileged upbringing. His mother was a prominent Judge and Lawyer. He had been disowned by his parents for his drug use. I felt so utterly betrayed and humiliated that it had all been lies just to hook me in. He was such a cunning and manipulative man that for years it never crossed my mind that it wasn't my fault.
Eventually I went home and things were okay for a while. I assumed that it was all my fault and I lived with guilt and shame about what happened for a long time and I never talked about it to a living soul. About 2 years later I started getting panic attacks, nightmares and paranoia that he was coming to find me. The slightest sound and I would jump out my skin, I felt like I was in a state of high alert all the time, and I thought I saw him in crowds wherever I went.
Then I saw a good therapist and he helped me to realise that I had been abused and raped and that it wasn't my fault. That was the first time I realised that I wasn't to blame. It was such a huge relief. He told me I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and it was a relief to have a label for my symptoms and to know that I wasn't going crazy. It's slow progress but now I am finally ready to put it behind me and to heal. Writing this story down for the first time is part of that process.
In This Section:
Domestic Violence Stories
Hear the voices of other women who have lived through and escaped from domestic abuse. This collection of personal survival stories help us understand the struggles, the pain and ultimately, the courage of victims who are determined to be survivors.
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