Diamonds have emotions

I have a ring, it was purchased by my grandfather for my mother when she was a teenager. He had passed not too long before Brent and I had met. Back then, I wore it every day.

Recently, I was on the road and I drove past the turn off to the town where Brent was born. It’s six hours from where I live, so not somewhere I pass often. I was thankful that I wasn’t wearing that ring as it was the catalyst on the night I finally left him. Still to this day, it triggers the memory. Diamonds do have emotions, jewellery holds emotions.

It was the middle of winter and we were sitting in the lounge room. He started saying “that ring means more to you than I do”. It all happened so quickly, small snippets of memories come back and I piece together that night. After he’d thrown the ring across the room and I had picked it back up, I was crying and he kept screaming the same words at me. It ended up with him pinning me to the ground so I couldn’t move. I could barely breathe as he held me down. I was using all of my strength to keep my fist closed as he was using all of his to take the ring from my finger, it felt like the struggle whilst I was pinned to those cold hard tiles went for hours.

Eventually, he pried it from my finger and put it in his pocket. For what felt like hours again, I begged him to not leave it in his pocket as he was leaving the house to go to the gym. I begged, and he eventually obliged but didn’t give it back to me. He walked in to our bedroom, I heard a drawer close and then he left.

Brent was strong, but he wasn’t intelligent. After he had torn out of the driveway in his V8 (side note, I judge myself for dating a man who drove that car), I went in to the bedroom to find my ring. I was always so anxious that everything had an exact place, as if things were perfect then just maybe he’d be sweet and thankful. I knew when I opened his sock drawer that one pair was out of place. I picked up that pair and just inside it was my ring.

With my ring back on my finger, I picked up my phone and called my mother. My family had known for almost three months of the abuse I was suffering. Mum had told me her roster and I knew she was off work the following Tuesday. She answered, I told her that I was ready and that wanted her help to move me out on Tuesday. As we spoke and she calmed me down I told her what had transpired before I had phoned. Of course, almost everything I said was through tears.

I heard his car roar down the driveway. He stormed inside and began screaming. I hung up the phone. He kicked the TV, screaming insults at me but that part of the night still remains a blur.

I don’t recall how long it was before he left again. However, when he did, I began packing things in to my car. I couldn’t be there a moment longer. Whilst I was packing, Dad turned up. He tried to tell me to leave right away but there were precious vases and family heirlooms that I knew Brent would smash from the moment I walked out the door. Dad gave up trying to convince me and he started to help me pack a few more things.

Brent’s car roared down the driveway again. Dad walked outside, I was so afraid of what Brent might do. I was afraid that perhaps Dad wouldn’t stay calm. I heard Dad speak sternly but with restraint “Don’t you touch my daughter.” Brent came inside, he shut the doors and the blinds.

Again, the next part of the night is a bit of a blur. I told him I was leaving, that my car was already packed. He sat there on the lounge with me, pleading that I stay. He cried and kept saying “I beg you, I beg you”.

A loud knock on the front door “police”. I answered the door and let them in. I told them I was leaving and that their presence really wasn’t necessary. They had already spoken to Dad outside. I refused to make a statement, to this day I know that my life could be so very different if I had made that statement. Police still had to take our details, they believed that I was leaving and they knew that Dad was there to support me, or perhaps that he was going to make sure I did leave.

After the police left, as Brent sat crying, I packed a few more things in the car, and I left.

In the months after I left him, I had a few friends tell me that they had been in nearby streets and thought they’d heard me pleading him to stop on multiple occasions. They’d heard a bang and wondered if it was him throwing me against the wall again with his hands around my throat. They couldn’t answer why they hadn’t told me when it had happened. They could only tell me that that’s why they stopped just popping in. Brent had tried to lock me in a castle and to take everyone away who mattered to me and he almost succeeded.

My mother always says “diamonds don’t have emotions”. I feel very differently, jewellery is sentimental, it triggers memories. A ring may not be an emotion but it holds emotions.

Just when you think you’re ‘normal’ again

My last relationship ended quite amicably, we went through a lot together. My PTSD symptoms came to a head during the two years that we knew each other. There were too many times that he’d say or do the simplest of things and I would end up snapping…or break down and collapse in hysterics. I thought it was all over as far as innocent actions triggering the anxiety side of my PTSD. I thought it was all over until a few days ago.

There’s a man who’s been in my life for quite some time now. He is one of the most kind, gentle and caring people I have ever met. My parents are mid separation and he has been so supportive of me. He has even been a shoulder to cry on when I’ve been a blubbering mess. The thing is though, he has absolutely no obligation to be there for me but he has been. As kind and gentle as he is and as much as I trust that he would never do anything to hurt me, a few days ago he triggered my PTSD. We were just sitting and chatting, I was likely being my usual irritating self. I don’t recall the exact details but it led to him holding my arm still so I couldn’t move. That moment triggered it. As my anxiety rose I asked him a couple of times to let go…until it felt like I was yelling it.

I apologised to him later during the day, it seemed like he’d barely noticed I’d snapped. What I didn’t tell him was that it’s not the first time almost the same thing has triggered an anxiety attack. It first happened a few years ago, only about eighteen months after I’d left Brent. A guy I’d known for more than five years wrapped his arm around me and held me tight and commented “You’re so tiny”. It felt like he was pinning me down, he only held me tight for a few seconds, my chest tightened and I felt as though I couldn’t breathe so I yelled at him to let go. Luckily…I’d not long told him about the night I left Brent, so he knew exactly why I’d reacted that way.

Unfortunately, the second time it happened was with my last boyfriend, probably one of the first times he saw me break down. I told him as little as I could about my past because that’s what it is, past and it shouldn’t affect the present. However, as I mentioned before, that relationship was when everything PTSD began to rear it’s ugly head. He’d get upset with me because he would do something playful or make a joke and it’d trigger something in the back of my mind and I’d flip out or hyperventilate and collapse in an hysteric heap. Every time it happened he’d aske why I just hadn’t told him not to. It’s impossible to explain to someone what will trigger PTSD, not until it’s actually happening.

That’s just it with PTSD. You don’t know when it’ll pop up, you don’t know why until it actually happens. I thought those days were over, I thought men could be playful with me now and I would be fine…but I’m not.