I never thought I would be writing this. It is amazing how hard this is for me to do. But if my story can help even one person, it is worth me telling the world. Let me say right off that what I experienced was not as bad as most, what happened was common in abusive relationships. I knew the signs but ignored them. I did not want to face that fact and I did not believe it would ever get violent. But it did.
I have known this man, who I will call “John”, for 25 years now. We started out as friends and over time, things grew. He helped me through some rough times and I was so grateful to have him in my life. Over time, I fell in love with him, which was returned to me by him as well. We were together off and on over the next few years. He was in prison quite a bit, (14 years in federal prison for bank robbery), but he never showed me a violent side to him. But, things just started not going so well around 2000 and around Nov. 2001 I broke up with him, even though I was still in love with him. Soon after that I met my second husband and got married. We were basically happy, but then in 2008 I had to have 2 surgeries and found out that I could never have children as I had some deformities that prevented it. The doctor said that it would have been since birth, so matter how hard I would have tried, I would never have given birth. This was devastating to me, as what I wanted most in my life was to give birth to my own child, even just one. However, I was lucky enough to help raise a beautiful daughter, so I was able to experience being a mom. This has been the biggest joy in my life too. But it still seemed that not being able to do it myself was overwhelming, even though I knew at this point I really was too old to be a mom again. This really threw me into a deep depression. I seemed to spiral down more and more everyday. I was mean to everyone around me – my husband, my sister, my co-workers, etc. Around the time I had my second surgery, John came back into my life. He was involved with another woman who he had been involved with before I knew him. It seemed like both of our relationships were okay, but not great at that point. He and I renewed our friendship, and once again, it went up and down for several months. He was very supportive when my husband moved out and I was grateful for that. Over the next year we went back and forth with our relationship. But, finally in June 2010, we were back together officially. He spent most of his time with me at my apartment and things went pretty well, for a while. However, little things started happening. He hated my sister, so she could not come and visit. He wanted me to ask permission to go anywhere I wanted to go, especially with someone else. And every time we had a fight or argument, he said he was leaving. He did this knowing how I would react, since I have abdandonment issues. So they were made worse by this. And of course, so was my self esteem, although I did not really realize this at the time. All I cared about was making him happy, even if I did not like it. I was just afraid of losing him and after loving him for 20 years, I did not want that to happen. Most of the time, I thought I was just being too whiny and he complained that I was being too insecure. Most of the time, this was the extent of our problems. Well, that and his ex, Traci (or rather, the situation, not necessarily her). Now, I have never met her, but she is the mother of 2 of his children. I knew that their relationship was very rough and they seemed to fight a lot. But I still worried about it, and yes, it made me insecure. So I tried to keep my opinions and feelings to myself. Honestly, it was not really an issue until he went back to prison. Then it seemed to be in my life constantly. He kept saying that he had to stay in contact with her so he could see his son. He said that it was so very important to him. He truly loved his son, which I admired. But regardless of what he said, it always seemed like he was more interested in her than just his son. During October 2010 and November 2010, this was not an issue. He did not call her, text her or email her very often and I saw all of those emails. But in December he started talking to her a bit (“so I can see my son for his birthday and Christmas”). He went over there a couple of times, but was home within an hour to two hours. Then he got arrested at her place for a probation violation on December 21. I stood behind him while he was in jail. It was not easy, but I did it. And we had a few fights and of course, he always threatened to leave, so as to keep me in line. It worked, no matter how hard I tried to be strong. I could not believe that I was the same woman I had been a while back. I had become a strong, independent woman, with my own opinions and feelings. I saw that I had lost all of that and someone I did not recognize anymore. But, I still stuck with it. I did not want to be alone and I loved him so very much. I tried so hard to believe that he loved me as much as I loved him. Whenever I had issues, he said I was insecure and that my jealousies were driving him away. No matter the issue, it was always my fault. But I still wanted him to come home to me. And he did in August 2011. My life changed after that.
At first things seemed okay, but then he started acting kinda weird off and on. We did not fight for the first couple of weeks, which I was very happy about. But then the fighting began. Usually over small, stupid things. That is when the emotional abuse started back up and only got worse. Much worse. He started telling me how stupid I was, how nothing I did was right, that I did not need all my “stuff” and that I needed to get rid of most of it. He also wanted me to get rid of my cats. A big issue he had was the children who live in the apartment next to mine. These 3 young girls never did anything to him, but he felt threatened by them. They always want to help me get things done, especially with my back injuries. They are so very sweet and they love me unconditionally. This seemed to really bother him, too. So they were not allowed to come and visit or help me. It seemed like things were getting worse and worse, and we were arguing a lot. He kept saying he was leaving, but he never did. I was very confused, as he said horrible things, including that he hated me, but he never left.
On September 23, all I had ever know with him changed. This was a Friday and it seems like most of the day was ok. Then in the evening we started fighting. As usual, the emotional abuse was horrible, but I could not tell him to leave. He told me he would rather be with Traci than with me because I was such a c***. Then he said we were both liars and he wanted nothing to do with either one of us. And so on and so on. Then he told me he needed to call her and would appreciate it if I left the room. I was very hurt and upset from all of the fighting and I said, “What difference does it make now”. He jumped up and ran over to me and put his face in mine and started yelling at me (can’t remember what he said) but I never responded. Then, out of nowhere, he hit me. And it was not some little slap. He hit me so hard across the face that I felt my brain rattle. I stood there for a while, during which I have no idea what he said. I was crying very hard and told him to just leave. He then informed me that he would not leave until he was good and ready. I cried a lot. He asked me not to call the cops, and like the weakling I am, I said I would not. And of course, like most domestic violence victims, I told him it was okay, even though I did not feel that way. The next day was no better. He got mad at me about one of the little girls next door bringing me a heart she made for me. He said that I cared more about them than him. That I cared more about the cats & birds than him. I told him I was not going to fight with him and I sat down at my desk. He came in and started yelling at me again, and I told him again I would not fight with him. He spit on me. And then asked me if I wanted it worse than last night as he was prepared to give it to me 10 times worse. I did not respond for a while and then I can’t remember what it was that caused me to respond to him. I told him that he now made life unbearable for me and we went back and forth for a while, with me threatening suicide and then he said he would help me with that. I went into the other room to text my sister to come and get me and he came in and tried to take away my cell phone. He pulled my hair and then put me in some kind of headlock (it was not the sleeper hold he said it was). I knew he was trying to strangle me and I fought as much as I could. Finally I let go of my cell phone and he hit me in the back of my head. I knew that if I stopped struggling, he would have strangled me to death. He denies this, but I felt it. He then started yelling at me again, telling me that he was leaving and he started packing his clothes. I did not stop him. He told me I was a fat slob and that he did not love me and did not know why he came here. He said he never really wanted to have sex with me and could not get off with me until he watched porn. He called me a c*** (this is a word I truly hate and he knows it) and said he did not want to be with me. He then proceeded to tell me that he and Traci had been having sex whenever they saw each other for the last year and that the next weekend they were going to a motel to f*** all weekend and such. Yeah, that was pleasant to hear, especially with my low self esteem, which was going down every minute. I had a wedding reception to go to that night, so I had to go and shower and get ready. Of course, I did not know that the side of my face was swollen and there was a fingerprint on my cheek. I wore make-up, so nothing was noticeable that night. I pulled myself together and acted like nothing was wrong, even though I really wanted to tell my friend, Krista. But I was afraid to say anything.
Monday was another big day in my life. I went to the grocery store in the morning and my lawyer called. My settlement was ready (I was hit by a car last year and am now basically disabled). I called my sister and arranged for her to come and get me in a couple of hours. When I got home, I told John I was going with my sister to help her with her photography class. He was not happy but I told him I would be home around 4pm or so. He did not know that I was getting my money. My sister was early to get me so we went and got coffee. She kept staring at the side of my face and I told her I wanted him out. Then, finally, I blurted it all out to her. I have never before seen someone’s face turn red so fast. She said she was not going to allow me to go home until he was gone, but we had no idea how to do that. So, we went and got the money and went to the bank. While I was at the bank, he called and said that there were Tahoes parked all around the building and he wondered what was going on. I had no idea. I checked back with him later and he said all seemed ok. My sister and I went to the mall to get me a new phone and when we left AT&T, I started getting calls from my neighbor and then a text. The US Marshals and SWAT teams were there and took him out of the apartment and arrested him (probation violation). Yeah, they beat in my door and broke the door frame too. I was in shock. When I got home, all of the kids came running over to make sure I was okay. Turned out the youngest girl saw it all and was really very upset. When everything was going on, she saw him, but not me. She was so afraid that something happened to me (yes, children have such real and genuine feelings). Once she saw me she knew I was okay, so she calmed down, but sat on my lap all evening long. And it was a long evening. Everyone was so comforting and compassionate towards me. The kids followed me all over, just to make sure things were okay. I think mostly they were happy he was gone now. But my sister let my neighbors know what really went on and the kids mom said she would make sure he never stepped foot on this property again. They all rallied around me with my sister and her friend, so I knew I would be safe. But the problem comes when I am home alone, especially at night. This has not been easy. I have been so ready to cave it, almost every day. I really miss him, the him I knew for over 20 years. Then I remember the things he said and did. I have talked to him a few times in the last week, and it has reinforced my belief that I need to stay away from him. According to him, all of our problems were my fault. He once told me that if I left him he would hunt me down and kill me. And he told me how. I do believe him, too. Of course, he will be in jail, then probably prison for a while. He thinks only a year, but I believe at least 2 years. Actually, I am hoping that it is 2 years or more, so that I can finish school and leave the State so he won’t know where I am. I do not know if he will look for me, but he threatened to kill me and I have to take that seriously. Every single night I cry and pray for strength, strength I do not have but need. I do not want to go back to that situation, and I do not want him to kill me either.
This was extremely hard to write and took me a week to do it! It is hard to announce to the world how stupid and weak you can be. But if my story helps even one person, it is worth it. Please remember, emotional abuse is just as bad as physically abuse. His words echo through my head every day. He said that he said those things to hurt me. Well, it did hurt, more than he believes. He thinks I need to just forget those things, but I can’t. I know that if he really loved me, none of those words would have come out of his mouth. But it does not make it any easier. So I am taking it one day at a time and it is up and down every day. I don’t have all of the answers, nor do I know what my future holds. Right now I am trying to buy a car. I don’t have much money, but I will find something. Trying to live this new life of mine and every day is a struggle, but it will be worth it in the end. And I am grateful for the wonderful friends I have and the best sister in the world, who has stood beside me through this. She has let me make my own decisions and helped me spend some money! But I give my heartfelt thanks and love to all who helped me. I would not have made it this far without you!