I wasn’t expecting violence. Instead, I drove home while chatting excitedly on the phone with my best friend. She was leaving for a wedding out of state and I was readying to meet my new students the next day; we were both enthusiastic and grateful for the new experiences.
My driveway is partially hidden from view of the street by massive trees which bend with the usual weight of the leaves and today, with the added weight of the water that was collecting in droplets and dripping onto the cement. New friends would often whiz right past, even as their GPS announced that they had arrived. The driveway took on the appearance of a tunnel and we joked that I was entering the bat cave. “Coming in hot, Alfred!” made us both chuckle at the Batman reference from our youth.
My house lay nestled in an opening in the trees which encircle the property like a giant hug. This time of year, there are yellows and reds and oranges tucked between evergreens as the color wheel makes its presence known. My little retreat from the world, a place to recharge and refresh my soul. A home that I purchased on my own for the first time, and a place that has allowed me to heal and then to choose my next path. I just love it here. Hearing the greeting of my dogs who had already busted out their door and were waiting for me to park and play, my friend was saying her goodbyes when a truck pulled into my driveway. I didn’t recognize the vehicle, and she stayed on the line.
The driver rolled down the window and I recognized him as my ex-boyfriend. I was instantly outraged; what was he doing here? We had broken up eleven months prior and he was blocked from communicating with me in any fashion: email, phone, and social media. The emotional and verbal abuse and manipulation that I had allowed in the relationship, was something that I would no longer allow and I had remained out of communication. He had tried to reach me through mutual friends, who would relay his messages until they, too, stopped communicating at my direction.
Accepting Unacceptable Behavior
It would be easy to say that his behavior led to the breakdown of our relationship, but, the truth is that I allowed it. I was at a point in my life where I felt scared and vulnerable and his promises were exactly what I wanted to hear. Never mind that they weren’t genuine, I told myself that he was what I wanted and I went with it. All the way up until I didn’t.
The constant arguing and berating was exhausting, and I found myself showing up as less and less of who I really was. I lost my voice and gave away my power; I felt more scared and more vulnerable and when I reached disempowered – I began to detach and see him for who he really was standing in front of me and not who I wanted him to be. And I broke up with him.
Our relationship lasted a mere seven months. ‘I don’t ever want to be in communication with you again. Not now. Not ever.’ he heard as ‘I’ll give you some time to come to your senses and then we can talk.’ And the more I remained out of communication, the more insistent he became about trying to communicate with me. And then he showed up at my house.
Rejection Turns Into Violence
He was saying something I couldn’t hear over the barks of the dogs, and had brought the palms of his hands together as if praying and was bobbing them back and forth in my direction; his truck blocking my driveway. I sat paralyzed for a moment, I felt trapped and unsafe.
‘Don’t get out of the car’ was my friend’s instruction. It took a split second for the outrage to morph into flight as the adrenaline kicked in, and I drove onto the grass and around his vehicle and out the driveway to a public place. A couple miles up the road, I pulled into a church parking lot and tucked my car close to the building and waited, engine running, for him to pass so that I could go back home. She stayed on the phone with me the whole time, offering support and giving me direction.
Finally, he drove past and spotting me as I pulled out, he yelled something in my direction that I couldn’t hear. I drove home, pulled my car into the garage and locked all the doors. This was not the first time that his behavior had scared me. But this time, I called the police and the possibility of a restraining order became real.
It embarrasses me a little to relay this incident and the ramifications of my getting involved with a guy who was, clearly, not the guy for me. But, it happened and it’s time to forgive myself for taking that route and focus on what I learned instead.