Trying to keep sane — the back story

It’s been an unconventional life. All the big plans I had laid out for myself at 15 seemed to fall apart when my mum died.

I had it all figured out. First finish high school like a rock star, which for me meant all As and an excellent tack record in sport and drama. Then get a great scholarship to an awesome university and of course graduate into and amazing job in a top notch engineering company.

I suppose, having lived this life, I could have brought it on myself. I tried too hard to make it right, to please my mum, to be a good girl and to mostly be a great example to my family. My mum wanted me to become an engineer; even though I wanted to go into some form of healthcare, I submitted to mum’s request.

I met a great guy, a medical student who was incredible smart and charming. Pretty soon, we were dating much to the delight of my family who were proud of me for finding a decent, soon-to-be- well-off husband.

Before long, he showed his true self. He started to become incredibly possessive, wanting to know exactly where I was at all times. When I failed to keep him informed, he reacted by kidnapping my dog. No, seriously. He told my gran that I’d ask him to take Einstein to the vet. Negotiations ensued and eventually I managed to get him back, but only after signing a contract that he pulled together.

It was harrowing but only the beginning of a long period of what can only be described as torturous. He once drove off, leaving me behind on campus because I was 2 minutes late out of my lecture room. Then there was the time he barged into one of my study groups and threw a CD at the ground in front of me. He had seen me talking to a guy in my group and apparently I had put my hand on his shoulder as we walked down the stairs. The longer term response was to send the guy a letter telling him not to come within 20m of me. This was particularly tough in the smaller classrooms. A few weeks later, I arrived at class only to find the only available seat was right next to said guy.

My boyfriend decided to follow me to class that day and freaked out when he peeped in the door and saw that dreadful sight…

Why didn’t I try to break up with him, you may ask? So many reasons. One part of me wanted my family’s approval, for choosing the right profile of person. Another voice said that if I broke up with him, I’d be branded as a wild girl. Society would reject me and I’d be a pariah, exacerbated by the fact that my mum had died. A wild girl without parents to set her straight…

When I eventually managed to get away from him, he fell ill ending up in the ICU of a local hospital. I thought he was feigning, but after talking to his doctors, I was told he was actually very ill. I went in to see him with a friend. When he headed to the bathroom, my ex removed all of the tubes and monitors and jumped out of bed.

He pulled out a gun from his bag and directed me to his car. We drove to his house under threat of him driving us into the harbor if I didn’t comply. I waited for him to fall asleep while he sat on the bed pointing a gun at me. Eventually he did and I snuck out to the fax machine outside, sending my aunt a message to let her know what was happening. I asked her to send my uncle to the house to fetch me while my ex was still asleep.

A few minutes later a hostage unit arrived with 6 police cars…

As I was escorted out of the house, my ex agin fell to the ground, collapsing in a heap. I want going to fall for that again. I was 19 by then.

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