The First Time a Boy Roughed Me Up and Why I Took the Blame


christina 11The first time a boy got a little rough with me I was 14. I had been swimming at our community pool and Mike the 17 year old life guard let me wear his diving watch in the water, which I thought was so cool. My boyfriend Rob showed up and called me over to the gate and I forgot to take the watch off when I went to meet him. I could tell he was angry.

I grabbed my towel and as we were walking away from the pool I had a sinking feeling in my gut. Looking back it was a familiar feeling, one that I had had often in my lifetime; it was the feeling of impending doom.

My internal dialogue went like this; “I have a bad feeling. Something bad is going to happen. Something bad… my tummy hurts, I don’t feel good; I don’t like this feeling.”

I remember my boyfriend started questioning me.            

Rob: Who is that guy?

Me: He’s just the life Guard

Rob: Why are you wearing that watch?

Me: Because he let me wear it to dive in the deep end. It’s so cool!

Rob: Give me that watch.

Me: NO, I have to give it back to Mike.

By now the feeling of impending doom is almost making me throw up. I am scared; I feel like I have done something really bad but I am not sure what. I want to hide and there is nowhere to hide. I want to disappear. I want Rob to stop breathing in that angry way. I want him to calm down and listen to me.

I can see that Rob is getting more agitated. He grabs my wrist with one hand (OW, stop it, you are hurting me!) and he rips the watch off my wrist with the other hand. Then he goes back to the fence surrounding the pool and he throws the watch over the fence and into the pool. I am just standing there dripping wet, feeling scared and stupid and starting to give myself shit for being so dumb. Earlier in the year Rob had beat up a boy at school because he said something flirty to me and it took three teachers to break the fight up and now I am really scared he is going to beat up the life guard. But he doesn’t go into the pool area.

Waiting for him to come back from throwing the watch in the pool I am really nervous. His nostrils are flaring, he is visibly angry and it doesn’t occur to me that maybe he is out of line. All I can think of is how stupid I am for wearing another guy’s watch. All I can think about is what he is going to do ‘to me’ because I was so stupid. He hasn’t even touched me yet and I think that I deserve his anger which is focused and directed at me although I tell myself he is angry at Mike and that if I can explain to Rob that he has misunderstood, then maybe all will be well.

On the walk home the silence is deafening. I feel sick. Once we get to my door he starts firing questions at me again. He starts off asking if “that guy” the life guard, is hitting on me. And I am defending as fast as I can; “NO, we are just friends, he is just the life guard, he is really nice, it was just a watch….” Then Rob starts calling the guy really nasty names including “fag” and “wimp” and starts threatening to go back and beat the shit out of him.  All the while I am defending making excuses, apologizing and begging Rob to just let it go. 

And then, Rob turns on me.

The wall outside our front door is made of those rough bricks. With regular bricks, the front surface is smooth, but our bricks were rough and pointy on the surface like rocks or broken bricks. Rob grabs me by the wrist again and I realize that his anger is now directed at me. He starts yelling at me and accusing me of cheating on him. And his anger is intensifying. He is right in my face saying “admit it, you like that guy” and “How dare you fool around with another guy; I am going to kill him”.

And I am begging him ~ “Rob, please don’t hurt him…. Please don’t hurt me. You are hurting me. Let go of my wrist. I didn’t do anything, we are just friends, I would never… he is too old…please please please….”

As his anger grows, Rob throws me up against the wall into the jutting out bricks. My back screams out in pain but I don’t scream. I don’t cry. I don’t say anything. I am concentrating on not letting my head smash into the sharp bricks.  I lower my eyes. I have learned to disconnect when I am scared from having been hit by my mother. I can take this punishment. I have learned to take the blame for someone else’s emotions as well. I figure that I have been bad and that is my fault that Rob is so angry so I must deserve his wrath. With one final push up against the bricks and one final crushing squeeze on my wrist, Rob warns me that if he ever catches me talking to “that guy” again I will be sorry. And then he gets on his bike and rides off.

I didn’t tell anyone what happened that day. My back was bruised and in some places bleeding but I didn’t tell. My left wrist was black and blue but nobody noticed.

Rob never apologized and I never asked him to. I stopped seeing him and I stopped taking his phone calls. When he showed up in person I just didn’t talk. I lowered my eyes, looked away and I put up a wall. I shut down. I never told him why I didn’t want to talk to him anymore.  He didn’t seem to know why either.

When I look back on this event in my life I realize that Rob thought I belonged to him. In my messed up world, I wanted to belong to someone. I was crazy about that kid. I thought he loved me; he thought he owned me and I didn’t know how to disagree. My mother hit me all the while I was growing up. She told me that it was my own fault, that it was for my own good, that if I hadn’t done (fill in the blank with whatever made her angry that day) that she would not have had to hit me and I had no choice but to believe her. I had to survive and surviving meant going along with her. She was the adult, the mother, the authority. I was taught to believe that I was “a bad kid”.  I learned to try harder and harder to earn her love.

When Rob turned on me that day something broke inside of me. From the time I was about 6 years old I had so many hopes that one day a boy would love me and that he would be the answer. I thought I would be rescued. I thought that love would rescue me. It was heartbreaking to realize that “love” was not going to be the answer.

Today I realize that I didn’t know what love was. I had been “owned” and objectified by my mother, and I had never been taught mutual respect. I was never empowered to think for myself. No one ever taught me my own value. I was not empowered to have healthy boundaries and I didn’t know that I didn’t deserve to be treated like a possession. I didn’t know that I WASN’T a possession.

When Rob threatened me, I didn’t know that his behaviour was wrong. All I knew was that I had done something to make him really angry at me and from what I had been conditioned to believe as a child that I got what I deserved.

I was only 14 when I realized that I was tired.

Four or five weeks before the day that Rob assaulted me because I was wearing the life guard’s watch, my mother’s boyfriend came into my bedroom in the middle of the night and sexually assaulted me. When my mother didn’t believe me, I drew similar conclusions as to why that happened too.  Maybe I did something wrong? Maybe I asked for it? I didn’t know that I had any rights because no one taught me that I did.

I grew up a lot that summer. I shut down a lot that summer too. That was the summer that I realized that the world outside my family was not any safer than the world inside my family.

Please share your thoughts or your feelings about this article. Even if domestic violence or physical abuse was never a part of your life, can you relate to the way that I learned my value or lack of value?

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time.

Darlene Ouimet

Emerging from Broken is about how I healed from childhood trauma and abuse and took my life and my value back by seeing where it had been lost or never put in place from the start. There are over 450 articles in this website all with discussions. The comments total almost 40,000.  In addition The Emerging from Broken bookThe Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

157 response to "The First Time a Boy Roughed Me Up and Why I Took the Blame"

  1. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st October

    After a pretty big break from writing on the blog I have published a new post!! Check it out on the home page or at this link ~

    “How abusers and Perpetrators Get Away with It.” this is another example of how this so often works in favour of the perp!
    hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Cherry Posted: 29th August

    Hi Darlene, I just found your site this weekend and have been poring over it. I am amazed by how identical our dysfunctional belief systems are (were). I actually realised these messed up beliefs a while ago, especially the one about love and how it’s two different things for them and for you. However, when I tried to communicate it to people they didn’t seem to get it and I feared I would get more of the ‘but they’re your parents’ and ‘they were doing their best’ crap, so I sort of left it there. I’ve come back to my healing work now and you are such a wonderful encouragement. You and I speak the same language 🙂 I look forward to reading more of your posts, I feel validated and encouraged by your words.

  3. By: Doren Posted: 7th August

    I grew up without physical abuse, except for my father chasing me with a belt one time for not going to school, and one time my sister kicking me when I slipped on the floor while we argued. She threw a typewriter at me once as well. Because I wasn’t hit or beat I spent most of my life minimizing my experiences. I didn’t think they were abusive but rather indications of how wrong and bad I was as a person.
    Years later when my husband gave me a black eye I slumped to the floor and said “I’m sorry”. I called my mother and she said, “What did you do?” I gave no thought to leaving because I needed him to take care of me, and I would be alone without him. I must have pushed him too far and made him snap. I felt deeply ashamed. He never hit me again but he could rip a door off its hinges, punch holes in walls, or take my arm and make me hit my own self. Not hard though. “Oh hon, lighten up”, he’d say when I wasn’t laughing with him about it. I was convinced I needed him. Growing up I was told I was weak, and that I’d never get a man because I was fat. So I held on for years despite such unhappiness I constantly took pills and drank.

    I learned early in life two conflicting messages: that I was on my own (emotionally) and yet, I was so weak and “sick” and couldn’t take care of myself. I know now I was a threat because I spoke up to my parents about their behaviour, and they were too sick, and too unwilling, to take responsibility. More and more I can see today that I always was special, that nothing was defective about me, and I have the strength to break the cycle. I expect respect and good treatment from others and when they show otherwise they have got to go.

  4. By: Light Posted: 30th July

    Hi Darlene, How is your eye? I hope there is a treatment for it and you have a speedy recovery. xoxo Light

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st July

      Hi Light,
      My eye is a little better ~ I have to avoid texting and reading email on my phone and I have to balance computer time. I am still waiting to see the new specialist. I am hopeful that the suggested muscle injections will be the answer! Thanks for your concern!
      hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Kimberly Posted: 24th July

    My sister hasn’t invited me over to her home since Xmas. I moved 4 miles away from her after living on the other side of town which was 45 and it’s still too inconvient for her. We were also very close growing up and 18 months part. I had her and my entire family over on Father’s Day.
    I’m just not important. Even with stage 4 cancer and almost dying.
    But she is a bully… She has been all her life. She’s really doing me a favir here. I been to her home twice this year cause I invited myself over.
    I need to stop that… Cause she really doesn’t want to see me she says come over whenever you want too.
    But wants to keep inviting then selves? When she got her huge tv fir Xmas she said she have us all over. That never happened.

  6. By: Mary-Grace Posted: 23rd July

    @ Rose

    From post earlier this year, re:your sister breaking up with you.

    I’m sorry that happen. Did it resolve??

    My sister, who I also adored, did same thing to me over a completely normal everyday situation.
    I spoke my mind and she didn’t like it so she said goodbye. I thought she was joking because we had been best friends as adults for 12 years and best sisters my whole life!
    But, 8 yrs later we have only spoken briefly around the time of our fathers funeral, and even that ended badly.

    What astonished me was how much healthier and happier I was without her influence in my life! I Thought I would die of my grief over her but that soon changed to a huge sense of relief.
    Every time she was mentioned in my family it was in regards to some chaotic event.
    Me growing just a bit healthier being away from her helped me see how whacked my whole family system was.
    I am now no contact with all my siblings and my mom…
    …it’s been an interesting road. I’d much prefer a healthy family but I didn’t come from that. Getting away from them, even at my age of 49, was the healthiest thing I could have ever done for myself and my own, amazing family.

  7. By: S1988 Posted: 20th July

    I went through something similar. When I was leaving my family (for the second time), my mother asked me if I would keep in contact with my sister. (I was surprised she didn’t mention her son, who is her golden boy.) My response was, “That’s between me and her.” Why is my relationship with my sister any of her business anyway? We’re adults, and we’re free to choose our own relationships. It’s ironic because when my sister and I were kids, I was in that annoying, tag-along little sister phase, and our mother scolded me for it and wanted me to have my own friends. Now, we’re adults, she makes our relationship (or lack of one) her business. Hey, we’re adults. I grew out of that phase years ago. I’m my own person, not just [K’s] little sister.

    I believe that since no one chooses to have siblings (or to exist period), that one isn’t obligated to have a relationship with someone just because they share some genetic material. I didn’t ask to be born or have two older siblings, so why should I be with them even though I didn’t consent to being in a family? It is a bit sad, though since I have memories of spending hours playing with toys with my sister until sunrise, and then our mother would come in our room and tell us to go to bed. I was closer to my sister because our brother was in his twenties when we were kids, so we spent a lot of time together. We can no longer be close because I notice that she’s becoming more and more like our mother, right down to the thick freckles on her face (Creepy!) Like her, she talks a lot, doesn’t want to admit to any problems, and feels that she’s her savior. Our mother has dreams that she didn’t accomplish, so my siblings are living in a way to somehow make up for what she didn’t do. Sometimes I wonder if they secretly wish to follow their own paths instead of feel like they have to be her personal messiahs. I don’t know; I’m not a mind reader. I feel a bit sorry for them, but not very much since they could be like me and stop anytime they want, but they’re too craven to do that. I do hope they gain the courage someday, but I don’t think it’s very likely. I can only save myself, not anyone else.

  8. By: Kimberly Posted: 20th July

    Mary Grace,
    That’s because she needs the other children to keep her power base going. I always wondered why in dysfunctional families why mothers will Shame you into making amends with your siblings. It’s because they need them to keep the unhealthy structure going. I don’t think people consciously do this, maybe. But I think all these dynamics are not prr planned. It’s an unhealthy pecking order when one person has all the power. Then you wonder, why does this person value so much need for control? Not a good rabbit hole!

  9. By: Mary-Grace Posted: 19th July

    Hobbie, Kimberly, s1988, Thank you all so much for your feed back!! You are my people. I read every word of what you share! My heart is healing from the loneliness of ostrisize toon and NC. Thank you, Darlene, and yes, I did have wrong therapist for this issue, she did help with others but she really couldn’t understand my unwillingness to NEVER speak to my family again, at least not without at least two trustworthy witnesses.
    My husband and many close friends wouldn’t have been able to believe all the events that took place–hurtful things said, the gas lighting, isolating, shaming, outright lying & two faced behaviors–if they had not witnessed it for themselves.
    I sought out help from Kaiser when my greif was beginning to effect me and my relations at home but even the PhD had no idea how to help. He referred me to a codependency class. The only problem is I am already a member of Alanon AND I have 19 years clean & sober through AA, so believe me , I’ve worked “my program” around this and have owned all I could of the insanity. What my part boiled down to was my willingness to go back again and again, expecting different results. Insanity.
    When my mom said about my relationship with my estranged siblings (who are nuts), “You just aren’t trying hard enough,” I realized she was not ally of mine, but part of continuing the problem. That day I went no contact with her…and instantly the noise in my head and heart stopped. I had no idea that SHE had been the stronghold for all this evil. There is just no other way to say it. It’s just plain evil.
    I kinda felt bad that I didn’t/don’t feel bad about breaking up with my mom, but I just don’t. I grieved my sibs more. I’m pretty sure I know what it means as I come to terms with just how horrible a mom my mother was.
    She’s been a great cautionary tale for me on what not to do as a mom.

  10. By: S1988 Posted: 18th July

    I also have to agree on how much attention is given to bullying in K-12 and to some extent in the workplace, but adult bullying in families is too taboo for many to touch with an 100ft. pole. There’s the idea that the only dysfunctional families are ones that make news headlines. It’s sad that so many people live in denial that a bully can be one’s own kin, even if it supposedly doesn’t warrant news attention.

    When I was a minor, I thought once I turned 18, my mother would be off my back less. Boy, I was dead wrong. Just because I couldn’t be hit or grounded anymore, it didn’t mean I couldn’t be hurt by her in other ways. The only thing that changed was the weapon used. Fortunately, there are sites like these to meet survivors of abusive families who bring this issue into light.

  11. By: S1988 Posted: 18th July

    I can name one advantage about being grown-up and bullied. Unlike children, adults can walk away from hurtful relationships while children have to endure it until they reach a certain age to leave. If one is being mistreated at work or in a relationship, they can leave. Kids can’t leave school or walk away from an abusive caretaker. In many cases (or at least in mine) if a child expresses anger to a parent/guardian, they would be punished for “talking back”. It was no wonder why I was such an easy target for bullies during K-12. I was chided for showing anger, but was expected to stand up to bullies, and because I didn’t stand up for myself for fear of “being a bad girl”, my mother blamed me for it. I mentioned this mixed message to her years later, and the only thing she told me was to get therapy. Some apology.

    As an adult, I’m glad I was able to get away from my toxic family (Twice!), and I was able to leave authoritarian bosses. The bullying at the workplace wasn’t as bad as what I suffered in school, but I didn’t like being scolded for small mistakes and threatened with termination. I felt like a naughty child all over again! Now that I make a living remotely, I can’t imagine working in brick and mortar again. I love having a flexible schedule and working alone without being nitpicked for it.

    I just keep that in mind, that I’m no longer a defenseless child, and I’m free to leave a hurtful environment without punishment.

  12. By: Kimberly Posted: 18th July

    Mary Grace!
    Yes! Adult bullies are somehow tolerated and we wonder where children learn this from?
    I seen it all the time when I used to work as a sub. Omg, it’s really awful in the school system. There is all this talk of bully presentation but it’s all just talk.
    It literally broke my heart to see it. Now I understand why I was so miserable throughout school.
    Most of us in society are either the bully or the bystander. And the few are the scapegoats cause we don’t play the game.
    My sister who is a bulky still. Told me that I need a backbone. That I’m too sensitive, all my life it was me who had the problem. I blamed myself for a very long time.
    And they can sense this… On a very real but unseen level, they know. I had a teacher pick me apart. She was the picture of perfection. She told me ally faults, she was adored and honored by everyone.
    She bad mouthed me and got everyone to talk behind my back. She picked me apart. I couldn’t defend myself. I was also very sick at the time with pneumonia and was recovering.
    And when I spoke up just a little, I was shamed and told off. You can’t win and you can’t even defend yourself. Cause the many just crush the few.
    You really do have to walk away and stay away, sadly.
    If you can hold up strong boundaries. You may be ok. I just never could. So I stay away from people in general.
    I just think most of society stinks.

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