Often women find themselves ignoring red flags that signal that a man is abusive. That’s my story. I am no longer ashamed of it, but I overlooked fits of rage when the man I was dating demonstrated such behavior. I even quickly and conveniently forgot when he slapped me while we were riding down a freeway. All the rage he had probably meant that he needed help. What he did not need is to get married and become someone’s husband. However, once I had the ring and made the announcement that I was engaged, I felt that I needed to go forward. I didn’t want to break off the engagement. That can be embarrassing.
By sparing myself that embarrassment, I endured countless other embarrassing experiences. When things didn’t go my ex-husband’s way, he became violent. Often he would lash out with injurious words, pepper me with terms that brutally attacked the image I had of myself. He could be so hurtful with words. He had lots of energy when he got started and it was hard to get away from him.
If I tried to leave the house and go somewhere by car, he would get in his car and follow me. He would drive recklessly, putting himself and others at risk. I often returned home, because I didn’t want him to get in an accident and kill some innocent person. When I returned home, he would start right back in.
When he didn’t like something, he didn’t know how to wait, cool off and express his concerns. He would blow up. He did it at my college graduation, causing me to leave early out of embarrassment. He did it when we were leaving a conference and walking across the parking lot.
He was controlling, trying to dictate to me what to wear and not wear. He even tried to school me on what to say. He was often hypercritical.
On a few occasions, he hit me. The last time he tried that, I realized that he was angry enough to kill me. That was the last chance he ever got. After that, I got out of the marriage. I didn’t allow any manipulations to keep me tied to him for one second longer. Once I left, I never looked back. It took me years to recover and heal from the emotional and mental wounds.
I recommend to anyone to not worry about what it looks like when you end it with an abuser. If you see red flags, heed them wisely.