Red Flags

Survivor Stories

When I was in my early 20s, I got into a relationship with this guy less than a year older than me. He seemed like one of the nicest guys I ever met. He went out of his way to do sweet things for me, asked for us to be “official” in such a sweet way and treated my family and friends with such respect. He was more withdrawn and shy than me but never in a way that seemed like a red flag and after growing up with an abusive, alcoholic father I am honestly not sure at that age I could have recognized red flags.

After being together for some time, I started noticing an issue around alcohol. He would get angry and his entire personality would change out of nowhere if he drank certain types of liquor, but at the time I attributed that more to us being in our early 20s and exploring our tolerance for alcohol.

"But as the pregnancy progressed, so did his mood swings and his verbal comments/digs at me"

Fast forward a year or so, I was 23 and found out we were pregnant. It was a shocker since I was on birth control but while I was freaking out, he was so positive and excited. But as the pregnancy progressed, so did his mood swings and his verbal comments/digs at me.

I now understand that he was gas lighting me but at the time the term wasn’t around nor was the education out there of that type of verbal/mental abuse. Plus, he did it so subtly that it never would have occurred to me at the time that he was being abusive.

Slowly but surely that began to ramp up until one night when I was 8 months pregnant, he got extremely intoxicated. When I got home, he began to berate me and scream at me about how his family hates me and I’m such an awful human being. He continues to scream (me in a point of self preservation after dealing with my dad doing the same thing, went into my shell and stopped hearing him or responding to him). His sister came home then because he had accidentally butt dialed her and heard the whole thing and tried to calm him down. He took off and went to a bar and when he got home that night he started up again at me which eventually led to him trying to push me down a flight of stairs. Thankfully his other sister was coming up the stairs at the time and was able to stop my fall.

"After about 3 months of sobriety, he drained my bank account"

After a few more incidents like this spread out (including the one that caused my breaking point, where he spent our food shopping money and the money for my daughters formula on a night out with the guys and came home intoxicated and driving drunk), I got him to agree to AA and counseling when my daughter was 3 months old by threatening that he either go or I was gone with my daughter, which he did for a few months (well at least to my knowledge).

After about 3 months of sobriety, he drained my bank account (I was the one working and supporting us while he was trying to finish up his degree) and took off to Hawaii. I was left without money for rent or food or anything. Ultimately, I would have been able to cut him off because once my daughter was born I had made the decision to not let her grow up the same way I did with my father, but him leaving for Hawaii made the acceptance and drew the line in the sand for me.

I did help get him back to the states and gave him a chance to get the help he needed while he lived at his mom’s but ultimately he never stepped up to the plate, but I have an amazing ten year old daughter out of the most trialing time of my life and I wouldn’t take it back for a second.