Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Curly

      Replying to PMs

      Please note that you can not reply to a personal message by replying to the notification email. Recently admins have received some email responses to personal messages. This is because some members have replied to the notification email. You can not reply to a personal message via the email. What replying to the notification email does is send a copy of the original message and the reply to the admin email address. It does not send your reply to the person who sent you the message. The email notification of the personal message does request "PLEASE DO NOT REPLY DIRECTLY TO THIS EMAIL!"
    • Curly

      New Members and validating your account.

      New members registering please do not hesitate to contact our admin if you do not see a validation email within a few minutes of registering. Yahoo and some other email addresses tend to block the validation email and without this part of the process your account remains in limbo. Our admins are more than happy to help you complete the validation process should this automated system fail. We can be contacted via admin.our.place@gmail.com Please note that you may experience a delay between registering your account and validating before you are able to post as we do also manually process all registrations to keep this forum free of spam. Your account should be activated within 24 hours of you completing the validation process. Thank you.
Sign in to follow this  
blackbird

My Story

Recommended Posts

blackbird

Hello, all.

I stumbled into your site two nights ago and was saddened to read your stories; so many of them seemed so eerily familiar. I only wish I had discovered your forum earlier. Maybe, in an anonymous environment such as this, I would have found the courage to share my story and leave years ago.

I met my abuser just two months shy of my college graduation. Of course, he seemed charming and attentive at the time, but it didn’t last. Still, I married him; it seemed I was always willing to create excuses for his oppressive behavior.

I survived 11 years of emotional, verbal, financial, and, at times, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the man that was supposed to love me most. Worse, we have three beautiful children that were witness to both his behavior and my inability to stand up to him. Throughout our marriage, he routinely belittled me in front of my family and friends, raged at me in front of the kids, isolated me from those I loved, and convinced me that I was worthless and powerless to change my circumstances.

I alternately stayed at home with our children and worked outside of the home, depending on what he seemed to think my priority should be at that particular moment in time. I was expected to ask permission before purchasing anything greater than a gallon of milk (he told me he monitored our bank balances daily) and I had no transportation of my own until the final 6 months of our marriage.

I asked repeatedly that we attend counseling, not knowing that that would have been a terrible idea, given our dynamic. He never consented. He didn’t believe in counseling, didn’t believe he had a problem, and often told me that our strained relationship was my fault. “You reap what you sow,” he would tell me.

He was a hands-off dad. He engaged with the kids only when their activities were of interest to him. Most often, he chose to stay on the periphery of their lives, never attending parent-teacher conferences, doctor’s appointments, or sitting with us at the table for dinner. He inserted himself when he needed to exact some discipline (which often had more to do with his own mood, than with our children’s behavior) and to make cutting remarks that certainly made them question their own abilities.

For years I wanted to leave, but I just didn’t know how. I was too ashamed to share what was happening behind closed doors and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to support my children on my own. (He told me numbers of times that I would never receive a penny from him if I left. In fact, he once ordered me to leave my debit card on the counter and get out - in front of our kids.)

Then it happened.

In June of 2008, he insisted I stop freelancing. I did.

In August of 2008, he left the house without a word and did not return. I awoke to find an email from him the next morning stating his intent to file for divorce. (Seriously, who divorces by email?) I replied that, while I was disappointed that he chose to make this sort of pronouncement over email, I hoped that we would work together to make this as easy on our kids as possible. He replied, “I hate you so much, I doubt any of this will be easy. Do not talk to the kids, I don’t want you feeding them another line of your bull$#!%.”

While I was panicked about how I would navigate the immediate future, more than anything, I felt the most overwhelming sense of relief. It was finally over.

I called my best friend, and then my family. Everyone rallied around me.

In his rush to leave, my husband left all of his financial files in our home. What a blessing that turned out to be. My dad insisted that I go straight to Office Depot to buy toner and paper and that, each night after the kids were asleep, I photocopy as much as I could. I did. And what I discovered only proves that truth is stranger than fiction.

In the 5-1/2 weeks between his departure and our first temporary hearing, $170,000 disappeared. I, however, had to call my parents to take me grocery shopping.

I discovered that he had started an affair shortly before he left; their $4,000 first date included a charter flight to dinner. He then hired this young woman and used her to hide money. He also lavished her with expensive jewelry, trips, and spa days. Meanwhile, I was wearing my sisters’ hand-me-downs, and had been for years.

After a handful of these 3 am “Nancy Drew” moments, I was hooked. While I had confidence in my attorney, I could never have afforded the kind of time I put in myself (at least 2,000 hours). Besides, while she was an expert on the law, I was an expert on my husband. Only I would be able to discern what seemed reasonable and normal, and what was not.

When I was not caring for our kids, keeping our house ready for showings, or looking for employment, I was working on my case. I suppose in a strange way, it was my husband’s abusive behavior that created his own worst enemy. During our marriage, it wasn’t unusual for me not to spend a night out with friends for a year or two. So, when I needed to pour through his discovery documents month after month without relief, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. Besides, my case was turning out to be so outrageously ridiculous, I didn’t need to look elsewhere for entertainment.

How, exactly?

When his relationship ended three months after it began, he consoled himself with a night at a downtown strip club to the tune of $12,000. He was there with a friend and his brother. He then hired his brother at $100,000/year, plus commissions to continue diverting money. Never mind that his brother was still employed full-time on a factory assembly line and had absolutely no sales or related-industry experience (or even an ability to form complete sentences).

He committed tax fraud, mortgage fraud, and too many counts of perjury and false statements to count.

Last fall, he and his brother were both terminated from employment at the same time (suspicious?), and he was relieved of his $1,500/month child support obligation altogether.

I battled hard on the issues of custody and placement, but, after taking a parenting class and “successfully” completing anger management therapy, he was awarded 50/50 custody. I wish I had told someone about what was happening during our marriage - maybe it would have changed the outcome. Everyone seemed to agree that he was a bad guy, just not bad enough. I couldn’t document anything; all I had was my word. (At trial however, he testified that he never agreed with the therapy recommendation. Um, don’t you need to recognize that you have a problem before you can change your behavior? He deceived the therapist and I’m hoping his testimony will open the door to a revised custody and placement arrangement. Cross your fingers.)

Two months ago and through a private investigator, we made contact with his former girlfriend. She agreed to cooperate with us.

My trial was on January 14th. After my husband delivered 3 hours of false testimony, we called her. They had no idea she was coming. What a moment that was! The young woman took the stand and delivered the most powerful and moving story I’ve ever heard and I will always be grateful for her courage. So many people had the opportunity to come forward, but said they didn’t want to get involved. She was the unlikeliest source of support and, through her cooperation, she restored my faith in people’s ability to do the right thing. (And no, I was never angry with her. I knew my husband was a predator and prayed from the beginning that she realized it early on and was able to escape before she threw her life away.)

Throughout her testimony, I was stunned to see that my husband was completely unremorseful and, in fact, showed absolutely no reaction whatsoever. If ever I needed additional convincing that he was antisocial, narcissistic, or both, that was the moment that tipped the scale. The man has no conscience.

On January 26th, we went back to court for the judge’s decision. Only child support and attorney’s fees remained to be decided, and those decisions were both made in my favor. More importantly, the judge called my now ex’s testimony the most egregious he’d seen in a civil case in his 20+ years on the bench. He then told him that, from this point forward, he would cooperate fully and honestly, or he would go to jail. After so many months of having to play our cards so close to the chest, it was such a relief to watch the moment unfold and for the judge to deliver such a strong message.

I am now coming out from under the nightmarish haze that was my marriage and divorce and am buoyed by the incredible support I’ve received from family and friends, as well as the team that helped me through the last 18 months, including the most incredible attorney, paralegal, and legal assistant a girl could hope for; my own wonderful counselor; my children’s therapist who, I swear, is the most huggable man on Earth; and a private investigator with a very wry sense of humor.

This was the hardest dang thing I’ve ever been through, but I am so grateful for it. For too long, I allowed someone to treat me like I was worthless and incapable of doing anything successfully. Through this process, I learned that that was never the case. I beat him at his own game and discovered I was stronger than I ever dreamed.

I’m excited about my future. My children and I laugh louder and smile more, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Curly

Hi Blackbird :welcome to:

I am glad you have made it out and that it appears you are well on the road to healing and reclaiming your life.

You never did deserve the abuse your ex dished out to you. I am glad that woman did see the light and that she was able to help you.

It is definitely a wonderful thing to see your children laughing and smiling more along with you.

Please feel free to join us in the Main Forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
free2bme

Wow Blackbird! More power to you! I'm very happy for you and your children. I wish you the best.

Hugs!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tree

What an amazing and inspiring story Blackbird! You are an incredibly strong woman ~ stand tall and be proud. I can relate to your experience of your x's former girlfriend being willing to offer help. My x's former wife and their 3 children have done the same for my son and I in Family court proceedings. Like you, I was surprised and delighted to find support from such an unlikely source. Who would have thought ?

Sending much happiness and warmth to you and your family. May the road ahead be without too many potholes. :nature-smiley-008:

:hug008:

Trunkated

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
blackbird

Thank you all for the warm welcome.

This has been a long, difficult road. While I've been devastated by the depths he was willing to go, my faith has been more than restored by the kindness I've received from so many. I'm really and truly blessed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zoeygirl

Wow, great story blackbird, and welcome!

I'm so glad the judge saw through his lies. That's something I've always had to worry about with my ex--will they see through his lies? He's got so many people fooled; abusers can be so good at that. Long story short, we recently started a case with Social Services, and the team working with us saw right through his act. One of the agents told me, "He's very emotionally abusive towards you." Really? I didn't know! <_< But what a relief it was to know that the law saw through him. You've come a long way, blackbird. Wish you could have found us sooner :( , but we are still here for you as you heal from your past and get your life back on track.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Buzzkitty1

Blackbird sings. :) What an awful story and I'm so sorry for what you went through, but the outcome is truly uplifting. Welcome to Our Place, Blackbird. Thank you for sharing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chloe

Blackbird :welcome to: and thank you for sharing your story. I think you're amazing :hug:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sylvia
I’m excited about my future. My children and I laugh louder and smile more, and that’s a wonderful thing.

W.O.W.!!!!!

Your story gives me a lot of strength.

Thank you for sharing, blackbird.

I wish you every happiness and more and more laughter with each new day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Dani82
Hello, all.

I stumbled into your site two nights ago and was saddened to read your stories; so many of them seemed so eerily familiar. I only wish I had discovered your forum earlier. Maybe, in an anonymous environment such as this, I would have found the courage to share my story and leave years ago.

I met my abuser just two months shy of my college graduation. Of course, he seemed charming and attentive at the time, but it didn’t last. Still, I married him; it seemed I was always willing to create excuses for his oppressive behavior.

I survived 11 years of emotional, verbal, financial, and, at times, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the man that was supposed to love me most. Worse, we have three beautiful children that were witness to both his behavior and my inability to stand up to him. Throughout our marriage, he routinely belittled me in front of my family and friends, raged at me in front of the kids, isolated me from those I loved, and convinced me that I was worthless and powerless to change my circumstances.

I alternately stayed at home with our children and worked outside of the home, depending on what he seemed to think my priority should be at that particular moment in time. I was expected to ask permission before purchasing anything greater than a gallon of milk (he told me he monitored our bank balances daily) and I had no transportation of my own until the final 6 months of our marriage.

I asked repeatedly that we attend counseling, not knowing that that would have been a terrible idea, given our dynamic. He never consented. He didn’t believe in counseling, didn’t believe he had a problem, and often told me that our strained relationship was my fault. “You reap what you sow,” he would tell me.

He was a hands-off dad. He engaged with the kids only when their activities were of interest to him. Most often, he chose to stay on the periphery of their lives, never attending parent-teacher conferences, doctor’s appointments, or sitting with us at the table for dinner. He inserted himself when he needed to exact some discipline (which often had more to do with his own mood, than with our children’s behavior) and to make cutting remarks that certainly made them question their own abilities.

For years I wanted to leave, but I just didn’t know how. I was too ashamed to share what was happening behind closed doors and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to support my children on my own. (He told me numbers of times that I would never receive a penny from him if I left. In fact, he once ordered me to leave my debit card on the counter and get out - in front of our kids.)

Then it happened.

In June of 2008, he insisted I stop freelancing. I did.

In August of 2008, he left the house without a word and did not return. I awoke to find an email from him the next morning stating his intent to file for divorce. (Seriously, who divorces by email?) I replied that, while I was disappointed that he chose to make this sort of pronouncement over email, I hoped that we would work together to make this as easy on our kids as possible. He replied, “I hate you so much, I doubt any of this will be easy. Do not talk to the kids, I don’t want you feeding them another line of your bull$#!%.”

While I was panicked about how I would navigate the immediate future, more than anything, I felt the most overwhelming sense of relief. It was finally over.

I called my best friend, and then my family. Everyone rallied around me.

In his rush to leave, my husband left all of his financial files in our home. What a blessing that turned out to be. My dad insisted that I go straight to Office Depot to buy toner and paper and that, each night after the kids were asleep, I photocopy as much as I could. I did. And what I discovered only proves that truth is stranger than fiction.

In the 5-1/2 weeks between his departure and our first temporary hearing, $170,000 disappeared. I, however, had to call my parents to take me grocery shopping.

I discovered that he had started an affair shortly before he left; their $4,000 first date included a charter flight to dinner. He then hired this young woman and used her to hide money. He also lavished her with expensive jewelry, trips, and spa days. Meanwhile, I was wearing my sisters’ hand-me-downs, and had been for years.

After a handful of these 3 am “Nancy Drew” moments, I was hooked. While I had confidence in my attorney, I could never have afforded the kind of time I put in myself (at least 2,000 hours). Besides, while she was an expert on the law, I was an expert on my husband. Only I would be able to discern what seemed reasonable and normal, and what was not.

When I was not caring for our kids, keeping our house ready for showings, or looking for employment, I was working on my case. I suppose in a strange way, it was my husband’s abusive behavior that created his own worst enemy. During our marriage, it wasn’t unusual for me not to spend a night out with friends for a year or two. So, when I needed to pour through his discovery documents month after month without relief, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. Besides, my case was turning out to be so outrageously ridiculous, I didn’t need to look elsewhere for entertainment.

How, exactly?

When his relationship ended three months after it began, he consoled himself with a night at a downtown strip club to the tune of $12,000. He was there with a friend and his brother. He then hired his brother at $100,000/year, plus commissions to continue diverting money. Never mind that his brother was still employed full-time on a factory assembly line and had absolutely no sales or related-industry experience (or even an ability to form complete sentences).

He committed tax fraud, mortgage fraud, and too many counts of perjury and false statements to count.

Last fall, he and his brother were both terminated from employment at the same time (suspicious?), and he was relieved of his $1,500/month child support obligation altogether.

I battled hard on the issues of custody and placement, but, after taking a parenting class and “successfully” completing anger management therapy, he was awarded 50/50 custody. I wish I had told someone about what was happening during our marriage - maybe it would have changed the outcome. Everyone seemed to agree that he was a bad guy, just not bad enough. I couldn’t document anything; all I had was my word. (At trial however, he testified that he never agreed with the therapy recommendation. Um, don’t you need to recognize that you have a problem before you can change your behavior? He deceived the therapist and I’m hoping his testimony will open the door to a revised custody and placement arrangement. Cross your fingers.)

Two months ago and through a private investigator, we made contact with his former girlfriend. She agreed to cooperate with us.

My trial was on January 14th. After my husband delivered 3 hours of false testimony, we called her. They had no idea she was coming. What a moment that was! The young woman took the stand and delivered the most powerful and moving story I’ve ever heard and I will always be grateful for her courage. So many people had the opportunity to come forward, but said they didn’t want to get involved. She was the unlikeliest source of support and, through her cooperation, she restored my faith in people’s ability to do the right thing. (And no, I was never angry with her. I knew my husband was a predator and prayed from the beginning that she realized it early on and was able to escape before she threw her life away.)

Throughout her testimony, I was stunned to see that my husband was completely unremorseful and, in fact, showed absolutely no reaction whatsoever. If ever I needed additional convincing that he was antisocial, narcissistic, or both, that was the moment that tipped the scale. The man has no conscience.

On January 26th, we went back to court for the judge’s decision. Only child support and attorney’s fees remained to be decided, and those decisions were both made in my favor. More importantly, the judge called my now ex’s testimony the most egregious he’d seen in a civil case in his 20+ years on the bench. He then told him that, from this point forward, he would cooperate fully and honestly, or he would go to jail. After so many months of having to play our cards so close to the chest, it was such a relief to watch the moment unfold and for the judge to deliver such a strong message.

I am now coming out from under the nightmarish haze that was my marriage and divorce and am buoyed by the incredible support I’ve received from family and friends, as well as the team that helped me through the last 18 months, including the most incredible attorney, paralegal, and legal assistant a girl could hope for; my own wonderful counselor; my children’s therapist who, I swear, is the most huggable man on Earth; and a private investigator with a very wry sense of humor.

This was the hardest dang thing I’ve ever been through, but I am so grateful for it. For too long, I allowed someone to treat me like I was worthless and incapable of doing anything successfully. Through this process, I learned that that was never the case. I beat him at his own game and discovered I was stronger than I ever dreamed.

I’m excited about my future. My children and I laugh louder and smile more, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Hi Blackbird,

I am so sorry that you had to endure all that pain and suffering.

I am so happy to see you get out and away from that situation.

You know reading this and seeing the strength that you must have had to stand up to him, shows me that just maybe i can learn to stand up to the people who are still hurting me.

You truely are an amazing woman.

All the best, Dani

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
blackbird

Wow. Thank you, Dani.

It was a long, difficult road, but, crazy as it sounds, I will always be grateful for each and every moment of it. I learned a lot about myself over the last two years and I discovered I'm a heck of a lot tougher than I ever thought I was.

Be patient with yourself. It's not easy, but if you want it badly enough, you'll get there in time.

Hang in there, sweetie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bewitched

Oh my God. Blackbird - you are awesome. I can imagine the 'Nancy Drew" moments....you go Girl!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
blackbird

Thank you, Bewitched and Triptych.

In the beginning, it was really difficult to be the target of so much hatred, but the more I uncovered, the more empowered I felt. All those years of being made to feel so totally incapable, and here I was putting the pieces together.

On one evening, I happened to check his girlfriend's MySpace page (she hadn't set it to private). She had taken a photo of herself from the laptop he purchased for her and posted it to her page. The picture title read, "Late night phone call." Her sister later replied, "Late night phone call, huh? Does [husband's name] know about these? 1-800-spank-me." I went through my ex's phone records and, sure enough, she had placed a 2-1/2 hour phone call to him the previous night - on his home line and beginning after midnight. At his deposition, he claimed it was a work call. Seriously? It was the little discoveries like that, that kept me going.

When we involved a private investigator, I pulled a timeline and supporting documentation together for him. He had spent 28 years with the FBI and said my report was the most professional and thoroughly researched work he'd seen since he'd left the bureau. It was one of my proudest moments and, OMG, I was totally hooked from that point on. It became a hobby (bordering on addiction) for myself, as well as my dad and best friend. We had a really hard time finding anything else that was quite so entertaining.

I felt positively kick a$$ by the time our trial reached its conclusion. Look out world! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
free2bme

its great to get power back and to really enjoy something, eh BB? I am really happy for you. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
blackbird

Thanks, Linny. I think I really needed the divorce to be that difficult, to snap me out of that very dark place I had been afraid to leave. Those 18 months were like walking out of a cave and seeing the sunshine for the first time in a decade. I swear, the birds sing louder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
blackbird

Peach,

You asked about my story. What I posted here previously was the victory lap. What follows now are glimpses into my life with him. It's very, very, very long (emphasis on "very"). I certainly don't expect you - or anyone else - to actually sit down and read all of this. I'm just trying to document my marriage, so that at times like these, when it's hard to remember if it was really all that bad, I can come here and remember.

Unlike your situation, my ex wasn't terrifically violent; hence, my concerns about my custody fight. His abuse was generally more emotional and verbal, nothing that would be reflected in a medical report.

The "Good" Ole' Times...

• My relationship with Satan was of concern to my family and friends both prior to and during our marriage. For example, when my dad came to visit me when the twins were approximately 18 months old, he gave me $200 in cash, which he called “escape money”, while Satan was at work. He instructed me to hide it, so that the boys and I could rent a car and drive to his home if we ever needed to. I did keep the money hidden for several weeks, but then spent it quietly. I was afraid of what he would do if he ever found it.

• When our twins were approximately 2 years old, Satan was sitting on the couch eating dinner, while Twin1 was standing in the family room. Satan playfully threw his fork at Twin1, who assumed it was a game and threw the fork back at his dad. When he did this, Satan became very angry with Twin1 for throwing silverware, raged at him, and spanked him very hard. Twin1 was frightened, as he thought his dad had invited him to play a game. I mean, what kind of f'ing idiot throws their silverware at a young child?

• At approximately this same time, my mom (who had concerns about my lack of transportation) sold me her car for $1. The car had 100,000 miles on it, but it was in otherwise very good condition. After several months, Satan insisted that the vehicle needed new tires and a muffler. He did not want to make the improvements and, instead, donated the car against my objections. With this one exception, until six months prior to our separation, I had never had a car. At one point, Satan admitted that he did not want me to leave our home without his knowledge.

• My twins (now 12 years old) had been diagnosed with a significant speech delay, as well as some other cognitive delays. At 2-½, the boys and I met with learning specialists weekly in our home. When we moved, the boys and I continued meeting with specialists in our new home, until they were old enough to attend learning services at an early childhood learning center. Throughout, Satan remained uninvolved. For example, up until the time the divorce was initiated, Satan never attended an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting and had, to my recollection, only attended two school conferences during the eight years we had children in school (including early childhood education services)—even on occasions when I found childcare so that he could attend. That changed, of course, when he filed for divorce and became World's Greatest Dad. He never misses a conference now. Lucky me.

• When the twins were 3 years old, I suggested that I make an appointment for them to visit the dentist. Satan adamantly refused, stating that it wasn’t necessary to pay for dental care until the boys had their permanent teeth. Twin2 did not see a dentist until he was 5—and then, only because a permanent tooth was coming up behind a baby tooth and the baby tooth needed to be pulled. Twin1 did not see a dentist until he was 8. Our youngest saw a dentist for the first time at age 6; he had five cavities.

In the summer of 2005, Twin1 began complaining of a toothache, and a cavity was plainly visible. I asked that I be allowed to schedule an appointment, but Satan denied my request. He instead bought Twin1 dental floss. The following year (and while Satan was out of town), Twin1 was up until 3 AM with terrible tooth pain. I again asked that I be allowed to make an appointment for Twin1 to see a dentist. Again, he said no. Several months later, when the pain returned, he finally allowed me to make an appointment. Twin1 had an abscessed tooth—and it was so far gone that dental work and antibiotics would not save it, and the tooth had to be pulled.

• When the twins were four years old, Satan became very angry—though I no longer remember the reason why. He stormed into our bedroom and locked the door. I was next door in the twins' room, trying to reassure them. Satan turned the television volume up quite loud and threw things around the room for well over an hour. I knocked on the door and asked Satan to please quiet down, as he was scaring the boys. He told me he didn’t care and suggested that, if I was so concerned, I could call my dad and have him pick the boys and I up. After 11 PM, he calmed down and asked me to come in for a talk. While I assumed he was angrily packing to leave, he had actually taken everything I owned out of the closet and thrown it around the room. He left my belongings on the floor. I cleaned up his mess.

• Approximately seven years ago, Satan came down extremely hard on Twin1 when he was bickering with his brother. When I told Satan that he had overreacted, he slapped me across the face. I was pregnant with my youngest at the time. I went upstairs. After some time, Satan came up and offered a disingenuous apology, but shortly thereafter, he stormed out of the room because I hadn't stopped crying yet, stating that the entire incident was my fault.

• When I was pregnant with my youngest son, and downstairs getting the twins ready for school (they were 4 years old at the time), Satan entered the room and, in front of the boys, threw the first aid kit that I had inadvertently left out on the bathroom counter, across the room. He yelled that I should get an abortion. At my deposition, Satan's attorney seemed to defend his action, questioning me as to whether or not I believed my four year old children knew what the word "abortion" meant. Probably not, but I'm pretty f'ing sure they knew what it meant when he raged and threw things across the room. Oh, and it was our wedding anniversary that day.

• Following a downsizing by my first employer, our department made an attempt to find sponsorship and restart our program on our own. Satan gave me his approval to continue working with this group, but several weeks later he demanded that I quit, stating that it was either “Me or the job.” In the face of this ultimatum, I reluctantly quit. I expressed my deep concern about our finances and Satan dismissed them. He insisted that raising the children should be my number one priority, and that my interest in furthering my career was selfish.

• When my youngest son was approximately 1-½, he began vomiting and quickly became dehydrated. I took him to the hospital, where he was admitted for 2-½ days. While this occurred, Satan was out of town on business and my mother took time off of work to care for our twins, while I remained at the hospital. When Satan returned from his trip, I expected that he would drive to the hospital to see our youngest son, and pick up our twins (who were with me at the time) and take them home. Instead, he spent a very short time with the boys, and then drove to the office to work, leaving me to cope with a very sick toddler and two young children. As the evening progressed, the twins became tired, but I did not have a place for them to sleep. Satan finally picked them up from the hospital after 11 PM on a school night to take them home. Too bad I had forgotten to pack that Dad of the Year trophy. Seemed like an appropriate moment to make the award.

• The evening before I admitted our youngest to the hospital, I had to get up in the middle of the night to take care of him. I changed his clothes and sheets, and carried him downstairs to get some Tylenol, as his fever had returned. As I walked down the stairs, I slipped with him in my arms. I wrapped my arms around my son to protect him and was unable to break my fall. I fell down nine solid oak stairs and, though he was thankfully unhurt, I could barely move when I landed. I had an extensive bruise that covered my entire hip and thigh. When I mentioned the fall to Satan over the phone and asked that we get a runner for the stairs, he refused and told me that the fall was my fault. When he returned from his trip, he repeated the story of my carelessness to his friend (and in the presence of my dad who was visiting). He never once asked if I was okay—only suggested that it was my fault and that the bruise was what I could expect for being careless. Our son could have been killed in the fall.

• When Satan left his job for a new employer in 2005, he went from employee to independent contractor and we no longer had health insurance. When I returned to work (the same week that he started his new job), I specifically negotiated for a salary increase at Satan’s suggestion so that we could find private insurance, rather than opt for insurance through my employer, which he claimed was expensive. Satan never purchased health insurance. I independently met with a financial advisor to seek information about affordable health coverage; my actions infuriated Satan. We discussed the issue of health coverage on several occasions and I was adamant that it was irresponsible not to insure our family. During one argument, he made it very clear that he viewed health insurance as a waste of money, and that it was important to him that he have money to build our house, buy the children nice clothes, etc. Consequently, our children rarely received annual check-ups since we became uninsured and received very little dental care. He always drove extremely nice cars and we built an expensive home. I was so embarrassed by our situation, I often lied on emergency medical forms and made up insurance information.

• During the summer of 2005, we joined my family at a cabin for a long weekend. Over the course of the entire weekend, Satan made numerous verbally abusive comments and disengaged from our family for absolutely no reason. On one pontoon ride, he threw Twin1 (who was afraid of the water) off the side of the boat. He was wearing a lifejacket at the time, but was frightened by the entire incident. I was in the water and swam over to comfort him. It took him years to relax in the water after that. I'm surprised no one in my family mixed Satan a drink with "a little something special" that weekend.

After returning from the trip, I immediately grabbed the boys’ bags and drove to my mother’s house. I had intended to file for divorce, but after several long discussions, he promised to change and committed to entering counseling. Unfortunately, I returned and, after just a 2-1/2 days, he returned to his abusive and controlling behavior and denied having ever committed to therapy.

• In the summer of 2005, Satan, the boys and I drove to our new town to visit the lot where we would be building our home. When we were preparing to leave (and while Satan’s back was turned), our youngest son slipped as he was climbing into the truck, hit his head, and began to cry. Satan immediately turned around and berated our twins for hitting their little brother, when they had actually done nothing wrong. I knew that if I spoke up in their defense, it would only make the situation worse, so I said nothing. When the boys and I climbed into the truck while Satan was still walking the lot, Twin1 asked me why I didn’t tell Satan what had really happened. This was probably my lowest moment as a parent, and I promised the boys I’d never let it happen again. From that point forward, I became more conscious of what the boys were witnessing when Satan would yell at them or myself unfairly, and made a point to speak up in their/my defense. However, it seemed only to inflame the situation. You see, he was an a$$hole.

• In August of 2006, we had taken the boys shopping for school clothes. We were at Target picking up a few things, when I saw something that Twin1 needed for school. I called Satan’s name several times, as he didn’t seem to hear me. He then spun around and snarled that I was not to call him by his first name. I was stunned. From that point, I could only gain his attention by using terms of endearment - honey and sweetie. In my mind, those names were always preceded by some pretty colorful adjectives.

• In August of 2006, my sisters sent up some new shoes for the boys as a back-to-school gift, and they were wearing those new shoes when we went to pick Satan up from the airport. We made a stop at Target on the way home, as Satan hadn’t had time to buy a gift for our youngest son (whom he had promised a gift, while not having given anything to our twins - again). When we walked into the store, he noticed the shoes and angrily asked where they had come from. When I explained that they had been a gift from my sisters, he demanded that my family stop buying things for the boys—that that was his job. Satan stormed off into the store. I followed him to try and smooth things over, but he would not look at me or speak to me. I was fighting back tears and needed to leave the store. I asked for the keys and he threw them down the aisle at me, nearly hitting another customer.

• In January of 2007, I borrowed my dad’s second car while Satan went out of town on business with our only vehicle. As the boys and I drove home from his house, I was involved in a car accident (until that point, I’d never had so much as a traffic ticket). While everyone was okay, the car was damaged. After the police officer had taken his report, the occupant of the other car offered to follow me to a nearby fast food restaurant so that I could call for help (I did not own a cell phone). Unfortunately, by the time I realized it was closed, he had already left. We drove slowly toward home. When the engine began to overheat, we diverted to a nearby gas station where I was able to call for help. My dad came over immediately—his only concern was for our safety. It was very late when we got home, but I immediately emailed Satan (who was out of town at a funeral) to let him know about the accident and reassure him that we were okay. He called the next day and did not once ask how we were doing. He was extraordinarily angry about the incident and, when I tried to speak to him about it, he hung up the phone.

• I had wanted a cell phone for many years, but following the car accident, it seemed essential. If the car had died far from the gas station, I would have had to walk to help with our boys in the bitter cold, and late at night. In spite of the safety it would provide the boys and myself, Satan refused to buy me a cell phone until mid-August 2007. The boys then used it without my permission five weeks later and hid it in a sweatshirt pocket. I didn’t discover it until it was tumbling in the washing machine. The phone was ruined. Despite my requests, the cell phone was not replaced until July 2008. Punishment for my carelessness.

• Until Christmas of 2007, we have only ever had one car (with the exception of my mom’s car, which I had for only a few months). Though I repeatedly asked for an inexpensive, used vehicle knowing it was an affordable expense, Satan would not consider it. (In fact, in the summer of 2006, my dad had offered to sell us his old Honda for $2000—which Satan would not agree to. However, he did purchase a $2400 watch for himself at that same time, claiming he deserved it for working so hard.) As a result of my lack of transportation, I was not able to leave the house while I was a stay-at-home mom, even if we needed groceries—and could not open my job search to include areas not serviced by public transportation when I was looking for work. A few days after I took the boys to my mother’s house and moved out for a time (following the incident at the cabin), Satan purchased a brand new truck—a $40,000 vehicle that was costly enough to easily represent two new cars. Satan routinely would take short 3-4 day business trips and leave me without transportation. Only in the summer of 2007 and after my car accident, did he begin taking rentals on his trips, so that I would not have to borrow a car from my parents. On Christmas 2007, Satan gave me a luxury car, though I was fully aware that the vehicle was never really for me. I was horrified when I learned of the price tag, but grateful to finally have transportation. When Satan left us, he took possession of "my" car. It was okay, though. He didn't take a single picture of our kids or a single school project. I got the better end of that deal.

• In the summer of 2007, our twins were playing their GameBoy, after Satan told them it was off limits. When Satan discovered them playing games, he made them stand in the garage while he smashed the GameBoy to pieces in front of them and threw it into the garbage. They walked into the house terrified and in tears.

• Our twins’ 2007 baseball team had the worst record in the league. And then by some miracle, everything seemed to fall into place during the tournament and their team won the championship. Satan wasn’t there to see it. My dad and sister (who was visiting from out of town) had asked if they could come to the game, which seemed like a very reasonable request. Although Satan's friend attended, Satan was outraged that I was allowing anyone else to join us, as he felt this was a special occasion that he shouldn’t have had to share with anyone else. The boys played three games that day. He did not speak to me or look at me during the first game. Immediately after the game was over, he left and did not return to watch the boys win the championship. We called Satan after the game and asked him to join us for ice cream. He said no and, instead, took a nap.

• Almost three years ago, Satan told me that he wanted to get the twins a puppy for their birthday. We brought him home several months later; Satan refused to be involved in his care or training. When the entire family was in the truck, he angrily announced that, if the dog continued to put scratches in the hardwood floors, he would get rid of him. The boys did not respond at the time, but spoke to me later and were extremely worried about losing their dog.

• We invited my dad, his wife, and their daughter over for a small family gathering to celebrate our twins' birthday in 2008. Before they arrived, we drove to the grocery store to pick up some food. As we strolled down the frozen foods section, Satan suggested that we pick up some frozen lasagna for dinner. I asked that we figure out another option, as Twin1 doesn’t like lasagna and I wanted to make something the twins loved for their birthday dinner. Satan became very angry and, in the grocery store, yelled that he didn’t care what they liked to eat and that I was spoiling the boys - in the presence of our children. He stomped off and would not speak to me for the rest of the day.

• In the spring of 2008, Satan and I sat down and discussed the state of our marriage. He had already printed out the forms necessary to file for divorce, signed them, and had them notarized. When he stormed off, I reviewed the pages. I was unclear about how the papers would affect my future rights and decided that I could not sign without an attorney’s review. The following morning, he became angry when he saw I had reviewed the papers, but had not signed them and confronted me. When I told him that I wouldn’t be threatened by his attempts to keep me from seeing the boys or to throw me out of the house with nothing, he said, “That’s not a threat, that’s a promise.” He then asked me to leave my credit cards on the kitchen counter and leave—in front of the children. What a catch, right?

• In the spring of 2008, Satan left a message with a realtor to discuss putting our house on the market without my knowledge. He gave the realtor our home number, rather than his cell—and I was the one that picked up the phone when she returned his call. When I approached Satan about it, he told me that he had no intention of throwing us out on the street; the kids and I would have a few months to figure out a place to live. See? All those years I thought he was heartless, he proved me wrong. Talk about consideration.

• We held a bowling birthday party for our youngest son in the summer of 2008, which I had planned entirely on my own. Satan left the house early to take our twins to their music lessons, which wrapped-up at 11:30. While our youngest son's party didn’t begin until 12:00, Satan was an hour late as he chose to go shopping for himself at an outdoors sporting good store instead. Yes, the mark of an A#1 dad.

• In the summer of 2008, Twin2 developed an interest in cooking and often helped me prepare meals in the kitchen. I encouraged him to experiment with recipes and his brothers have often really enjoyed them. On one morning, Twin2 was making scrambled eggs, when Satan walked into the kitchen. Twin2 asked if he would like to try them. Satan first asked what Twin2 had put into the eggs and Twin2 responded that he had added basil. Satan told him, “That’s one way to ruin eggs.” When Satan turned to walk away, Twin2's eyes welled up with tears. It was the little digs like this that troubled me more than anything. I have three amazing kids and I could literally watch them shrink when he was in a bad mood. Which was often.

• Satan was out of town on business for 11 days in July 2008. When we returned home from picking him up at the airport, he immediately went into his office and worked late into the night. The next day, he worked all day long, took a shower, and announced he was driving to spend some time with his friend. He returned after 3 AM. The following day, our twins had their second baseball tournament game (he had missed the first after extending his business trip - or shall we say bidness trip?). Satan again worked all day long, took a shower, and announced he was again going to see his friend. Before he left, he confronted me about why I was so upset. After having been away for so long, and not having spent any quality time with the boys, I felt it was unfair that he would skip our twin's tournament game for another night of drinking with friends. He stormed out of the house. During the game, one parent asked me if it was my husband who was in Iraq, as he was so rarely around and did not engage with any other parents. Again, Satan returned that night after 3 AM. The next day, he did attend the boys’ final game at 10 AM. He did not speak to me or look at me at any point. When the game was over, he left his garbage on my chair and immediately walked off to wait in the truck, skipping pictures and any opportunity to talk to the parents, players, or coaches. We did not do anything to celebrate the boys’ season. Instead, he drove us directly home, demanded that we do some yard work, and then ordered the boys to take a nap.

• Our twins had wanted to plan a bowling party for their birthday. Satan didn’t want to bowl and insisted that they plan a snow tubing party. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and the party never happened. I had promised we’d plan a ½ birthday party over the summer for them. The party was held on August 16th, hours before Satan left. We took the kids rock climbing. Satan rarely interacted with the kids. At some point, he left without a word and waited in the car. We drove the kids to our house for gifts, cake and ice cream. Satan went into his office and began working on his computer. He refused to come out and watch the boys open their gifts. He did, however, come out to sing Happy Birthday. I fought back tears the entire time. As soon as the song was over, Satan went back into his office and remained there for the rest of the day.

• In September of 2008 and just a few weeks after Satan left, I asked for a meeting with my youngest son's first grade teacher and the school counselor, as he was having a very difficult time transitioning at bedtime and again when it was time to get ready for school. During our meeting, Satan suggested that our son can't be pampered, that he's a tough kid, and that he manipulates others for attention by sharing his "sob stories". He also stated that our son never had issues like this when in his company. Clear evidence of his exceptional parenting abilities.

• When our youngest son came home from his placement period with his dad over Halloween weekend, he walked in and whispered to me, "The next time my brothers go to Dad's, I want to stay with you." Heartbreak.

• In November of 2008, my youngest had a cold and I kept him home from school. When I mentioned that I needed to go upstairs and start packing clothes for his stay with Dad, he told me, "Dad said that if I don't go to his house, he's going to rent a boat and take my brothers fishing without me."

• In November 2008, and without my knowledge, Satan began training with the boys for a half marathon in March. The boys had never run in a road race before. When I expressed my concerns, they were dismissed. I also asked that they not train at the club, as the boys were not old enough to use the facilities. Satan told me that the club had made an exception. Not only did the club confirm that the they would never make such an exception for liability reasons, my youngest shared with me that “Dad tricked the club” and Twin1 told me that, “We cheated.”

• In December of 2008, Twin1 pulled me aside and shared that, every time I called to say hello while they were with Satan, their younger brother would cry uncontrollably and get into trouble for his lack of emotional control.

• On the drive home from a December 26th Christmas celebration at my mom's house, my youngest son cried for 45 minutes about having to leave with his dad that night. He first asked if he threw up, if he could stay with me. He then asked if he could hide in the closet until his brothers left, so that didn’t have to go to his dad’s house. Of course, I had no choice in the matter. Carrying him out to Satan's car that night was like feeding my son to the wolves.

• In May of 2009, Satan allowed the boys to bring the PSP/Playstation to my home with them. When we came home from Satan's baseball practice that evening, the twins realized that the battery cover was missing. Both boys immediately went into a panic and Twin2 had tears in his eyes. When I asked them what was wrong, they told me they were worried about what would happen when their dad found out they had lost the cover. I had Twin2 look through the truck and, when he couldn’t find it, I promised I’d dig around the house after they went to bed and would drive back to the baseball field the next day. When Twin1 was about to get into the shower, he told me he felt chills down his spine. I assumed he was cold, but he told me he was worried too. Fortunately, the cover turned up just before bedtime.

Several months earlier (in December), a very similar situation occurred. After the school Christmas sing-along, I drove the boys home. Later that night, we were unable to find the winter coat Satan had purchased for Twin1 a few weeks prior. He was extremely worried. It was unseasonably warm on the last day of school before break, so I was pretty certain he had left it on the benches. The next morning, we left a note on the front door of the school, just in case someone on staff happened to drop by. As it turned out, his jacket was there and we were able to pick it up the following Monday--but Twin1 spent the first weekend of his winter vacation unable to think of anything else, but his dad's reaction.

• On numbers of occasions during our separation, the boys returned from placement with their father without having been properly fed. Often times, they would eat breakfast and then not eat until “lunch” at 6 PM. It happened frequently enough that I began holding off on preparing dinner for myself until the boys returned home. Despite my direct request and a later discussion during our settlement conference, this behavior has continued. Two weeks ago, the boys returned home having been fed pancakes for breakfast, pancakes for dinner, and nothing for lunch. They were extremely hungry.

SATAN'S INVOLVEMENT AS A FATHER:

• Helped with late night feedings for one month when the twins were born. After that point, he no longer assisted me with late night feedings or fed them himself so that I could sleep. I do not recall Satan ever feeding our youngest son as a baby.

• Helped change our twins' diapers for about one year (though rarely), and then refused to do it again. He never changed our youngest son’s diaper as a baby.

• Rarely bathed our twins. He never bathed our youngest son as a baby.

• Did not eat meals with us as a family in our home, even on special occasions like birthdays or holidays, unless we had guests.

• Never played board games with his kids or as a family, despite their and my repeated requests. It’s one of the boys’ favorite activities and he would simply walk away, saying he didn’t enjoy these games.

• Rarely played football or baseball with the boys, despite their interest in sports. He never joined my family when we played any team sport together with the boys. Despite having coached little league when he lived in another state, Satan never coached his own children or volunteered to help the coaches when they asked for assistance, until after he filed for divorce.

• Satan could not be counted on to provide basic childcare in my absence. On the rare occasions when I was away for a work meeting, the boys would eat lunch in the late afternoon—if they ate at all. On one occasion, I arrived home at 4PM to discover that our youngest son had not only not had lunch—but that he had tried to cut an orange for himself with a butter knife unsupervised. He was four. On another occasion, I arrived home after 8PM, following the funeral of a very dear family friend, to find that the boys had not yet had supper. On Tuesday, December 30th, Satan picked the boys up at 9AM for the day (I fed them breakfast at 8:30). Satan then drove home and worked throughout the day. Our youngest asked for lunch at noon, but Satan did not stop to feed the boys until 3PM. The boys returned home that night at 7PM without having had dinner.

• Satan did not support basic child play. The boys were not allowed to use sidewalk chalk on the driveway, as it was “too messy”. When the boys were given chalk, he immediately threw it away. The boys never had a swing set in the back yard or a designated play space—even when space and finances allowed for it. During long car rides, Satan would often demand complete silence from the boys and I—we were very rarely allowed to sing along with the radio.

• I requested repeatedly that Satan back down on his workload and spend more quality time with the family. He would not—even when we were on vacation, he would continue to work (sometimes for the entire duration of the day). His distance from his family was not by necessity; it was by choice.

SATAN AS A HUSBAND:

• From the very beginning of our relationship, I had never been anything but supportive of Satan’s time away from us. I fully understood that parents needed time away to recharge. However, Satan very rarely offered me that same courtesy--only once during the entire course of our ten-year marriage did he kiss me and wish me a good time. On the contrary, he made me feel guilty for leaving the children behind, going so far as to tell me that I was abandoning my children and was a “pathetic mother”. It was not uncommon for me to only spend a night out with friends once every year or two.

• Throughout our marriage, I would frequently get compliments about the boys and my parenting abilities. Rather than offer any sort of supporting, complimentary words, in private, Satan would get angry that no one ever offered him those kinds of compliments.

• Satan repeatedly left the house without informing us of his whereabouts. He made it clear that he could come and go as he pleased, and that it was not OK to question this. Though, on the other hand, it was not OK to make plans for myself without his consent. He made it so unpleasant for me to approach him with these requests that I simply avoided social invitations rather than deal with his anger, his accusations, or his rude comments about my friends. Even something as trivial and lighthearted as having my Dad suggest everyone go out for ice cream in the summer of 2008, after an evening of playing football with the kids (while Satan worked in his office) angered Satan, who expressed that it was not OK that he wasn’t consulted before the suggestion was made.

• From the time that our twins were born, I woke up with the boys every weekend morning and kept them entertained while Satan slept. He woke early on occasion to attend events, but never once cared for the boys in the morning so that I could get some rest—even when I was responsible for late night feedings.

• Even when I was sick, Satan did not relieve me of my parenting duties. I was still expected to care for our children.

• When I received a phone call that my grandfather passed away, Satan only told me that he wouldn’t drive me to the funeral. He never said that he was sorry about the news or gave me a hug.

• When our youngest was approximately 1-½ years old, we took a family vacation to Disney World. We did not have room to pack a stroller, but I assumed we would be able to rent one there. When we arrived at our hotel, Satan announced that they were outrageously expensive and we would not be able to rent one. When we arrived at Disney World, I discovered that rentals were 11 or 12 dollars and assumed he had received some inaccurate information. When I asked if we could rent one, he said no. He then snapped at me for my disappointment at having to carry our son—which I did for the nearly 8 hours we spent there that day. I cried as I walked into the "Happiest Place on Earth." Also while at Disney World, and after the late evening fireworks display, I suggested that we take the boys somewhere and get them something to eat for dinner—they had only had popcorn since lunch. Satan was angry that I felt it was necessary to feed the boys’ dinner, considering they had just eaten a box of popcorn, and didn’t speak to me that evening. He did go to the gas station to purchase bread and lunch meat.

• While attending a wedding for a former college classmate of mine, Satan became drunk and made increasingly rude comments about me in front of my friends. He became belligerent and I was so embarrassed, I insisted we leave. We were supposed to have stayed at a hotel near the reception with friends, but he demanded that we drive home immediately. He would not give me the keys. In the car, he berated me for two hours for not having given him enough attention and at one point, rolled down his window and threw his wedding ring out of the moving car. He raped me that night. I took me a long time to understand what it really was, because it was not violent and he was my husband. But the fact remained, I asked him to stop - twice - and he did not. And I was too physically and emotionally exhausted to fight him off.

• Satan tightly controlled our finances. While he would wear designer labels, the majority of my wardrobe consisted of my sisters’ hand-me-downs and gifts from my family. He left me in such dire straights when he walked out, that I actually started borrowing my kids' t-shirts.

• After Satan announced the divorce, I learned that he had met with our interior design team (with regard to our build) before our initial joint meeting. He apparently made it very clear that he was the sole decision maker on the project and that all decisions would have to go through him.

• In the summer of 2008, Satan again made a comment that devalued my contribution to our family (I was the sole child care provider and maintained the home entirely on my own). When I told him how hurtful the comment was and how important I believed my role was in supporting our family, he told me that I shouldn’t be offended, that I was dispensable, and—should something ever happen to me—a nanny could care for the boys. I was shocked by his statement, but Satan told me that I shouldn’t be; he told me that it should be a relief to know that I could be replaced, and that he wished he were dispensable so that he didn’t have to carry the weight of supporting our family.

OUR CHILDREN:

Over several years leading up to our separation, I increasingly noticed:

• The boys were happy/excited when we would drop Satan off at the airport for a business trip, but were subdued/deflated when it was time to pick him up.

• The boys seem to be relieved when we attended school and sporting events on our own, and seem disappointed on the occasions when he joined us.

• When the boys wanted something they believed Satan might not support (like violin lessons through the school), the boys would ask that I approach Satan with the request. They did not want to ask him directly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nooblette

wow BlackBird :( thats a lot of sad there.

thanks for sharing all of it though, I appreciate learning and getting to know you better.

Sometimes I think painful things are so horrible maybe it doesn't do any good to share, but my mom just told me about a program on the history channel about a Auschwitz survivor, and he said that those who had died had asked him to "not forget"

And sometimes I think thats the way with these stories, yeah they're awful, but I think you owe it to that young woman who got raped by her shitface husband, to share her story and not forget her. Even if you're not that person anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
blackbird

I think forgetting means denying the experiences that shaped who you are today. For myself, I just want to find a way to remember my past without allowing it power over me, without feeling overwhelmed by shame and guilt. I do think I'm getting there.

And yes, he was a shitface husband.

Thanks, Nooblette.

BB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
StartinOver
Hello, all.

I stumbled into your site two nights ago and was saddened to read your stories; so many of them seemed so eerily familiar. I only wish I had discovered your forum earlier. Maybe, in an anonymous environment such as this, I would have found the courage to share my story and leave years ago.

I met my abuser just two months shy of my college graduation. Of course, he seemed charming and attentive at the time, but it didn’t last. Still, I married him; it seemed I was always willing to create excuses for his oppressive behavior.

I survived 11 years of emotional, verbal, financial, and, at times, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the man that was supposed to love me most. Worse, we have three beautiful children that were witness to both his behavior and my inability to stand up to him. Throughout our marriage, he routinely belittled me in front of my family and friends, raged at me in front of the kids, isolated me from those I loved, and convinced me that I was worthless and powerless to change my circumstances.

I alternately stayed at home with our children and worked outside of the home, depending on what he seemed to think my priority should be at that particular moment in time. I was expected to ask permission before purchasing anything greater than a gallon of milk (he told me he monitored our bank balances daily) and I had no transportation of my own until the final 6 months of our marriage.

I asked repeatedly that we attend counseling, not knowing that that would have been a terrible idea, given our dynamic. He never consented. He didn’t believe in counseling, didn’t believe he had a problem, and often told me that our strained relationship was my fault. “You reap what you sow,” he would tell me.

He was a hands-off dad. He engaged with the kids only when their activities were of interest to him. Most often, he chose to stay on the periphery of their lives, never attending parent-teacher conferences, doctor’s appointments, or sitting with us at the table for dinner. He inserted himself when he needed to exact some discipline (which often had more to do with his own mood, than with our children’s behavior) and to make cutting remarks that certainly made them question their own abilities.

For years I wanted to leave, but I just didn’t know how. I was too ashamed to share what was happening behind closed doors and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to support my children on my own. (He told me numbers of times that I would never receive a penny from him if I left. In fact, he once ordered me to leave my debit card on the counter and get out - in front of our kids.)

Then it happened.

In June of 2008, he insisted I stop freelancing. I did.

In August of 2008, he left the house without a word and did not return. I awoke to find an email from him the next morning stating his intent to file for divorce. (Seriously, who divorces by email?) I replied that, while I was disappointed that he chose to make this sort of pronouncement over email, I hoped that we would work together to make this as easy on our kids as possible. He replied, “I hate you so much, I doubt any of this will be easy. Do not talk to the kids, I don’t want you feeding them another line of your bull$#!%.”

While I was panicked about how I would navigate the immediate future, more than anything, I felt the most overwhelming sense of relief. It was finally over.

I called my best friend, and then my family. Everyone rallied around me.

In his rush to leave, my husband left all of his financial files in our home. What a blessing that turned out to be. My dad insisted that I go straight to Office Depot to buy toner and paper and that, each night after the kids were asleep, I photocopy as much as I could. I did. And what I discovered only proves that truth is stranger than fiction.

In the 5-1/2 weeks between his departure and our first temporary hearing, $170,000 disappeared. I, however, had to call my parents to take me grocery shopping.

I discovered that he had started an affair shortly before he left; their $4,000 first date included a charter flight to dinner. He then hired this young woman and used her to hide money. He also lavished her with expensive jewelry, trips, and spa days. Meanwhile, I was wearing my sisters’ hand-me-downs, and had been for years.

After a handful of these 3 am “Nancy Drew” moments, I was hooked. While I had confidence in my attorney, I could never have afforded the kind of time I put in myself (at least 2,000 hours). Besides, while she was an expert on the law, I was an expert on my husband. Only I would be able to discern what seemed reasonable and normal, and what was not.

When I was not caring for our kids, keeping our house ready for showings, or looking for employment, I was working on my case. I suppose in a strange way, it was my husband’s abusive behavior that created his own worst enemy. During our marriage, it wasn’t unusual for me not to spend a night out with friends for a year or two. So, when I needed to pour through his discovery documents month after month without relief, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. Besides, my case was turning out to be so outrageously ridiculous, I didn’t need to look elsewhere for entertainment.

How, exactly?

When his relationship ended three months after it began, he consoled himself with a night at a downtown strip club to the tune of $12,000. He was there with a friend and his brother. He then hired his brother at $100,000/year, plus commissions to continue diverting money. Never mind that his brother was still employed full-time on a factory assembly line and had absolutely no sales or related-industry experience (or even an ability to form complete sentences).

He committed tax fraud, mortgage fraud, and too many counts of perjury and false statements to count.

Last fall, he and his brother were both terminated from employment at the same time (suspicious?), and he was relieved of his $1,500/month child support obligation altogether.

I battled hard on the issues of custody and placement, but, after taking a parenting class and “successfully” completing anger management therapy, he was awarded 50/50 custody. I wish I had told someone about what was happening during our marriage - maybe it would have changed the outcome. Everyone seemed to agree that he was a bad guy, just not bad enough. I couldn’t document anything; all I had was my word. (At trial however, he testified that he never agreed with the therapy recommendation. Um, don’t you need to recognize that you have a problem before you can change your behavior? He deceived the therapist and I’m hoping his testimony will open the door to a revised custody and placement arrangement. Cross your fingers.)

Two months ago and through a private investigator, we made contact with his former girlfriend. She agreed to cooperate with us.

My trial was on January 14th. After my husband delivered 3 hours of false testimony, we called her. They had no idea she was coming. What a moment that was! The young woman took the stand and delivered the most powerful and moving story I’ve ever heard and I will always be grateful for her courage. So many people had the opportunity to come forward, but said they didn’t want to get involved. She was the unlikeliest source of support and, through her cooperation, she restored my faith in people’s ability to do the right thing. (And no, I was never angry with her. I knew my husband was a predator and prayed from the beginning that she realized it early on and was able to escape before she threw her life away.)

Throughout her testimony, I was stunned to see that my husband was completely unremorseful and, in fact, showed absolutely no reaction whatsoever. If ever I needed additional convincing that he was antisocial, narcissistic, or both, that was the moment that tipped the scale. The man has no conscience.

On January 26th, we went back to court for the judge’s decision. Only child support and attorney’s fees remained to be decided, and those decisions were both made in my favor. More importantly, the judge called my now ex’s testimony the most egregious he’d seen in a civil case in his 20+ years on the bench. He then told him that, from this point forward, he would cooperate fully and honestly, or he would go to jail. After so many months of having to play our cards so close to the chest, it was such a relief to watch the moment unfold and for the judge to deliver such a strong message.

I am now coming out from under the nightmarish haze that was my marriage and divorce and am buoyed by the incredible support I’ve received from family and friends, as well as the team that helped me through the last 18 months, including the most incredible attorney, paralegal, and legal assistant a girl could hope for; my own wonderful counselor; my children’s therapist who, I swear, is the most huggable man on Earth; and a private investigator with a very wry sense of humor.

This was the hardest dang thing I’ve ever been through, but I am so grateful for it. For too long, I allowed someone to treat me like I was worthless and incapable of doing anything successfully. Through this process, I learned that that was never the case. I beat him at his own game and discovered I was stronger than I ever dreamed.

I’m excited about my future. My children and I laugh louder and smile more, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×