- They began to argue
- They did everything together because he didn’t want her to go without him
- He would call and text incessantly until she answered
- He was happy as long as everything was going his way
- He began to read her texts
- He would humiliate her in front of their friends when he was unhappy with her
Marcie was confused and felt trapped. She enjoyed all the attention she received for being his girlfriend, but underneath she was afraid. I sensed this was more than teenage growing pains. As things began to escalate my daughter’s behavior began to change. She was visibly afraid of upsetting Jacko. When I would question her why she stayed with Jacko when she was so unhappy she replied, “You have no idea what will happen to me if I break up with him. People love him. They will turn on me.” I replied, “Your true friends will stand by you.” I knew Jacko was being verbally abused by his father and felt sorry for him. Like Marcie I was confused and not sure what to do, but as they say in the rooms, “God will do for you what you can’t do for yourself.” Soon Jacko would make it easy for both us to know what to do.
The craziness continued until one night when I awoke to Marcie’s screams. I ran into her bedroom to find Jacko standing there twisting her arm and yelling and asking her why she didn’t love him. When he saw me standing in the doorway he released her. I wanted to attack him, but knew from being around addicts not to react, but to respond. I told Jacko in a quiet firm voice to leave immediately. I had to repeat this command several times, being careful not to raise my voice even though I was shaking with rage. He finally left when I picked up my phone and started dialing the police. Apparently this boy was not used to taking orders.
My daughter realized she could not control Jacko or the situation any longer by manipulating him. She would have to break up with him. Unfortunately everything she feared would happen did.
- He told lies about her on Facebook
- His friends would call and harass her then hang up
- No one asked her to the Senior Prom for fear of upsetting Jacko
- She could not go to any parties for fear of being harassed
- She ate lunch on the stairway for weeks to avoid the stares and whispers
I saw all this and gave my daughter the best thing I could. I stayed sane by going to my Al-Anon meetings, seeing my Sponsor, and making sure we all had fun sometimes. I let her know we couldn’t change everything, but we could change some things.
- I shared with her that Jacko had an illness she couldn’t cause, cure, or control
- I worked with her so she could attend a local college for the remainder of her senior year to avoid High School and get college credits
- I acknowledged her feelings of anger that her father was not there to protect her when she needed him the most
- I found her a therapist so she could talk to someone. She didn’t go, but knew it was an option
- I encouraged her to go the Senior Prom alone with friends. She went and had a great time
- She made going away to college immediately after graduation a priority
Her journey back from this experience was a long and difficult one. It took Marcie a year to learn to trust safe people again and even longer to trust men. For a long time Jacko tried over and over to get back together with her even driving up to her dorm, but by then she had had learned that she could rescue herself and no longer needed a Prince Charming. She could get her own happily ever after.
A Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By Madeline Schloop