The first time I felt scared of what his hands could do to me was when he snatched flowers out of a vase I’d just put them in and re-arranged them himself. We’d only just started seeing each other, he’d brought me flowers, and we were standing in my kitchen. His hands moved quickly, angrily, and his disgust at my inept flower arrangement was clear. I pushed away the fear, telling myself I was being too sensitive. As months went by, it was he who continually let me know I was too sensitive, too dramatic, or not pretty enough, not stylish enough…

I believed him — I felt like I wasn’t good enough, so I kept trying to be. As my self-esteem eroded more and more, I kept wanting his approval. His hands were never gentle. They never caressed, or soothed. They grabbed, demanded. Sex was intense and rough. And as to the now-familiar question of why I didn’t leave him…I believed I could change him, soften him, turn him into a more gentle man. There were times when his hands grabbed me and I felt fear knife through me like a blade. His words and actions had gotten more cruel as time went by, and somewhere inside me I knew that his fists could easily follow.

He brazenly flirted with other women right in front of me, and there was finally — blessedly — a last straw. He got on the phone with a woman right after we had made love and started making plans with her. As broken as I felt, as worthless as I believed myself to be, I scraped together whatever shreds of dignity remained in me, and I left him.

Last year, I read that he had been arrested for domestic battery. I was not surprised.

The point of this story is: If you feel fear in a man’s presence, there is a reason for it. Your instincts are wiser than your brain. Violent men tear you down before they beat you up — it’s their insurance policy against you leaving. There is no doubt in my mind that if I had stayed longer the hands I feared would have crashed into me, just as they did with another woman years later.

The good thing right now is that we are all talking about domestic violence because of what’s gone on in the NFL. The bad thing is, there are still too many women arguing with the fear that’s trying to get their attention. Most of them won’t end up on a nationally-televised video. They will huddle in locked bathrooms, cover up bruises and wounds, and try to believe he didn’t mean it.

One Response to A MAN’S FISTS

  1. Patricia Hibbett says:

    Thank goodness that you left, it was the smartest thing that you could do. You are right, they tear you up, put you down, and break you. They do it so when it is time for the real abuse you do not leave! Women need to have more love and respect for themselves !!!!!!

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