Corrine’s Story: Part 2

When I met my abuser Brandon, he was 24, and I was 25. The first time we met, I was still in a relationship with my son, Dominick’s, dad. Even though Brandon was the neighborhood drug dealer, he was an average guy that everyone adored. Of course, none of us who were into that lifestyle saw anything wrong with his “career” choice.

I was involved with people for as long as I could remember who was into drugs. That life was normal to me. Brandon being a drug dealer didn’t make me dislike him when I met him. If anything, that drew me to him. I was not attracted to Brandon when I first met him. He was a guy from the neighborhood that was friends with my friends. He was the guy that came over to her house and smoked weed with us. He was funny and laid back. He never seemed like a violent person. We were friends for about a year before we started a relationship. My current boyfriend (Dominick’s dad), Eric, ended up in jail, and I was in a bad situation financially. Brandon was the only one that came to my rescue. I ended up with him because I was alone and desperate. I had an attraction to Brandon, but I did not love him at first. He was sweet to my children and me, and so he grew on me. He seemed to care about us. I had seen him with his little girl, and he was a loving father. He took care of her financially. I respected that part of Brandon.

Brandon protected and provided for my children and me. I had no reason to suspect that when we moved in together that he would eventually turn out to be so violent. The first couple of days living together in the apartment was normal. We went about various tasks to make the apartment feel like home. I was happy because I had my kids and Brandon in a cute little place. Life felt like it was going to change for the better. It was easy for me to look past the criminal lifestyle he lived because Lord knows I was no saint myself.

After about five days of living together, I noticed that Brandon was agitated more than usual. I did not believe it was the recipe for the disaster that was lying around the corner. Hindsight is 20/20 and looking back now, I can see the red flags as I recognize them today. His quick dismissal of my feelings, his ways of “crazy-making,” the subtle control tactics like telling me that I did not need to work but disguising it as being the “provider.” The anger that he would express because Eric did not pay regular child support. He was jealous of the fact that I would still allow Eric to see Dominick. I did not hold it against him that he didn’t pay, unlike the mother of Brandon’s daughter, who constantly made him pay and would not let him see her. I always remember feeling sorry for him. I would have never kept my kids from their dad simply because I wanted to control him. I honestly think that my tender heart towards the man I saw in Brandon caused me to overlook the underlying monster I would eventually meet.

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