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Gregory's Story


To truly understand my story you first must know that I'm male and 1/2 black, 1/2 white; I have 3 much older sisters who basically instilled in me how to be the "perfect gentleman when I get older" and whom I looked up too and adore. My dad frequently traveled and always told me "to be good and be the man around the house" which I took seriously. Oh... I have an absolutely wonderful and supportive family which I looked up to. I was raised in a rough black neighborhood and I needed to be tough because of my color. I frequently got into fights...got expelled from one school because of it. I even took martial arts and self-defense to make me a better fighter. Well, my parents, while being supportive decided to move to the suburbs (semi-wealthy white neighborhood). I took it personally and at the time thought it was because of my fights, so I became peaceful and vowed never to fight again. I've never fought with anyone in my family in any way.

Well, the point of all this is that I thought women were absoultely angels and guys were basically bad.

My first serious girlfriend, Sharon, was 16 (and I was 17). The first few months were pure bliss. We were each other's first and truly in love. I had been dumped several times earlier because of my color...and her parents didn't approve much. I couldn't tell you the first time she hit me or when it all started, because honestly I don't remember much and I try not too, but I can tell bits and pieces. I know the first time I remember was when she agreed to type a paper I wrote for class for me because she got a new typewriter and wanted to test it out (it was a 7 page paper I believe). I thought she was wonderful. The next day she had it and I took it to class, thankful that I was able to play basketball with my friends instead of worrying about typing a paper. I know I showed some gratitude but it wasn't good enough. After I got out of class I went to my locker to see my high school football jacket was torn up and I saw her and she gave me the evil eye. I remember her slapping me a few times and yelling at me in front of everyone. It was because I didn't show the "proper" gratitude. I groveled and pleaded for her forgiveness. I don't know if this was the first time, but I know it was when she began to have power over me and you could see she loved it.

She began manipulating her way in to keeping me from everyone except her, that my friends weren't good enough, or if that if I really loved her I do what she wanted to please her, which I always did. I quit playing HS football and stopped seeing my friends. She dumped me about once a month saying how terrible I was just to see my grovel and cry for her not to (which she wouldn't). When she went away to college which was 2 hours away she insist I'd come up every weekend to see her or she'd kill herself, I always had to say "I love you" at the end of every conversation, I had to call at least once a day and if I wasn't home when she called I had to account for my time, and much more. Basically I could never please her and so she had plenty of reasons to hit me, yell at me and tell me how worthless I was. One Valentine's day I came up with roses and a heart shape box of candy. I thought I'd surprise her and this would make her happy. Instead she threw both back into my face because I'd gotten them at a store and she began to beat me. Up until now I just stood there and took it, but this time she kept going and going and I thought she wouldn't stop, so I crawled under her bed so she couldn't hit me, but then she took a broom and was poking me as hard as she could. After a bit she stopped and apologized as usual. Why didn't I tell anyone? Who'd believe it...a guy getting beat up regularly by a woman? My parents knew but I denied it all, and I seriously thought it was all my fault. If I was only better. Oh, by this time she had cheated on me 2-3+ times. The first time she was apologetic. The other times it was because I was no good in bed. Oh yeah, that was her biggest blow...if during sex she didn't have an orgasm she get that pissed look and then went on for about 15-60 minutes on how terrible I was. After a while I began drinking to ease thee mental pain that was building up. I never could get good grades. Did anyone else know? *LOL* They knew, but they all thought I was being abusive! I had never laid a hand on her and didn't dare talk back but somehow all that ruckus must be me. The first time I did try to defend myself is when she slapped me with no warning whatsoever...my old instinct kicked in and I pushed her away hard and she fell over and bruised herself. Of course the cops saw, and they questioned us separately. They kept asking her how long I was abusing her (which she denied) and the cop told me how little of a man I was to hit a woman, and of course I couldn't say she was hitting me.

After a while I had lost contact with all friends and family and she litteraly had me locked in her room. I was only allowed to go to work or class. She demanded we had joint checking accounts which meant she got all my money and then she'd beat me when I complained I couldn't pay my bills. And I thought it was all me! I repressed it all because my mind couldn't comprehend how a woman (and in my mind almost all woman were angels) could be doing this, so I forgot any bad thing she did to me immediately and drank to help rid me of those memories. And if I did bring them up she would say that I was lying and made it up to make me look good. And then tell me how it was me.

The last time she seriously beat me was at her college senior ball (by now we were 22-21 and were engaged). We went with another couple and she got totally drunk, so much so we had to carry her home. We tucked her in bed and then the other couple left. She got up an hour later to use the bathroom. I insisted I helped her cause she was still drunk. She flew into a rage and hit, kicked, bit, through things. The cops were called and the same again. It had to be me despite all my bruises. Well, the next day she knew she was over the edge and stopped. The physical abuse stopped; the verbal/emotional abuse worsened beyond belief. I was insult daily and kept on a tight rope. I felt guilty talking to people and though I lived in a different apartmentt than her I was only allowed to go there once a week and only if I had a good excuse. So many rules to follow. *sighs* Eventually I left her because I thought it was better for her and that I was no good and never would be. I moved to a different state with my parents.

One day I was watching Oprah and they were talking about abuse. The stages and symptoms and it finally dawned on me that was me. I went to counseling and realized what had happened to me. I still talked to Sharon almost everyday and she still tormented me over the phone. I was on my way to getting better, and feeling better about myself, but by now I had many years and scars to overcome.

That fall, at age 24, I moved into the dorms at the university I'm attending. At first I told no one. I began seeing a new girl Karen, who I adored. Well, Sharon got my dorm number and began calling me there... my roomate saw me breakdown frequently and after one call from her (Karen and my roomate Cliff were there and saw how it affected me), I hung up on her broke down and told them the whole story. Karen and I grew closer and I told here every detail and I went to counseling twice a week. Things were rough for me...I had flashback frequently and every time Sharon called I'd be wrecked emotionally for the day and drink. Or if I had flashbacks I'd drink...but through everything Karen was supportive, sympathetic and by my side. Like one time a friend of mine (female) called at midnight and said she was stopping by. I thought it was Sharon. I panicked and drank a 6 pack in 15 minutes and just stayed up immoblized by fear. I eventualy worked up the courage and told Sharon repeatedly to never call or contact me again.

I slowly got better with Karen's support and counseling. Last summer I was done with counseling cause I was all better and things were looking great. That is when the second bomb hit: Karen had been cheating and lying to me for almost 8 months!!! I was shocked beyond belief... I drank and drank and then drove over to see her. She said she wanted to be with me and it was a mistake, but she kept saying how she was afraid how I'd hit her. I was confused. She knew my history and knew I couldn't hit a woman. I couldn't even defend myself from a woman. Well, we stayed together but she began to say how bad I was and controlling and I treated her like Sharon treated me. I was confused. I asked friends and her roomate and they said it wasn't true. I wasn't perfect but I was far from bad. After all, she was cheating and lying to me. How could I be the bad guy? She kept going on how the other guy was perfect and I was the worst. Two weeks before last Christmas (Karen is Jewish BTW), I took Karen to a concert to see her favorite band, dinner and the next day helped her move from the dorms. The moment we finished packing the car she said "She didn't want to see me again." Shocker #2! The next few months we fought bitterly, sometimes trying to be friends but more often then not, it was too painful and we'd fight. I drank heavier and heavier and became depressed and suicidal. It was all my fault according to her! I dropped school and avoided everyone.

Well that's my story. I have gone on "dates" every now and then. but never with the same woman twice and rarely would I kiss a girl or anything like that. I'm too afraid of them. Funny isn't it: I'm a 26 year old male who outwardly seems normal, but i'm afraid of woman! I still suffer depression, memory loss, lack of concentration, always apologizing and now I abuse myself. How do I do that? I have an inner mental voice that insults me daily and tells me how rotten I am. I do things on purpose to make my life tougher (like now I should study but I'm not. I can't because for some reason I don't want to succeed). I have no idea who I am and have very few real friends. I've learned all my life to make other people happy which in turn makes me happy, but rarely could I do anything for myself. I wish mine were a happy ending; it's not. Maybe if I can find my angel who could deliver me from this hell...but I haven't.

I guess the major point you should take from this is that anyone or anything can be abused by anyone...

---------- I recommend those to read "THE VERBALLY ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP." (and their survivors) Patricia Evans. Bob Adams, Inc. 1992." This book helped me immensly!

E-mail Gregory at gmoore@vela.acs.oakland.edu.

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