Abuse

He was abusive.

I know what you’re thinking. But no… it was not my boyfriend, husband, or father.

It was my roommate.

When I was homeless, jobless, and heartbroken I was trying desperately to pick up the pieces. I found a job I committed to just for the money to continue living at the beach, I found a house on the sound side just blocks away from the beach, and I found 2 roommates to live with to make it happen.

One was a friend, she was in the navy, and I had gotten to know her a little bit in the couple of months prior to agreeing to be roomies. She was fun, sweet, and everything you want an awesome roommate to be. I lucked out!

But we needed a 3rd person to afford the 3 bedroom house on the sound. I had been nannying for 2 boys over the summer, and their mother recommended her personal trainer. She knew him, I had met him, and we all agreed it was a good choice. A personal trainer sounds like someone who’s got their shit together and living a good healthy lifestyle that we were looking for.

On move in day Sheila (or so she will be called in this story) and I had spent hours organizing the kitchen. With double of everything, what do we keep, what do we store, do we share plates and glasses or stick to our own? All the decisions needed to be made, and stuff needed to be organized. That night He moved in his minimal amount of things, and went out to the bar. We didn’t see him again until the next day.

The next day things were missing. Wine glasses were nowhere to be found. Crystal candy dishes were gone. Candles were moved. When we saw him later that day we asked him about it. He laughed and had no idea what we were talking about. The candles and candy dishes were moved to a different room and a few weeks later the wine glasses that weren’t broken were found in a random box stored in the laundry room.

This was our red flag.

He had gone out, gotten black out drunk, came home, and fucked with our shit.

The months following escalated quickly. He stole cash that Sheila had laid out for a bill. He stopped paying his part of the bills, instead he’d write nasty notes on the bill or on the message board we had. He gave Sheila’s dog the remote to chew up (yes.. gave it to her.. she was in a crate). He tried to slam the door on my cat as he walked through the doorway. He brought 2 drunk girls home with him one night, proceeded to make one cry, the other climbed into bed with me not knowing it wasn’t his room.

Now, I’m not one to feed into this kind of drama, but I’m also not one who will let someone control me and run all over my life. He was a big dude, a fit dude, and clearly had some issues going on. He was an angry alcoholic on steroids (yes, we found steroids, I’m not making that up) and he was enjoying his abuse of sheila and I. But I stood up to him and was removing his power over me. I began recording things, taking pictures of his nasty notes, keeping bills he wrote “fuck you” on, and recorded him screaming at me.

Somehow he learned that my parents were helping me until my job started paying. This only fueled his nastiness, telling me that my ‘mommy and daddy could pay’ for his bills too. He told me to go home, that they wouldn’t help me forever and he’ll find new roommates. But the thing was, he had no credit.. he couldn’t live there without me.. and I let him know that I’d be fulfilling the lease no problem. I wasn’t going to let him control me, and he was furious that a female, who was younger than him, was not only enjoying a bigger room than he was, but was getting help doing so.

That day the disagreement about bills, the lease, and my parents helping me turned ugly. He stood chest to chest with me, his face less than an inch from mine, and screamed as loudly as he could at me… clearly trying to assert some sort of dominance over me… of which all he had was size and strength. Behind me there was a few feet before the edge of the granite counter top. I kept thinking that all he had to do was push me and my head would smack into the edge, and I wish I had my phone on me to record it.

I let Him scream. I stood there with my legs shaking from adrenaline. When he finished I asked him, “what are you going to do, push me?” he backed away with his hands up. I painted the picture for him… a big, fit, personal trainer, and a small little girl with her head bashed in… what did he think they would think? What did he think would happen? He sat down in silence, and I could tell he realized that what he was doing was not okay.

I had already made friends with a cop at the station next door because of a separate issue, but that night I let the cop and my roommate know what happened. I was never home alone with him after that day. When he was home, my roommate and I would lock our doors. When she was gone for work, the cop was at my house with me. When we had company he never came home. It worked out well.

Then Sheila got orders to leave in a month. I had to make a decision. To stay, alone, and fulfill my promise of finishing the lease and this stupid power struggle with him. Or to leave, and he’d have to leave too. I chose to leave. Sheila and I were packing, and the day before we were both moving out, he packed his shit and left within a few hours. We never saw him again.

However, he did go back to the empty house before the agency found new renters and turned on the water outside. His last little ‘fuck you’ to me was a $500 water bill after we had all moved out and the house was empty.

Needless to say, I’m traumatized about roommates. I never want another one in my life. As much as I wanted to live at the beach, the universe gave me what I needed to push me home. I’m grateful for that, even though it was so terrifying. The worst experiences all have a positive side. I learned how much I can handle, and what I wont tolerate. I had the experience of standing up to someone who wanted to control aspects of my life that were none of his business. I felt my own power and refused to let someone else take it. THAT I am proud of!

Heather

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