Dating Red Flags: Bloody Hands

The dance was going relatively  well as Zachery kept his hands off my ass for most of the night. He seemed pacified with one dance and I was looking forward my life two weeks from that moment, when I would happily proclaim my single status.

As I stood there, talking to friends and trying to look nonchalant, Zachery held his grip on my arm. My fear of him rekindled after my friends words, was now my primary concern. Friends asked if I wanted to dance, but I turned them down. There would be no fun so long as I had by ball and chain.

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Zachery was mad. All the normal signs, from the way she shook to the tightness of his grip, had me on high alert.  Sure, I was ready to end the relationship, but I had to survive the night first.

The dance was over. My friend and Zachery’s brother climbing in the back seat while I took my position in the passenger seat and Zachery got behind the wheel.

High on fatigue and hormones, my friend and Zachery’s brother were happily cuddling in the back. Every one in a while, they would get a little too close and Zachery would veer off the road.

I’m not kidding. Maybe They started to kiss or something, I don’t even remember. All I remember is sitting there, staring out the window while Zachery kept one and on the wheel and another in a death grip on my hand. I prayed to God that I would make it home alive. The way Zachery spun the wheel, throwing us into the ditch and then back on the road, had be more scared than I ever thought he could be.

Usually, these are the kinds of stories that accompany alcohol or drugs, but there was none of that here. Zachery was impaired by pure anger and I seriously questioned whether I’d make it home unscathed.

My prayers were answered as Zachery pulled into is driveway with all passengers in tact. We stopped there to change out of our dresses for After Prom. My friend and I changed in the living room while Zachery and his brother went into their bedrooms to change.

I vented to my friend in hurried whispers about my fears, telling her I wasn’t sure I could carry on for another two weeks. She seemed afraid, too. Perhaps the car ride had be as terrifying for her as it was for me. Great friend she was, she hadn’t said a word to his brother about my intentions to break up with him, but now insisted she had to.

I don’t remember the logic behind telling Zachery’s brother; I just know that we did. He noticed his brothers anger as well, sternly suggesting I not break up with him that night.

“I’m not sure I can hold him back the way he is,” he said.

We then heard a crashing from Zachery’s room. It sounded like he was shoving everything he owned off his shelves. I heard things crash to the floor and other sounds that I was sure indicating something being broken. Dressed in casual clothes, he came out of his room with blood gushing from the top of his hand.

“I killed a spider,” he said in his usual monotone.

What was he doing, chasing the fastest spider in the world with Thor’s hammer? No one was buying that.

This photo, “Beware of Thor’s mighty hammer!” is copyright (c) 2014 Tim McCune and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Still, I said nothing. The drive to after prom was thankfully safe and normal. Either Zachery was that fatigued or he had finally felling remorse. Even through my fear, I didn’t move my poker face. I wasn’t breaking up with him that night, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to pretend everything was okay. Not one thing about the night had been okay.

I spent most of after prom trying to find activities I could do on my own, anything that would force Zachery away from me for a few moments. If he could sit next to me, he sat with an arm tightly around me. Once upon a time, that may have been cute, but I was disgusted with him at this point. All I wanted was to end things. As after prom neared an end, he started resting his head on my shoulder, which I did not appreciate. Nothing I did to get away or shake him off seemed to work. He followed me like a lost puppy on the shortest leash ever. I felt more weighed down than ever before.

This behavior continued at my friends house, but, luckily, he was tired enough to fall asleep on the couch while I played games on a Wii. I quickly moved away, hoping he’d sleep for a long while. When he was awake, he still tried to wrap me in an embrace or rest his head on my shoulder.

All I wanted was some space, but it wasn’t quite time to end the catastrophe.

What do you think would have happened if I broke up with Zachery that night? Do you think he was capable of violence? How lucky was I that the worst injury of the night was Zachery’s hand? How long do you think it would take for Zachery’s mental abuse to turn to physical abuse if I let the relationship continue?

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31 thoughts on “Dating Red Flags: Bloody Hands”

  1. I’ve just come across the Zachary Saga and it mirrors so closely a relationship I had as a teenager. Things went from bad to worse and ended pretty badly. But honestly Zachary sounds like the same guy as my ex.

    1. With the exception of this week, I’ve been posting them every week. Search Dating Red Flags to the right if you’re curious to read the posts that lead to this one. I”m thinking of changing my menus around so that you can find the Zachery Saga easily.

      Relationships as a teenager are rarely great and often scary. Female victims of abuse tend to be most at risk of domestic violence between the ages of 14 and 24 (I say female because I’m not sure if there is a common age range for men or not. They shouldn’t be left out).

    1. and gone where. I wasn’t the one who drove and that roller rink was a good 20 minute drive down the highway from home. If I thought I could have, maybe I would. I’m not really sure why I hung around. I could have called my parents….. wait…. I’m not 100% sure I had a cell phone at this point. Actually, I don’t think I did. Maybe that’s why. It would have probably been the wiser choice.

  2. He’s growing as an abuser. He’ll soon reach the tipping point and begin physical abuse–he will like it. Run as fast as you can. Faster than that spider. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Excellent post. Lucy

    1. No kidding. I think my friend from last week’s Dating Red Flags really woke me up. After that, it was all about surviving the night. And I have my doubts there was a spider at all.

      1. I agree with you.. There are so many nut cases out there a woman has to be so careful these days or study to be a ninja. Take care. Lucy

  3. You’re only going to be posting on Friday now, right? Congrats on the new job by the way! GET IT GIRL!!!

    Wow, he is way overboard by this point. I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t attacked you yet. Although, stories not over… I went to school with a guy that acted a bit like Zachary. He liked me and was gonna ask me out. Luckily for me, my friends told me and I cried the whole day. Just walked through the halls crying. He found out and didn’t ask me out in the end. I knew I had dodged a bullet but thanks for putting my decision into greater perspective for me. You are a trooper in every sense of the word.

    1. Wrong. I was thinking of skipping Tuesday and Thursday, freeing up time for me to catch up with comments and blog upkeep, but that just won’t work. I’m going to do my best to keep posting every day and push everything else to second place. What this really means is that blog comments may come a lot slower and everything else may not happen at all.

      Maybe he hasn’t attacked me yet because I made a point to never be left alone with him. I really wanted to discuss with friends the pros and cons when he asked me out, but I had none around me or online when he did. I thought it would be easy. Just two kids getting to know each other. How wrong I was.

  4. The bedroom scene with the crash was the clue things were out of control. It was either a spider of gargantuan proportions or he was throwing a tantrum. You were right not to make your intentions known at that time because he was so high strung in his emotions there is no telling what he would do. Hind sight being not as fuzzy in your shoes I would have ran like a jack rabbit into the nearest thicket called 911, Arnold Schwarzenegger or something like to take care of the boy. Since you are till here what you did do worked I hope with no permanent damage.

    1. I’m sure his brother and my friend would have strongly urged against calling 911. Besides, he hadn’t done anything to anyone yet, so what could law enforcement do? I just had to make it thought the night in tact. Luckily, by this point, he was used to me not talking to him. Just existing next to him seemed to be enough to keep him at bay.

  5. I wonder if Zachery’s family were aware of his propensity for violent outbursts and destructive impulses? His brother appears (from your telling) to have anticipated the bedroom explosion to a degree yet does not appear to have interceded or done anything to control Zachery. I’m certainly glad you were never alone with him that evening as he seems to have crossed a boundary line with his behaviour. I certainly imagine there was the potential for Zachery’s abuse of you to descend still further into violence. I’m hoping that’s not the next episode of the saga.

    1. I don’t know if his brother predicted Zachery’s actions, but he knew him well enough to know when he was angry. He knew he was that angry now. I’m not sure what his family thought of him then, but – last I heard – they rarely hear from him these days.

    1. I never really found out. I didn’t buy the whole “I smashed a spider” thing, though. When I looked at his hand, he claimed he tried to smash it with a hammer. That’s all I know.

  6. I don’t know..
    I never seen him..
    I can’t tell how he’s like… but i don’t think he would have hurt-ed you.. more that he would have killed himself to get back at you.. But why was he so mad.. ? Maybe because he saw it coming.. and he was trying to stop it… and he was unable to express how he felt.. so he was being overly clingy and grepping you and (put he’s head you shoulder ) okay now that’s weird.. lol usually it’s the other way around.. O_o.’

    1. All those things may have been just him clinging to a relationship he knew he had lost, although a lot of that behavior wasn’t outside the normal even near the beginning of the relationship. That violent outburst, though, was a flashing neon sign to get out. Regardless of his intentions, that did not bode well.

  7. Abuser mentality starts within. Be it verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, or other abuse inclinations, it begins because something’s “not right,” inside, and the person hasn’t yet dealt with it. Until they do, it’ll only get worse. If left untreated (via self-care or otherwise), it’ll eventually reach a “breaking point,” wherein the person will “break down,” “explode,” or something by the name of another colorful euphemism. Zach sounds like he was right about to that breaking point. It could have turned into crying fits, violence, sexual violence (rape et al.), panic attacks, self-destructive behavior, catatonia (via emotional shut-down), etc. Either way, if you’d broken up with him at that moment, given what you’ve described, it likely would have broken him, and the results would have been undesirable.

    On a related note: if a guy physically forces himself upon you, don’t make an *ineffective* attempt to defend yourself (slap, weak punch, shove, etc.). Most date rapes start that way: the man is overbearing, the woman slaps him, inducing rage, and then it…gets much worse. If you need hit a guy to get him off of you (assuming you’ve already told him to get off, and he hasn’t done it), you have to break bones, render him unconscious, or otherwise incapacitated long enough for you to get away, or in the following seconds, you’ll be pinned and helpless. I hope this information is useful to whomever may need it in the future.
    http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/rape.html
    http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/ineffective_violence.htm

    1. I agree with all of the above. I am one of the lucky ones who has never experienced that level of violence, but I know the places to go. A kick in the groin, a finger in the eye. In public, a slap might be enough, but in a private where entrapment is possible, I agree. You need to fight with your all right away.

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