BETHESDA, Maryland, October 12, 2014 — Laura* is a survivor of domestic violence and pathological abuse living, raising her son and recovering in Australia.
This is my story, one I wanted to share with you all. A story of heartache, strength and a fight for my life and my mind. I am a domestic violence survivor; I am still on my path to healing. Everyday is a big struggle, but I hope this gives hope and encouragement to others on their plight to freedom from abuse and the strength to stand up for what is morally right and for what you deserve – peace.
I met my abuser eight years ago in 2006. I stayed with my abuser for seven years; it was seven years of hell, a nightmare I would never wish upon anyone. I fight to keep my mind, my sanity and to save my son.
At first, my abuser seemed like every woman’s dream. He was charming, standing at 6-foot-4. He could and would charm the pants off anyone he met. Later, I found out he is a con man and very good at what he does.
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I was his princess. He made me feel safe and let me know he was my protector and that I was to trust him and no one else, that people were jealous of what we had and would try to break us. He set out to destroy me completely.
I was isolated from family and friends and was made to rely completely on him. I was completely in love with my abuser, and I would do anything for him.
While dating my abuser, I was going through a divorce. My abuser kept my divorce in court for six long years, making me fight for full custody of my daughter. Once I had full custody, my abuser made me give her to her father, which completely broke me.
From my divorce, I walked out with a huge house settlement. My abuser used and gambled all my money. He beat me and locked me in rooms, passages, outside – whatever it took. I was thrown through windows, choked until I passed out, and my belongings were smashed on a daily basis, especially photos of my children.
He would keep me awake 24-hours a day by throwing coffee or food at walls or banging the bed while I slept. I was kept on edge constantly. He mentally abused me to the point that I did not know who or what was doing this to me anymore. He had filled my mind with so much that I did not know where to run, where to go or who to trust.
My life became an unbearable mess and my heart ached for my little girl. To add to my confusion, he would constantly tell me he had no conscience and that I was stronger than he thought. We have a little boy together. My son is now three and has not seen his father for over two years,
The nightmare got worse when I fell pregnant with my son. At seven months pregnant, I found out my abuser has hepatitis b and c. I was devastated and scared for me and my son.
My ex is a methamphetamine addict and kept me wrapped up in his chaos while he secretly substance abused; until one day when I found him with a needle, called the police and had him arrested.
Unfortunately, I was charmed once again, dropped the charges and went back to my abuser. I loved him and simply thought I could not live without him. I was being controlled so badly; I blamed everyone else and was convinced that it was not his fault.
Now, let me tell you a bit about my abuser’s past life, things I found out after our relationship.
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He has no family, he gambled his mother’s home and all her assets, ripped her off to the point that the public trustee stepped in, took his mother from every family member and placed her in a home where she died alone. He beat his mother and mentally tortured her. He tried to drown his sister; his family has never forgiven him.
He left his hometown after owing many people money, including drug dealers and people he ripped off so he could gamble. He gambled thousands of dollars a day. He was arrested in for running around the streets naked on methamphetamines and for many other illegal criminal activities. He has done this in the past to other women who are still hiding from him in other states.
I was targeted; it’s that simple.
My abuser has a paranoid and psychotic mind. He would pull apart every ceiling fan, light switch and power point, because he thought the house was bugged. Once, I left him. When I went back, he had cut holes in the ceiling to hide. He lives always looking behind him; he has ripped off people everywhere. What sort of nightmare are me and my son involved in?
He is a very good con man. It always amazed me how he could just con and get money from anyone. My abuser is involved in gangs and often used them to threaten me. I prayed for a way out and to awaken from this nightmare. I even packed all my important documents and a couple emergency bags into my car and slept with my car keys in my pocket, in case I had to grab my son and go quickly.
Then my abuser stopped going to work and was with me constantly, 24-hours a day, to make sure I did not leave. He would take my son for over 20 walks a day trying to keep my baby away from me, trying to break our bond. I would cook all day or sit in the bath – anything to keep my mind busy and from going crazy. My life was an unbearable mess; I prayed for God to save us.
One night when it was raining, I knew he would not take my son in the rain. So I waited until very late at night, just before the shops would shut and emptied the carton of milk down the sink. I knew he would want a coffee, so he had to go the shop to get milk. My opportunity to escape was finally here, because I knew he would not take our child in the rain. I was not leaving without my baby.
I had five minutes to grab everything for the baby and run. I rang my parents, and I fled as fast as I could. I stayed for a few weeks with my family. They were loving and supportive, but my mind was so mentally destroyed that I did not trust them or their motives. He filled my head with so much, so I went to a shelter and lived there for over a year with my son.
Still, to this day, I long for my abuser. I was controlled to the point that I still cannot break from him mentally. I still love him, and I know I will never love anyone as much as I loved him. I have no contact with him but find myself looking for him. I find I still want to run back to him. But I do not run back.
Last year, he tried three times to steal my son. There is a restraining order against him. He also tried to buy a gun to shoot me. He will not let me go. I am under the police family safety network and live with phones and alarms installed in my home that go straight to the police. I live now in fear, because he will never stop. This is not about my son; it’s about someone who wants to control and destroy me and will stop at nothing until he does.
I made a promise to my little boy. I broke down, sat on the floor the first night in the shelter and promised my baby that I would guard him with my life. I still am. His father is trying for full custody; I am fighting for my son. My abuser is gas lighting, manipulating and projecting onto me in family court and in magistrates court as the police are prosecuting him.
I am standing up for me. I have learned that no one else will, that no one will come to save us and that no one will be there to help us. It is something we must do alone. I have grown to trust no one but myself.
I live with with PTSD and have many panic attacks on a daily basis. Some days I still hide from the world and refuse to come out of my home. I no longer menstruate, and the doctors have said it is because of the trauma. My body can not cope. I was told by the shelter that I have Stockholm Syndrome and that I am addicted to my abuser.
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Despite all of this, I have not given up, but everyday is a struggle and mentally exhausting. I am soldiering on the best way I can. I take one day at a time; that is all I can do right now.
Thank you for reading my story. I hope that it brings awareness to the reality of domestic violence and how hard we fight every single day just to be alive. I thank God that my feet are still on the ground and that I am still here.
And when you judge me thinking that every child deserves the right to see both parents, remember sometimes that is not the case. Children should be protected from harm. My heart breaks daily for my son. I want him to be loved by his father but not at the cost of him being destroyed. I am his voice; I am his protector; he is my life.
Each day during the month of October, column author Paula Carrasquillo will feature a story written by a survivor of domestic violence. At the end of October, a compilation of all stories will be available for free as an e-book.
*All names have been changed to protect the survivor and the survivor’s family and friends.