My Personal Hell
This is my story…My story of how an aggressive woman inserted herself into my life took control and abused me and when I finally got the courage to stand up and take control back by walking away, how she then became my stalker.I want control and power over my own life back, so I am taking a stand by sharing my story and the hell that she has put me through.
It was one of those friendships that are easily forged; we talked effortlessly and for hours after we first met.We began spending time together outside of work, and she quickly became one of my closest friends which quickly blossomed into a beautiful romance.This is how my abuser roped me in and trapped me in what ended up being a personal hell for a good almost three years of my life.What started so pleasant quickly turned scary and even violent at times.I wish I had known about the Cycle of Violence then, so that I could have identified it and tried to break the cycle or walk away sooner, rather than thinking that my abuser was trying to change, which ended up only trapping me further.
The abuse started slowly and she could usually trace it back to something I had done, making it so I felt responsible for her anger and the associated outcome.In the beginning she usually ended up hurting herself, putting her fist through a door or a wall.This made it really easy for me to have sympathy for her when she calmed down and became apologetic.I can still remember the first time; we were having a discussion where she disagreed with my opinion and she became belligerent and loud, so I had walked away.She was quick to follow me around from room to room, eyes wild hands flailing as she continued to yell.I finally got the idea to go and lock myself in the bathroom for privacy.I asked her to leave me alone and give me some privacy, but she wanted me to face her right then and there, she called me names and tried to bait me into her argument.I needed time to work through my emotions and thoughts, so asked her to please just let me have a couple of minutes.She immediately became enraged yelling at me and screaming obscenities and calling me horrible names, and the next thing I know there was a hole in my bathroom door filled with her curled, red fist.I was completely shocked, it scared me and I jumped back.Through the hole in the door she began yelling at me “look what you made me do!”At first I thought, I didn’t make you do this, you did this; all I wanted was a few minutes to collect my thoughts.Perhaps this was unreasonable of me, I wondered as I slowly opened the door to her crying, tears streaming down her face.I had to turn off my confusion and hurt and comfort and console her.Once she had calmed down she kept apologizing, but with a twinge of how it was my fault; “I am sorry I let you push me this far,” she kept saying.The next day when I saw her she brought me flowers; no one had ever bought me flowers except my mom, so this was a sure sign that she was sorry, that it was an isolated incident, and of course she loved me.
It was nearly two months later when she raged next, much in a similar fashion to the first. I asked her to sit and have dinner with the kids and I at the dining room table, which was unreasonable to her because she had to watch Lost on television. This time the rage came faster than before, I told her dinner was ready and asked her to come eat with us, and she immediately snapped. I ushered the kids to their rooms as she stormed through the house yelling about how I can’t put her in a box and how she needed her down time in front of the television in order to recharge and be able to handle the kids and my heavy demands. I pleaded at her to stop, to calm down, to stop yelling; this time she pushed me out of her way and put her fist through a wall as she left the house. I didn’t see her again for two days, this time she came with a beautiful diamond necklace and an apology of “I am sorry, but you have to learn to give me my space before demanding so many things of me.” I was so overwhelmed by the necklace the outburst quickly became a distant memory that is until the next outburst.
From here things quickly escalated, and she became more direct in her violent outbursts. I would say something wrong, or ask her a question when she was focused on something else and she would snap, throwing her phone or the television remote at me. Eventually she moved on to throwing larger things at me, like her laptop or a side table.
During the next 2 years of our relationship, things continued much the same. We would have really good times where things could be incredible, but they were always followed by bad times that ended in violent outbursts from her. During the good time she would persuade me to do some things, that in hindsight are pretty stupid, like allow her to use my credit cards to transfer her credit card balances on to, or to charge her purchases on my credit, and to even cosign a car for her. It was always in the name of clearing up her credit so that we could forge life together. She always made the minimum payments as she promised, but during her fits of anger she would always make the threat that if I left her I would never get another penny from her. Over the years though, the signs of the relationship begin to take their toll.
Through severe emotional abuse she even convinced me that there was something wrong with me so severely that I went to see a psychiatrist and get anti-depressants because she was certain that the problems in our relationship were all as a result of me. I was convinced that there was something wrong with me; she would hit me or grab me so hard it would leave marks and then when I would try to talk to her about it, she would tell me that she didn’t do it and that I must have given myself the cuts or bruises. The signs of wear and tear of her violence were not only on me but on our home is well. There came a point where there were so many holes in our walls that we couldn't even allow my children into our bedroom. I bought stickers to cover the holes so that I wouldn't be embarrassed if the children or friends or even our landlord even came into our bedroom. A few stickers quickly grew into half a dozen which quickly grew to more.
One night she walked in to our room, and upon seeing me covering more holes she went into a flying rage; she began yelling how dare I cover those holes, they were to be a reminder of the anger and frustration that I have caused her. She grabbed me by the hair and pulled me away from the holes, I began crying; a familiar sight I am sure. However, the sight of me crying sent her even further into a rage. Down on the ground, huddled in a ball I stayed as she continued to rage over me kicking and hitting my head and my back, screaming at me how she wished I would learn, how easy it was to just “be good”. I stayed down on the ground, huddled where she left me. The sound of my daughter crying floated in to our room which reignited her blind rage. She quickly turned, flew out our door and through the hall towards my daughters room screaming her name. I quickly climbed to my feet and clamored behind her. I reached my daughters room right behind her, and as she reached for my daughter I threw my arms around her waist and threw myself backwards with all of my might. She fell on top of me, both of us falling backwards into the hallway, as I screamed for my daughter to call 911. This is what seem to snap my abuser back to reality.
What I didn’t know then was that my abuser had already been arrested for domestic violence against her previous partner before me. Within minutes there was a loud knock on our door as the police arrived. My abuser held me down on the ground, hand around my throat choking me and she said “don't you dare make a sound and if you know what's good for you you'll keep your daughter from making one either”. I whispered to my daughter just stay in her room and to shut her door and stay put. I crawled back to our bedroom, and sat there on the floor as my abuser went to the door. There was a brief conversation where she assured them all was well, and they quickly left. Without a word, she closed the door behind them, returned to our bedroom, grabbed a bag and a few other items, and turned and walked out the front door, and I didn’t see her or hear from her again for a couple of days. This was the night I began planning for our escape.
When I did see her next, she was walking with a limp and was using a cane; she told me that I had hurt her when I was protecting my daughter. I didn’t argue or even try to talk about it; instead I did my best to keep the peace knowing that my time here was limited. I had already begun to make our escape plan; I opened a PO Box I removed her from my children's emergency cards at school, and I filed for a restraining order at the local courthouse. It was an odd feeling; as I sat on the floor of the courthouse waiting to hear my name be called to see if they would approve the restraining order I had the sudden sensation that the life I had been living was crashing down around me. I quietly cried as I waited for my name to be called, knowing that my life as I had known it would change; this was the beginning of a new beginning and what I hoped to be the end of my personal hell.
I left quietly and unannounced with a simple, “see you later” as I left. I think she quickly realized something was wrong though, because the next day a barrage or text messages and phone calls began flooding in. They started kind, and then turned to pleading, then to anger and spiteful words and then back to pleading and even some tears on her part. I did my best to stay busy and ignore it, I stayed away knowing she did not know where to find me; finally I felt safe. As the days of being apart continued she began calling, sending emails and text messages and even showing up at my work chasing me through the parking lot. Luckily I had the support of my employer, who began offering me additional protections while I was there. This is when the stalking got worse though; she would show up at the post office, she would be at the gas station near my work when I was on the way to work, she showed up at my gym that she had previously not attended. When she was served with the restraining order by the Sheriffs, the contact stopped. I thought it was over, but I have since learned this was just another ploy, because the restraining order did not get renewed. This is when she started stalking me again, showing up at places she somehow knew I was at, it seemed like she was always a step right behind me. I retreated, and became a very private person, I moved again, I changed the schools that my kids went to and basically went into hiding.
Out of the blue, nearly two years later I get an email from her simply a forward stating that the car I had cosigned on was past due. I quickly reached out to her to try to work something out she said she had some ideas, but her ideas were basically trying to extort me saying that I would only get the car if I gave her money. I went to her work one day and took the car back, paid off the past due balance, paid of parking tickets she had incurred, refinanced the car into my own name and registered it in my name alone. Again, I thought this was the end of her but I was not so lucky. Since I took the car back about two years ago now, I have continued to be harassed and stalked by this woman, even though I have never made any contact with her. I have never sued her for the monies she owed me, never making contact with her for any reason. I just wanted to be done, to move on. I figured if I reacted it gave her power, so instead I just lived my life. However the lack of reaction seems to fuel her just the same. I had to have a security system installed on my car, because she still has a key to it. She has gotten into my vehicle, moved things around, left things behind, things so that I know it is her, but so miniscule that the police refuse to do anything because I cannot prove it is her. Since the installation of the security system, she has moved to vandalized the exterior of the vehicle, she has keyed it, carved hateful messages into the paint, written nasty notes on my windows, stolen my antenna, my windshield wipers, car ornaments like magnets, and most recently she tried to steal my license plate and when she did not succeed she completely removed all of my expiration stickers instead.
Since my lack of responding to her hateful and stalker behaviors has not given me the respite I so desire I decided that the best way of fighting back is by going public with my story. I am not disclosing any private information about her, or identifying her at all, but those of you who know me will know who I am talking about. If my story can help just one person, then opening up about things so private will be worth it.