Please help me leave my abusive fiance.
December 10, 2012 9:56 PM   Subscribe

Please help me leave my abusive fiance. I have a wall of text, of course.

We've been together for two years and while he's always had a violent temper, he'd always apologize afterwards and swear that he'd never actually hurt me or lay a hand on me. But I guess you know where this story is going.


We were trying to go somewhere in a City CarShare he'd rented for the hour, and he was upset at me for some reason or another and said something along the lines of 'If you can't do/say/act blahblahblah, then I don't want to be around you." So I got fed up and said, "fine," and left the car and went back upstairs to the apartment. I was upset.

He followed me in to our apartment. I was sitting down at the kitchen island reading a textbook. He reached over me and slammed the book out of my hands violently. It scared me; he hadn't gotten violent like that in a long time. I turned around and grabbed his shoulder and said to him furiously, "You can't start doing this again. It's not ok." Then suddenly I found myself slammed up against the front door with his hand around my neck.

I escaped upstairs to the office and locked myself in. He tried to kick the door in and there's a huge dent there now. I don't remember how the fight ended but after he threatened suicide a few times etc and screamed himself tired, the conflict de-escalated.

I told him we had to go into couples counseling immediately or I wouldn't stay. I also said that if he ever laid a hand on me again, our relationship would be over. He agreed. (I thought he agreed? He denies it all now, counseling never materialized, and furthermore now he says that because he didn't actually hurt me and I didn't have bruises, it doesn't count as abuse and I'm being manipulative to say it is abusive.)


Here's a few examples of things I've let slide recently. A few weeks ago he was upset at me and said some rude things to me in front of strangers at a Target. A few weeks before that he got upset at me after our anniversary dinner and flew off the handle, yelling at me outside on the sidewalk in front of people, to the point where I was so humiliated that I just ran away from him and then stayed out on my own for the rest of the evening to give him time to cool off before I came back home. I ended up apologizing to him for my behavior in both situations. It was easier to just let those things go.

He's in the tech sector here in San Francisco and he works all the time. Because I'm in school (my family is paying my tuition and gives me 1000 a month for my expenses), because I take two online computer classes this semester, and my other classes are in the evenings, I'm at home most days studying. He doesn't think this is as important as what he does (he makes six figures and pays most of the rent and expenses, as well as my health insurance) and gets upset when I don't run all the errands and keep a clean house. I gladly do all the cooking because I enjoy it, but I've always hated cleaning house and frankly always been kind of a messy person. He knows that about me but thinks that I owe it to him now because he's the breadwinner, and otherwise I'm taking advantage of him.

The frustrating thing is that before he convinced me to get rid of all my stuff and move across country with him for this great new job, I was financially independent of him. But here in SF, $1000 a month doesn't really cut it any more. Especially when I have to give him $700-$800 of it a month for my portion of rent and expenses. And now he pays for my health insurance, and he pays for my cell phone, and he pays for my food and rent . . .


But anyways I've been under my own stress in the past week and I suddenly don't feel like being steamrolled. Last night he decided he wanted to use the jigsaw at midnight and I got upset and said, "Please don't do that, we have neighbors directly below us and on the side, too, and that noise is so loud they will definitely hear it." He ignored me and did another test saw and again it was incredibly loud. I started getting upset and escalated a bit, raising my voice and demanding that he not do that. He said he didn't care about the neighbors. I don't remember exactly what happened next but he says that he tried to "comfort" me by giving me a hug, but he was holding me too hard for me to get out of his arms so I yelled LET ME GO. He let go, and then he . . . well, he pushed me away from him. It was a light push, I wouldn't even call it a shove. But still, I didn't think it was ok.

At this point I started to feel a sort of strength and resolve that is a rare feeling for me these days and I decided that I was going to draw a line against all this shit and I wasn't going to take it anymore. So I told him that his actions were not acceptable and that this was an ultimatum, he was not allowed to push me because it was a violent action, even if he didn't hurt me.

He said that he was just being playful and I was being too sensitive and trying to start shit because I wanted to hurt him. I never raised my voice at this point, I just kept being firm and saying over and over that what he did wasn't ok. I tried to explain to him that I loved him but when he was really violent and physically abusive--like the time with his hand around my throat--I wasn't in a good position to say "this is not ok," so I had to start drawing the line at the small violent behaviors.

He just got increasingly furious at me, screamed that I was being manipulative, that he had to defend himself against me, and that I would probably just hurt myself and then call the cops to blame it on him. He threatened suicide a few times of course. I remained calm and just kept talking to him. I just had this desperate idea that if I said the right thing to him, his defenses would break down and I would finally get through to him. Like maybe he would finally admit to me that his behavior was wrong and he didn't want to hurt me anymore. That didn't happen though. In the end, last night, I was sitting on the couch beside him, holding his side and kissing him, saying that I loved him and I just wanted to get through to him. He told me to get away and then he held up a glass as if to hit me with it. (Now he says he was only threatening to throw it) I left and went to bed.


In the morning the conflict continued. He told me he hated me for being so manipulative and for lying and for deliberately ruining our evening when everything was fine. He said he might as well quit his job because I made it so that he couldn't get any work done. I held my ground but I was calm the whole time. At some point his threats and claims got so ridiculous that I actually started laughing. He "dared me to laugh again," and I said, "Are you threatening me?" He just repeated, "I dare you to laugh again." Eventually he shattered one of my glass planters, stormed upstairs, then threw something else that put a huge dent in the fireplace mantel.

At this point, finally his own anger scared him and he came back and started cleaning up the broken glass. He told me to stop helping because "I'd cut myself and then blame it on him."


Then he went back upstairs for an hour or so. I sat on the couch just sort of stunned and exhausted. He came down again and said, "I can't do this any longer. You've won. Tell me what you want to make me do." I was so emotionally drained. I just gave him a short list. I said, in a small, flat voice, "Pushing is not ok. Any violent action, even if you're joking or it is very small and doesn't hurt me, is not ok. Saying humiliating things to me in public is not ok. You're going to have to accept that I'm not good at housecleaning and I'm not going to do all the chores you expect me to do. And your job has consumed our lives and become your only priority. I want to be a priority in your life again." He said, "Fine," and without saying anything else, decamped again to his office.

Another hour or so later. I'm still just in a stupor on the couch. He said, "I'm going out to the bank to get quarters for laundry and pick up some groceries. Will you come with me? We can get dinner while we're out."

Metafilter, I went with him. At the bank he cashed a small check and gave me the money, about $75, "because he hadn't given me cash for expenses in a while." As I slid the money into my wallet and told him thank you, I felt cold and tired and resigned to my fate.


Metafilter, I am too tired and I am prone to forgiveness. I was raised in a Christian cult and when in my early twenties I finally realized I'd been brainwashed and left, I had to cut off most of my ties. I've been briefly homeless and broke and hungry and scared and without options. I don't like losing people. I don't have many friends and I'm not close to anyone in this city yet. I love this beautiful apartment we live in and the sense of security I finally have here. I love having stability and being able to get all the groceries I want and my cat is best friends with his cat.

But I know that nothing is going to change in this relationship. He'll be wary and cautious for a while, on good behavior. He's probably very ashamed of his behavior but he'll never admit it to me and it will never be ok to talk about it, and eventually it will happen again.

I'm 29 years old now and I don't feel strong enough to make another huge transition in my life. How do you prepare yourself for something like this emotionally? Right now I can't imagine another life for myself, so it seems unfathomable to think of leaving. In four months to six months, I'll be finished with a degree program here in San Francisco that has good job options. I'll easily make at least $20/hr and be able to support myself. But until then, I feel helpless, stuck, unable to see past my blinders, and an enormous part of me is screaming that I don't want to leave.

Metafilter, I could use some encouragement.
posted by sock puppet mop bucket to Human Relations (189 answers total) 97 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I'm already reading this guide to Safety Planning.
posted by sock puppet mop bucket at 10:00 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

This dude is a fucking douchebag asshole manipulator creeper maniac manbaby who will never ever change and you need to get the fuck out like yesterday.
posted by elizardbits at 10:04 PM on December 10, 2012 [75 favorites]

Battered womens shelter right fucking now.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:06 PM on December 10, 2012 [67 favorites]

If your family is sending you $1,000/month for expenses, then you already have a bit of a safety net in some regards. First thing I'd do is tell them what's going on and let them help you formulate a plan, even if that's just up and leaving for wherever they are for awhile while you get your head into a less-scared place.
posted by xingcat at 10:07 PM on December 10, 2012 [15 favorites]

Shelter. Seriously. There are people there who can help you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:08 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I didn't need to read past "he's always had a violet temper" at the very top to know that this is a relationship that must be ended before he hurts you. It's understandable that you have a fear of separation and abandonment, but fear for your own safety and well-being should be tantamount.
posted by Dansaman at 10:08 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Go. Now. Just fucking go. Do you have a friend you could stay with for a few days while you arrange something more permanent? Ring them, ask for help, chuck some stuff in a bag and go.

I've been there. It's hard to admit that you've stayed in a relationship with an abusive arsehole, I know. You feel humiliated and embarrassed and a tiny part of your heart still insists that you love him, and he loves you. But listen to me... HE WILL NEVER CHANGE! It will only escalate. Next time his hand is around your throat, it may well be two hands, and they may be squeezing.

Fuck him and the horse he rode in on. You deserve better. You hear me? You deserve better!
posted by malibustacey9999 at 10:09 PM on December 10, 2012 [7 favorites]

You're absolutely right every time you said that what he is doing is not OK. He is wrong, and he's dangerous. I'm sure subsequent commenters will know what resources to use to get out immediately - do that. You can do it. Don't tell him first. No more ultimatums to get him to change. He's dangerous and you need to leave.

Sometimes I have this dread and fear when I'm about to move to a new place and make a change because I can't picture what it will be like, and what happens is, the moment I'm in that new place the old one seems very far away in the past, and the new one is so much better. And there's no security at all when you're walking on eggshells in your own home because the other person living there might assault you at any time.

It is so typical of an abusive person to whine and complain that they are the one who's been hurt by you, and get you to feel like you're the one who needs to be protective of them. After they've just gone after you with that explosive temper again. Listen, if you react to comments calling him an awful person and all sorts of other things by feeling you have to defend him, that's not unexpected. But you are exactly right when you say that what he's doing is not OK and you need to leave.
posted by citron at 10:10 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was in college and 21 years old when I had a similar relationship. He punched me, slapped me,bit mee, threatened me with knives and hammers, threw stuff, and punched holes in walls. . It was only when he pushed me down a flight of stairs that I had had enough. I got out by moving all my stuff with a friend while he was gone and I stayed with her (he didn't know her) until I could get my own place. There is a way out! Call a shelter. Now.

Run far away from him. This isn't love and he's not changing.
posted by Sal and Richard at 10:10 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Find out if your credits transfer and move back with your family who is supporting you. How horrified would they be to know they are paying 1000$ to help you live with someone who is going to continually make your life worse? Time to get gone.
posted by bquarters at 10:11 PM on December 10, 2012 [10 favorites]

I've done this, leave the randomly explosively abuser who was ok most of the time so I stayed too long. You can do it, it won't be fun. You may lose a lot of possessions, a lot of money, a lot of time. But FUCK, its worth it. You might have to postpone your degree, but probably not. 4-6 months is pretty short. Look for short term leases or sublets or hit up friends for their walk in closet. I gave up a big house with a big yard and lovely things, you can too. Its totally worth it. Go live in a closet, pay them 500 mths, get a job at a bar/coffee shop/target, do what you have to do.

Remember to do any of your planning on a computer outside the home. Turn off the google history settings, you know it logs what you look at where ever you are. All that stuff, just do it. Just do it soon. You'll be scared. That's ok. He will try to guilt you every way possible. Don't listen.
posted by stormygrey at 10:11 PM on December 10, 2012 [16 favorites]

Get out. Otherwise you will lose yourself completely. Maybe literally.

There's no stability there, at all. You'll have a roof over your head at the cost of your mind. You'll feel nauseous and head-spinny all the time, and forget what you liked & who you were, and you'll shrink to the size of the space he allows. It's a fucking prison, make no mistake.

No matter how hard it is out there, it'll be easier than becoming a disappearing contortionist.

Women's shelter will help you with enough resources to settle into a little place.

You still have all this city to explore for yourself, it can be just yours.

Read Patricia Evans.
posted by nelljie at 10:12 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

I lived on $1200/m all through college by living with other students in Oakland, less than half that went to rent. It can be done! GO. I'm so excited for you....things are about to get so much better!
posted by jrobin276 at 10:12 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

Oh yes, I second the family thing. I was 30! Had a job, but all my money was going towards a pathetic, sick, end. I had to ask for money, and you know what, it appeared. Help came when I got over myself enough to ask for it.
posted by stormygrey at 10:13 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Truly, the best but most difficult thing that you can do for yourself is to get out now and go to a safe place. Your safety and well-being are at risk if you stay in this dysfunctional relationship. Your douchebag of a boyfriend will not change. And, sadly, things will only get worse over time.
posted by livinglearning at 10:13 PM on December 10, 2012

You absolutely do not deserve to be abused in any way. He has no right to do what he has done and will do to you in the future if you don't leave. What he's doing to you is wrong.

Follow your feet out the door. There's a ton of domestic violence (and that is exactly what this is, despite what he says) resources in the Bay Area that you can use.

Do not have another ultimatum talk. Do not tell him in advance you're leaving. Just leave as quickly as you can.
posted by inturnaround at 10:13 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Battered womens shelter right fucking now

Agreed. This is way way beyond scary to read. This is a red alert crisis and you can't see it because you're in it. Your life is at risk -- the HAND on your THROAT for god's sake. He may as well have pointed a gun at your head. Violent abusers sometimes become murderers. Run run run run run.

You're stronger than you think you are. All the things that make you feel you have to stay are illusions and they will vanish once you leave. There is help and support for you. Just make yourself safe.
posted by PercussivePaul at 10:15 PM on December 10, 2012 [22 favorites]

This is serious and you should leave. Talk to a women's shelter or domestic abuse office if you need guidance-- they should be able to give you a step-by-step plan. Don't talk to him about leaving before you have a plan and are out the door (the shelter will probably have useful guidelines about this). In fact, don't even contact him after that in any way that would inform him about where you are. You can live on $1000 a month if you look for roommates (probably in Oakland). If you're afraid about him finding you moving your stuff, a police officer can accompany you back to your apartment. Ask the women's shelter about everything you are unsure about.

If you can, ask your family to help. $1000 is a significant amount of support and it sounds like they would be there for you.

This guy is awful and dangerous and you owe him NOTHING. You can definitely find a plan for the next few months, and then you'll be a graduate with good job prospects and your life to yourself. Things will be so, so so so much better.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:16 PM on December 10, 2012 [21 favorites]

And do not be afraid to ask for help. You'll be amazed at how many kind people there are out there who will help get you to safety. This is *NOT* your fault.
posted by inturnaround at 10:17 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

I am so sick right now that I can barely hold my head up anymore and was planning on just reading until I fell asleep. I am saying that so you know how alarmed I am and upset on your behalf that I am now sitting up in bed writing to you.

I just had this desperate idea that if I said the right thing to him, his defenses would break down and I would finally get through to him. Like maybe he would finally admit to me that his behavior was wrong and he didn't want to hurt me anymore.

He is never, ever, ever, ever going to do this. Not in any kind of real way. If he does it, it will be as a manipulation or to get something that he wants, and he will deny it later.

he says that because he didn't actually hurt me
doesn't matter

and I didn't have bruises, it doesn't count as abuse
false, wrong, and a lie

and I'm being manipulative to say it is abusive.
for him to say that is manipulative and a lie

we had to go into couples counseling immediately
cc is not for abusive relationships.

he says that he tried to "comfort" me by giving me a hug,
a fucking lie

but he was holding me too hard for me to get out of his arms
you don't need to explain or justify why his lie is a lie. it is okay for you to just call a spade a spade, you can just call it the motherfucking lie that it is! it is okay for you to call all of his lies the lies that they are!

It was a light push, I wouldn't even call it a shove. But still, I didn't think it was ok.
of course it wasn't okay. does not matter at all how light it was.

screamed that I was being manipulative, that he had to defend himself against me, and that I would probably just hurt myself and then call the cops to blame it on him.
more lies and manipulations.

look, i believe you. believe yourself too. you do not have to get his agreement on what the truth is. just decide the truth about what he is doing and how the situation is, for yourself, and don't listen to his opinion at all. don't try to coax or convince him of anything, it's not going to work because he's not holding a mistaken belief, he knows perfectly well what the truth is, that is not why he is lying and manipulating.

do me a favor. think of something that would help you, that i can do, and tell it to me over memail.
posted by cairdeas at 10:19 PM on December 10, 2012 [28 favorites]

The fact that you posted this question makes it pretty clear you can do this. Get ready. Be quick. Be decisive. Lay the groundwork straightaway and GTFO.

You are so much better than this shitbag, and you owe it to yourself to get away.

Shelter, now. In a taxi. With what you can put in a backpack. Order of protection immediately thereafter. Then you evaporate and if he so much as throws a glance in the direction of your new zip code, you bring the full weight of the law down on his sorry ass like the wrath of dog almighty.

If I were in any position to help, I'd already be in the car.

Best of luck.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:20 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

You MUST go. And stay gone. In a year's time it will be better in ways you can scarcely comprehend today.
posted by oceanmorning at 10:21 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

by the way, there are lots and lots of places within a 30 minute commute of SF where you could live extremely comfortably on a rent of 1000 per month.
posted by cairdeas at 10:23 PM on December 10, 2012

now he says that because he didn't actually hurt me and I didn't have bruises, it doesn't count as abuse and I'm being manipulative to say it is abusive.

Well he's a lying liar who lies. This should be roughly a 9000 on your bullshit meter. Of course, no matter what he does to you, somehow you are being manipulative, or overreacting, or twisting events to make them seem abusive. He wants you to doubt yourself, and make no mistake, he's doing this quite consciously.

You have to leave. You are in grave danger. He put his hands around your throat. A few seconds longer, a bit more pressure and you would not be writing this thread.

Please don't beat yourself up for feeling scared about your material well being if you leave him. Everyone wants to feel secure in the way you describe (roof over their head, food to eat, place to call their own, etc.). That's totally normal. But you can survive on your own. And frankly, you'd be safer even in some kind of shelter than you are with this individual.
posted by katyggls at 10:24 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


- Imagine your closest, best, most amazing friend
- Re-read your post, pretend it is all happening to your friend and they are asking you for help
- Tell them what to do*
- Do what you're telling your friend to do

Any time you start wavering, return to what doing you'd recommend your friend to do.

*this rests on the assumption you are telling your friend some variation of GET THE FUCK OUT NOW

You know this is all abuse. You know he is manipulative and a lying liar. Find thee a battered women's shelter or a friend with a couch. When he is out of the house, close any joint bank accounts, take all important papers and go there. If you have the abilities stick what crap you can in a storage locker. Recruit friends to help if possible. Never look back. And take the cat with you (and possibly his cat too if you think he's going to retaliate against you by hurting his own cat).
posted by Anonymous at 10:28 PM on December 10, 2012

Get the fuck out of there, now.

Echoing cairdeas: memail if you need help.
posted by ead at 10:29 PM on December 10, 2012

US National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−SAFE(7233)
Their website (if you have computer access he's not monitoring):
posted by gingerest at 10:30 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

GET. OUT. NOW. You are not safe and you will never be safe with this manipulative, dangerous asshole. Have you ever heard of the honeymoon phase that abusers use after the abuse, whether physical or mental, to reassure the victim that no, they're really a nice person and it was just a flare-up and oh, "here-are-some-flowers-I-love-you-baby"? Then that wears off, something else causes a flare-up of the abusive behavior and hoo-boy, maybe the next time this abuser actually kills you. No, that's not how normal people conduct a relationship. Take whatever steps you need and GET THE HELL OUT NOW.
posted by Lynsey at 10:30 PM on December 10, 2012

Sorry, you are obviously already aware of what the Hotline has to offer because you linked to it! Still, for posterity I'll leave it up.
posted by gingerest at 10:31 PM on December 10, 2012

So ok, reading again, it sounds to me like you're mostly decided, but are thinking, "I can put up with this for 4-6 months; I don't want the drama". Maybe you can put up with it, but again, at a cost. You have to live those months. Can you?

Things can change for the better so quickly, you have no idea! Listen, the fear you live with every day can be gone, like a dream. It can just be GONE.

Your guts and head can stop buzzing, finally. You'll be able to breathe, to think. To think about something other than dodging/appeasing/calming/pleasing/mindreading. You'll walk lightly for the first time in two years.

You could find a room to share in very short order, maybe a furnished one. You can get a pay as you go cell phone. After that, all you need are your clothes and documents, and that's enough! Really it is! You can build the rest of your nest for yourself. Believe me, you can.

Don't be ashamed to call on friends for support. They will surprise you too.

Again - the shelter will help with legal things, etc. Going there doesn't make you a statistic. It makes you practical. You've survived before - you can do it again.
posted by nelljie at 10:32 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

If your family is willing to send you $1000 a month, I'll bet they'd also be willing to drop everything and go get you if you just tell them 1/10 of what you've told us. If your family wouldn't come, you know someone who would. Get in contact with them right NOW. Don't worry about waking them up, if they're a few time zones away. They'll be glad you did.

Don't cling to your degree program; you can deal with that later. You need to get as far away from this guy as possible, as fast as possible. Don't dance around the notion that you should stay in town because blah blah inertia blah blah. Men like this can and do kill the women who leave them. You need to be completely inaccessible to this man. Don't give him any warning you are leaving, or he will hurt you. Don't ever let him know where you went, or he will come for you.

Once you are gone, you are to never communicate with him again in any way, unless you legally must, and then ONLY through a lawyer or the police (I don't know why you would have to communicate with him for legal reasons --but those are the rules if you do.) Do not count on the police to properly enforce a restraining order, although it's your choice if you want to get one. Don't even worry about that shit right now, though. LEAVE NOW.

The rest of the advice you're getting is really good; I just wanted to emphasize that you need to get out now, without his knowledge, without giving him a chance to stop/harm you, and without telling him ANYTHING about where your new location is/will be.
posted by Coatlicue at 10:32 PM on December 10, 2012 [23 favorites]

And seconding schroedinger. Take the cats if you can. You may think now that he would never hurt them to hurt you -- but yes, yes he would. It's not just about protecting them (although I know that must be important to you), but also about protecting yourself from the fall-out of this man doing something brutal to an animal you love in retaliation.
posted by Coatlicue at 10:41 PM on December 10, 2012 [19 favorites]

The frustrating thing is that before he convinced me to get rid of all my stuff and move across country with him for this great new job, I was financially independent of him. But here in SF, $1000 a month doesn't really cut it any more. Especially when I have to give him $700-$800 of it a month for my portion of rent and expenses. And now he pays for my health insurance, and he pays for my cell phone, and he pays for my food and rent . . .

Even if he wasn't physically abusing you- and he IS- this bullshit breakdown of your expenses would be enough to leave him. What reasonable person who makes $100k makes their partner who has income of $12k pay $800 in rent per month? When you moved for HIS job and HIS career? I'm sorry, what? That is not reasonable. That is not something a partner does.

You know what it is? It's abusive. This man has deliberately isolated you from your friends and family (who love you and want to support you), whittled away your material resources, and made you dependent on him. You felt miserable when he gave you that $75 because you know that he was trying to buy your compliance. This man did this on purpose. He does not want you to be a stable, successful person because then you would not depend on him anymore.

I'm sorry, honey, but there's no way he lets you get through the next six months of school- or, if he does, suddenly your "share" of the bills is going to go way up to keep you in the same situation you're in right now. Please leave this guy. There are so many places you can go- women's shelter, share house with students, live-in caretaker for an elderly person. You are strong and resourceful. Get away from him. You are worth it.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:46 PM on December 10, 2012 [88 favorites]

Check your mefi mail
posted by namesarehard at 10:51 PM on December 10, 2012

Joining the chorus: please get out of there right now. Where is your family? If you don't have enough money to travel to them, please get in touch with them and they will come and get you, because that man is dangerous, and you have got to get out of there as soon as you can.
posted by thylacinthine at 10:52 PM on December 10, 2012

The words "just being playful" in this context make my blood boil. He is bullying you.

You should just call the San Francisco Domestic Violence Hotline at 415-333-HELP 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to see what they have to say and what resources they may be able to offer you.

It is not worth waiting 4-6 months through more abuse. My husband is a community college professor, students take breaks to sort things out all the time. Your safety and mental health are more important than anything else.

Good luck and sending positive wishes your way.
posted by dottiechang at 10:53 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

Another voice offering help. I'm in SF, memail if you need anything at all.

Just do this NOW. Change every password to every email/social media site/online banking, etc account you have, gather up what you can carry, and get to a shelter. Don't wait. Just go. I've got an old backpacking backpack and duffel bags if you need, and plenty of food (perk of my job). And I know a few people who would most definitely take in your cats for a while til you got on your feet. I agree with the other posters who've said to get the cats out with you when you leave. I would not trust your fiance with them when he realizes he's lost his control over you. If he'll threaten suicide to control you, he'll threaten other things you love too.

Get out now.

(Also, thought experiment: Let's say everything your fiance was saying was true; you are too sensitive, you make big deals out of little things, the way he touches you when he's angry is totally socially acceptable and it is just you freaking out when no one else would. OK, let's work under the assumption that's all true. A non-abusive, emotionally healthy person in that situation would STOP TOUCHING THEIR PARTNER IN WAYS THAT UPSET THEM. They would consider their partners own boundaries to be more important than social norms. Even if every thing your fiance has said about you and your relationship were true (spoiler: SO NOT TRUE!!), a supportive, loving partner would not respond the way your fiance has. What he's saying is an utter load of abusive, manipulative crap, but I just wanted to point out that even if he were saying things that were true, even then his behavior would be unacceptable.)
posted by JuliaIglesias at 10:54 PM on December 10, 2012 [27 favorites]

Best answer: Here are some practical resources to help you:

Domestic violence help in Oakland: The counselors on our 24-hour crisis line offer referrals for crisis counseling, information about domestic violence, and referrals to agencies throughout the Bay Area. Shelter services for battered women can be accessed through the crisis line, at 510-536-SAFE (510-536-7233).

The Riley Center offers domestic violence assistance in San Francisco, including a 24-hour helpline with shelter referrals. Their helpline number is (415) 255-0165.

WOMAN Inc also has a helpline at (415) 864-4722.

You can call these places just to get a feel for your options. You don't have to make any decisions tonight; you can just call them and chat for a while and see how you feel as you talk. It is anonymous. If you just want them to listen, they will listen. If you want to get resources for leaving, they can provide those, too.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:56 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Take the cats...both! He may hurt them, AND they'll be a huge comfort to you.
posted by jrobin276 at 10:58 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

If he's willing to kill himself, he's willing to kill you.

You HAVE to take this seriously. Take everything you need - what you really need, computer, a few days worth of clothes, meds, money, important documents, cats. Pack when he's at work and can't stop you and leave.

You can't stay there for another 4-6 months. He will continue to terrorize you, make it impossible to finish your degree so you can't get away from him and there's a very good chance you could end up dead.
posted by i feel possessed at 11:01 PM on December 10, 2012 [18 favorites]

I definitely recommend applying for a restraining order. Even if the police won't enforce it, it establishes a paper trail documenting abusive behavior. This might come in handy if there is further legal action in the future.
posted by twblalock at 11:02 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

Any chance your school has a counselor? They can also offer support. The idea that you're writing this probably less than ten miles away from a number of us is so frustrating, but please hear our frustration as concern for what you are saying. We are deeply concerned for you. Good for you for reaching out. You are worth it. Please find a phone and call the hotline. They can give you the answers and support you will need to do this right. They are sadly, experts in this. You don't have to do this alone. And you can't control his behavior. But you can control your steps.

Rooting for you in Oakland....
posted by anitanita at 11:10 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Textbook description of abuse: Your 1,950 word AskMe Question.
Textbook realization that you are being abused: Your 1,950 word Askme Question.
Textbook solution (immediate): GTFO as echoed in every one of the 40 or so answers in this thread to date.
Textbook solution (long term): StayTFO and StayTFAway from him.
Textbook chance to fix for your fiance’s abusive behavior (immediate): Zero as in 00.0000%, Nada, aucune chance, нулевые шансы, 可能性幾乎為零, אפס סיכוי, zero possibilità etc.
Textbook chance your fiance’s abusive behavior can be fixed (long term): Don’t wait to find out.
Textbook life you can have after you leave: A beautiful one.
posted by lampshade at 11:13 PM on December 10, 2012 [16 favorites]

On the off chance that you're reading this far and haven't heard EVERYONE say "get out!" Let me add my two cents. You get $1000/month. He makes 6 figures and STILL takes all of your money every month. You have $200 a month of your own and are kept dependent on him for everything else. He gaslights you (the whole, you're overreacting, trying to make me look bad thing), threatens you, breaks things, RUINED YOUR ANNIVERSARY, choked you and, as the cherry on top, threatens to kill himself every time you call him on his shit.

Are you with me? Your school can wait, and you can finish it anywhere. Are you really willing to put up with this for an eventual $20/hr? Somewhere in the near future? In San Francisco? Get out! Go home! Your parents love you and obviously want you to do well. Let them help you. Do NOT tell him you are leaving. Do NOT leave anything of legal importance when you go. Do NOT stay another day. Go!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:17 PM on December 10, 2012 [12 favorites]

Oh wait, I just read the part about him taking seventy to eighty percent of your monthly income? Snarl is right. That's just some bullshit right there. Some mean spirited bullshit.

He is counting on you being afraid. But being afraid is the healthy response to your frightening situation. But fear doesn't have to paralyze you. you have already started by reaching out and looking for resources. What is the next one step you would be OK with taking? I see you have the hotline info. Maybe walking by the shelter? Telling a friend? Seeing if your school has counseling?

Just keep moving forward.
posted by anitanita at 11:25 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Let's focus on the practical. What is your savings situation, what is your loan situation, and can you get additional loans to see you through the next six months? Because I'd rather be 6k in debt than be at the mercy of this guy, and I think you would too.

You have the advantage of being home all day and the flexibility that buys you. Re-read your list. Gather your documents, pack your bag, and make your escape plan.

You can get a room in SF for $500 a month including utilities and internet. You can foster the cats with a SF MeFite - I'm pretty sure people will step up for you.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:32 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is so fucked up. My heart is a cold, hard fortress of logic, and it just slumped despondently reading this. Don't think, don't work your way up to it, just leave. Hell, you can crash on my couch if you want.
posted by spatula at 11:35 PM on December 10, 2012 [5 favorites]

You reached out to us for help--please reach out to your friends, virtual and real, and your family, to help right now. If I lived in sf, I'd come over right now, and my wife would be on the horn lining up resources, and we're nothing special in this regard. There is no shame in calling for help when you need it, and you need it now. You cannot fix other human beings--it is a classic mistake made by millions of people but a mistake none-the-less. You can fix yourself, but it's impossible to fix others.

Think of it this way: your situation is only going to get worse. Every time he "wins" in his mind, he will just get bolder. You've seen his best, but that is gone; you haven't yet seen his worst. Don't stick around to see it, please. I only know you through this plea and already I know you're awesome, strong, and ready to dich this asshole...and the right time to get rid of assholes, especially dangerous assholes, is right now.

You can do it!
posted by maxwelton at 11:39 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

How do you prepare yourself for something like this emotionally?

You don't, any more than you can prepare yourself for being in an abusive relationship to begin with. Walking out in a circumstance like this isn't something you "prepare for." You either do it, or you don't. I don't mean to make that sound easy because it is incredibly difficult to do something you are totally emotionally unprepared to do. However, although it will be a difficult decision to make, it is also an incredibly obvious decision. And it is clear from your question that you know it's obvious.

In four months to six months, I'll be finished with a degree program here in San Francisco that has good job options. I'll easily make at least $20/hr and be able to support myself. But until then...

Every day people in all kinds of unhealthy circumstances, abusive or otherwise, prolong their suffering using this logic. "If I just make it another week..." There will always be a reason on the horizon that you can articulate to yourself. Don't wait until you're unable to, because that time will never come. Instead, stop doing it.

You asked for encouragement. My spin would be this. Someday, you might (will?) have a child, maybe a daughter, and you may find yourself telling her this story about your experience. So here you are in the present, with the opportunity to write it. Do you want to tell your kid that you stayed another four to six months?

Good luck. I'm sorry for your circumstance, and I wish you a happy holiday when it comes.
posted by cribcage at 11:40 PM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

Call your family and ask for help. I have a judgy mom who judges me for EVERYTHING, and when I told her that my then-husband and I hadn't had sex since a year before the marriage, she stepped up like she'd never stepped up before.

Your university will likely have resources for you, even if it's winter break. If you need help, they may even be able to lend you money; we have something called the Dean of Students Emergency Crisis Fund. Don't even ask yourself if your situation is bad enough. YES YOUR SITUATION IS BAD ENOUGH. You will pay this kindness back down the line sometime. We know you will. Don't worry about it now.

I'm sure there are tons of Bay Area folks who have better resources than I do... but I know some good folks, too, so feel free to MeMail me if for some reason you're still looking. I know at least one wonderfully kind and compassionate friend who is a UU chaplain and will be more than glad to listen no matter who you are.

I know it doesn't feel like it right now, but you are so very strong. You've already made major changes in your life years ago, and WOW that takes a lot of energy and effort. And you're a MeFite, which means you were smart enough to join up here AND ask for help among some of the best people on the whole Internet. I'm only slightly being silly with that: you already know what amazing resources we have here, whether they're previous answers or present-day support.

KEEP US UPDATED. If you need an ally to MeMail, I'm here for you.

YOU CAN DO THIS. You are making a very difficult but good decision. We are sending all of our love and support to you.
posted by Madamina at 11:48 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Get. Out. Now.

Just go, do it, the possible negatives of you leaving are minimal compared to what will happen if you stay. At best, your soul will shrivel, and you will be a shell of a human being. At worst he will kill you. I am completely serious right now. Many stories of people being hurt or killed by abusive spouses sound exactly like yours.

Get out. Please, please, please get out.
posted by markblasco at 11:55 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also, I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of "better." So many of us, for whatever reason, are facing large and difficult tasks. Some of us simply have to clean up a mess. Others have to reinvent their whole lives.

I think the only way to handle that is to work on making life better each day. Some of us will undertake everything in an hour and be done with it. Others will need to work for the next six months to get the GED needed to start at a community college. Still others will only have the courage to make a single phone call.

The point is that nobody will tell you how much is enough. We all want to do things faster and more decisively, but life isn't like that.

So I hope that as you think about your options in the days and weeks to come, you consider what small or large DOABLE things you can do to make life a little better for yourself each day. How you choose to define that is up to you.

I hope tomorrow is better for you, and I hope the day after that is better still.
posted by Madamina at 11:56 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

DarlingBri is right. If you *really* can't find anyone to take the cats, MeMail me. My brother and his wife live in San Rafael, and she's a vet. Even if they can't cat-sit (they've got dogs), they'll know someone who can. Good luck!

(FWIW, one of my "mom's" cats belonged to my former college roommate's abusive ex. He spontaneously decided she had to take her cat back, that had lived with him the last 5+ years (the cat's whole life), and drove all night to leave it on our doorstep in the middle of finals. Our landlady/roommate had a dog. My mom happened to be visiting, so she took the cat home with her. Roommate finished her degree, got married to a nice guy, and just had her second baby. Said roommate had also spent time kinda homeless, and found "stability" in a slightly older, controlling asshole. She did better, and so can you!) PS - My high school BF once pushed me against the wall, and held me there pinned, feet off the ground and one hand around my neck. He kept his word and never did it again, but you know what? HE WAS STILL AN ASSHOLE.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:58 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

You know those movies where the couple enter a haunted house, and a voice says "Get out now!" and they ignore it and something horrible happens to them?

Get out now!
posted by LarryC at 12:00 AM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

This man did this on purpose. He does not want you to be a stable, successful person because then you would not depend on him anymore.

I want to repeat what Snarl Furillo pointed out because it has another implication: he does not want you to be independent. Finishing your studies would give you a very clear opportunity for independence. This present conflict seems very clearly to be an escalation.

He may well feel threatened by your impending ability to be independent and sabotage it if you stay. He's opened several potential doors here: false accusations of abuse, as in making YOU out to be an abuser, being one (he's got it so much on his mind that he's projecting it onto you, see).

Is your name on the lease? Have you physically seen your name on it? I ask because my abusive ex lied to me when he signed the lease on our apartment. We'd only been living together for two years; he'd "only" started insulting me and hadn't yet escalated to shoving and such. And yet he signed a lease without putting my name on it, and told me he had (done without telling me, he claimed, "to show how much he loved me; how generous he felt towards me"). When I broke up with him four years later, and he said "well I'll just move out," I felt relieved at first... until he added, "your name's not on the lease, bitch, you can't stay."

Knowing whether your name's on the lease may also have legal implications. A shelter will be able to help you out with those questions.

Leave, now, with everything you can carry, and without telling him. Don't bet on him staying calm enough for you to finish your studies. It sounds like he's already making life unlivable as is. Get. Out. Now.

If it can make you feel better, btw: I left that abusive ex, lost the apartment, in a foreign country, without a day job (I was a freelancer). I had to live in a furnished motel room for six months and eat rice every day, for every meal, until I eventually got a job through a good client. It sucks, but boy let me tell you, I was happier and more relaxed in that roach-infested motel room on the other side of the planet from my most trusted friends, than I had been with my ex.
posted by fraula at 12:47 AM on December 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

I echo everyone else above: get out, get out now, and don't hang around waiting for a better time or for him to see the error of his ways. Leaving is a scary step into the unknown, and I know that can feel like a big huge thing you don't have the strength to deal with right now - but there isn't ever going to be a better time to do it than this. Every day you stay increases the chances that the violence will worsen or that he'll manipulate you into being just that bit more dependent on him, just that bit less likely to leave. Take that step now.

The only thing other than your and pets' immediate safety that I would suggest you prepare yourself for (and that's in the sense of expecting it, not in the sense of devoting more time to planning it) is the point when he sees you're serious about leaving and turns remorseful. I say this because there's a strong likelihood he'll do that, and an equally strong one that it'll feed into just what you want to hear from him, of he cries and says he's seen the error of his ways and you're the only person who can change him. Don't fall for it.

And if it helps to hear another story where this worked out: I left my abusive partner at a time when I really, really didn't need another big change in my life (I was finishing off a Masters degree and writing up my dissertation, with two weeks to go before the deadline), leaving half my stuff behind, with no money. It was absolutely the right thing to do and I am so, so glad I didn't stay a moment longer. Life on the other side of that big step into the unknown is so much better than you can imagine from where you are now, I promise you.
posted by Catseye at 1:07 AM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

I haven't been through this myself, but my observation of close friends says: it looks scary to leave and make a new life. But you don't have to do all that as a single step, and really, you can't. You don't have to have your new life in place before you leave the old one, and you'll be in a better place to plan and develop that new life when you are not living in an environment of fear and lies.

One of my friends said that after leaving her husband it was like she'd had a light switched on. She could see possibilities that she hadn't been able to imagine, back when he was still confining and defining her.

But the first step is to make yourself safe. After that you will find the strength you need as you need it.
posted by shattersock at 1:23 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Sorry for posting again. I know that you know that these eruptions happen in cycles, and that between them there are many more days - ordinary, even pleasant ones - untouched by overt crisis. It's easy (it isn't) to compartmentalize events like the ones you describe, and go on pretending things are fine, enough to get through dinners. But even the nice days will never feel as right as the day you can stretch out with your books, and leave them on the floor when you're done, in peace.

Also: there's a grim rainbow of abusive and violent behaviour, and different characterizations of abusers. The most well-known one is the 'emotional terrorist'/stalker. Maybe that is who you're with. Or maybe you're with someone who's more of a highly impulsive, emotionally immature narcissist (the saw at midnight makes me think this), who resents the 'dependence' he's helped create, and feels alternately justified and horrified by himself, which he can't accept, so it's again your fault. It doesn't matter which it is, of course, gtfo is of course the answer.

Writing this because it might be that tomorrow or next week, you'll feel removed from what you wrote above; or you won't see your fiancé reflected here, because we're a shade off; and consequently, our responses might seem melodramatic.

It is exactly as bad and urgent as we say. And this will be much, much clearer from the distance of a life away from him.
posted by nelljie at 1:48 AM on December 11, 2012 [11 favorites]

Dial 911 and tell the operator your partner is violent and he will harm you when he discovers you are leaving. Remain calm and follow the operator's instructions. Avoid letting your ex boyfriend know what's happening until the officers arrive. I don't know how the law treats domestic incidents where you are, but you may have the option of making him leave for a period of time when you make your complaint about his assaults. If you just want to leave, the police will remain while you gather the possessions you will take with you tonight and then drive you to a shelter. You will make a complaint about his assaults regardless.
Because the courts are now involved, the safety of your cats and remaining possessions is less an issue. Let your parents know what is happening. Get that no-contact order pronto. Use the resources at the shelter to help build your new life.
You are in danger. This is your exit strategy. Pick up the phone and get yourself in motion.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:48 AM on December 11, 2012 [8 favorites]

You know, I was just in San Francisco last week and had an absolute blast visiting. Everyone was really nice and I met a bunch of new people, some of them we're already staying in touch. I even got pulled over by a cop - didn't get a ticket - and instead had a wonderful conversation about a common interest we found out we had, and then I gave him my email.

It blows my mind that while I was visiting something like this could have been going on. If I were you, I would - bare with me here - take as much responsibility for this situation as you possibly can. And act immediately. This is not a time to work through the mania of your fiance and try to find a way to keep the boat still. You are not simply a function of someone else's madness. You are in a bad situation with a person in a bad place and it's goddamn time you pick yourself up and change things. This has nothing to do with "San Francisco" or "not making enough money," this has nothing to do with "couples therapy" or "how you grew up." All these explanations and superstitions amount to jack. Now it's time to define yourself, you are an agent of change and that is what makes you human. Jesus Christ. You are not a screwed up person. You are surrounded by people that care. Trust me. If you do the right thing, you will get the help you need. I have doubted this my whole life but I am a living, breathing testament to changing things around. The way I think of it is using the metaphor of electrons. You are in the worst possible orbit and you will keep spinning there unless you be honest with yourself about this situation and break free into a higher orbit.

If you need moral support or someone to talk to, please feel free to mail me. With all due respect to your Christian upbringing, God did not put you on this planet to kneel before this man.

As a guy, I am telling you the shouting at you in front of other people is a HUGE RED FLAG. This is totally borderline psychotic UNBRIDLED AGGRESSION. This person is NOT READY TO BE DATING YOU. And it is grounds for getting fucking socked in my book. Wish I was there.
posted by phaedon at 1:50 AM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

Okay, first of all, what everyone else said. It's well covered so I won't add to it.

What I would like to say is, you write very very well. If the subject matter weren't so horrible and about you being in immediate danger, I would say this was a great story. But you can write your bestselling novel much later. Your first priority is to ensure your physical safety.

If you maintain contact with him in the hope that you can finish your degree and get out, I think he will probably sabotage you just as you're about to finish your degree. I've heard stories of heads being slammed into concrete walls the day of the final exam, that sort of thing. Since he's already had you by the throat, you're already very close to that. So, escape now, sort out your degree later. Your college will support you in this when you explain your circumstances, I am absolutely certain of that. Colleges don't crack down on students in trouble like this.

Another thing "prone to forgiveness" - yes, go ahead and forgive him. Run 300 miles into the hills before you forgive him, and then stay right up there 300 miles away in the hills where he can't get you. (Much of what passes for "forgiveness" in various cultures really isn't, btw. A culture that teaches you to be a pushover is teaching you to be a pushover, not to forgive. So don't worry about being an unforgiving person.)

Finally - yes, you are right in every detail, he is wrong, all the stuff he's saying and doing is abusive, it's as unreasonable as you think it is, open and shut case, the end. You know he talks rubbish and not to give him any credence, right? Continue to know that.
posted by tel3path at 2:02 AM on December 11, 2012 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you. I am emotionally overwhelmed by your kindness to me. I knew that if I made myself write this out tonight, I wouldn't be able to lie to myself any more about my situation. Thank you for listening.

My grandmother is giving me the money to get through school. While I know she loves me, she is financing my education and expenses because it was shameful to the family that I was waitressing for a living. Over the years, she has at times made it clear that she wouldn't love me unless I did what she expected, and stopped speaking to me to prove it. Then afterwards denied that she did anything of the sort.

My parents raised me in a cult, and the cult was very good at telling me that they were doing what was best for me, while trying to ruin my ability to be a free, independent thinker and person.

As I have read your responses tonight, I have suddenly realized that I do not know how to tell when people are lying to me and hurting me. That people have done this sort of thing to me my entire life, and then when I became an adult I sought out people who would treat me the same way.

I'm going to get out of here, but I am going to do it very carefully and I am going to take care of myself in the process. I have health problems, but next week I'll be eligible to go to kaiser and get the next three months of my prescriptions filled. I will be able to breathe easier then.

I'm going to buy a secret cell phone, open a secret bank account, get a PO Box and a storage locker together, so that I can GTFO with all my stuff in a matter of hours. I will call a women's shelter tomorrow, from a pay phone, so that they can help me plan this.

Thank you for everything. I may take some of you up on your offers, especially for the cat-watching if necessary. Luckily I have maintained my own individual bank account and I haven't paid him yet for this month, so I have a thousand dollars in there. No savings unfortunately, I ate through them in the move here.

posted by sock puppet mop bucket at 2:10 AM on December 11, 2012 [42 favorites]

Dial 911 and tell the operator your partner is violent and he will harm you when he discovers you are leaving. Remain calm and follow the operator's instructions.

This isn't really necessary. Your local PD will be able to provide an escort if you walk into your local precinct and ask, or call the non-emergency number to find out what the procedure is. You do not need to have a restraining order in place. If you feel like you want an escort but doing any of the above seems too hard, let us know and someone can make arrangements for you - lots of folks here happy to help.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:10 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: my goal is to escape completely secretly so he has absolutely no clue how to ever contact me and i don't have to hear him beg for forgiveness because i would probably cave.
posted by sock puppet mop bucket at 2:13 AM on December 11, 2012 [15 favorites]

I made a bad choice of words. When I said "teaching you to be a pushover", I might have come across as accusing you of being a pushover. I didn't mean that.

I should have said "teaching you to put up with abuse". You are wonderfully and fearfully made, and you were not put on this earth to endure abuse from another human being who is no better than you, and wouldn't be allowed to abuse you if he were.
posted by tel3path at 2:14 AM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

"My parents raised me in a cult, and the cult was very good at telling me that they were doing what was best for me, while trying to ruin my ability to be a free, independent thinker and person."

Well, it didn't work! You have already totally outsmarted them.

"As I have read your responses tonight, I have suddenly realized that I do not know how to tell when people are lying to me and hurting me."

Yes, you do. You just did.

"I'm going to get out of here, but I am going to do it very carefully and I am going to take care of myself in the process. I have health problems, but next week I'll be eligible to go to kaiser and get the next three months of my prescriptions filled. I will be able to breathe easier then."

Can you get out right away and still go to kaiser next week? Does he hold the purse strings about this? Might he be able to stop you getting your prescriptions filled next week (if he can, you should assume he will)? I don't know about the US healthcare system but maybe someone here knows how you could escape now and still get your scrips next week? Or, I bet a shelter would know! They must deal with concerns like this all the time! You can ask them. Any chance you could go and call one now?
posted by tel3path at 2:20 AM on December 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

my goal is to escape completely secretly so he has absolutely no clue how to ever contact me and i don't have to hear him beg for forgiveness because i would probably cave.

This is a good plan, but you won't cave. You're strong. And you're smart. This thread proves it.

You've admitted to yourself that he's a scumbag who's hurting you. You know this now. You won't forget. And if you need confirmation or a reminder, all you have to do is come back and read this thread.

Good luck. If we were in the same country, I would be helping you pack right now.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:34 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Please do not wait one more day to leave. Not one more day! Next week's health insurance will be useless if tomorrow is the day that he finally snaps and hurts or kills you. Please please call the shelter as soon as you can. Why put your life in this abusive person's hands for one more day?
posted by anonnymoose at 2:37 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Don't forget to change the mailing addresses for your bank statements and everything else.
posted by p1nkdaisy at 2:47 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

sock puppet mop bucket, you seem to be well aware that you're living in a slowly escalating situation of violence. I am really glad you are making concrete plans to get out. I know that the dictate of "get out, get out now!" is a lot easier for internet strangers to say than it is to do, especially when you need to cross a lot of hurdles to do that. I trust your judgement about whether what you can gain by staying for another week is worth the risks. Nobody here knows all of your circumstances and nobody here can make that call for you.

Ideally, when you go, you'd have somewhere to live, some immediate financing, your pets accommodated, all of your vital papers, your possessions, your prescriptions stocked up, all your billing switched to online, ALL your online passwords changed, your mail held for collection at the post office, and a new pay as you go cell phone. If you can pull this off, that's fantastic and will put you in good shape to finish school and move forward. To keep yourself as safe as you can, however, please know what your options for immediate departure are - police, friends, MeFites, shelters, etc. Make a plan, and a backup plan in case things get suddenly worse.

Please keep us updated along the way.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:07 AM on December 11, 2012 [13 favorites]

Does he know what school you are in? What classes? Be careful if you end up going back somewhere that he knows about. It's got to be just about the end of the semester; I'm sure your instructors would be able to work out a way for you to not have to go back. (remote exam or whatever) Then transfer.
posted by instamatic at 3:08 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't forget to clear your browser history and change your email passwords. He might already know your passwords and be using them. Gmail has a feature where you can see the history of where your account's been logged into, maybe check that just to be sure.
posted by kellybird at 3:09 AM on December 11, 2012 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I just did this. I finally finished setting up my new apartment yesterday! It was not easy. In fact, it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life, and while I'm also 29 I've been through a LOT already. Saying this is the toughest thing I've done means a lot. Anyhow, here's what helped me:
- joining a support group for abused women. Going in on the third week and saying "I left" and having these wonderful women clap for me was amazing. Meeting other women in my shoes gave me a lot of strength.
- wrote a list of every single abusive thing he'd done. I keep adding to the list every day, still (I started the process about 2 months ago). It helps when I start to waver.
- read, read, read. Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft, anything by Patricia Evans.
- find friends to confide in. This involved making all new friends because I had none. It was easier than youd think: people are nice. I used online meetup sites to make one or two friends and confided quickly. This gave me a place to stay while I sorted things out.
- going to therapy once a week. I started therapy almost 2 years ago. It is helpful.
- calling domestic violence hotlines for support. Especially good for when my therapist was out of town, but really good any time. Those women and men that I talked to really helped me validate my feelings and express my fears.
- feel my feelings. Sit with them and breathe. I have lots of anger and sadness. I miss him and I'm mad at him.
- no contact. Like me, you're not married and have no kids with the guy. Makes zero contact actually possible. Take advantage of that.
- ask a women's shelter about how to change your address without him being alerted to the new one. USPS mails something with your new address to your previous address but my shelter has a program that circumvents that.
- accept that you'll lose stuff, money, and time. It's nothing compared to the stuff, money, and time you have already lost. Like you, my man had me get rid of a lot of stuff and I miss things like my salad spinner he made me give away, or the cutting board I left behind, but things are just things. I miss my mug that he smashed in anger for no real reason more, thinking about it. I also miss my sense of safety in my own home a lot: mine, too, smashed down a door to get to me and I never felt truly safe at home again. let me tell you, living without him is AMAZING. No eggshells!!!
- do it now. I too was waiting to finish school but it didn't work out that way - things just came to a head faster than I finished my degree program. Whatever. It set me back a few months but that is ok.

Hey, I am PROUD of you. This is hard but it's easy compared to a life being squashed by someone else. You might love him (I love my ex still) and he might say he loves you, but his love does not work. It's not ok and as an adult he knows that and still chooses to treat you (and any other woman he gets romantically involved with - this is NOT ABOUT you) this way. He needs help, and he has to figure that out on his own. The only thing that might open his eyes (and even this probably won't work) is you walking out.

You can do it. Memail me if you need to talk more. I'm happy to listen. It is important to talk this stuff out.
posted by sockermom at 3:20 AM on December 11, 2012 [82 favorites]

I don't really have any advice or words that other people haven't stated previously, and in better ways than I. I just wanted to say you will be in my thoughts and that you have my best wishes for your future. I know you will find your way.
posted by gryftir at 4:05 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Add me to the chorus of people who are sending your love and strength through the Internet to get out of this terrible situation.

Two things I want to add:

First, you are doing a great job of recognizing that this situation is messed up and working to take care of yourself. It sounds like you learned some very unhealthy lessons growing up--you are clearly learning and growing and becoming stronger and taking care of yourself. I am so proud of how you stated your boundaries clearly and stuck up for yourself. I see you trying to be kind and compassionate to your boyfriend, which is also the right instinct--that is what healthy and loving people do, that is how love relationships should be. YOU are doing the right things here. Follow the above advice and get free of this man so you can keep living, growing. This is just the next lesson in how to have your best life. With this experience you are learning about love relationships, what works and what doesn't, how your upbringing affects your perceptions, what you put up with because that's what you learned, how to define and defend new criteria. You are on the right path. Get out and keep going on it.

Next, school. I am sure that your classes are part of your long term strategy to be independent and I am guessing that part of what complicates your exit is that you have school responsibilities. I want to let you know, as a former college instructor, that in this situation schools and teachers are incredibly understanding and supportive. Do not be afraid to explain the situation and ask for deadline extensions or incompletes for the term. I am sure someone as smart and savvy as you will honor your commitments, make up the work, and get back on track. Teachers realize that students are human and that events outside the classroom impact what goes on inside it. I am sure each and every teacher and administrator at your school will react with exactly the same instinctive response that MeFi has, which is that your safety is paramount. I know you are getting your ducks in a row to go--don't feel like this has to be an impediment to leaving. Talk to your teachers or maybe start with your advisor--see if he or she can advise you how to deal with everything in one fell swoop. If you can do this before you go "offline" that's great, if not, let them know as soon as possible afterward and you can make it work from there.

We are all rooting for you. You can do it. Leaving is hard but it will be so, so worth it. Good luck.
posted by Sublimity at 4:14 AM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

The problem seems to me that this guy is under a lot of stress now, most of it self-inflicted, while he apparently has a history of anger control issues. This is unsafe.
posted by Namlit at 4:33 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

SO PROUD of you for asking for help, and for getting out. And I just want to echo what fraula said upthread: no way would a man who wants you that dependent on him let you finish your degree. I'm betting that if you stuck it out for those 4-6 months, he'd find some sadistic catastrophe to pull out of his sleeve at just the right moment to sabotage your success.
posted by stuck on an island at 4:50 AM on December 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

About the prescriptions-take your health insurance card with you and get them filled at another location. I know he pays for your health insurance but even if he stops paying for your health insurance this minute you are (likely) covered next week. I really don't think it's wise to prolong even that long.

Also, if you MUST stay a second longer (Nthing don't) please don't try to engage or reason with him like he's a rational person. He's not.
posted by murfed13 at 4:56 AM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

If you need people to help you get your stuff out quickly (while he is at work, etc) let me know. I have some vet friends in the Bay Area that may be able to help.

The sooner you leave, the better - not necessarily because he will hurt you within this week, but because if he doesn't hurt you within this week, you run the risk of losing this - this feeling that lets you post the question, the feeling that lets you know with a certainty you need to go. He may be apologetic, he may be romantic, he may swear that he never wants to hurt you. This is all bullshit.

Also check your memail, incoming.
posted by corb at 5:04 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am prone to forgiveness.

so... i don't have to hear him beg for forgiveness because i would probably cave.

tel3path: yes, go ahead and forgive him. Run 300 miles into the hills before you forgive him, and then stay right up there 300 miles away in the hills where he can't get you. (Much of what passes for "forgiveness" in various cultures really isn't, btw...)

Please take a few moments to absorb tel3path's point here. Forgiveness means you refrain from hating the other person. It does not mean leaving yourself in the path of danger. You can absolutely forgive this guy, but that has precisely nothing to do with whether you stay or leave. Saving yourself from this terrible circumstance is not equivalent to sitting in judgement of him or doling out punishment.
posted by jon1270 at 5:10 AM on December 11, 2012 [19 favorites]

Best answer: If you follow through with your plan and all goes well and also the next week passes without violent incident, you may well feel that you've created a good safety net for yourself and that it couldn't hurt to wait a while longer and see if things get better. Human beings are amazingly resilient and optimistic (and self-deceiving). Anyway, if that happens, do come back and reread what you wrote above and how people have responded.

This guy is bad bad news. I mean you've reached the point of asking him not to humiliate you in public. What about in your own home? These things he's said to you, that he hates you, that you keep him from getting work done, that you are over-sensitive and manipulative and a liar, that your housekeeping is inadequate--not to mention the suicide threats--all of this is abusive and destructive to you in addition to the violence. What I'm trying to say is that even if things got "better"--i.e. he never touched you violently again or threw things or kicked doors--it's still not going to be good enough.

So be strong and carry through. You are absolutely in the right, and you're on the right track. Be safe, and good luck to you.
posted by torticat at 5:54 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

"I told him we had to go into couples counseling immediately or I wouldn't stay. I also said that if he ever laid a hand on me again, our relationship would be over. He agreed. (I thought he agreed? He denies it all now, counseling never materialized, and furthermore now he says that because he didn't actually hurt me and I didn't have bruises, it doesn't count as abuse and I'm being manipulative to say it is abusive.)"

Whatever else, you do not need him to agree in order to leave his sorry abusive ass. Period, like at all. Just simply not feeling like it anymore is more than enough reason and you have much much more than that.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:27 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

sock puppet mop bucket: my goal is to escape completely secretly so he has absolutely no clue how to ever contact me and i don't have to hear him beg for forgiveness because i would probably cave.

That's an awesome goal, and I really hope it works out, but assuming you are going to stick around to finish your degree, there is a good chance he will figure out a way to contact you.

I don't say that to scare you or anything, but part of your planning should be what to do if he does manage to get in touch with you. Hint: It involves deleting emails, not answering phone calls and calling 911 if he approaches you in person.

I'll also add that a family that sends you $1000/month will probably send you $1200 or even $1500 a month for the next 4 or 6 months if you explain that your expenses have increased because you left a man that was abusing you.

You are really super strong for doing this, and you should feel powerful and brave as you move forward. No shame or beating yourself up about what has happened in the past. It's over now and that's what counts.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:29 AM on December 11, 2012 [9 favorites]

I can't add anything (but you want to leave, you know you should leave, and it appears you can leave, so I think you should heed the advice here that I suspect you knew you would get and leave) so, please leave.

And it appears you are. Yay. Good luck.
posted by Mezentian at 6:32 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I will call a women's shelter tomorrow, from a pay phone, so that they can help me plan this.

Oh thank goodness. Please do that. The people there deal with this kind of situation every day; just talking with them will probably be a huge relief, and you'll almost certainly feel much more grounded and prepared after you call.

It's great that you have a plan to leave this violent abuser as soon as possible. You can do this, but it's important to remember you don't have to go through it alone.
posted by mediareport at 6:50 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

You are young enough -- however old you are; trust me -- to have so much of your life ahead of you. This too shall pass, no matter how long it takes for you to feel like you're back to feeling like life is boring. (Maybe you've never felt that way. Chalk that up on your bucket list!)

I've been in bad relationships, though only emotionally abusive ones. I have to tell you this: there is SO MUCH out there that is wonderful and comforting and beautiful and magical that you have no idea exists yet. It won't happen overnight, but it's out there.

And when good things happen for you -- which they will, because you've already started -- you will appreciate them to a stunning degree because of what you've been through.

Nobody should go through abuse. A LOT of people, very smart and wonderful and respected people, do. But the gratitude that comes out of knowing just how much better things are now? That's one of the biggest blessings in life.

Keep going. One step at a time. YOU CAN DO THIS.
posted by Madamina at 6:56 AM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

Honey, call the shelter today. This is what they are there for. They will talk you through all of this and YOU WILL BE SAFE. YOU ARE NOT SAFE RIGHT NOW.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:15 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love this beautiful apartment we live in and the sense of security I finally have here. I love having stability and being able to get all the groceries I want and my cat is best friends with his cat.

The apartment you describe is not beautiful. You have no stability. You can take the cats with you.

You say you will call the shelter tomorrow. No, get off MetaFilter and call them now. Leave the apartment ASAP pursuant to their instructions; you need to get out today.
posted by Tanizaki at 7:18 AM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

First of all, I know how hard it is to hear that someone you love is an asshole, and how hard it is to reconcile the fact that they are not who you want them to be/who they promised to be. There may be a lot of blaming yourself and questioning your own judgement, but know this: YOU didn't do anything wrong, YOU aren't responsible for his behavior and YOU are doing the right thing.

So: your school should have an at-risk counselor. As an academic, I deal with students all the time who are in rough situations. Please go to the dean of your college and explain the situation. He/She will be able to put you in touch with resources including the at-risk counselor, as well as help you sort through your current coursework (Extensions, etc.) and help you make a plan to finish somewhere safe (either online from your hometown or something else where you can be safe and finish). There's no need to tell every professor you life story -- if you contact the dean, then you can expedite all of this.

MeMail me if you need help navigating the extensive bureaucracy that is a university.
posted by mrfuga0 at 7:22 AM on December 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

I am also here for help navigating a university. I work extensively with the Dean of Students and am very familiar with the ins and outs of academic advising, withdrawals, all that.

DO NOT HESITATE to take advantage of AskMe for help here.
posted by Madamina at 7:28 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Don't let yourself second-guess calling a woman's shelter: ignore his bs about not actually hurting you, you are totally justified in reaching out for help from this abuser and you will definitely want local support.
posted by Eicats at 7:31 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's great you have a plan to leave. If he can't find you wherever you go next but you keep going to school, he may show up on campus looking for you. That doesn't mean you need to quit and stay away, because that would be just another way to let him steal your independence, but be aware he may show up and make a scene or threaten you again. Alert the appropriate people (your profs/dean/campus police) and be ready to leave immediately if he tries to confront you in person. If taking incompletes for now is the best thing, fine - you have better judgement than you are giving yourself credit for. Trust yourself. If you feel strongly about finishing this semester, that's also fine, but either way make a plan with the appropriate people at your college.
posted by slow graffiti at 7:33 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've been following this thread since you posted it last night, and want to chime in and tell you that you can count another mefite in New York that is rooting for you and knows that you can create a wonderful, safe, fulfilling life for yourself away from this terrible person. Leave now, as soon as you possibly can.

And though plenty of California mefites have already offered their support, my partner is from the Bay Area as well, and though he is currently in NY, he still has family/friends in the Bay that I can ask him to contact and see if there's anything they can do to help. Memail me if you need to, and please, please, leave ASAP.
posted by dysh at 7:34 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just want to say again: If you leave, and this guy can get to you, he will hurt you. The restraining order will not stop him. It'll leave a paper trail for the cops and lawyers to use when they prosecute him for your murder, but it will not prevent your murder. They don't work very well, and may piss him off even more.

It won't matter if you have a restraining order, or if your college officials know this guy could show up on your campus. If he wants to show up and hurt you, he will do it before anyone can stop him. This happens all the fucking time. It happens so often that the cases just bleed together -- "woman leaves guy/threatens to/somehow indicates he can't control her, guy gets weapon, shows up at her work or school, kills her and a few extra people while he's at it, kills himself".

How many of those women do you think really thought the guy would kill them? Certainly, many of them must have, and just been stuck in their circumstances. But plenty of them must have been convinced he would never go that far. You were violently seized by the throat, and you still think this guy could convince you to stay. So you don't have the greatest gauge of how dangerous a person is.

THAT IS FINE. I've dated a couple of men like this. I don't know what would have happened to me if the first one hadn't been unable to get himself in my geographic region, or if my father hadn't rescued me from the second one. They fuck with your head like that. Nothing is wrong with you for being susceptible to it. You had a cult upbringing, but you don't have to have had such a manipulative childhood to fall hook-line-sinker for people like him. That's what they do best.

There are still benefits to getting a restraining order if you want one. I'm just saying that doesn't need to be a part of your calculus right now. Your primary concern is to get away as far as possible, as fast as possible, without warning. Worry about shit like that later.

You're on the right track. Start calling these shelters and the people at your college who mrfuga0. Delete the living shit out of your browser and search history. Make sure you don't already have a keylogger on your computer, too.
posted by Coatlicue at 7:53 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just saw your story this morning - your current situation sounds horrifying. I'm completely serious when I say: I have a free couch and a cat-friendly apartment on the opposite coast from that monster and can totally assist with $ for a plane ticket out of there if you need.
You should get away from that guy as quickly and quietly as you can.
posted by ghostbikes at 8:04 AM on December 11, 2012 [7 favorites]

I have suddenly realized that I do not know how to tell when people are lying to me and hurting me.

I also have this problem but my Lie-O-Meter is being reset and now I trust it a lot more. I am resetting it by running things by 3 or 4 people whose judgement I trust. I guess they're friends, but mostly they're just people who don't mind listening.

small_rum: "Hey Jill. X happened. My boss/friend/lover said Y. I'm thinking ABC. What's your take?"

Jill: Yes!
Jill: "ABC? Um. Why? Because that's not what I'm getting at all."

if you want help recalibrating yours, or calibrating it for the first time in my case, most of people i use for this are from the Al-anon meetings I go to. Try Al-anon, or as someone else suggested, I bet the abuse support group would work for this too. Basically I look for someone who has happy, low-drama relationships and then I run a few test balloons by them to see if they seem secretly insane. If not, I start trusting them to ask some more serious questions.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:18 AM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

I live in San Jose, roughly an hour's drive (or 90 minutes if I take Caltrain) into SF. If you need help with packing, I can be there. Unfortunately, I can't foster your cats myself, but I can help find someone who can. Feel free to MeMail me.
posted by bakerina at 8:24 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I can't add anything to the advice as far as the reality of your situation. You intuitively know what you need to do. This is the point where you have to dig deep inside yourself and decide that you don't want this kind of shit in your life. It's really as simple and as complicated as that. Not easy by any stretch of the imagination. I've been there and as much as it sucks, there is life (and best of all, growth) after an abusive relationship. MeMail me if you want to talk.
posted by strelitzia at 8:53 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: But I know that nothing is going to change in this relationship. He'll be wary and cautious for a while, on good behavior. He's probably very ashamed of his behavior but he'll never admit it to me and it will never be ok to talk about it, and eventually it will happen again.

What I am hearing you say is that you know that this is not going to stop. Even with all of Metafilter telling you to "leave" and "get out of there" you could be hearing something else. But you are not. Your inner voice is telling you that this is not going to change. What I am also hearing you say is that you know that it will take a lot of energy and effort to leave and to leave safely. This is *also very true.*

I absolutely appreciate people's sentiments above to "get out of there immediately," etc. AND, while people's enthusiasm matters, what I think is also incredibly important, and in fact, most important, is to recognize that your own beliefs about what is happening are telling you to leave, that you deserve respect and love and safety, a supportive space to live and grown in. You are entitled to hear your voice and to trust it, regardless of other people's voices.

This will not be an easy journey, but try to remember your own voice in it. I also hold no judgement towards you if this process takes time for you - this is a big step, a brave one and I do recommend talking to someone trained in domestic violence as soon as possible (most agencies have 24-hour hotlines) (people above have already given you resources for the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) and local Bay Area domestic violence agencies) to better understand what your safety options are to make sure that you are taking those into account as you move forward to leave as safety as possible.

If your goal is it leave without a trace, you will face many challenges to that simply based on technology alone. An advocate should be able to help you with some of these challenges. The National Network to End Domestic Violence has some great resources on technology safety and safety planning, and general safety planning. Also, from working with people who identify as survivors, I know that there are ways to remove yourself from many mailing lists, etc. If your advocate is not aware of these resources, you may need to do some self-advocacy. I have found this to be the unfortunate reality for many individuals. Additionally, in California you can register with the Safe at Home Program which is run by the Secretary of State's office. Through that you can obtain some level of address confidentiality. If my memory serves me well, you do not need a police report or protection order to enroll - but do not hold me to that, it has been a few years since I was in California.

In my local area, the Humane Society will take animals for the short term when there is domestic violence involved in a case. I would check with your local Humane Society to see if the same is true there. Many shelters do not allow pets if that is the route that you follow (and some couches can't have them, as well). Again, an advocate can help you think through places to stay. Shelters are usually the last option out of many for people.

While I do not feel comfortable telling you what to do, I can, however, say that YES, what you are describing does not sound like a safe, healthy, respectful relationship. YES, what you are describing does sound like something that will repeat and it fits the model for most "intimate partner violence." There are many checklists online to look through to see if your may be in an "abusive" relationship - often ending with the fundamental question of whether your life feels "smaller" with your partner - but again, what matters is what you are hearing your inner voice say, and trying to echo what you have said, you know that this relationship is not safe for you.

I should also note another reason why it is so important to speak with someone trained in domestic violence. I have been working on domestic and sexual violence in many capacities for almost 18 years. Everyone who shared above, I am sure, is beyond well-intentioned in their comments, but there are a few things that are listed that I believe are inaccurate or potentially unsafe. Please speak to a professional if you can. There are people who dedicate their careers to helping people follow their own voices to safety and who have a more nuanced understanding of your options (safety planning, leaving, legal remedies (including or not including protection orders, campus safety, etc.)).
posted by anya32 at 9:01 AM on December 11, 2012 [21 favorites]

Be safe. I really wish you will be okay. It sounds like you have a plan. Don't let him back into your life!
posted by commitment at 9:38 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just to touch on the prescriptions issue - even if you leave tonight, and he calls and cancels your insurance the next day, almost all insurance (in the US) remains effective until the end of the month. When it is paid for at the beginning of the month, that covers you until the end of the month, and even if you cancel mid-month they will not do a partial refund. So if you have prescriptions that are not due for a refill until next week, you can leave now and still go get them refilled, though I'd advise doing it at a different location than your current regular one.

I will also add my voice to the chorus that you should get out now. Pack cats, a couple of bags, and get out. Stay with a MeFite who has offered in this thread, or have one of them foster your cats while you go to a shelter, but get out as quickly as you can. He is escalating, and the longer you wait and plan things, the more likely it is for him to escalate further.
posted by bedhead at 9:40 AM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: From a commenter that would prefer to remain anonymous:
I think that anya32 makes a lot of very good points that are clearly informed by substantial experience in dealing with these kinds of situations. I agree that there is no shame in taking as long as you need to to exit a situation of domestic violence. However, your reply about your exit plan raised some alarm bells with me. I am a survivor of domestic violence. I am not an expert in the field, but I am someone who has been dragged down the stairs by her nightgown, someone whose head has been slammed into doors, someone who has lied about bruises, someone whose life was kept small and minutely controlled, someone who has lived under paralyzing fear every minute of the day. The abusive party was my father, and my mother spent years planning the perfect escape--we would be safe, he would never find us, and all our ducks would be in a row. It would just take time. She made preparations. The planning went on and on, but we never actually left. So the abuse went on and on, too. It was finally up to me to leave, and I did. I left with $200 in my pocket, two suitcases, and no health insurance. I went as far away as I could and started over. It was the opposite of ideal, but for the first time, I was safe and free. My life was on my terms (even though times were hard while I got back on my feet). For the first time, I felt like I could really breathe. Leaving is the hardest part, but when you do, it is worth it. Now I have a great job, a loving family made up of related and non-related people, friends I can see whenever I want, money I control, and most importantly, a priceless sense of safety in my own life. Far from being a place I dread going back to, the house I live in is not just a place to sleep, it's a real home where I feel secure.

Even if you feel relatively in control of the situation, it is impossible for anyone (even someone familiar with an abuser's patterns) to tell when the abuser will harm you, or how bad that harm will be. Prepare as much as you need to, but don't prepare as a substitute for leaving. Do what you need to do, but don't let less than ideal circumstances on your own keep you shackled to a nightmare emergency situation (or the very real potential for a nightmare emergency situation). It will be scary to take this leap, but getting your life back is worth the jump.

Good luck to you, and please take care.
posted by mathowie at 9:49 AM on December 11, 2012 [21 favorites]

Best answer: Another SF mefite offering help. Memail me if you need to. We have a car, a couch, cat carriers. Can't really take in any more cats at this point, but can try to find temporary spots for them if needed.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:44 AM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

sock puppet mop bucket, I hope you don't feel overwhelmed by all these messages.

And now I'll add to the chorus. I spent last month on a jury. The defendant was a man had abused his wife for years. Friends, family, and doctors knew, but no one reported it. (This case was a retrial from before the era of mandatory reporting.) When the wife finally tried to leave, he shot her through the heart. She died in front of her four-year-old son.

Abusers don't change for the better.

Please, please be safe, and remove yourself from this situation as soon as you can.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:49 AM on December 11, 2012

I have some experience in this area.

I suspect some of these stories sound far more dramatic, violent and dangerous than your partner, and don't necessarily resonate with you.

That's true right now. But he will escalate, and it will get as bad as they're saying. Psych 101 (literally; I studied psych at university) and bitter experience say it will get very physically dangerous.

Hugs from Australia.
posted by taff at 11:11 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Pet safety resource: This site includes information about including pets in your safety plan:

* Establish ownership of the pets: obtain an animal license, proof of vaccinations or veterinary receipts in your name to help prove who owns the pets
* Prepare the pets for departure (collect vaccination and medical records, collar and identification, medication, bowls, bedding, etc.).
* Ask for assistance from law enforcement or animal care and control officers to reclaim the pets if left behind.

Here's a state-by-state directory of programs that provide safe havens for animals belonging to people in domestic violence situations.

Meds/health care resources: There is a nonprofit called Needymeds whose mission is to direct people to low- or no-cost sources of medication and health care. The site has a searchable database of free/low-cost/sliding-scale clinics nationwide, and the database includes info on each clinic's hours, location, cost, and services.

You've gotten a lot of great advice here. The best is from anya32, especially "I also hold no judgement towards you if this process takes time for you - this is a big step, a brave one." Or, to put it another way: “Leaving is a process, not an event.” What matters is for you to be safe.

I am on the other side of the country from you, so there's not a lot I can do that's concrete, but please accept my best wishes during these tough times. I wish you peace and safety.
posted by virago at 11:12 AM on December 11, 2012 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I posted above; I'm the woman who just went through this. I wanted to reiterate what anya32 said, and what others have echoed: you probably can't just walk out and be done with it. It took me over 2 months of constant back and forth with myself and it was really difficult. I actually went back twice to "give him another chance" and... that did not go well. I wouldn't recommend doing that. I actually signed a lease on a new apartment and backed out and lost a lot of money, but guess what? I DID IT, even though I made mistakes along the way.

Even after you get out, this is going to be something you carry with you for awhile. Survivors of domestic abuse - and you will be a survivor of domestic abuse (this is something that I'm still trying to work out in my mind, because it wasn't that bad a lot of the time and I know he really loved me to the best of his abilities and I provoked him, even accidentally, and I should have been more careful because he's so sensitive and on and on... I learned a lot of ways to abuse myself from him, so another thing to be aware of is that you have to be kind to yourself right now, even if you do things that just feel wrong in order to escape - it's ok. Turn your propensity for forgiveness back on yourself.)

Anyhow, to finish my thought: survivors of domestic abuse can suffer from PTSD, which means that the trauma will be with you for awhile. Even after leaving, it won't be easy - but leaving is the hard part. It really is. Part of what makes it hard is that it does take awhile sometimes, and that's OK. It's easy for all of us to say GET OUT NOW but actually getting out takes a lot of strength - and he's done a lot of work to whittle that exact type of strength away from you, making it all the more difficult.

There are a lot of similarities between our situations, and one of the things that I realized is that I spent the last 2 years catering to this guy's every whim and emotion, often as a self-preservation strategy - giving in is often easier than the argument, that's part of why they argue and yell and belittle and threaten, because they want you to just give in - so you might feel kind of lost after you leave, like, "What do I do with myself now?" This is just to say again that leaving is a process, and even after you're gone physically, it might take some time to be gone emotionally, too.

Good luck. I'm thinking of you a lot.
posted by sockermom at 11:30 AM on December 11, 2012 [13 favorites]

my goal is to escape completely secretly so he has absolutely no clue how to ever contact me and i don't have to hear him beg for forgiveness because i would probably cave.

I completely understand where you're coming from. The truth is that it's hard for most women to leave their abusers. They go back a few times before they leave for good.

However, I helped a family member leave her abusive husband, and I'll never forget how in the car on the way home, her with her arm in a sling and a giant bruise on her back, she said, "now the hard part will just be not going back." How desperately terrified I was for her at that moment because I realized that no amount of violence against her self had so far made her realize how her husband felt about her and how disposable she was to him.

That's the truth-- your boyfriend doesn't care about you. He might act like he "needs" you or say that he loves you over and over, but someone who loves you would NEVER pull this bullshit. He needs someone to stay around and take his abuse. He may even love having someone around to make him feel strong and in control and from whom he can take money and sex and demand housework and labor. He loves having someone enslaved to his whims. But that is his fucked up, disgusting impulse, and it's not love, and HE DOES NOT DESERVE YOUR LOVE. He does not deserve your empathy or pity or care. No matter what you do, he will never be in the position that you are now-- if you treated him the way he treats you, he would have left by now. You take his shit because you're vulnerable. He would never take that kind of shit from you, because he could go out and find another vulnerable woman tomorrow.

My family member did go back to her husband, three days after we drove her 300 miles away from his house to stay with us. He called her up and cried and she cried and felt bad and went back. They're still together, seven years later. She talks every time I see her about making him move out or leaving again, but she hasn't had the courage to do it again in seven years. Please don't be like her. When you leave, leave for good. Going back will solve nothing. His suicide threats are bullshit. To be honest, he deserves to sit at home and cry and feel humiliated and like a fool. Don't feel bad for him, and even if you do, don't let that mean you need to go back.

I know I'm being really unequivocal right now and maybe you will be overwhelmed and go back. Just never let that make you feel like you're stuck. It's unfair that men like him find women like you to control. Don't let someone like him, who will choke you, break your things, take your money, and make you feel like dirt, have what you can offer.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:47 AM on December 11, 2012 [14 favorites]

Self protection always comes first - then planning. You can't plan if you are in proximity to escalating danger... a seductive gamble with bad odds.

However - I don't believe a shelter is a good idea for the OP. She would be *shocked* by the environment at domestic violence shelters, compared to the very high end apartment she is enjoying currently. I say this because, after 1 day at the shelter, she may not have the resolve to stay away from her abuser completely. Domestic violence shelters are not 4* hotels, unfortunately.

I would suggest a home, apartment, even couch of a friend or loved one.
posted by Kruger5 at 11:57 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Please, please get out as soon as you possibly can. It's worth giving up possessions to save your life!

If you're a full-time student and you have no income you can get financial aid and your family does not need to know anything about it. You can probably get a student loan within a few days to tide you over until you finish. Find a safe place to live with other people, whether it's a shelter or a shared household.

You don't have to leave your fiance any long explanation, just a note telling him you do not want to live with him or see him.

Again, get out now, he probably senses something is up, that your feelings have changed, and, possibly, that he's gone too far. Call that shelter now, and/or contact the kind people above who live nearby and have offered help. And please let us know that you are safe once you are.
posted by mareli at 11:58 AM on December 11, 2012

I agree with Kruger5. The environment at a shelter would really shock you and might even scare you into going back ("If this is what life is like away from this relationship, maybe it wasn't so bad...")

Is there a friend you can stay with who has a SEPARATE BEDROOM for you (not just a couch), in a nice environment, with friends you can talk to, etc. I agree that getting out is of great importance, but so is staying out. If you have to leave urgently, take what you can and deal with less than ideal circumstances.

If you feel (and YOUR opinion is what matters here, and we trust you to make the right decision) that you have a week or so, landing in a nice place can make all the difference. As the school semester likely ends in a week or so, perhaps you can spend the holidays with friends in another part of the country and start your new life that way.

I speak from personal experience here.
posted by 3491again at 12:08 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I agree that you need to leave as soon as possible. He is abusing you and I wish with all my heart that I could help you more. My suggestion is to mentally locate the items in your "go-bag," that is, your documents and medication or glasses as applicable, maybe your textbooks and computer. If you have a couple weeks to plan to leave, great, get the cats packed up and get ready to leave while he's at work. If you find you must escape immediately, you will know where your "go" items are at and can take them.

You can live in SF for under $1000. It is tricky, but you can do it. Roommates, ramen...but safety.

One thing-- if you live in the city, you can get free health care from Healthy San Francisco. It kicks in after three months of being uninsured. They will also cut you a break if it's an emergency, but you have to go to General, not any other hospital. Oakland has cheaper rents, but if you can hang with roommates or get a place with friends in the city, do that so you can keep health care.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:19 PM on December 11, 2012

If you're a student, you can most likely get student health insurance. You will likely have access to a student health center (I don't know how yours is, but ours is actually great at knowing things about college students -- better than my HMO by a mile) as well as quite possibly a larger health system.

If it feels like too much to navigate those waters right now, MeMail me.
posted by Madamina at 12:26 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Know that you are doing the right thing by leaving. Do it the way you are planning - new phone, bank account, locker, go bags, password changing. Knowing you have prepared will give you the strength to bolt when you need it.

Take advantage of your different schedules & get the prep done immediately. DO NOT WAIT. Take pressure off yourself and LEAVE when he is not there.

If you can buy 3 days to do the prep work, do so, and then GO.

Be proud that you took the step to write AskMe. Be proud that you're organizing yourself to LEAVE. Be proud that you realize you deserve REAL love - and that you are now going to go heal and then get it.

Sending much love & support from the East Coast. Please feel free to MeMail if you need a shoulder or encouragement.
posted by yoga at 12:45 PM on December 11, 2012

Response by poster: He's left the house for work and will probably not be home until very late tonight. I have an exam this evening and it's important to me that I take it. I'm getting ready to call the Riley Center hotline now. There's actually a storage unit facility on my block and if I rented a small space, I could walk all of my possessions over there quickly.

I think that it would be better if I stayed in a shelter because it will be easier for me to go back to him if I'm not surrounded by a strong support network. What will it be like in the shelter?

I'm considering calling his brother and asking him to fly out here. His family knows that he has a violent history and they once had him hospitalized for psychiatric reasons. I wonder if he would be less likely to try to track me down in a violent rage, or otherwise harm himself or others, if his brother was there when he discovered me gone.
posted by sock puppet mop bucket at 1:19 PM on December 11, 2012

Response by poster: Does anyone know much about Kaiser Permanente's domestic violence program? What kind of services they offer? Their website doesn't say much. I have Kaiser's insurance through his employer and if there was any way I could somehow transfer the insurance into my name for a few months it would be a huge weight off my shoulders. Otherwise, I'll look into other options that you've helped me with so far. Thank you.
posted by sock puppet mop bucket at 1:23 PM on December 11, 2012

Don't call his brother - it's best to cut ties. I think that a DV hotline would be able to answer some or all of these questions.
posted by kellybird at 1:39 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Call the Kaiser advice nurse line -- they will tell you. 415-833-2200

I once went in to Kaiser ER with a broken nose, and they carefully screened me for DV in the ER. They were very nice about it.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:59 PM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: sock puppet mop bucket, your questions (at least for me) raise even more questions back to you. i think having a conversation with a trained advocate can help you think through the risks (and benefits) of these options. i do not feel that i know enough to answer these questions for you. if the advocate cannot get you information on the Kaiser program, call them yourself and see what they have to offer. my old understanding was that they wanted to be able to identify patients and staff experiencing domestic violence and refer them to appropriate advocacy agencies. that may have changed over time.
posted by anya32 at 2:00 PM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Are you sure that his brother or another family member wouldn't tell him or let something slip somehow, or even that he would get suspicious if he found out his brother was on the way there? I am worried about those possibilities, with this idea.

I am really happy that you are going to get help from the Riley Center to plan your exit. Just remember if anything goes wrong while you are are leaving, do not hesitate to call 911. I was once in a really scary situation where the other person was acting very calm yet also "off" in a predatory way, and I was terrified and had the chance to call 911, but I didn't because after all, they were acting calm and hadn't DONE anything 911 worthy, yet, and if they did I would probably be able to run away, and if they didn't, how could I explain myself when the cops showed up. The full force of how close I really came to dying did not hit me until later. Not calling was one of the biggest regrets of my whole life, even though everything turned out okay.

I also just want to say to you,

As I have read your responses tonight, I have suddenly realized that I do not know how to tell when people are lying to me and hurting me.

I really do not think that you give yourself enough credit here. You explained perfectly to us about how his words and actions were not matching each other, how they were contradicting each other and not making sense, and how he denied things that truly happened.

It is sometimes also hard to get past the idea that you have to get HIM to agree that he is lying and hurting you, even when you know it for yourself.

One of the most powerful things to me in your post what when he was spewing out all kinds of threats, claims, lies, and manipulations, and you started laughing. To me that seems like the point where you stopped believing, even if just for a moment, that there was any point or usefulness in arguing with him about whether or not his ridiculous claims were "the truth."
posted by cairdeas at 2:05 PM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

You may or may not be legally eligible for COBRA continuing insurance coverage for up to 36 mos through Kaiser but you'd have to pay quite a bit for it still, so you may need to consider other insurance anyway. Divorce is one of the qualifying events for COBRA - it means that if you were effectively covered as a spouse and the separation causes you to lose insurance you can get COBRA to stay with Kaiser but you pay the premium, not him or his employer. However, your case is not a divorce and you are not legally married yet, so I don't know if you qualify; that's a question for Kaiser and/or a lawyer. Start considering other ways of getting health insurance but look into COBRA. You may be able to get free domestic violence services anyway through some of the other routes mentioned here - Kaiser might even refer you to some of the same places.

(but seriously, unless going one day without medications means you're putting your life at risk, worry about the health insurance once you're out. you will probably remain covered at least until the end of this month, even if you leave today and tomorrow he goes to his employer and takes you off the plan. worry about where to go and how to stay safe, then worry about insurance)
posted by slow graffiti at 2:11 PM on December 11, 2012

posted by sock puppet mop bucket at 2:52 PM on December 11, 2012 [51 favorites]

Good for you!
posted by LuckySeven~ at 2:54 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

You are so brave!
posted by anonnymoose at 3:12 PM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Okay, they have given me a lot of good advice for making a quick transition out of the home and they can help me do things like get a new cell phone and get my name off the apartment lease.

Unfortunately none of the women's shelters in San Francisco have room for me right now. A Woman's Place, which is a shelter for homeless women but prioritizes beds for domestic abuse victims, might have a place for me, but I think I would rather avoid that if possible.
posted by sock puppet mop bucket at 3:14 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

An ex-coworker of mine strangled his live in GF to death last month two blocks from my house. He was often rude to the GF in front of us. Your BF is capable of anything. (Anyone is).

Please let us know you are safe. I have friends in San Francisco who may be able to advise about local resources.

Don't go back. Please, please, don't go back.
posted by xenophile at 3:15 PM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

You're doing great! Hopefully they can help find a spot close to SF even if it's not *in* SF. We're rooting for you. Keep us posted.
posted by yoga at 3:39 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

sock puppet mop bucket, I am really glad you reached out and have some resources and some help. I totally understand that shelters do not just have waiting spaces and that the solution isn't always as simple as "just go." I continue to have faith in your judgement and ability to balance the best decisions for your future with the safety of your present.

Are you wait listed for a shelter? What is your financial situation? Do you need alternative suggestions for an immediate exit? I know there are safe, clean and well-regarded hostels in SF. Maybe instead of all of us telling you what you should do, it would work better if you tell us what you need and we help you get that.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:40 PM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

"Unfortunately none of the women's shelters in San Francisco have room for me right now. A Woman's Place, which is a shelter for homeless women but prioritizes beds for domestic abuse victims, might have a place for me, but I think I would rather avoid that if possible."

Worst comes to worst it will be an interesting experience that will produce stories to tell the grandkids. Staying a few nights in a homeless shelter is really really non-catastrophic.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:41 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you don't have a car, could we help by paying for someone from TaskRabbit to get your things to a storage facility further away from where you're living right now?

That way you wouldn't have to go anywhere near the place once you leave.
posted by yoga at 3:52 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I have a small problem. Someone has reminded me over mefi mail that even though I've been doing this all in Google Chrome's incognito window, as an experienced sysadmin, my fiance can still access all the pages I've been to today and last night. Does anyone know how to delete browsing data at the network level?

TaskRabbit is a a really good idea but you all have been enough help to me, I don't feel comfortable taking any sort of financial help.
posted by sock puppet mop bucket at 4:32 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

re: covering digital tracks, it really depends on how the network is set up. Incognito mode in the browser will keep everything out of browser caches, cookies, etc. on the computer itself. If there is logging set up in the router, that would be more difficult to erase (likely requires administrator password to router), but it would also require that your ex-fiance is actually checking those logs regularly for him to see it.
posted by jraenar at 5:03 PM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Speaking of matters digital, upthread someone suggested that you block his emails or filter/delete them unread. Yes, it's better not to read them for your own mental health. But don't delete them; they may provide info/evidence you'll need later. Instead, set your filter to automatically archive them and forward them to a trusted friend or advocate who can read them for threat assessment purposes. If he boasts about knowing your whereabouts or makes a threat, you need to know so you can take appropriate action to protect yourself.

FWIW, I admire your strength and resolve.
posted by carmicha at 6:14 PM on December 11, 2012 [9 favorites]

If you think there's a chance that he would be able to get at your Internet history later tonight, I would strongly recommend that you think about leaving immediately before he gets a chance to do that. If he managed to find this thread, the shit could really hit the fan. He probably doesn't yet realise how close you are to leaving him, but he won't be in any doubt if he reads this. I'm sure you know that his finding out that you are planning to leave him puts you at great immediate physical danger.

Is it possible that he would be checking your Internet history as part of his daily routine when he gets home from work? If he's a sysadmin it's probably really easy for him to do this. If you think it's at all possible, then forget about your longer-term plans and get away as soon as you can.
posted by RubyScarlet at 7:36 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Most home routers do not log browsing history automatically, and even if logging is set up he would have to check those logs manually to see any evidence of your plans. As an IT person, I would rank the risk of discovery via router logs to be very low. I would focus on other tasks.
posted by JDHarper at 7:38 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Like in the movie Memento, do not believe his lies.

I also don't have much else to add except to say you are brave, very brave -- do not doubt that. There are a lot of people who are willing help as best they can, but only if you ask -- as you did :) Hell, just look at this thread. You can do this.
posted by bencongdon at 8:27 PM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm 29 years old now and I don't feel strong enough to make another huge transition in my life.
You will only get older and more settled with time. Think about trying to do this when you share a mortgage, a marriage or a child! It will never be easier to leave than it is right now. That is not to say that it will be easy...but do your future self a favor and leave now.
posted by llnerdj at 8:29 PM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Another Bay Area resident (Oakland) offering help (I have a car and a possible place for kitty to reside). MeMail me if you need it!
posted by ruhroh at 10:25 PM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

TaskRabbit is a a really good idea but you all have been enough help to me, I don't feel comfortable taking any sort of financial help.

Do not let pride or embarrassment stop you from reaching out for whatever help is offered. You are in an emergency situation right now, and need to do whatever you can to get out of the danger you are in. We are talking about your life.

At some point in the future, you can pay it forward. Please, please let the people who are offering to take you in or give you funds/support help you. I wish I were on the Left Coast, I would have my couch made up for you already.
posted by lootie777 at 12:57 AM on December 12, 2012 [9 favorites]

I hope you've already left and taken your computer with you. If he's a SysAdmin, might he have installed a key logger?
posted by carmicha at 2:40 AM on December 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

Please don't feel ashamed to let people here help you. For all the bad behavior I've seen on MeFi, the people who reach out and try to help others in person are usually kind, sincere and really want to help. At the risk of sounding cliche, you're cared about.

People here care that you get out safe. They want to help you and if they offer it's because they have the means or ability to help you, they want to help you. They won't consider it an imposition or a hardship. You don't deserve any of this, and the best thing you can do is let others help you. Then, when you're back on your feet, you can help someone else if they ever need it.

You can do this, you can. Good luck and know that our thoughts are with you.
posted by i feel possessed at 4:09 AM on December 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

If the shelters in SF are full (isn't that sad?), make use of one of the good people on this message board for a place to stay briefly. It's better than a homeless shelter. You don't have to take money, and sure it's awkward, but you can and should take help.
posted by kellybird at 5:08 AM on December 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

I am an ocean away and can offer not practical support (but would happily phone friends in SF and badger them to help you if required!) but I just wanted to say that I think you are being so brave in reaching out for help and making smart choices to protect yourself and your future.

Sending big hugs and bucket loads of strength via the Internets.
posted by rockpaperdynamite at 5:48 AM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've got some friends in San Francisco that might be able to help. It would be a stretch but I think it's worth it. If you need someone to contact to give you a place to stay for a few days please let me know and I'll try to help.
posted by phaedon at 9:47 AM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would like to add an offer to contact my friends in SF, one of whom works at the SPCA and would have a lot of contacts for places for cat to stay. Good luck, and please let us know that you have safely left.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:47 AM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just sending good energy your way! I have been thinking about you all day!
posted by anya32 at 11:25 AM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

if possible, in a a day or a week or two, keep us posted! the community wants to know and support you.
posted by lalochezia at 11:43 AM on December 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

Yes, we'd love to know how you're doing - even if you don't end up leaving now. One of the things I went through was I had this incredible outpouring of support and I felt like I'm going to lose all of this support if I don't leave, which was scary. If you don't leave, there are a lot of people who still want to help and offer support.

I'm going to stop commenting in this thread, but feel free to reach out to me via MeMail any time. This goes for anyone in a similar situation, not just the OP.
posted by sockermom at 1:22 PM on December 12, 2012 [9 favorites]

Best answer: I haven't read all the responses, but I saw your updates.

I live in Marin, and work 1/4 mile from the ferry into the city, so you could get back when/if needed but would be far enough away to be safe. I have a spare bedroom and plenty of room. You are welcome to stay with me or store stuff with me.

Memail me please. I'm serious.
posted by guster4lovers at 1:54 PM on December 12, 2012 [20 favorites]

Best answer: And you can bring your cat(s). And I have a car.

Hang in there, and please let us know how you're doing.
posted by guster4lovers at 2:15 PM on December 12, 2012 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I specifically reactivated my account after several years of having it disabled to tell you that I and my family live near SF, I work in the City, and I will walk out of work right now to come help you, you can come stay with us, whatever you need.

Please memail me.
posted by scrump at 4:02 PM on December 12, 2012 [32 favorites]

Definitely call the Kaiser hotline. I went for a checkup and brought my husband because he is a physician and I wanted some help understanding the issues. They had him wait outside in the waiting room as I did my blood pressure test. And then they brought me in and told me that before they brought him in they wanted to ask me a few questions regarding DV. I thought that was awesome, and figured had i needed it they would be informative and confidential. So definitely call them!
posted by anitanita at 8:56 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

sock puppet mop bucket, how are you doing?
posted by DarlingBri at 3:26 AM on December 15, 2012 [19 favorites]

Hello. I really hope you are safe.
posted by inbetweener at 1:37 PM on December 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Fingers crossed for you...
posted by karst at 6:11 PM on December 16, 2012

I keep checking back to see if you've updated - I hope you're okay.
posted by halcyonday at 6:15 AM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am also following this and hoping you are safe and OK. I'm on the other side of the pond but if there is anything I can do to help please memail me.
posted by katrielalex at 8:10 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I check this thread daily, also. Hoping you are well, sock puppet mop bucket.
posted by yoga at 8:28 AM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Me too. We're thinking of you.
posted by anya32 at 1:37 PM on December 17, 2012

Ditto, another across the pond. Hope you're OK.
posted by Carravanquelo at 2:18 PM on December 18, 2012

I agree with what sockermom said:
Yes, we'd love to know how you're doing - even if you don't end up leaving now. One of the things I went through was I had this incredible outpouring of support and I felt like I'm going to lose all of this support if I don't leave, which was scary. If you don't leave, there are a lot of people who still want to help and offer support.

It is not easy and may take you more time and suffering to reach the point were you are really ready to leave. We still support you and would love to know how you are doing. I have been thinking about you and hoping you are fine.
posted by 3dd at 4:56 AM on December 19, 2012 [13 favorites]

Yes, even if you haven't left, please check in.
posted by gaspode at 3:47 PM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yes, I just wanted to agree with the others in saying that even if you haven't left, even if you stay with him and are still there in a month, in six months, or in a year, even if you go through with the wedding, even if you get pregnant, please do not hesitate to post again whenever you are ready to.
posted by cairdeas at 11:32 PM on December 19, 2012 [13 favorites]

Just adding my voice to the pile to say that I keep checking back, hoping you are okay.
posted by couch fort dinner party at 2:15 PM on December 21, 2012

How are you, old sock?
posted by tel3path at 4:16 PM on December 21, 2012

Chiming in with the crowd of really concerned internet-people to encourage an update, whatever the situation may be.
posted by aesacus at 10:23 PM on December 23, 2012

Still thinking about you.
posted by futz at 10:37 AM on December 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by anya32 at 9:26 AM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hope you're ok
posted by Lotto at 1:42 PM on December 26, 2012

Nthing all above. Hope you are safe. and thinking of you.
posted by dysh at 11:56 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yet another hope-you-are-well checkin here.
posted by scrump at 2:45 AM on December 27, 2012

Best answer: Part of a really quality friendship is that your friends have your back no matter what. They know what's going on in your life that might complicate a decision that could seem obvious to the rest of the world. Your friends might wish things were different -- as you might, too -- but they will travel with you through the ups and downs of life. They will provide advice when you ask for it -- and sometimes when you don't! -- but they will always open their doors to you and always, always listen.

The MetaFilter community has become such a valuable source of friendship for me, literally and figuratively. This thread is proof of the many people who want to make sure that that source of friendship is there for you too.

Best wishes, wherever you are on your journey. I'm thinking about you.
posted by Madamina at 8:39 AM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: After exchanging a memail or two with people following this thread, I wanted to check in here too and say that I haven't heard from the OP.

OP, the offer stands - and will stand. I hope that, if you decide to leave, you'll reach out to me or anyone else who offered in this thread.

No judgement on what you decide, or how long it takes you. Love to know that you're ok, at least.
posted by guster4lovers at 12:05 PM on December 30, 2012 [11 favorites]

Still thinking about you, sock! Hope you are doing ok.
posted by miskatonic at 10:10 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Still here too. Wishing you a safe and happy new year.
posted by dysh at 2:24 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Still checking every day. Lots of good wishes for you for peace and safety.
posted by anya32 at 9:57 AM on January 9, 2013 [21 favorites]

Nonnie, still hoping you're okay. If you need help, AskMeFi is here for you.
posted by i feel possessed at 10:24 AM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

Hi, please update and let us know you are ok.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:50 PM on January 29, 2013 [9 favorites]

Still checking and sending good energy.
posted by anya32 at 3:41 PM on February 24, 2013 [7 favorites]

Sock, I'm checking in and wishing you the best. Stay strong.
posted by mmmleaf at 4:21 PM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

Joining the chorus of "We hope you're well."
posted by magstheaxe at 1:15 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Thinking of you, sock! I know you can do this! I did, and my life over seven years later is better than my frightened self could have dreamed possible.

I'm cheering you on as hard as I can.
posted by nuala at 6:37 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Mod note: Folks, appreciate that your heart is in the right place, but please do not pressure the OP for updates. Thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:25 AM on March 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Hey. Wow. Thank you for continuing to check up on me. I haven't left, but I'm ok. I made a second big step forward today, for the first time since I wrote this post. I called my mom and told her everything. We've certainly had some major differences over the years but she's still my mom and wants to see me do well. She's across the country so she can't help much. And I told her that I wasn't ready to upend my life by leaving yet. But after I told her today, I suddenly felt immeasurable relief, and honestly for the first time I felt like I could be capable of emotionally detaching myself from this abusive relationship.

She respected my decision to not leave immediately, but agreed to hold me accountable for working towards an exit plan.

I want to leave by the end of the summer. Thank you all again for the reality check and the incredible outpouring of support, both here and through messages that I haven't been emotionally strong enough to answer yet. I may still take some of you up on your offers of support, if they're still available.

Thank you. Thank you.
posted by sock puppet mop bucket at 2:24 AM on May 8, 2013 [34 favorites]

Thanks so much for updating, sock puppet mop bucket. I know a lot of people have been concerned about you.

I'm glad that you have a plan, and are putting into action. Good luck!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:03 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am so proud of you.
posted by sockermom at 10:14 AM on May 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Offers of assistance definitely still available.
posted by gingerbeer at 4:17 PM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

Glad to hear you're okay, and so proud of you for telling your mom. I know that must have been hard. Please do let us know if there's anything you need or technical obstacles to overcome.
posted by corb at 8:05 AM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

OMG I just saw your update! Thank you for updating. We've been concerned for you.

Wish I was in a position to help. You've been amazingly brave. Best of luck to you!
posted by magstheaxe at 3:11 PM on June 11, 2013

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