I am 36 years old. I’m a mom with 2 kids. I’ve endured systematic, mental and emotional abuse for the last 10 years. This is my story.
The man I started dating 10 years ago turned out to be someone completely different than the person I thought he was.
I had just left an extremely mentally, emotionally and physically abusive relationship and this new person was supposed to help me. He was supposed to support me and love me. That was not what happened. He used what I shared with him about my past relationship to keep me prisoner for almost 6 years. This is how.
Within the first couple months of dating, I knew something was off. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew something was definitely off. Being such an honest person, sometimes too honest, I remember telling him I felt something was off. He reassured me everything was fine and that maybe I was just having a bad day. I second guessed myself and tried to shrug it off. That feeling never went away.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of this, it’s to trust your God-given intuition and if you feel something is not right, LEAVE. Don’t talk yourself into staying. You shouldn’t ever have to talk yourself into being with someone.
I had a 3 year old daughter from a previous relationship and no contact with her father, so I came into it as a single mother, working 3 part time jobs to make ends meet.
In the new relationship that I had entered into, he told me all kinds of stories about his life from day one.
He told me that his Grandfather had passed away leaving him an inheritance. He gave such great detail to explain how he used that money to purchase tools and start his own business. That it was to make hidden compartments for vehicles for hunting and fishing gear, and that eventually the Hell’s Angels caught wind of it and people started throwing him “large sums of money” to make compartments for their vehicles. Indicating they were for transporting drugs illegally. He said he didn’t want to know, so he didn’t ask. He just kept supplying as they were asking. Then told me how he had a 50’ yacht, and a mansion, that wasn’t in his name, but was in an Hell’s Angels member’s name and he was paying them to live there. Then he told me of the destruction in his life. How his relationship had ended and his ex girlfriend took all the money, draining the bank accounts and stole everything from him, including clothing. He said he lost the house, and the Hell’s Angels had bought the yacht from him for a few million dollars, and it was sitting in a shipyard because they wouldn’t pay him the money and he was angry about it. One night he said he was going to go visit them at the shipyard to demand he get his money, and he came back a few hours later, with his hoodie torn, and blood on his fist and his face. He said they beat him up and told him to take a hike and that he wouldn’t be seeing any of the money.
By the time month 3 rolled around, I was a stay at home mom, and my boyfriend was working full time, encouraging me to stay at home with my daughter. For that I was thankful.
Things started to change. I would pull back emotionally because that off feeling never went away, and he knew when I would pull away. I’m not a very good liar or very good at hiding things, so it’s usually pretty obvious when something is bothering me.
When he sensed my pulling away, things started to happen. First it was his depression because of things happening in his life. Then more depression because he confided in me of some abuse he had suffered, and then started having episodes of seizures and passing out. Continually. This went on for months. Looking back at it, I can’t even tell you if they were real. I remember the feeling I got when they would happen. I felt it in my gut. That feeling you can’t explain but it almost makes you sick. Like you know something is just OFF. I felt like I was slowly being sucked into a vortex of emotional manipulation and I didn’t know how to get out because I’m a caring person. Because it wasn’t blatant, I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t, and I was in a constant state of confusion trying to make sense out of everything. I would overthink everything and second guess everything I felt and thought. So I stayed. I stayed because he would constantly make me feel sorry for him. Always playing on my sympathy.
Then I started to catch him lying. One morning I got up and went into the living room, and saw he was on the laptop. I then realized it was MY laptop. He had somehow gotten into it. I questioned him on why he was on my laptop, and then he pretended to be all sleepy and said “what?… I thought this was my laptop.”, and then he started having a seizure and passed out. Honestly, I think it was fake. All of it.
He proposed to me on our first anniversary and told me he wanted to get married on our second anniversary. He is not very good at hiding surprises and I knew he was going to propose long before he did. I felt like I had been punched in the gut the entire night and was dreading it. But I felt trapped. When he finally proposed, I knew down to my core he was NOT the person I should marry, but I heard myself say yes. It wasn’t because I loved him. It was because he had somehow convinced me to think I was stuck and couldn’t get out. The way he trapped me wasn’t blatant. It was slow, it was calculated, and it was mentally sick.
He was terrified that I was going to cheat on him. I don’t know why he had this fear, maybe because he said his last girlfriend had cheated, but he was so paranoid about it, I couldn’t have any male friends. He somehow had a lack of trust for me, however I had never given him a reason not to trust me. As much as I didn’t want to be in the relationship and I felt like a prisoner, I never cheated. With how much his issues consumed my life, I wouldn’t have been able to even if I wanted to. It was draining.
Eventually the seizure episodes turned into more depression, and constant threats of suicide. All the while I was trying to leave. Always trying to leave. Feeling helpless as a single mom not working and nowhere to go if I left, I was a dependant. At one point, I found him in the office with a bottle of Advil beside him and writing an apparent suicide note. By this time, I could clearly see the emotional manipulation and I told him, “You know what, if you’re going to do it, go ahead and do it!”. That was because I knew he was bluffing. He was just manipulating me to make me stay and I saw through it. He had been acting like a child does. I always felt like I had another child to take care of, and I stopped responding to his emotional manipulation. He would go through a range of emotions to try and elicit a response from me. First sadness, when that didn’t work, depression and a “poor me” attitude. When that didn’t work, anger. Then complete coldness and trying to turn it on ME and make it like I was the one with the problem.
Not long after we got engaged, I started thinking about planning the wedding for the following year, and then I couldn’t do it. I knew it wasn’t right and I called it off. He was so upset at me, told me how betrayed he felt. Made me feel bad for it, and didn’t offer any understanding as to my reasons for it at all. Just played the victim.
One day on the way to church, he clearly didn’t want to go with us but got in the car. We were driving there and all of a sudden he got really angry about going and then pulled the e-brake of my car really hard, causing us to fishtail all over the road and I nearly lost control of the car. When we had stopped, he had this darkness over his face and got right in my face, speaking very low and evil sounding said, “I’m going to go step in front of a semi and kill myself and it will be all your fault.” Meanwhile my daughter was screaming and crying hysterically in the back seat.
I never trusted him. My intuition told me he couldn’t be trusted. I second guessed everything he said, but I couldn’t accuse him of lying because I didn’t have proof, so I continued to talk myself out of thinking the things I did and continue on, knowing I was stuck.
I logged into his iCloud account one day because of how much I didn’t trust him, and in his contacts list, he had 4 guys names and numbers whom I had been friends with in the past, as well as his Hell’s Angels contact “Tony” listed, with his own phone number!! So that every time “Tony” would message, it was because my fiance was sending messages to himself and then showing me it was from Tony. I had left my old sim cards from years previous, in the living room and that is where he got the contacts from. He had gone so far as to apparently research these people and had an updated number for one of them I didn’t even have!
He was on short term disability from work because he used his depression to get him out of going to work a full time job. We were hurting for income and he refused to go and get another job when we were running out of money and couldn’t pay bills. Kept telling me that he was worth a certain dollar amount and wouldn’t take any job that wouldn’t pay him as much as he thought he deserves.
I have worked 3 part time jobs just to make ends meet and take care of my child because you do what you have to. He didn’t see it that way. So, I did what I had to do. I went and got myself a job as a sales rep for Mary Kay, working from home. I would book meetings and go and attend them.
I had left to go on a meeting one day, and as he was at home he stayed with my daughter while I went to meetings. My meeting cancelled not long after I left and I returned home sooner than expected. When I went in the house my daughter who was 4, was in the house alone and I asked her where he was. She said he was in the office with the door locked. I went to the office and tried the door. He didn’t respond so I unlocked the door and opened it. He was sitting at the computer with headphones on, masturbating to porn. I was so angry and disgusted, I felt sick to my stomach. I told him to get out. He went out on to the front lawn and had a seizure (or pretend one) and then spent hours texting me apologies. I have the whole conversation still. At the end of it, he actually was angry at ME for not forgiving him! Also using my religion as a reason I should forgive him.
It was at this point that we hadn’t slept together in nearly a year, and I was determined to finally leave. This was at almost the 2 year mark. I was looking for places for my daughter and I to move to, and somehow he found out about it. I then started to receive text messages from an anonymous number “1234567890” and I was made to believe they were from the dad of my oldest child who had suddenly resurfaced, installed audio devices and cameras into the house and was demanding that I sexually gratify my current partner in all kinds of ways, with violent death threats should I not comply. The death threats were made toward myself, and my daughter, and it was from 4 months of this happening every day, that I conceived my youngest daughter. During this time he would continually tell me that he didn’t want to contact any of the Hell’s Angels members he knew unless he absolutely had to, because in his words, when you use them, you owe them something in return, and he didn’t want to owe them anything.
He also had told me over time that he’d seen the Hell’s Angels shoot and kill a close friend of his, and gave me the whole story about what it was like, and even shed tears for this friend and told how it messed him up for a long time afterward.
With these text messages I was getting, I kept saying I wanted to go to the police. He kept telling me I should keep doing what “he” says. My gut knew it wasn’t this other ex from the past, but I had no proof and was too terrified to do anything. I endured 4 months of daily marital rape. Even in the texts that I was receiving, there was one that came in that stated “You lay there while he basically rapes you”.
It wasn’t violent, it was mentally sick and twisted how he did it. I ended up having to quit my job doing Mary Kay because I was too terrified to leave the house, and the texts continued until a couple months into my new pregnancy. We ended up moving, and the texts got worse and became more violent. We had moved into a condo and from our window there was another condo on the other side of the street whose windows ours faced. I was led to believe that since we moved and there were no longer cameras in the house, there were still audio listening devices. He told me all kinds of reasons “he” might be able to hear us. Such as, that maybe “he” was staying in one of the units across from us and could see us from the window and have a short-range listening device. There was conversation about him shooting at us and we should still continue to do what he wants. I was so filled with stress and was so distraught, I went to him one day sobbing, begging him to make it stop and said that it’s going to hurt me and hurt the baby. It was then he said he would “talk to Tony and see what he can do”. In the end, I was led to believe that “Tony” had sent Hell’s Angels members to beat up my other ex twice, and then eventually have him killed. The texts stopped. I knew it was my fiance. I just couldn’t prove it and was terrified of him because of what he could potentially be capable of.
I continued to feel like a prisoner of my life because I was now pregnant and needed support. I have a very small family and didn’t know where to go if I left with a 5 year old and was pregnant. I stayed, telling myself that after I gave birth I would leave somehow. It was nearly a year later and after the birth of my daughter that I received an inheritance from my Mother’s passing, and as I wanted to be stable, I put the majority of it as a down-payment on a house. I only wanted the house to be in my name since it was my money paying for it, however he bullied me and said his name was going to be on it too. I was too afraid to say no. Then he told me he wanted me to buy him a car to commute in. I suggested a reliable car under $5000 if it was for commuting like he said it was, and he went on to tell me how upset he would be if he didn’t have something fun to drive and that if he was upset it would affect the rest of the family. I also have a text of him stating “I think I’ve earned a car I will enjoy”. He also promised me that if we ever split up, I would get back what I put into the house. He also told me he needed a new laptop and demanded I buy him one for $1000.
I continued on in the new house, pouring myself into my children. I homeschooled my oldest for 3 years and then did preschool with my youngest for a year. I was teaching piano and started a home décor business, as well as throwing myself into health and fitness. I studied nutrition and was committed to my fitness routine and didn’t waiver from it. I was so miserable in the so-called relationship and felt prisoner, so I focused on my kids and myself to get me through it.
He was hardly a parent from day one. He would treat my oldest like she was a nuisance unless someone else was around, then he was the most loving dad of the year. My youngest, he would put on his lap while he played Call of Duty and other violent video games, or just watch youtube videos with her. I was the one who sat and played with her and read her books and invested time into her. He actually asked me to buy him earplugs once because he couldn’t stand the sound of the kids playing and being loud. He told me many times that he would have “sensory overload” and need to escape noise.
He kept pressuring me to get officially married, and I regret doing it. I felt like I was stuck in this life anyway, so I might as well give him the piece of paper he wanted. I went through the motions and had the smallest wedding possible. There was 25 people in attendance and we had no reception. That day, I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I was there but I felt numb. I wasn’t happy. Did I mention that I was the one who paid for the wedding? And my rings. I paid for everything from my inheritance. Also, in order to be able to purchase the house we bought, I had to pay off all his debt first in order to buy it. Which totaled around $5,000.
I tried to make the best out of my life because I felt like I wasn’t going to ever be able to leave. Almost 2 years later, I reached out to people for support. I so desperately wanted to leave. What I was continually told is that you only have one life and it’s far too short to waste it with the wrong person. Realizing that I kept telling myself that when my kids got older I would leave, and how wrong that thinking pattern was, I knew I couldn’t wait and I needed to get out.
He would tell me every once in a while that he had seen my other ex at random places.. such as, showing up to his work which was at a car dealership at the time, and giving me the whole story of how my other ex showed up in a blue Toyota Tacoma for servicing. When I asked him why “he” was there, he stated that he didn’t know. I questioned him further and said “If he was there for servicing there would be a work order, you could just look at it.” His reply, “Oh, well maybe it wasn’t him then.” Twice he told me my other ex had shown up at his work, and once while we were at church.
I started my plan to leave. Remember when I said when I pull away, it’s obvious to him? Well he knew I was up to something and for an entire week he stalked me. He messaged me constantly wanting to know my whereabouts at all times and even refused to let me go visit my dad once, using lack of money as an excuse. Then he sent me a text message asking if I had heard from my ex lately.. yes, the same ex who I was supposed to believe sent those anonymous texts FOUR years prior. It was then I caught him in a lie. He was trying to instill fear in me yet again by using my other ex as means to make me stay. He then said he didn’t want to go to jail for what he did (indicating because he had the Hell’s Angels kill my other ex). Interesting.. four years later this guy appears again and I’m supposed to believe that?
I made myself go talk to a duty counsel lawyer at the courthouse and explain the situation and she helped me get a protection order against him so I could leave. The same day, I had a friend come and help me get all the clothes for myself and my children out and some other important effects, and I left. Meanwhile, the moment I stopped responding to his texts, which was for maybe a couple hours, he had called all my family and friends to tell them this big sob story of how I took the kids, drained the bank account and left, making himself to look like a victim. I didn’t even get the chance to tell anyone in my life what was going on and he was already poisoning them. He didn’t have any friends or family and leeched off mine and my life. That’s what he was.. a leech. Came into my life with nothing and sucked the life out of me.
3 months into the protection order and separation, for some reason I thought that allowing him to see the children would be a good idea, because I had started talking to him again and he told me how much he had changed, how he had been going to counselling and church and really working hard on himself. He completely manipulated me and sucked me in emotionally to give him another chance. The children and I saw him occasionally and then a few months later I decided to go back and try again, because he kept begging me to let him show me how changed he was. We had sold the first house and I ended up agreeing to buy another house with him. It was a very short 6 weeks of living there that I knew I was making a very terrible mistake and as the 6 weeks still counted toward the one year of separation, it didn’t change the date of separation. I left again, he demanded half of my stuff, saying that he needed to have things for his own place when the children came to visit him. He demanded half the money from the house saying that he wanted a good place for the children. He never used the money for that. He came into the relationship with nothing and left with half my stuff. My stuff that my parents had bought for or given to me when I was first starting out on my own. My stuff that I had purchased with my own money over time from long before I met him. He manipulated me out of half of my stuff. I never felt strong enough to stand up to him because I didn’t know what he was capable of. He made threats to take away my kids and everything I have, a few times when I did try and stand up to him.
We have now been apart and divorced for the last 4 years. He found another woman who already had her own place and house full of stuff and a child of her own. They are now married. The control from him never stopped. He has continued to try and control my life, thinking he is privy to any information about my life that he wants, and throws the children in my face as a reason to get whatever information he wants. Saying that my life affects my children, and if it affects the children, he has a right to know about it. As the children have gotten older he is now emotionally abusing my children and manipulating them. Making them feel bad if they want to leave his house and come home to me. Both him and his wife wearing my children down until they feel like prisoners and have to stay in his house. He clearly has issues when it comes to people leaving him.
Because of his extreme mental and emotional instability, I do not and have not ever trusted him with my children. I fear for their safety, and I fear for my own safety. He is a real life Jekyll and Hyde and I fear the day something triggers him and he hurts us.