BETHESDA, Maryland, October 24, 2014 — Yvette* is a survivor of pathological abuse and domestic violence living and raising her family in The United States.
I was working on my Ph.D. and on my way to getting a job with a forensics lab. It was my dream come true. All that was missing was a special partner to share my life with. I was also getting anxious to have kids. I was in good shape physically and financially and an open, loving person.
We met online and he asked me lots of questions. I thought this showed a good interest. He was funny, and it seemed like we had a lot in common. He pegged me right away as a motherly, compassionate sort.
When we first met, he was “nervous”. After dinner and talking for several hours, he stated he did not want to leave me. He said he just wanted to hold me for the night – no sex. I thought that was so romantic.
He knew I loved to travel and that I did volunteer work. He would buy candy and pop for construction workers and McDonald’s for homeless people. He came over almost every day, driving an hour and a half each way. He proposed to me (with a cheap ring from Walmart I found out later) in the rain in my front yard and down on his knees. He had a big flowery speech prepared. I thought he was so romantic, and he was not pushing me to have sex with him.
He called me all the time and constantly gave me compliments. He sure had me pegged. I was not much into material things, but I was into time and attention. That is what he gave. Also, 9/11 occurred right at the beginning, and it really affected me. I really questioned my priorities and decided I really wanted a family more than anything. He talked me into moving with him, because he got fired from his job. I gave up my Ph.D. (and my master’s degree as I had been accepted into the Ph.D. program just before completing my master’s thesis. So I did not receive either degree).
Once I was engaged to him, he knew I considered myself already married. He exploited my fabulous credit by purchasing three motorcycles and a truck. Once I was caught by all the debt, he started staying at his home more and more, and the phone calls were fewer and fewer. I started getting worried. He was also letting a female “friend” stay with him. I later found out that this “friend” thought they were going to get married and that she also owned the house he was renting. He started telling me that he was not attracted to me anymore because of my body. Although I knew my body was fine, I started feeling insecure.
He acted like I hurt him and made me feel guilty if I asked him questions about the stories he had told about his past that did not make sense. He said he was a born-again Christian, was a former pre-med student and was an architect/estimator. Turns out, all of that was false except for the estimator part. He actually lied about most of his past, only sharing partial truths. He kept me off balance on a roller coaster in a drama-filled fog. I never knew when he would be mad and distant with me, and I would get worried and try to “fix” it. He would say little things that made me think I was not good enough and that he was having second thoughts. I was focused on my goal, I was engaged and I did not want to lose him. I never really had time to think about things as everything was so topsy-turvy all the time.
I always tried to do everything he wanted me to do. He was never into the intimate part of marriage, so the children we had agreed to start having right away never happened. He would say I was too depressed to be a mom or not a good enough whatever. It always changed for the reason why I could not be a mom.
However, God provided, and I know exactly when my blessed daughter was conceived. After I got pregnant, the control got worse. He bought a house and claimed he was single, so my name was not on the title. He trashed my car and would not let me replace it. He opened a new bank account and would not let me have access to any money. He moved us away from all my family and friends and my job as an instructor at a Community College where they were letting me work based on my coursework and forgiving that I did not officially have my master’s degree.
The control was horrid, and he was now drinking and not home much. I tried marriage counseling, but it only made him have new ammunition to hurt me. My life went from being an open and loving person to being disassociated from normality. I would be around people and feel that they were in reality but that I was not. I hated my life.
He spent all the money, and we were always in debt. My wonderful credit was trashed as he never paid for any of the vehicles he had purchased, and they had to be repossessed. He stole my credit cards (which I never used) and maxed them out. I was even unable to start paying back my student loans. I had never been in debt before, and now I could not afford to eat.
He would have a fit if I shared anything about this with anyone. I could not talk on the phone without him listening. He kept getting mad at my parents, so I could not go see them unless they came and got me as I had no vehicle or money and they were two hours away. I could not talk to my friends unless they called me and could not share anything of what was happening to me.
I felt horrible about myself and hopeless about my situation. Once my daughter was conceived, I focused all hope on her and my faith started growing. I was no longer depressed and thought I could live with a cheating and controlling person, because I did not believe in divorce. Even that was hopeless, so I just prayed about it. The more my faith grew, the more horrible he acted.
I could not tell anyone until a complete stranger started reacting to stuff I thought of as normal but was really abusive. Then my best friend started calling me during the day when he was not home, and I started asking her what she thought about things. That was when I started seeking help.
I contemplated suicide, but I could never try it as I could not hurt my parents like that. He was always trying to talk me into it however. I self-medicated with food. I did not care how my body looked any longer.
My biggest challenge has been getting over the guilt of what I put my family, especially my daughter, through by choosing to be involved with that man. Also, trusting myself to choose another person to date has been really tough. It’s been since 2008, and I am only now starting to try dating.
I have gone through counseling with a domestic abuse counselor and a christian counselor. I have grown in my faith, which has healed me from most of the issues. The fear was the biggest thing.
My best advice to others going through this is to regain your perspective. The toxic life is not what you chose and thought you would be getting when you entered the relationship. It is not selfish to want to be treated respectfully and lovingly. I would also recommend going to a local abuse counselor immediately for help and advice on getting away. You have one shot at it. Do not give any clues that you are leaving. Otherwise, your abuser will stop you. Do not worry about what you take but get birth certificates, social security cards and pictures. Anything of sentimental value or that you or the children need must go as you will never see it again unless it is useful for manipulation later. Cut ties completely, right away as far as you can. Get a custody analysis done and make sure they do more than the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory). They need to do at least six types of analyses to uncover the psychopath. I had fifteen done by one forensic psychiatrist, and it showed everything. Make sure you get a good psychiatrist for the evaluation and count on God to help you out financially. He will. Know that you are worthwhile and not what you have been brainwashed to think.
I have since found out that the my ex was committed to mental health facilities several times and has a long mental illness and criminal background. He is, according to the forensic psychiatrist, a highly functioning and devious person. He is also a pedophile and has abused our daughter. However, he has extensive experience with the court system and knows how to manipulate things. He got rid of the judge that pegged him and got one that is a father’s rights advocate. He also managed to change the judge’s mind from going with supervised visits only to liberal unsupervised visitation. He got out of what was going to be a founded child abuse report for sexual abuse in just a phone call.
Also, he killed a fireman who was on the scene of an accident by speeding in the closed off lane and hitting the fireman over the traffic, over the median and onto the other side of the freeway. In that one, he got the reckless driving ticket removed and the county attorney said that everyone drives recklessly, so he should not be penalized for it. No jail time and only a ticket due to having a plate for another vehicle on the car.
I have been fighting to save my daughter and done everything I could do legally. She hates her father and has admitted she has tried to kill him by choking him on the neck (fortunately he did not know what she was doing). She has lots of anger issues and has to see a special child psychiatrist with extensive treatment skills. When he killed the fireman, he did not have visitation for a while; and she did so well, that she was released from treatment altogether.
She was doing very well. So when he wanted visits, I just ignored him. I gambled he would go away, but he took me for contempt just before the year was up. I admitted to it and did not get in trouble, but she had to do some make up visits. These were hard on her, and she has been getting worse and worse. She refuses to talk about what makes her so mad and hateful towards him. I do know she says it all comes out on me, because she is afraid she will get in trouble if he thinks she does not like him.
Phone conversations with her there are strained; because if we talk about anything but what she has been doing and the weather, he hangs up the phone. He records all conversations and makes her use the speakerphone. He refuses to let me talk to her most of the time. She is terrified of him also. She feels really bad, because she says she is the only kid at school who hates weekends and summer. She wants to go to school every day so he can never see her. It is heartbreaking.
I could go on forever about the lies this man has told and what he has done. He is a horrible and evil person and is working on getting his next target in control, which will be number eight. He has already been divorced again since I left him. He has left us all financially destitute. I wish he could be stopped.
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.