Excerpts from recordings of Austin telling his story in his own words:
Control:THE FOLLOWING WAS RECORDED IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING AUSTIN'S RELEASE FROM THE HOSPITAL, SHORTLY AFTER MARCIA HAD LEFT THE COUNTRY):
I can just breathe so freely right now and I'm just so excited to connect with everyone. So excited.
There were times when she would hug me and if she heard my heart and realized it was beating quickly, she would get suspicious and start questioning me, like “Are you hiding something? Why is your heart beating fast? Is there something you’re not telling me?” Other times, she would just hear it and just wanted an explanation of why my heart was beating faster than usual and so I would try to think of something plausible and she would just look at me like--are you sure? I don’t believe you.” She didn’t realize, that I was just always so stressed out and paranoid. I felt like at any point, she would come up with a reason to fight and blow up at me, and so my heart was constantly beating faster than normal. I tried to slow down my heart, so that she wouldn’t notice, but I just couldn’t. So, I got scared, and the more scared a got, the more likely she would notice my heart and that made it more likely that we would have a fight.
She would watch all my behaviors and make me feel terrible for doing certain things, like biting my lip. She told me that biting your lip was like a sensual thing. And so like if I was around a girl and bit my lip, she’d be like, “Are you thinking dirty thoughts about her?” So there was one time when I was in a lot of pain and biting my lip, just because I was in pain, and afterwards she was like, “I didn’t like that, that you’re biting your lip.” And I was like, “I was in pain. It’s what I do!” So, after that, I had to make sure that I didn’t bite my lip and that I controlled all my expressions, so that she wouldn’t get angry and start accusing me of being this terrible person.
She always made sure I was feeling very guilty for things, just normal things that I shouldn’t feel guilty for. Like, she would make me feel terrible for not checking in with her constantly, or looking in the direction of another girl, or talking to my family, or wanting to hang out with friends, or even just spending some downtime playing a video game. Like, I really felt like a terrible person. And then I'd tell her I was sorry and she would forgive me. Then I’d feel so relieved because there would be peace. There would be that cycle where after a fight, feelings of passion and care would increase. I think that’s called the “Honeymoon” phase in the abuse cycle. And I’d be like, “Things are good, they’re improving now.” But when things would calm down, I’d start to feel really depressed again, because the rush of all those emotions and chemicals would kind of go away. It was like my entire life with her was built over a foundation of anxiety and depression, and once things were calm again, I’d feel the depression return in full force. And I’d notice that cycle every time. I’d be like, “OK, that’s interesting. We fight, and then we make up and I get hopeful...and then once we don’t fight for a little bit, then I get depressed again.” I realized that something was going on, but I didn’t really understand it. But it would make me depressed and I’d start thinking things like, “Crud, I’m still with her. I don’t want to be with her.” And she’d feel that and get angry and then it would all go in a circle again. And I just couldn’t get out for such a long time.
Control through Guilt and Blame
I couldn’t just walk away because she made me feel like I owed her this relationship. She would say things like, “When I was young, I was abandoned. You have to promise me that you will never, ever, ever abandon me.” She would tell me that she had nightmares of me abandoning her and she’d wake up depressed and crying. This was early in the relationship. She’d make me promise her that I would never ever leave her….ever. Because, if I did, she might commit suicide. If I left, I’d be as horrible as all the other people who left or abandoned her. And I really felt trapped. I couldn’t leave her because then I’d become an awful person.
She’d also hold every little thing I had ever done over my head. She would say things like, Because you once broke up with me, or because you treated me a certain way, or because you are a certain type of (terrible) person and because you want to have a relationship with me, you owe me this (whatever it was that she wanted).” And then she’d demand that I make all these long-term promises. I had to promise that I would never leave her, that I would marry her, that I’d take care of her, etc. The list went on and on. And unless I promised, I would be this awful and terrible person. I didn’t want to be a terrible person, so I promised her things. And then I didn’t want to go back on my promises, because then I would be this liar on top of being a terrible person.
She really made me feel guilty and terrible for breaking up with her at the beginning of our relationship (this was before we had even met in person). She told me over and over how much I had hurt her and how I owed her all these things. It’s interesting, because the reason I broke up with her then, is because I started to feel like she was suffocating me and being too controlling. But then, when I met her in person, she was very charming and sweet and I felt like I should give her a chance. I wanted to help her and she made me feel like I was the answer to all her prayers. And she was beautiful and I thought I was in love. But when I first had some doubts and wanted to slow things down, she made me feel like an awful person for even thinking about slowing down or breaking up. She’d always say, “Do you know how you made me feel back then when you broke up with me? You ruined me life.” And then she’d say things like, “You don’t just make a girl fall in love with you and then all of the sudden after that, you just break up!” Just like it was my fault that I MADE her fall in love with me and now I had NO right to ever break up with her! She hung that over my head and made me feel so bad about it. I really felt like I could not ever break up with her.
Even in the beginning of our relationship, when there would be contention and I would feel like the relationship was going to be over, I would panic and do everything in my power to save it because I knew that she would blame me and accuse me of being a terrible person if I didn’t save the relationship. I tried so hard to make things work, even when I knew in my head and my gut that this relationship was toxic and futile, I still tried to make it work, because I wanted to be the good guy. I didn’t want to be a person who abandoned this poor girl who needed me so much. It didn’t matter that she treated me so terribly. I bought into her accusations that it was my fault that things weren’t working...that if I tried a little harder, I could make it work.
Sometimes, she would often hold a grudge about something or get mad at something, or she’d threaten to break-up, or we’d have this big fight and I knew that this was wrong. I would get extremely depressed. But I would be too embarrassed to tell anyone why she was mad and why I was not doing well. So, I would bottle a lot of it up and wouldn’t tell anybody. I told someone at one point and got responses which didn’t help. They would say things like, “That’s weird…” “That’s not normal...” “that’s unfair to you…” etc.. Hearing the response of sane people felt awful because I knew in my heart that what they said was true. The relationship was abusive and terrible. But I was stuck, because if I followed their advice (which I knew in my heart was good advice), then I would have to try and end the relationship. But that scared me because I was so afraid of her reaction and punishment. I knew that if I tried to logically explain that we needed to end the relationship, that she would play all her cards against me and punish me and make my life a living hell. That scared me more than anything. So, it got to the point where I was too embarrassed to say anything to anyone else, because I would appear dumb for staying with her and letting myself be treated the way I was. So, I didn’t know how to break up. I could see and feel the red flags, but she had me sucked in and I felt that it was impossible for me to get out.
She would push for marriage all the time. One instance she said, “When we go down to Argentina, maybe we can even get married.” I didn’t even respond. I just ignored the comment. She noticed I ignored it. And said sassily, “Oh, don’t worry, I know you don’t want to get married to me.” --which was a passive-aggressive way of making me come to her rescue. So, then I had to invent a lie (because I never wanted to marry her, but I couldn’t tell her that) and say, “I just want to get to know you better when we’re down in Argentina and see who you are down there. And then I’ll think about it.” And she didn’t respond to that either. And then she would drop the conversation...and I’m like, “Yes!! I avoided a fight!” I’m not sure if she was expecting my reaction to be that way, I think she was, but she would constantly be testing the waters like that, trying to commit me more and more to her. I would respond like that, lie like that, because everything I did was to avoid our fights and her punishment. And that is an example of how it was like ALL the time...all the time. That’s the tension that was constant. And it got so constant that even when there was no tension (fights) for a week or sometimes longer, I would still feel that tension. It was in the looks, it was in the actions, even if nothing was said.
One time I actually had the nerve to say how I didn’t think this relationship was going to work out. She actually kept her calm and I was confused. So, I went and took a shower and when I came back into the room, the first thing she said was, “So, are you going to get a ticket?” and “When are you going to get my ticket?” I’m like, “Right now! Today.” So I grabbed my laptop, found a flight, and started to buy the ticket. She was just staring at me. And then she just blew up and went ballistic. She grabbed my face and like, yelled something insulting and angry at me, and tried to grab my laptop.” And I’m like, “Whoa! Why are you mad?” And then she threw herself on top of me angrily as I put my laptop in a safe place and our fight continued. I can’t remember the details of what was said during this time, neither do I want to, but I do remember that after the fight she justified herself saying, “I’m just mad that you’re giving up so easily. And you’re not fighting for us.” And I got confused because she had threatened to end the relationship numerous times. She was accusing me of something that she didn’t appear to be doing herself. Although, to be honest, I was too exhausted and too done with her to continue fighting for our relationship to continue or improve. At that point, I just wanted out of it. Anyway, as with most conclusions to our fights, she set an expectation to how I needed to go about in our relationship. It was like her mind trick. The expectation was for me to “fight and work for our relationship to be successful or for us to be together”. I realized that if I don’t fight and I just give up too easy, that means she’s going to get mad at me she’ll punish me. So, I had to look like I was fighting for it. But if I fight for it, then it will just keep going and nothing will happen. And so like, (sigh). And there were so many times when I almost bought her a ticket. You have no idea. And there was a time when I actually bought a ticket and I bought insurance, so I’d be able to get my money back. Oh, every ticket I bought, I always clicked the insurance button, because I had no idea what was going to happen. I knew she wouldn’t really go, no matter how much I wanted her to.
Yeah, so when I withdrew from school and came home early, she put a lot of pressure on me to bring her home to be with me. She didn't like that I was so far away from her. She wanted to come out as soon as possible to take care of me. And I sort of fell for that. Well, I didn't want her out here to take care of me because I knew she wouldn’t help. But I didn’t want to make her mad, saying that I didn’t want her and that her help wasn’t really helpful. If I didn't bring her out, she'd get all butt-hurt. And she totally did the victim thing. She said that I did the same thing her mom did to her and it threw her into a depression. That was a victimizing thing she used to get me to do what she wanted me to do because I gave her depression. Because I left her and said, I don’t know when I’ll be back. She accused me of abandoning her like her mom did and her PTSD went boom and she went into a depressive spiral. And...I believe it (that she was truly depressed). But that didn’t help me. And she got mad because I was trying to pull away. And she was like, “I have depression and you don’t care about me or anything. And when you were having all these episodes, I was with you all the time and everything. And I would sacrifice school and this and that. And I was just like (sigh), “I guess I’m just a horrible person then.”
Another example was during Christmas, she got super mad that I wasn’t showing her enough physical attention. It was uncomfortable for me, and my little siblings, and family and everyone else, so I tried to cool things. But she got so mad. She was like, “I always have to ask for your affection! I have to ask for your hand! I have to ask for you to brush my hair and this and that. Like, it shouldn’t be me asking for affection. You should give it to me naturally!!” And I was like…(sigh) And then, to me, it was just another expectation….she had so many expectations! And they were all unmeetable. I just couldn’t meet them. Her expectations were so high, that they tired me out. They drained me. I tried to meet them all. And I was meeting them, but I just got more and more depressed and more tired and more tired. And everything I did wrong...well, she’d find things I did wrong and she’d set another expectation. And she just kept adding on and on.
Control Through Suicide and Abortion Threats:
(explaining why he had to give in to Marcia's demands)
We were in some sort of argument and I needed to get some space. She NEVER would let me leave or get any space. Anyway, after this argument, I needed to get away and she was ticked at me that I was leaving the apartment. She was on the balcony of the entrance to my apartment and she sat on the railing and threatened to jump off. She like, "Even if I don't hurt myself, this baby for sure will be aborted and it will be your fault." Then when I came into the apartment, she was holding a knife to her wrist. She was threatening to kill herself. I was literally stuck. I couldn't get away.
Yeah, there was this time in the car, where she got real mad and she tried to open the passenger door and jump out.
She threatened to abort the baby quite a few times. She was like, "I'm going down to the clinic to get an abortion." She knew I that I didn't want that. I would tell her that that's wrong and that she would hate herself afterwards. I was like, you can't just kill the baby. After a while, I called her bluff. I was like, "Just go if you really think that will fix things. But it's not something I want." But she didn't do it. But she kept threatening to, over and over. It was one of her control tactics...and it was sick.
Control Through Constant Monitoring and Invasion of Privacy
I was ALWAYS anxious. If any amount of time passed and I hadn’t respond to her text, I’d start having major anxiety. Like, the chemicals in my body would get anxious if I hadn’t responded to her, if I had to tell her something, or stay on the line, so that she didn’t get mad. So, I needed to constantly respond to her, so that my body could relax. I guess my brain was constantly firing messages like, “You responded to her and now you can rest for 5 minutes….uh oh, like 10 minutes has gone by and you haven’t responded. And she sent you a text”...and so many times, she sent me a text and I’d read it and the notification of when I open it, and I’d be like, “OK, that can wait 10 minutes.” I didn’t want to talk to her immediately, because I couldn’t deal with the messages being fired one after another. You know, I just wanted time between each one, because that gives me time to rest. But, if I waited more than 10 minutes, or 20 minutes, then she’d suspect something. So, she’d message me and say, “Stop playing your video games. What are you doing? Who are you with?” And things like that. And so I had to respond like, “Everything’s good.” And I’d get anxious about things like that; and it was just this vicious cycle, over and over. And it was like this cycle...every 5 to 10 minutes. Even now, when I’ve been away from her for a while, I still get that feeling of anxiety, because I’m not responding to her.
On the day that I was committed to the hospital, I was super anxious, because I’m like programmed to respond so that she doesn’t get upset and so she doesn’t start suspecting that I’m cheating on her...or things things like she’s not the first priority anymore. And like, I forget that I don’t have to do that I’ll never do that again, but I just get anxious--like afraid. And I just have to sit and reflect and remind myself, like hey, “Remember all the stuff she did? Remember how crazy that was and how irrational and insensitive? Like, you don’t need that. You shouldn’t feel this way.”
Even if I was on the phone with C (best friend), and she’d send me a message, I’d have to put him on speaker, read the message from Marcia and respond. Because, like my worst fear, especially when I was playing video games (because then I was distracted) was that time goes by faster---and sometimes, I’d be like, “gasp, it’s been like 15 minutes. If I don’t respond, she’ll freak out.” And that was how she controlled me. I was so scared of her freaking out and her blaming, her accusing, her assumptions. It was all very downgrading. So, if I was talking to C on the phone for like two hours and I wasn’t giving her enough attention, she noticed it and she’d constantly demand answers and be like, “What are you doing?” “I’m talking to C and this and that.” And then afterwards, I sent a fake message to C saying, “Thanks, C , we had fun talking about this and that,” which we didn’t really talk about. I sent that after we hung up, so that when she checked my messages, she would see the message and be like, “Oh, he really did talk about that.”
But she was still like really suspicious and grabbed my phone and went through everything. Just because I didn’t give her all the attention she needed. And then like sometimes, she’d be like asking me questions, if it didn’t satisfy her enough...satisfy her fears and her paranoias. And she’d be like, “Are you sure you weren’t talking to someone? How do I know? As if you would tell me and this and that.” And I’d be like, “No, I wasn’t.” (sigh) And then all the while in my head, I’d just be like, “She’s crazy. Why does she suspect this all the time?” And then if I’d voice that, she’d be like, “Do I not have a reason to think that you would do this and that after what you did?” And then she’d tell me how terrible I was for looking at a girl or not paying attention to her. And she’d say things like, “That’s the first step to cheating on me. Imagine 4 or 5 years down the road, and all the sudden you come to me and tell me you have to tell me something, that you cheated on me three years ago or this and that.” And then she’s like, “I would never stay with you and I would be just as bad, and I’d cheat on you back and this and that.” And in my mind, I’d just be like, “5 years down the road...you can imagine this because I looked at a girl? If you don’t trust me, why do YOU want to be with me in the first place? You don’t even trust me.”
There were times when she’s like, “Are you talking to your crush?” And she would say that to provoke usually. Just to provoke. Just to leave a climate of fear, I guess.
Monitoring All Appointments
If I took too long at an appointment that she considered to be a shorter appointment, she would already get suspicious. I was always glad when I had an appointment that I had to go to, because it was an excuse to be alone for a few moments and not be under her control. It was always a tender mercy when she didn’t want to go, she was too tired, or when she would just sleep in. When she slept in, and I would wake up earlier, I had to be so careful. When I woke up earlier than her, I sneaked out of the room and I hoped that she would continue sleeping. Because if she woke up, then she would want attention, and as soon as this happened, then she would be awake completely. And then I wouldn’t get any break...no way to relax. A lot of times she would wake me up. And if she woke up earlier than me, then she’d start thinking about everything I did wrong and then she’d wake me up with a question that she had which was pressing, a question like, “On a scale of one to ten, how much do you like that girl?” And then I would answer truthfully and she’s like, “As if you would tell me otherwise!” And I was like, “OK, then why do you ask me that question if you know the response regardless of whether it’s true or not?”
Constant Questioning and Accusations
I think like 8, 10, 12 times a day, she’d ask me (reassuring herself) whether I’d cheat on her while we were apart. She wanted to know If I was going to bring a girl to work while she was in Argentina (like I brought her), and if I was going to bring a girl in my room. She’d tell me what would happen if this happened and what she would do and what the consequences would be. She threatened that she would kiss certain boys in Argentina and would tell me about all the other boys that would be interested in her. She was absolutely paranoid with jealousy!
She constantly talked about this guy in Argentina, who she said treated her so much better than I treated her and how he deserved her more than I did. She said that when she goes back how she’s going to treat him differently and give him a chance.
Stalking and Control at School and at Work
She was so jealous that she wouldn’t even let me study on campus. That was out of the question. She went to a lot of my classes with me to make sure I didn’t talk to any other girls. Once she saw me look at a girl in Biology class. She got super angry. She stalked her on Facebook. She showed me pictures of her and said, “Here, you can look at her all you want!” I didn’t even like the girl. I just thought she was pretty. And I kind of looked at her and just imagined that she must be very normal. After that, she wouldn’t let me go to class without her. So, I almost failed the class. Once, I had a quiz in that class and it wasn’t in building she thought it was in. When I wasn’t where she thought I’d be, she was ticked. She’s was like, ““You lied to me, because you just wanted to see that girl! I just can’t believe there was a misunderstanding. There’s no way I can believe that!” She was so mad that she told me that she wanted to punch that girl in the face. She also confronted the girl and showed her the picture of the ultrasound. It was bizarre. I felt bad for that girl. She was probably traumatized. Yeah, after the incident with that girl, we were leaving and when we got in the elevator, Marcia started slapping my face because I was so “unfaithful,” and telling me how awful I was.
Once I came home from track, and she found a girl’s hair on my track bag. I always just throw my bag on the ground and my clothes. Well, she analyzed the hair and then looked on Facebook to find out which track team member it was and then she asked me questions if I had talked to her. She said, “I’m keeping my eye on you.”
And so, every time I went to the weight room, which is a place that she can’t go, because she’s not an athlete, she would always be like uptight like, “How do I know you’re not looking at someone in the weight room?” And when the team traveled somewhere, it was out of the question for me to go. I literally couldn't go anywhere without her.
She came to at least half of my work shifts and would just sit there and wait. She’d tell me it was because she wanted to be with me. But, really, she wanted to check on me. That made me so uncomfortable. Usually, she would just sit there. But then she’d come up and she’d like test the boundaries by wanting to hug and kiss me while I was working. And I was like, “I don’t want to lose my job!” “You can’t kiss me. You can’t hug me.” I was like stressed, like, “Will I offend her by like trying to defend and keep my work?” She had absolutely no boundaries.
Like if I was grumpy because I wasn’t doing so well in school. And she kept coming over and hugging me and wanting my attention. And I’d be like, I need to study. Please stop. And then I’d say some narky comment. And then she’d complain like, You don’t have to be all grumpy like that. This was last time I was going to bug you, then I was going to leave you alone. And then I had to say sorry and make things right. And then I’d delay my studying even more and then she’d blame me because I was grumpy and made her react. And, of course, I could never study on campus because she was too suspicious. She was way too suspicious to ever allow me to spend a few hours on campus alone...especially during the second semester. During the first semester, when she was living somewhere else, I got to be on campus alone, but she would always, always interrupt me. She'd call or text, and then the conversation would turn serious and then I'd be like, (sigh) "I can't do homework now."
There was this one instance. I was up in the athletic room where I had studied a ton my freshman year. I loved it. It was a nice sofa area. But I was up there and all of the sudden she’s like, “We need to break up.” This was during the first semester. Yeah. She wasn’t really threatening (Austin didn't recognize this as a threat at the time). I mean, she genuinely saw that things weren’t very healthy. She was like, “We’re done. Don’t come over. I don’t want to see you.” I was like, "What?" So I just showed up at where she was living and was like, alright I’m getting my stuff. But I was still pretty needy, and after a while I broke down and she broke down and she's like, "We're not separated." And I was like, OK
(Austin was on a student budget and was living within his means. But Marcia convinced him that he was completely responsible for all of her expenses. He paid for her housing, her food, her clothes, and even her schooling. He bought her a very expensive engagement ring. By the time she returned to Argentina, he was almost $10,000 in debt)
I would try to tell her, “OK, this is how much I have and this is how much I don’t have.” But it didn’t matter, because I have a credit card and she also had needs and she was pregnant and that was more important than anything. And everything was backed up by the fact that she needed to eat and she was pregnant and she couldn’t be stressed out because then the baby would be stressed out and born with problems. So, I just had to spend all this money I didn’t have.
For her, basing any decisions on money was shallow, because feelings and people are so much more important. So, if I ever told her we couldn’t afford something, she made me feel like I was a bad person that didn’t care about people or feelings...only money.
She decided that I owed her a very expensive engagement ring because I had broken up with her last year and because I didn’t treat her well. And I gave into it because otherwise we would fight and she would threaten all these things. And the fighting was just making me sick and so it got to the point where I did everything to avoid fights because fights made me sick. And I got so bad emotionally that I got cold after cold and I always had a runny nose and a headache. I was sick emotionally and physically.
Even after I went into debt over $1200 to buy her a ring, she said, ““Are you sure this is a real diamond?” I’m like, “Yeah, it is.” She’s like, “I don’t need to go in and check, do I?” “No, look at the receipt. This is the price of a diamond ring.” I just couldn’t say no, or else she made me feel horrible, so I just always gave in to whatever she wanted.
So, here's what I spent one of the months that second semester. So, in one month, I spent over $900 in restaurants and bars (he's looking at his financial planner report), $724 in shopping, $397 in groceries. That's crazy. And then here's an example of one day in April: $93 at the Dollar tree. That's because she wanted me to buy her stuff to sell in Argentina. And $100 at Target and $40 at Walmart. So, that's a lot more than a student on a budget can afford. That's why I had to take out all those loans. She was SO expensive!!
(These fights became incredibly severe and continued to escalate as the relationship continued. As Austin states below, he was willing to do anything to avoid fight and this is where Marcia had the most control over him)
I think the longest time we went without fighting was when she first arrived. That’s when I blamed myself for everything, so she was in the green. And then I started having a mind of my own and she started to flip out a little bit. And then recently it was a fight every week, every few days. Like just before this final blowup, it had been a few weeks, which was heaven. Yeah, obviously there were some tense moments where, you know, she suspected something and I was witty and clever enough to respond in a way that she would drop the subject.
When I was away from her, I felt like I could think clearly. But when I’d get back with her, she had all the control because I guess I was so paranoid of us fighting and what would happen...and I was worried that I would have my depressive episodes again, where I would cry or try to hurt myself. And then she would say things like, “My ex cried in front of me, too, and he lied to me and treated me this way. I don’t really care when men cry. It’s not sincere, it’s just manipulative.”
She constantly would get mad and be sarcastic. She's would imitate and provoke in order to get me mad. I called my parents up during two of the fights and they witnessed those, but that was only a fraction of the fights and they were all that bad. I would wail and sometimes I was just silent and at the end of my rope. I would just drop, while she berated and berated me. And then sometimes afterwards, she'd cry and be like, “I’m sorry I just can’t control myself. I get really mad.” I’m like, “That’s no excuse.” It’s gone on far too long and way to far."
She really did succeed in making me feel guilty and bad and jealous. Quite much so. She'd show me all her other guys that were her followers (on social media) and who she said wanted to have a relationship with her. And she'd be like,, “See this guy? I didn’t even give this guy a chance, and he didn’t look at anyone else for a year hoping to be with me.” And I’m like, “I doubt that.”
We had fights since the beginning. There was always a lot of tension. I was already dealing with depression, but once our fights started, it got so much worse. I would hit my head so hard against things, just hoping that I would black out. I hoped that I would wake up and it would all be over. When I did this, she always made me feel like I was the crazy one. She would say things like, "I’m going to call the police." And I didn’t want her to, so I would give in to whatever she said. She said that she was going to call the police because she was worried about me. But other times, she said she’d call the police because I was so abusive. But I never hit her or hurt her on purpose. The only times I may have hurt her, was when I was trying to get her out of my space. She would always block the door, so that I couldn’t leave. She’d sit in front of the door and do everything she could to keep me from going. Sometimes, I’d push her out of the way. Other times, I’d say, “I want to go.” And she’d say, “If you go, I’ll call the police!” And I would wonder if I would ever be able to get out of this situation.
Sometimes, she would be yelling accusations at me and I would just be silent. I didn’t even know what to say to her. I was worn out and defeated. And then she would just start slapping and hitting me because I wasn’t answering her. That’s what happened when I pushed her away from me, first with my hands and then with my leg. She was on top of me and hitting me while I was laying down on the sofa. I didn’t try to hurt her or her stomach, but she was attacking me and was out of control. After I pushed her off of me, she started accusing me of terrible abuse and that I had killed the baby. Of course, then I felt so terrible that I had pushed her. She threatened to put me in jail. I was so scared. She had all the control. I just couldn’t get away. She would never let me leave. I was in so much anguish. I just needed space. She wasn’t able to realize that she was the one that was making me feel absolutely crazy.
Berating and Verbal Abuse
She got mad so much and would use sarcasm and mocking imitating to provoke me or get me mad. She treated her parents the same way. I felt bad for them. She just loved to tell me how horrible I was. She would berate and berate and berate. It was awful. And then afterwards, she’d cry and apologize and say, “I’m sorry I just can’t control myself. I get really mad.” I’m like, “That’s no excuse.” It’s gone on far too long and way to far.
Sometimes when I’d call home during these fights, I would act the way she wanted me to and berate myself in front of my parents and tell them what a terrible person and that she deserved much better. I felt bad and guilty, but I was also just acting the way she wanted me to act. I knew that I would appease her if I admitted how terrible I was in front of them.
Any time I looked at any girl, I mean if I even glanced at a girl, she’d ask me, is that your crush? And there were times when I’d just be in the car. And if she was mad, if I looked at the car next to us, she’d be like, “What are you looking at, you idiot!?” As if I was looking at the girl in the car next to me.
Even The Calm Between Fights Was Stressful
There were two weeks just recently when there was no contention leading up to the big blow up that ended up with me in the hospital, and during those two weeks, I just felt more depressed than anything! More than the whole time. Depressed and anxious, and I always felt like, “A fight’s coming on. A fight’s coming on. Just hold your peace. Avoid a fight. Avoid a fight at all costs. I could just feel like, you know how the water gets calm before the storm? Like no waves? I was feeling like, “I know there’s going to be fight and I was just like extra extra cautious to avoid anything the whole time…It really stressed me out and made me ultra depressed.
Lying to Self
Sometimes, I’d have to try to convince myself that I was happy in this relationship, so that I didn’t go absolutely crazy. I’d say to myself, “Pretend...try to convince yourself just a little bit longer that (I couldn’t convince myself permanently, but temporarily) convince yourself that you want to be with her so that you don’t fight, that you don’t act cold and distant from her. Because she knows if you lie. So, try to believe it!”
I only tried to believe it temporarily, because I didn’t really want to be with her. But I also knew more than anything that I couldn’t afford more fights. The fighting drove me nuts. It drove me insane. It made me depressed and lingered on me. It made me hit myself. It made me exhausted. I couldn’t take it. And I would do ANYTHING to avoid a fight. That was the control.
Once we fought, she would bring up everything that made her unhappy. And when she brought that up, she would play all her cards, and she would win the fight. It doesn’t matter what it was about. She would win. Because she was playing her own game with her own logic.
Sometimes after being on the phone with C (best friend), I’d have to prepare myself to face her again. And I’d try to find something to get excited about. Like, we’re going to the movies. Maybe I can dwell on that for a few days and go home and mention that to her or something. Maybe it will get my mind off the bad stuff and help me get through the day. It was all temporary. I would try to look forward to little things that would take my mind off of other things, so that I could cope with her for the next couple hours, days or a week. But not too far ahead. Because, if I looked too far ahead, I would get depressed, because I didn’t want to be with her in the future.
Pretending in order to avoid fights
The day I punched the concrete and broke my hand, I shouted to Marcia that I hated my family. I didn't hate my family, but I felt so confused. She had made them all the enemy and whenever they interfered with our lives, Marcia made my life a living hell. So, I was torn. I didn't hate my family at all. I just hated the situation and was so scared of Marcia's reactions, that I tried to make her think that I hated my family. That way, there was some peace.
Talking about the day that things blew up and Austin was committed to the hospital on suicide watch
Yeah, M (sister) came over and that made Marcia very, very mad. We had been fighting all morning. When M came over, I was actually glad that she was there, but I told Marcia in Spanish that I didn't want M there. So, I did want her there, but at the same time I didn't . The reason I didn't was because I knew that it would cause stress with Marcia and make the situation. But I wanted her there, because I desperately needed help to get out of the terrible situation. It was like I needed help, but I was too scared to let Marcia know that I needed out. I had to lie and tell Marcia that I didn't want my sister there, so that Marcia would calm down and not freak out.
Isolation from Friends and Family
After Christmas break, I decided that I was going to be the man in the relationship. She had controlled almost all my decisions and I thought it was OK if I had a say in my own decisions. And I was like, “I need to be with my family. I want to visit my siblings.” And she’s like, “All your weekends are mine. You can visit your siblings during the week.” I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait.” And she’s like, “I’ll get really mad if you do that, because you know I work during the week and the weekends will be the only time that we’ll have together.” And I’m like, “OK, but my siblings also work during the week. And the only time they have to spend with me is the weekends. Soooo, it looks like we’re at a crossroads.” What I’m going to do?”
I felt like a hostage. There were times when I just wanted to hang out with my brother. He messaged me and wanted to play video games with me. But I couldn’t even reply because it would make Marcia mad and she would think that I was choosing my family over her. I always had to make these terrible choices. And if I didn’t choose her over everything and everyone else, then I was a terrible, terrible person.
She’d use her unpredictable plans to make sure I couldn’t meet up with my family. She strategically planned this, I think: She’s like, “What’s your family doing tomorrow?” I’m like, “I don’t know. They’ll tell us tomorrow and then we can go.” And then the morning of, she’s like, “This evening, we’re going to do this and that.” And it was like so simple, like we’re going to make salmon. It’ll be like ‘our thing’ and then we’ll watch Netflix. Because there’s this movie that I really want to watch with you.” And then, if I didn’t give into her, she’d get so mad. She’d say things like, “You already told me that we’d do this. And you have to fulfill your promise. Cause I don’t want it to be like Christmas, where you said you would do all these things with me...and all you wanted to do was be in the house all day?! With your family playing games...in your house?” And I was like, “Well...Yeah!! That’s where my family is!” I was like, “I haven’t seen my family!...and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen them. I want to spend time with my family!” And she’s like, “I need to be the priority!”
Giving Up All Other Interests
She told me once, “You need to give up your sports.” And I’m like, “What? No, no, no, this is not happening!” And she’s like, “What do you mean?” And then we got in this whole fight. And she like explained herself in a way that made her seem innocent, like it was a misunderstanding. I told her that this was my dream since I was a sophomore in high school. And she would tell me that I need to reevaluate my priorities because she and the baby were way more important than track and field. Of course, I know that!! But in a normal relationship, I could do both. She always made me choose between her and everything else.
She would say, “If you love me, you have to be with me. If you decide to go to track practice, or anywhere else, then it’s just like you saying you want to get away from me.” She always made me feel terrible, like I was a bad person for doing anything besides taking care of her.
Control by Threatening to Break-Up
She would get super mad about little things and flip out and break up, and make me feel terrible, and after I apologized, she would make up. It was all a control thing.
She threatened to break up a lot, but never did. She’d say things like: “This is exactly what you wanted: to fight enough with me so that I’d want to break up with you so you could say that I’m the one that broke up and not you.” That is the kind of logic that drives you crazy!
Take me to the Airport
There were several times when she’d get so mad, that she’d insist that I take her to the airport. We had this fight. I tried to get out of the house and I pushed my way past her because she was in the door. She wouldn’t let me leave when we were fighting and it drove me insane, because I needed to get away from her. She would yell at me or force me to answer her questions or she’d say that she was afraid that I’d go out and hurt myself. Anyways, after this one fight, she went ballistic and packed up everything and said, “I wonder if I call the police, if they would deport me.” So, I think that was her way of threatening to leave. She was like, “I want to go home. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be with you. You’re abusive and this and that.”
And so I’m like, “Hey, I’ll drive you to the airport right now!” And then driving to the airport, she’s like, “Are you serious? You’re going to buy my ticket for me?” And I’m like, “Yes!” I was going to buy her ticket! But then we got there, and after she was so mad, she calmed down and said, “Can we go home?” And then I called her on it. I was like, “What do you want? Do you want to go home?” Because if she didn’t want to, I didn’t want to buy a $1200 ticket just for her to waste it and end up staying here. And I was not about to lose my money on this, either! I had already spent all my money on her. And so I was like, “If I buy her a ticket, am I just going to throw money away?” Like this is a huge financial stress on me as well! So, she refused to go and then we drove back home.
Trying to Escape
There were nights when I would wake up while she was asleep and go in the car and just drive. I had to wait until 2 am, when she was asleep. There was one night when I drove all the way down to some temple, listening to Owl City, remembering the good old times when I was free. I’d be like (sigh)...I’m going to get my freedom back soon, but now is not the time. I need to just be strong and wait until she’s in Argentina.
One time, she slept in the car after a fight. And I didn’t want to go back to the apartment. And I was so sick of her and I knew that if I went back to the apartment that she’d go in the apartment behind me. And if I went in without her, she’d get mad at me for not waiting for her. And so I just left. I walked the whole night. It was cold and I was outside. I slept a little bit at Mc Donalds until the manager there threatened to call the police. Then I left and I took a bus…And that bus went all the way up to a different city. And then I went back. And then I went to the hospital to hang out, because it was open by then. And then I went back to campus and went to my first class of the day. And then I slept on a bench on campus for a little bit. And then I’m like, “Alright, I need to face her again.” ...and that was the night that I slept on the streets.
Useless Counselor Visits
When we were at the counselor, she just ranted for an entire 60 minutes. She talked about what I was doing, what I was doing wrong, her points of view. And then we’d leave and she’d say “That was good.” I was too afraid to say anything bad, because then she wouldn’t want to meet with him any more and it was hopeful for me that she had agreed to meet with the counselor. So I didn’t want to ruin it. I felt very stuck in the relationship, so I was still hoping it would change. I just wanted something to change. And then I met with the counselor separately. So, that ‘s when I sat down and said, “To be honest, I really don’t want to marry her.” And he’s like, “I understand.” And he’s like, “Yeah, you guys have a lot of issues." He said it would take a lot of time to work through all those issues. He said there were almost too many issues. And that it would be a very hard marriage.
Trying to Fix Things and End on a Good Note
So, we went on a trip to the Grand Canyon. I wanted to take her. The reason why is because she was going to go back to Argentina. We were going to end the relationship. She had told me that she’s hated every experience that she’s had here. I might as well give her a few good ones before she’s gone and out of my life. So I thought it was a way to say a nice goodbye before ending the relationship. But I don't think she thought we were ending. She still thought it was going to work out and what not. She’s like, if I come back, you’ll bring me to Seattle right? I’m like, yeah, IF you come back, I’ll bring you to Seattle...but in my head, I’m like..Never, I don’t want it to get that far. And it didn’t. Yeah….and I was going to bring her to Yellowstone, but then the car was acting all freaky and so that didn't work out. Yeah, I guess, I was trying to make things nicer. I didn’t want to have her go while we were fighting and screaming. I wanted there to at least be a common phrase between us where we could say, “Well, at least we had a good time.” But it really sucked the energy out of me.
Using Mental Illness as Reason to Control
She made me feel real guilty if I didn't take care of her. Whenever I'd try to pull away, she saw it as me abandoning her. When I went home for Christmas to get a break, she was like, "My mom did that to me." So, I was doing the same thing her mom did to her and it threw her into a depression, which was how she got me to do things. She told me that back at home (in Argentina) she went into a depressive spiral. And I'm sure she was dealing with some severe depression. But she used it to control me. And it made her mad because I was trying to pull away. Like I owed it to her to always take care of her. And she was like, “I have depression and you don’t care about me or anything. And when you were having all these episodes, I was with you all the time and everything. And I would sacrifice school and this and that. " And I was just like (sigh), “I guess I’m just a horrible person then.” So, then I'd have to prove to her that I wasn't horrible and just do what she wanted. I'd lose sleep and appease her and take care of her.
She told me that at home, she just stayed in her room a lot.
I tried to tell her that I couldn't be her only source of help (comfort). She literally made me completely responsible for her being happy. So, I had a conversation with her and told her, "Hey, I can help you, but I can’t be the only source of help." And she would turn that around, and then she would warp that and say, “So you don’t want to help me at all.” And I was like, "No, that’s not what I mean at all. I mean I can’t be your ONLY source of help. Did that not register in your brain?" And then she just wanted to be mad at me. And I was like, "No, you are not wanting to understand this. I’m saying that I can’t be the only thing that helps you. You need to work, you need to do productive things, you need to pray, you need to get up, you need to do these things on your own. You can’t just hug me when you’re having an episode and want to talk to me all the time. That’s not going to fix you. I can’t be your only source!" (sigh) And then she’d warp it: "So you don’t even want to help me at all!" It was ridiculous.
I didn't want her sleeping in my apartment, but she'd just throw out all these reasons, like “I have depression.” She had all these reasons why she HAD to be there….like it released natural endorphins in your brain that help fight depression. Like being near me and hugging and affection released those endorphins. And it was proven to help with your depression. (sigh) It was crazy. Maybe those things help in a healthy relationship…It might help to have a hug from someone that you generally have connection with. But the way she was talking about….I wasn’t feeling any help. When I had my depressive episodes and she was trying to hug me, I was like, “This aint helping. You said this was scientific." I don’t remember it helping even once. And once my episodes got really bad, and we were already fighting a lot, and then she didn’t give crap. She actually provoked me and made it way worse. (sigh)