Domestic Violence: A Personal Story

As you all know by now, domestic violence is something I devote a good deal of time and space to on my blog. I want to try to reach as many people who need help as possible. And I know that sometimes, it helps more when you hear about someone else who has been there. Someone who has walked in your shoes and survived.

So today’s guest, Michelle Wright, has bravely offered up her story. She is a survivor and she tries to reach out and help those who need it – just like she did at one time.

This is my story. I stayed too long…don’t let it happen to you.  Michelle.

There are no other names in my story and some situations have been changed for reasons of protection.

Every day at least 3 women are killed by their partners or ex-partners in the US alone. In India a law passed to protect women from their abusive partners – this was as late as 2005. By 2007 only a handful of Indian states had complied. As of this date nothing has changed.

It’s called hearts and flowers.

Abusive men don’t beat you on the first date. They’re smart enough to know that it’s important to snare you in the web first, until you’re trapped and unable to move, and that takes as long as it needs to take – until they’ve succeeded. This was to be the case for me.

I met him unexpectedly and I wasn’t the stereotypical victim that some experts define as vulnerable, alone and weak. I was a strong independent single mother with my own home and a good job.

When he came into my life it was like a whirlwind. He swept me off my feet instantly and told me it was love at first sight and we were soul mates. I couldn’t resist his gentle charms and within weeks I had moved him out of his cramped one room apartment into my home and my life.

The fact that he had little money or belongings didn’t ring any alarm bells and I ignored the red flags as I slowly became blind to the truth. He had already manipulated me into feeling sorry for him. He was down on his luck, that’s all. It could happen to anyone.

We were married within a year and our wedding night was a disaster. Alcohol had always been a problem in our relationship. He drank and I didn’t. On the most important night in my life, he was too drunk to remember. I was so upset and thought I’d made a mistake even considering an annulment the next day, but changed my mind when he cried and apologised profusely.

Unbeknown to me he was planning his next move, to systematically remove me from all my friends and family and even my home and work. Against my better judgement we left the country for a new life somewhere else. It was there, away from everyone I knew and loved that the abuse began in earnest.

It started verbally, put downs and criticisms about the way I was disciplining my son who was around seven years old at the time. He became more angry and fuelled by alcohol. The abuse became a daily occurrence. Arguments were always about his drinking and the constant spending of money, depleting our bank account.

He didn’t work. I did though and the more I worked the more jealous he became, blaming me because he couldn’t find his way. Three months after settling he threw his first punch and blackened my eye. I was shocked and scared beyond belief. The next day he cried and apologised promising never to do it again.

What I didn’t realise was that by forgiving him I had given permission for the abuse to continue, and it did.  He broke things that were special to me as a way to really hurt me — my cell phone, precious ornaments, and a photo frame with a picture of my deceased mother. He pushed, shoved and threw me across the room.

One night he came into the bedroom after he’d been out drinking and hit me about the head with a photo frame. I was covered in glass. Even though I was cut and bleeding he screamed at me to clean it up. I was too scared to argue and did as he said.

Did I call the police? Yes, a few times but all they would do was give him a stern warning that if they had to come back they would arrest him. Once they asked me to come with them to make a statement. I did, hoping it would shock him into stopping. It worked — for about three months.

The cycle. Yes the facts are true; there is a cycle to abuse depending on the abuser. Mine would wind up like a clock until he was wound up so tight, he would explode. He would cause an argument giving him the leeway to storm out to the nearest bar to fill himself with the alcohol needed to come back and do what he had to do — abuse me.

No matter what time in the evening he would do this, my son and I were so scared we would run to bed and stay there. He had managed to install the fear needed to keep me hostage. I was powerless.

His threats were relentless:

If you leave me, I’ll kill you and kill myself.

I’ll make sure you leave here only in a box.

I will cut you up into little pieces.

If you leave, I will hunt you down until I find you. 

The worst thing was his constant finger tapping threat. He would sit at a table and tap his fingers repeating over and over again:

How much time do you have left, how much time?

I was desperately unhappy and lost, I didn’t know which way to turn and I was ashamed to tell people the truth. What few friends I had were constantly worried about me but none of them knew the real extent of the abuse because I didn’t tell them.

I struggled on with my life wishing and hoping that it would get better — too scared to leave and too scared to stay. I didn’t know what to do and the only way I survived was to struggle on day by day.  I thought about killing myself but couldn’t bear to leave my son, who wasn’t his child. In my darkest moments, I nearly called his biological father to beg him to take him away.

Then everything seemed to change. He calmed down and reduced his drinking. He persuaded me to move again, this time to the US, to Alaska where my family lived. I thought it would be a new beginning, as my son was now a teenager who had dropped out of school and was getting into trouble. I knew these were symptoms of his troubled home-life and hoped that Alaska would make it all okay.

I was still in catatonic denial. Nothing would change.

The move to Alaska only succeeded in making him even angrier as once again he couldn’t find his way. Within months of being there, he had managed to upset my family — obviously in an attempt to isolate me.

His jealously became more and more extreme and one night he punched me in the face and dragged me across the room in a violent rage after coming home from yet another bar. I was too scared to use the phone and call the police in case he heard me from the bedroom. I thought he had passed out on the couch but I wasn’t taking any risks.

I waited until the next morning when I snuck out and went to my cousin.

She took me straight to the court house where I obtained a restraining order. I then went to the police and made a statement. Alaska took Domestic Violence seriously and I’d had enough.

I went back as if nothing had happened with my heart pounding to grab my son, dog and some clothes. I told him I needed to clear my head for a few days and was staying with family. He said nothing just glared at me with hatred in his eyes.  I left without confrontation, but I was full of fear because I knew he would be issued with a copy of the restraining order.

Within days he was ordered to appear in court where the Judge, who had a copy of the police report, told him to leave the apartment within three hours. I had an armed female police officer standing right by me the whole time I was in court but still — I was afraid of him.

He complied, surprisingly as he had little regard for the law. And with my family’s help, I was back in my apartment. But I didn’t know where he was. I kept thinking he was hovering somewhere in the neighbourhood waiting for me. I had no choice but to walk the dog and each time my son came with me; he knew how afraid I was.

As I expected he violated the restraining order when he sent me a threatening email. I printed it off and took it to the police. They issued an immediate warrant for his arrest. My fear escalated so much that I went out and bought a gun and slept with it under my pillow night after night-wondering where he was.

But he’d gone. He fled Anchorage and the US, returning to Europe. I was free.

The court had given me the phone number of the Shelter in the city where I could go for counselling. I couldn’t wait to go and after a wonderful sympathetic session with a kindly woman, I agreed to join their group therapy sessions. Before I could get an appointment for my first session, I would call their hot-line and cry my eyes out. They listened and tried to help me understand that I’d made the right decision.

My first therapy session became an eye opener. There was a lovely woman and her daughter who had been brought up from Texas because it was too dangerous for them to stay there. She was being stalked by her ex and the authorities couldn’t find him. She told us that he’d set fire to her car.  Another woman fled her home and all her belongings because her husband had put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. She didn’t know it wasn’t loaded.

She told us about her lovely home and the great job she’d had, her family and friends — but it was all gone.  It was too dangerous at that point to tell her loved ones where she was. Such was her fear, even though her ex was in the other side of the country, she was still afraid to step outside the shelter where she’d been for six weeks and couldn’t take a walk alone.

It seemed that Alaska was far away enough for most of the women, many of them taking new identities and wanting to settle there.

I was shocked to hear that many of the women had gone back to their abuser five times or more before finally making the break.

This scared me; it was the first time I had made the break, to go back and leave that many times felt like the worse punishment imaginable. I told myself this was it, fearful as I still was — I wasn’t going back.

I went to the shelter once every week, through the double locked doors into a place of healing and safety. I talked about my experiences and hugged women who cried about theirs.

There was so much pain in that room but there was also plenty of love and healing going on. I depended on the meetings and told myself I was getting stronger.

But it started again with more emails from him — they were softer and more apologetic. At first I didn’t buy it and snapped back, and then the phone calls began. The ‘I’m so sorry calls’ became more frequent and I began to let him back in.

Slowly he convinced me that it had been the shock he needed and he promised me that life would be different if I just left Alaska and came home. After months of calls he wore me down and I broke the news to my son — we were going back. He wasn’t happy about my decision at all, but he told me he was going to go with me because I needed his protection.  Deep down I knew it was wrong and against my better judgement. I felt guilty for what I was putting my son through again; yet, still I went back to him.

It was hearts and flowers once more.

For a year it was okay, he was drinking less and there was no more abuse, but then I discovered he’d been seeing another woman and all hell broke loose on that fateful last day of our marriage.

I was so angry that I slapped him round the face, the first time I had ever dared to do such a thing. It was to be the most dangerous thing I could have done. He snapped and lunged towards me, punching me in the mouth, busting my lip.

My son, now 17 and bigger, stepped in to protect me. But he couldn’t as he was thrown to the floor with my ex’s hands around his neck slowly strangling him. I tried desperately to get him to stop but I couldn’t because I wasn’t strong enough.

Hysterical, I raced to my neighbour for help praying he was at home. He was. By the time we got back, my son was going blue and his eyes were popping — a sight I will never forget, as my neighbour used every ounce of his strength to pull him off at the same time screaming at me to call the police. I did. Hands shaking, I dialled and told them that my husband was trying to kill my son.

They were there with the speed of light. Eight of them. They took my husband away in handcuffs and my son was taken to the hospital. There was extensive bruising around his neck that took weeks to go away — a constant reminder for me that I would never let this man back into our lives. Ever. I was done. It was the end.

The fact that he’d done what he did to my son took me to another edge, the edge of reason like a hammer blow to the head, putting my brain in order after nine years,

He was charged with attempted manslaughter and thrown in jail for a few months. I obtained another restraining order but that made no difference to me. I knew he took little or no notice of pieces of paper and even though I’d started divorce proceedings I was so scared of what he would do to me when he was released, his words still rang in my ears.

If you leave me, I’ll kill you.

I knew he’d be raging that I ‘put’ him in jail and that he was left with nothing again at the mercy of his always forgiving parents. He had always blamed me for everything that was wrong in his life, but being put away for months on end would leave him with plenty of time to become angrier.

I didn’t see him again until the trial, ten months later. He was released early from jail awaiting trial. That had no meaning for me and I continued to live in fear. On the day I had to go to the court,  I shook for hours before I was even in the court house. The utter humiliation of the press being there and the future coverage left me embarrassed and shameful.

But I was free and feeling like I’d been released from my captor. I slowly recovered, going from a victim to a survivor and I found myself again. In the beginning I had terrible nightmares and occasional panic attacks but with time and support from friends they diminished.

Today I live in relative peace. We moved and I was very careful who I gave my new address to. He doesn’t know where I am, I’m sure of that and I hardly give fear a thought these days. I feel that my son and I had a narrow escape. Who knows what would have happened if I’d had no-one to help us that day? The Judge in summing up at the trial called him a psychopath. She wasn’t wrong there. I know it now.

I refused to let him ruin the rest of my life and I’m doing well now, happy that my son took up his education again and now has a good job as well as continuing to study part-time.  There is a life after abuse and it’s great. But first you have to get away, sooner rather than later, before it costs you your life or the lives of your children.

If you or someone you know is being abused, please check out these important links:

Domestic Violence Hotline number

http://www.thehotline.org/get-help/help-in-your-area/

This site explains the warning signs of abuse.

http://www.newhopeforwomen.org/abuserTricks.php

Internet safety for victims.

http://yourpbc.org/articles/detail.dot?id=74567

***

Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your story. And for the links above. I’m so glad you and your son made it out of such a horrible situation. And I appreciate your willingness and eagerness to tell you story — to reach out to others who may need help.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, please get help. No matter what your abuser says, it is not your fault and this is not your shame. That belongs to the abusers.

And just to show you that there is success after abuse — Michelle Wright is living her dream. She’s published several books including her latest novella, GHOST HALL, the 4th book in the successful series, The Ghost Files, published by J.R. Rain and Scott Nicholson.

I love hearing from you, so please use the comment section if you have  story to tell or if you need resource information (I’ll do what I can to help you find it). Or if you just want to congratulate Michelle on her success.

As always — thank you for reading!

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Follow Rhonda Hopkins:

The award-winning author of THE CONSUMING, and the zombie apocalypse series, SURVIVAL. She writes horror/sci-fi, paranormal, YA urban fantasy, suspense, and middle grade.

95 Responses

  1. Wow. Your story is so powerful, I hope it finds its way to others who can benefit from your example. Thanks for sharing these painful experiences, and congratulations on making the jump to living your dream!

    • It is a very powerful story. I’m thankful Michelle is confident enough to share her story to help others. Thanks for stopping by, Greg!

    • Thank you Gregory, I went through a lot of emotions writing this as it brought the nightmare back. BUT I want to help others who are suffering an abusive relationship right now, to show them that there is life after abuse and-like me-they can live their dreams.

  2. Wow, what a story. And my God, you are a survivor. They are masters at what they do, these abusive monsters. I was married to one too, but his was verballyy abuse at least.

    Your suffering was far worse and when your son was attacked, well–that was horrific. I am so glad your neighbour was home!
    Michelle, it takes a lot of strength to share this experience, but there are many victims of abuse who will learn from your example, i.e. you survived it and have done so much with your life!
    Thank you.

    • Hi Carole. I think Michelle is awesome for opening up and sharing her story. I’m sorry you suffered, but am thankful you got out. Thanks for sharing your story.

      • took me years to get over it.
        but i did eventually. thank you so much.
        Michelle is one brave lady because when i suffered no one spoke about it. it was just hidden. much better now,
        thank you, Rhonda!

        • I’m so glad you’re a survivor too, Carole. Things definitely have changed over the past few years. I knew Michelle’s story would be able to touch lives and bring awareness. She’s a brave woman with a wonderful spirit.

  3. That’s a powerful story. I’m so glad you got out alive, so many victims don’t. Thank you for sharing, it must have been painful to relive that nightmare. I pray it gives someone who is in an abusive situation the power to get help.

  4. It’s heartfelt to get so many wonderful replies and yes I am thankful everyday that my son is still hear to live his life. This is why I am trying to get the word out. The dangers of staying in an abusive relationship.

  5. From one survivor to another, thank you so much for sharing your story, Michelle. You came through it and out the other side. You are truly an inspiration. Anyone reading this- emotional abuse can be just as damaging to the spirit as the physical. You can get help. You can get away. It’s not easy, but it’s a journey worth taking.

    • She is an inspiration, isn’t she? And you’re absolutely right – emotional abuse does damage to the spirit and self-esteem. I hope those reading know that just because there’s no hitting involved (yet) doesn’t mean it’s healthy to stay if other forms of abuse are present. Thank you for stopping by Kay.

  6. So glad that you shared your story! There are so many women that fight this in silence and I think it’s wonderful that you are willing to bring it out into the public eye! All my best.

    Michelle

  7. Goodness, Michelle! I was reading this and toward the start, nodding right along to everything you mention. Hearts and flowers, the moon & the stars – been through all that, and then it all changed… My first husband never hit me but he was emotionally abusive and loved mind games. He was also a chronic cheater, and afterwards, he would cry and apologize… How can you not be convinced of a man’s sincerity when he is crying so openly in front of you?

    I’m lucky I managed to get out before it got any uglier… and I have no clue how you survived all you did. You’re a super trooper, Michelle, an inspiration! xoxo

  8. Michelle it was so courageous of you to share your story that I’m sure will help other women out there who are in a similar circumstances. Best of luck in all things, you deserve it.
    –Evelyn Klebert

  9. livrancourt

    Thank you for sharing your story, Michelle. I’m so very glad you and your son made it through.

  10. J. Lawrence

    Michelle, my insides shook as I read this. I am glad to hear that you are free. Thanks for sharing and being such an inspiration to others that are still paralyzed by their experiences at the hands of other monsters. Survive. Heal. Thrive.

  11. Oh my God! Michelle, I’m so glad you managed to find the strength to break free and make a new life for yourself. I hope your son is all right, too.

  12. I was holding my breath while reading your story, hoping that the end was a good one. When it got to the point where he was strangling your son, I knew that was going to be the turning point for you. That mother bear thing!
    I’m so happy that you and your son found a good life and that you’re free from the abuse and fear.

    • I held my breath as I read it the first time as well, Patti. And that mother bear thing is a pretty powerful motivator. Thanks for stopping in.

  13. Michelle – from another survivor, thank you for sharing your story. The emotional and verbal abuse was much worse, much more insidious, than the actual physical abuse was to me. Congratulations on your new novella!

  14. Thank you both, so much for sharing this powerful story. If every woman could see the inevitible outcome of violence, we’d all be safer.

    thanks for your courage in sharing. I appreciate it.

  15. Quite often, the circumstance that the world intends to make us weaker instead makes us stronger than ever. In that, one can always find the hope that allows perseverance, and empathy that enables us to edify the lives of others. Well done, Michelle.

    • “… the circumstance that the world intends to make us weaker instead makes us stronger than ever.” So true, Dale. Thank you for stopping by.

  16. Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you the best of luck with your career as a writer.
    The time and places change but the pattern remains the same. I went through the through the same experience as your son when I was 14. If I’m honest although I loved my mother dearly I carried about a lot of hidden anger towards her. On the surface we had a good relationship but one of my biggest regrets is I never really talked to her about how it made me feel before she died.
    On a positive note while I am very wary of anyone who makes me feel in any way manipulated I have been married (happily) for 22 years and have two great teenagers. This is in part is due to the love my mother had for me. And that’s the cruellest part of domestic violence – it is those with the biggest hearts that fall prey to the worst abusers.

    • Thank you for sharing your story from the child’s point of view, Diana. Domestic Violence affects children in many ways. Sometimes they become abusers themselves or follow in their abused parents’ footsteps and repeat the pattern. It’s important to make sure they get counseling as well if they’ve been living in an abusive environment, even if they themselves were never physically abused.

  17. I am overwhelmed by so many heartfelt comments and stories of abuse that others have also bravely shared. I agree, verbal abuse leaves scars that last a very long time. For me it was the verbal death threats that did the most damage as well as the vicious put-downs. I am a true survivor now and I will never find myself in an abusive relationship again-ever. My son is doing so well and has his life back. We were the lucky ones. My concern is for the countless others out there; maybe even reading this, who just like I used to are staying silent.

  18. Very emotional and heartwretching story. When it got to the point where your son was being hurting I had tears in my eyes. I was a single mother for many years and I feared being abused by the men coming in and out of my life and if I got the slightest feeling they might hit me I was out of there. I watched my friends go thru it and feared it happening to me. I am so glad you were able to come out the other side so often that is not the case. As I have lost friends along the way of my life’s journey. I am honored to call you one of my friends and will pray for you and your son.

    • I am so sorry for the loss of your friends, Debra. I’ve known people in abusive relationships as well. It is so hard to watch a loved one in that situation and know there really isn’t anything you can do, but pray for them and hope things turn out okay.

  19. I too am a survivor of an abusive first marriage. This post brought up sad memories of my own situation where I stayed in the marriage far too long. It’s been twelve years since my escape and I’m thankful for each day of peace. I have a great job and I’m now also an author of several books. There is life after abuse and I know it takes deep courage to break free.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Cindy. I am so glad to know you are okay and that you are now living your life free from abuse.

  20. Your words have touched me Debra, we both know how many victims are out there and that’s why we must never stop talking about this. We are good now, life is good, we have it back and we’re living it! Grateful for every day. As a mother I went through a lot of guilt that I put my son back in such danger. But that’s past now. I won’t allow my ex to destroy my future and I’m keeping your prayers in my heart. xx

  21. Well done Cindy, another survivor. It’s brave of you to come forward but like me it proves that there is a life after abuse and it’s a good one.

  22. Michelle, your story is heartbreaking and I am so glad you found your way out. For those of us on the outside, is there any advice you can give us when we suspect this kind of violence is happening to a friend or acquaintance or family member?

    Thank you so much for telling your story. I hope it helps someone out there make a break for a better life.

    • If you suspect that someone you know is in an abusive relationship you need to be very cafeful how you approach them. There is a lot of shame attached to abuse and fear of what could happen if they speak out. Building trust and a safe place to talk is the first step. Hopefully they will reach out to you and when they do again be careful about what advice to give. Leaving can be more dangerous than staying and you don’t want to put someone in more danger. There are plenty of sites on-line that give advice or call your local domestic violence hotline and talk to them. You don’t have to be a victim to call. They are there for friends and family members as well. Hope this helps you.

    • Sheila, thank you for reading and asking that very important question. Michelle gave some great advice. Local shelters are a good source of information on how to handle this situation and will help someone leave in as safe a manner as possible when they’re ready. Michelle is right. Leaving is a very dangerous time and if you can get professional help or police involvement during that time period then you should.

  23. wow Michelle Wright,
    thanks for sharing your story, My mother went through years of abuse with my stepfather and I was the proudest when she was finally able to walk away and is living her life now the way you chose yours. I think the topic of domestic violence is something that is so important to be able to talk about and share. Your story is of someone that was very brave and I can only imagine what you were going through, but by you sharing it with us I felt your pain- and your son’s. I am so glad you are living your life the way you choose like you stated in relative peace! I am so moved by your story! Thanks for sharing it on your blog, Rhonda Hopkins

    Syl Stein

    • Thank you for reading, Syl. I’m sorry your mom had to live through that and you as well. But very thankful you both are okay and living free from domestic violence now.

  24. Michelle, such courage. I’m glad you found your way out.

  25. Michelle, I knew this story already but reading it all like this opened up the horror of it, jarred me fully awake. I am happy and honored to call you my friend because you are a survivor. My abuse as you know came from a parent and relative, and it was a different kind, but life is all about learning – karma… if only we always kept this in mind. Then everything would be a lesson, and we would make sure to go through it with our hearts, minds and bodies intact. Thank you, Michelle. You are a special friend. x

    • Thank you Natalie. Yes I am intact, he couldn’t kill off my spirit no matter how hard he tried. I count you as a special friend too, I hope you know that. xx

    • I am so sorry you experienced abuse at the hands of loved ones, Natalie. That is the worst betrayal. You’re a survivor and I’m proud to know you and call you my friend.

      • Hey Rhonda – you’re one of the coolest people I know, I swear. And yes, the best “payback” is to live well and happily, even though the demons never go away. Michelle knows it’s a struggle every day. What comes naturally to people who’ve never experienced the darkness is a constant fight for those who have – but it is achievable with a little effort, and it’s important to give our little ones all that we have missed so they can never experience it.

  26. Sad and terrible. How brave you are to post this! — yes, I think many will benefit from your story. And now, please keep healing; keep on writing.

    • Thank you for visiting today, Gloria. I think Michelle has been very brave and will provide hope to many who come upon her story.

  27. Thanks for being courageous enough to share this. I think that what a lot of people don’t understand is that if someone is crazy enough to hit you then they are crazy enough to kill you and that makes it almost impossible to leave. The best thing that anyone do is help spread awareness so that victims understand that they have places that they can go.

    • Thank you Charity and my purpose for this was to raise that awareness and keep raising it with everyone’s help. It is a fact that abusive relationships can become highly dangerous-as in my case.

    • Absolutely, Charity. Local shelters have been a God-send for many women I’ve worked with over the years. They all offer different services but some of the common ones are a safe place to stay with your kids, counseling for the victim and children, job assistance, legal assistance, etc. Some even have different offices that provide counseling for abusers seeking help (or who are court ordered).

  28. calindab@calindab.com

    Been there. Done that. I’ve been in two abusive relationships and I’m a really, really smart woman! Smarts is not keep us from entering this kind of relationship. I wish I knew what the key was that keeps us going back for more.I have a fantastic partner now but still manage to attract unhealthy friendships now and then that are somewhat abusive. I stay too long and think “If only I can change enough to see them differently or get them to see me differently!” It’s a naive uber-trap with no end. Listen to Michelle and Rhonda and if you are in an abusive relationship of ANY kind, GET OUT. Use the wisdom of others until you can find it in yourself. You can do it!

    • Well said Calinda! If anyone is reading this and is in an abusive relationship, please get out before it’s too late. I don’t want anyone to live with the memories I have of almost losing my son because I stayed too long. Speak to a friend, or trusted family member. It’s a good idea to call the domestic violence hotline in your area for advice and confidential support but be careful of using your internet to search for domestic violence support sites. Use a friends internet instead-it’s safer.

    • So glad you got out of those abusive relationships and that you now have a wonderful partner. And yes, there are those other relationships that just aren’t healthy for us either. I think Oprah calls them toxic relationships. What people need to understand is that we can’t change anyone else. Just ourselves.

  29. Thanks for sharing your story. It was extremely moving. You’re very brave and I’m relieved both you and your son are free. Hugs,

  30. Thank you for sharing this. As a father of 4 daughters, I am going to make sure they all read it and pray they never find a man like this.

    • I’m so glad to see fathers reading this and sharing with their daughters. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment, D.A.

    • I don’t know their ages but there are sites on-line for young people to spot the warning signs of an abusive relationship. Your decision to get them to read my story should be warning enough- I do hope so. I can’t bear the thought of someone else going through what I went through. I think you are a great father to want to help them to protect themselves for the future. It’s something all parents should do.

  31. I’m sorry it took me all day to read this. It was intense, so I’d take a break and come back a few hours later. I am so glad you and your son survived this psychopath. They are out there. Not many people believe this, but it’s true. Good for you for getting away.

    • Catie, you are so right they are out there. It’s knowing how to spot them and that’s not always so easy-cunning as they are. Thank you so much for taking the time and energy to read this and posting your thoughts. People need to open their eyes and realise that 3 women a day dying at the hands of their partner in the US alone is not something to ignore-ever.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Catie. Michelle definitely gave us an up close look at domestic violence. Very intense.

  32. Thanks for sharing your story, Michelle. You’ve been through a lot, and we’re so glad you’ve survived. I am a former commander of the Seattle Police Department’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit. I chaired two regional DV conferences in Seattle, and you can imagine I’ve seen DV and experienced it in my family. I’m so glad you’re speaking out and sharing your message with others. I was also happy to see links at the end of your story for those going through what you experienced. I would also recommend Gavin deBecker’s GIFT OF FEAR, and encouarge victims to start making an escape plan. Neil Low

    • Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Neil. And thank you for the work you did for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

    • Neil, it’s so good to see a former member of such a special police department in here. I have to say that I got 100% support from the police both in AK and in Europe. One of the biggest fears is that you won’t be taken seriously if you go to the police. That is not true and that’s why I posted the important links. The question of what the police do and don’t do concerning victims needs to be explained fully to anyone who’s in doubt they will help.

      • One of my sisters was a victim in a previous marriage, before we had state laws with teeth in them, shelters, and such. Her husband was a successful businessman, and she kept the abuse, bruising, and trauma hidden. When I first learned of it, I felt powerless to help her with what society then called a “family matter.” Returning to college, I wrote my senior thesis on the History of Domestic Violence and the Seattle Police Department response to it. I’ve moved onto other commands since I had DV, but it still is very important to me.

        • That’s a good point, Neil. Your sister’s abuser was a successful businessman. Domestic violence knows no boundaries. It crosses all socio-economic, race, and religious boundaries and can be found everywhere. Just because someone seems to have it all on the outside, doesn’t mean that their home isn’t a nightmare on the inside.

  33. I am humbled by your story, Michelle. You truly are one of the most courageous people I know. I, too, thank you for sharing your painful experience. Aiden

  34. Thank you for sharing your story, Michelle. You’re a real survivor and a brave woman. All the best to you and your family. I’m glad Sheila asked how we can help others close to us in the same situation. Lets be vigilant.

    • You are right Reetta, it’s important to know what to do when someone you know is in this situation. Still today many people don’t realise just how dangerous it can be. Thank you for your support.

    • Thanks for reading, Reetta. And yes, it’s important to be vigilante and help where we can.

  35. Lori Safranek

    Sweet Michelle. How something like this could happen to you, breaks my heart. You’re a very brave woman and bless your heart for sharing your story to help others. And your son is a hero, as I’ve said before. I’m so very proud of you from escaping that life and creating a positive, happy, successful life for yourself! Thank you for telling your story. May it help other women in the same situation.

  36. Karen McFarland

    Okay, I am so upset I just want to throw up. Oh Michelle, what a nightmare. I cannot imagine the horror you and your son experienced. I cannot. How would it be possible unless I experienced it myself. I can only imagine the pain and scars that were left behind. I can only hope that you both find the peace of mind that you deserve. You’ve been through hell and back. But what a loving thing for you to do by sharing your story with us and others to put the word out that there is life after abuse. That you can leave and break the cycle. Wow Michelle, you have my deepest respect. And Rhonda, you are an amazing person to continue hosting such special authors/people on your blog. I applaud you! Thank you both so much! 🙂

    • Karen, to help you I want to tell you that my son was given free counselling for over a year to get through the trauma and I had a wonderful support network. Yes, there are scars but the pain has lessened and it gets easier all the time. I agree with you Rhonda is an angel for hosting this for me. She gave me a voice and for that I can but only admire her tremondously.

      • I just provided the spot. You did the hard work, Michelle. I know sharing your story had to be painful and I respect you all the more for doing so. I just want to say thank you once again for sharing such a powerful story in order to help others.

    • As always Karen, thank you for reading. And thank you for such kind words. I’m very thankful Michelle and her son are okay and that she’s chosen to share her story to help others. Her post has had well over 300 views since yesterday morning. Hopefully it has reached some that needed to see it.

  37. I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like, living in constant fear and the push-pull of the “hearts & flowers” vs. the abuse. I’ve no doubt that someone, somewhere, will read this and get help because you shared your story. You’re getting the best revenge in getting on with your life and achieving a dream – and hopefully your son’s doing the same!

    • Thank you for reading, Jennette. Michelle is an inspiration to others to know there is life, and a great one at that, after surviving and escaping the nightmares of domestic violence.

  38. Hello Jennette. My son is doing very well, it wasn’t easy for him to start his education again after so many years but he did and is still going to part-time College evening courses as he works full-time. So you see we have both come out the other end better than we could have imagined and it has been the best form of revenge.