There were many things my family taught me – education was #1. I’m first generation American in my family. They moved to the States to have a better life – like everyone else. College wasn’t an option in the sense that, I was definitely going, I just needed to figure out what I wanted to study. My parents ingrained this in me from the moment I could understand. My family taught me street smarts. You don’t live in New York City for over 20 years and never become a victim of a violent crime or a robbery if you don’t have street smarts. My family taught me about equality and compassion. And it was the same authoritarian Grandmother who taught me about beauty, poise, and grace.
But my family taught me NOTHING about relationships and men, and I paid a hefty price.
My father wasn’t involved in my upbringing, so I didn’t have a male figure to protect me or teach me about men.
I went to an all-girls Catholic High School with Nuns and Priests, so you can imagine the bewildered look on my face when a Nun was teaching the sacrament of marriage. I said to myself, “What on God’s green earth can a Nun teach me about marriage when she can’t even have a relationship? Having a relationship with God doesn’t count. Since I would be having a relationship with a human.”
OMG…I was so screwed. I was on my own in the land of lost love.
I was seriously lost because I made not just one, but two attempts to escape my abuser. This is how I got my freedom…
It was the 1980s and I knew I needed to get out of this toxic relationship, but I was in a new State, in a strange city, with no steady income and my family was up north. So I started to hatch a plan. At least I had my own car, I had a credit card, and I could use my head. Because I couldn’t tip my hand, for weeks I acted as if everything was hunky-dory. I couldn’t pack a suitcase because that would be obvious, so once a week, I’d buy duffle bags that I could roll up and stash away. For weeks, with a fake smile on my face, I had to play the “Yes, dear. No, dear.” game to give him no suspicion. I couldn’t even tell my family because I knew they would say something to him.
Every morning I woke up wondering if this was the day I could escape. That day came, I saw an opportunity. I packed my stuff and went to a hotel to get some peaceful sleep as I planned my next move to return north. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any sleep. My abuser found me. Back then, if you called a hotel they would openly confirm if someone was at their hotel or not. Since I didn’t have much cash, I had to charge the room. I opened the hotel door thinking it was room service with extra towels, and there he was. A raging lunatic!
Now let’s fast forward 4 months. I was a prisoner in my own house. I was planning my escape again, but he was watching me like a hawk.
This time it was our anniversary. I noticed Mr. Hyde did everything he could to ruin “our day” – what a joke. Things were tense, but I thought he would give it a break for at least one day. Of course not. The miserable day came and went.
I woke the next morning; I wanted to be alone. Before he was up and about, I got dressed, grabbed my keys and started to head out the door but I wasn’t quick enough. He asked me, “Where are you going?” I said, “Breakfast.” To which he replied, “Without me? Oh no, you don’t.” I was so over his bullshit. We got into a very intense argument, which turned into his hands around my throat – choking me, I couldn’t breathe, I was gasping for air.
In that moment, tears rolled down my face, I saw my life pass before me. I said to myself, “He’s not going to take me out that easy. If I’m meant to go down today (die), I’ll go down fighting!” I finally FOUGHT BACK! I punched, kicked, bit and scratched so I could get his 215 lb. frame off of me. He broke my glasses when he hit me in the face, so I couldn’t see clearly, but I didn’t give up. I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a butcher knife. He stopped. He said, “You don’t have the guts.” I said, “Are you willing to find out?” I’m thinking to myself, I have nothing to lose, but I have my life to gain.
Did I have the guts? When you fear for your life, it’s amazing the courage you find within yourself. Courage that was always there, but I chose not to believe it.
With the knife in one hand in front of me, I walked back towards the door never taking my eyes off him. When my backhand reached the doorknob, I opened the door and lunged forward with the knife so he would fall back. I ran out the house with just the clothes on my back. I jumped in my car, slammed the door.
He dove at my window which he left partially open. I quickly rolled up the window trapping his arm. I looked at him, totally deflated, I said, “If you ever loved me, let me go.”
Abusers and narcissists are deeply troubled and broken souls. They believe in owning people like property. Any rejection makes them feel powerless. Other people’s power makes them feel weak. This makes saying “no” akin to betraying their God complex. In their warped mind, they think they’re God walking this earth. They prey on weak and insecure people to get what they want.
With those words, his entire demeanor changed. I cracked the window slightly, he removed his arm, he stepped back from the car and I never saw him again.
Since this was before the age of cell phones and the internet, I went to a pay phone and called the number I saw advertised on a domestic violence PSA on TV. Yes, domestic violence (in the 80s) was such an issue in this southern city, they had public service announcements about it. Before their van came to meet me, I called my mom to let her know what happened. That’s when everything hit her like a ton of bricks. She felt she failed as a mom. This all changed. She was there for me then and continues to be here for me now.
The van came. I followed them to the safe house. I had never been in a shelter, why would I? Shelter living isn’t luxury living. You’re relying on the kindness of strangers to help you get your life together. It was dorm living all over again, but not for a good reason.
They separated us from women with children and those without. I was the only woman who wasn’t married to her abuser. Those of us without children were outnumbered. We were considered the lucky ones.
Part of the agreement (to stay at the shelter) was to speak with the psychologist (a trauma specialist). She was the first person to tell me (and show me) how courageous I was/I am. She said I was smart to leave before marriage and children. I then learned a darker secret about domestic violence. She shared, a majority of the women who have children by their abuser were manipulated to have them through marital rape, sabotaged birth control or insisting on no birth control at all. This makes it harder for the women to leave which is what an abuser wants. I saw the results first hand. I was grateful not to be in their shoes even though my shoes were cutting off the circulation in my toes.
I only planned to stay at the shelter one to two weeks, so I had to come up with another plan to get my belonging and move back to New York in secret.
Since I didn’t leave the house with anything, I went to the police station to get protection as I loaded whatever the hell I could fit in my car. With the cop sitting outside, I looked around the house to see what my life had been reduced to. I bought almost all of the furniture in the house, but that was irrelevant at the moment.
My life was more important than the furniture
My life was more important than my pride and
My life was more important than worrying about what other people thought.
The Good Girl Syndrome, and following what other people expected of me, is part of what got me into this cluster-fuck in the first place. Much later, I realized I was buying his love because I was the one financially putting out more even though I was earning less.
I saw on the dining table, this man called every hospital, hotel, and motel in town. That’s how he found me the last time, and why I went to a shelter this time. As I was packing, he called the house and cryptically left a message saying, “I know you’re there. Pick up the phone.” When I heard that, my ass went from high-speed to warp speed.
My car was half packed when the police officer was called on an emergency, I was alone. When the cop left, my neighbor helped me pack the rest of my car. He knew the monster my fiancée was. Once my car was full, he closed my door and wished me Godspeed. Not all men are douche bags.
My mom flew down and I met her at this shady motel because she wasn’t allowed at the shelter and I needed to be off the grid. I paid cash, used a different name and wore a scarf and shades to hide. The next day, I left more of my belongings at the motel because I needed a place for my mom to sit in my car. When you leave everything behind, you quickly realize what’s important to you.
This time, the tears didn’t just belong to me, the tears were flowing from my mom as well. The remorse, regret, and guilt she felt were all over her face. I didn’t need to say a thing. She’s always been there ever since.
I never wanted to repeat this hell. I still wanted to be in a relationship, but a happy and safe one. My lack of knowledge, experience, and self-confidence was evident, and the only way to rectify this was to heal my wounds (physical, mental and emotional) and educate myself. As I mentioned before, after escaping my abuser, I took the long road to finally find peace (don’t recommend that). Another 10 years. I healed all the physical, and most of the mental and emotional wounds. However, my man knowledge was still lacking big time because I believed I could just learn by trial and error…WRONG!
Within this 10 year stint, I got married, had a baby and then I was happily divorced – that’s when I got serious about studying men. I WANTED A HAPPY RELATIONSHIP damn it.
I said to myself, I went to college and studied 4 years for my degree and I’m working in my field of study. I took classes to learn how to use Excel, Microsoft Word, and PowerPoint. I went to personal development seminars for work. Back then, Franklin Covey was a big thing. Yet, when it came to relationships and men I didn’t take one real class or read one real book. My relationship teachers were romance novels and chick-flicks. The fairy tale we’re all fed that just isn’t real. So I started studying men as if I was getting college credit for it. My man schooling started when I was 30 – that was 20 years ago. This gave birth to the Man Mastery training I developed in my Love Goddess Mastery training.
I thought to myself, as women we don’t have to be wandering aimlessly in a love wasteland. If I could learn about men, like any other subject, it would improve my chances of relationship success. Now when you think about it, that sounds logical, but why did I resist it so much?
I started to learn how men think, how men feel and how men love. When I learned this, it shocked me how little I knew. I was sabotaging myself due to plain ignorance.
I sabotaged myself with my own over-thinking. That was my true enemy, not men. I learned how I was pushing men away.
I sabotaged myself by comparing myself to other women. It made me feel like crap yet I still did it every day.
I sabotaged myself by holding onto resentment towards men with the false belief that men didn’t have to do anything and I was angry I had to change.
I sabotaged myself by remaining a victim, feeling insecure and lacking confidence.
But more importantly, I learned how I attracted this abusive relationship, how I settled for a boring husband and how I could do better. Much, much better. I learned the difference between a narcissist and a man who has REAL confidence. I learned how to be the best ME which in turn would attract the love of a high-quality man.
I started going on dates like it was a sport. The dates were my classroom and the men where the lesson plan. I talked to them, loved some of them and became good friends with many of them. When I took the time to learn, I started loving men for who they truly are for the first time in my life.
Guess what? In return, men started loving and treating me the way I wanted to be treated – like gold, not a piece of trash. On top of that, men started coming out of the woodwork because now I finally understood this elusive species.
Being a victim, I attracted crap – Being confident, I attracted quality!
I get asked all the time, how did I learn this? Now you know. It’s what I teach. I DON’T WANT ANY WOMAN TO EXPERIENCE WHAT I DID, but I want EVERY WOMAN TO BENEFIT FROM IT. This is why I invite you to chat with me. When you feel overwhelmed by your relationship situation (past or present), it’s easy to feel that you’re alone, but you’re not.
I still study men every day. It’s critical to keep my man mastery skills sharp. Just because I teach this doesn’t mean I can get lazy.
Whether you’re in a relationship or not. If you have a pattern of attracting the same type of unfulfilling relationships in your personal life and experience power struggles in your professional world, it means two things: 1) you need to educate yourself about men and 2) you need to start loving and empowering yourself. This is the same process I went through. There isn’t a shortcut or a magic pill. Knowledge is POWER!
If you choose to join me in my Love Goddess Program, you’ll start to equip yourself with the same man mastery skills. I painstakingly documented what I did.
Men were/are my loving science experiment and I’m the Man Professor.
Jennifer Elizabeth MastersDecember 7, 2017 at 12:55 AM (5 years ago)
Great article Stacey!