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Comments: How I Left My Abuser

Comments: How I Left My Abuser

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos  Copyrightę 2000. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 02, 2000

S1

I didn't leave... He threw me out in my nightgown. I had to get a police escort to get my stuff out of his house. Then, I kept coming back begging for more.

That's when I was stupid. Now I thank him over and over for dumping me...

Now, I'm happy.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 03, 2000

S1

I too was scared of what he might do if I left. He did totally the opposite of what I thought. He did nothing. Of course said he was sorry, etc. It wasn't until later that it got ugly. I changed the locks at that point. I also had a lot of family support. That really helps, even still. So don't stress over it too much he may surprise you. Helen

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 03, 2000

S1

I left my abuser 4 weeks ago. I, like so many others, was terrified. He had never hit me but I knew if I told him what I was going to do it would be bad. He's a police officer, guns in the house, etc.

I went to see my counselor on Wednesday afternoon. I told her I was 95% ready to leave. Being so scared of him had me stuck. She asked me why I would be willing to stay and continue to live with the verbal assaults. I couldn't think of an answer. I went home that night knowing that I would be leaving in the morning AFTER he went to work. I got up that Thursday morning, showered, fixed his lunch and acted like nothing was wrong. I was so afraid he would go through my stuff like he always did and find the note I'd planned to leave him. I couldn't stay in the shower for fear of that happening. I kissed him goodbye, got dressed for work and proceeded to pack everything I could get in my car. I was so afraid he knew and would come back and catch me. I will NEVER forget the feeling of driving away knowing that I had escaped him. That I didn't have to listen to him say those nasty things to me ever, ever again. A feeling of complete calm came over me. I saw my counselor that day too. She was happy for me. I haven't spoken to him since. Life is SO much better.

Melissa

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, March 05, 2000

S1

Open up to family and friends about what is going on. Get a strong support system. It's good that you aren't married yet. When he is at work have friends help you pack up and leave. Don't tell him where you are. You may have to put a legal order of protection on him. Don't feel bad about this. We often react to our significant others. Try not to make decisions based on his reaction. It's either him or you. I can assume that you have been choosing him for the entire length of the relationship. Choose you this time and stick to it. I'm thinking of you.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 07, 2000

S1

It's me, the one who wrote to Dr. Irene asking for this bulletin board.

I'M FREEEEEE!!!!!! I moved out. Here is how I did it.

I called my brother and my dad and they were by my side immediately. Their presence gave me so much strength. I was not as afraid anymore. I also started telling people about my abuse, and the more people I told, the less alone I felt and the less shameful I felt. I also found out that lots of competent, intelligent women go through the same thing. And my friends, family, coworkers RALLIED for me. The day after I posted that email message asking for a bulletin board, I moved out. (At the speed of sound.) I had tons of offers from people who wanted me to stay with them. I found my own apartment, and its so cute, and I fixed it up just how I wanted. I have my own space again, and I LOVE it.

My brother, father and I waited for him to come home, and with them nearby, ready to jump in if he turned violent, I broke the news to him. He surprised me by trying to break our ranks, attacking my father and saying manipulative things. He said I was being incredibly cruel to him. Perhaps. I don't care, frankly. I did what I needed to do and now I am free. FREE!!!

And yes, I am dealing with feelings of guilt, but I am seeing a therapist, and I intend to continue doing so for a long time. The only time I really feel that guilt is when I view the situation through my abuser's eyes. When I look at things through my own eyes I feel good about what I did. I am free. I have hope again. I have my self respect again. And I realize I have wanted deep down to leave him since soon after we were dating. I never did, until now. I am so proud of myself for finally listening to my inner voice. Now I'm going to do whatever I want. I'm going to have fun, and I'm not going to date anyone for a while. I like being alone. Thanks, Dr. Irene!

Now, for those of you still trapped. Stop being silent. Tell your story to other people. Their kindness will surprise you. It is the first step. Good Luck!!!  :)

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 09, 2000

S1

I'd love to share my freedom story. I had been aware for a couple months that I was in a verbally abusive relationship. I admitted as much to him, he refused to think that it was possible. But yet, things began to escalate, One of his fun tricks was that when he was really angry at me, he'd offer to make me a cup of coffee, then he'd spit in it. There was the day he dumped garbage on my head. There was the day I called my best friend's husband, and the police- I was planning on taking my daughter and going to my friends house. That didn't work. I knew then that I would leave, but I also knew that I wasn't strong enough yet. I visited Dr. Irene's site absolutely every day and it probably saved- well if not my life, at least my spirit, which was so beaten down, well, I was miserable, thinking suicidal thoughts and that I was the unhappiest I'd ever been. I could no longer convince myself that I was at fault for his behavior, and I could not deny that I was at fault for not doing something about it, and letting it happen to me. Sure, when I married him he treated me like a Queen, yes, I have so many good memories, and there is a part of him I will always love and in some ways I'm grateful for having him in my life, but, things changed. Anyhow, we had to move- our house was being foreclosed. We went to an apartment, and of course, I was hoping it would be a new beginning- but, if anything, things were worse. I think he was mentally ill, and losing more control every day. He started accusing me of being a "witch" and saying so in front of our daughter- I really can't describe that whole experience because it was extremely bizarre- he started saying truly strange accusing things about me. He was also accusing me of having an affair. Anyway, I don't think I stayed there a week before I called my friend, called my mom, and told my boss at work that I was leaving- and would be staying with my mom. And yes, I was going to sneak out, there was absolutely no other way because I was afraid of his temper. That was the hardest- but in some ways, best day of my life. Packing up our stuff and trying to tell my 3-year-old why we're going to grandma's and trying to hold back the tears and the fear and the grief, oh, I want to cry just thinking about how it felt. Yea, it was awful. But I had to do it- and from that day, my spirit began to grow. Yes, he was mad when he came home that day. Of course he insisted to me that he wanted us back and that he loved and needed me, and it wasn't his fault what had happened (he had some very paranoid beliefs that I won't even go into, but he felt some people were out to get him and ruin his life- and they were to blame for his behavior). He was sugary sweet most of the time. Occasionally I had to hang up the phone on him when he started to get mad or cross my boundaries- and I told him he was doing it to. So, although he wanted his family back- he wasn't even willing to go to counseling. The thing he did next surprised me very much- he disappeared. I didn't hear from him for three weeks- which surprised the heck out of me, but, it was also such a relief, and gave me a great chance to heal. I had many bad days, but I also had many more good days than I had expected. I was enjoying life again, truly enjoying it. Not walking on eggshells, not being careful of what I say, and worrying about what he'll be mad about next. Well, when I heard from him- he left me a message and told me he's in Rabbinical school, which he had actually mentioned doing in the past. I don't know where though. He hasn't called again, not even to talk to his daughter, which is what really bothers me. But at the same time, it's so nice to not have to deal with him. My daughter's doing great, she said to my mom when she asked her if she thinks about her dad much, "I'm having so much fun here I don't really think about him too much." She loves him very much and he was usually good to her, but she was almost always present for his abuse. And me, I feel like a butterfly who's come out of it's cocoon. Everything is beautiful to me, the sunshine, the green grass, the sound of the snow falling, the smell of the Spring air, my daughter's laugh. I'm happier, and more free than I've been in years. I've even been seeing a man from my job who treats me with respect and who I can have a lot of fun with. But, I'm not going to have a serious relationship for a while because I don't think I'm ready to be committed to one person- and right now, I don't think I'm ready to trust anybody enough. But, I'm taking care of myself and taking responsibility for my own happiness- and yes, I'm happy. Karen

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, March 13, 2000

S1

Actually my abuser is my father. he verbally abused me for so long that I finally snapped. I can't take it no more. I get very depressed, stressed and desperate I can't even see him or hear his voice because it makes me feel so bad. tomorrow I finally got the guts to tell my mom that I'm leaving the house no matter what she does or says I'm living. I just can't feel the way I do headaches every day. my father won't let me do nothing excuses excuses I feel that he's every minute on my back. he makes me feel that I'm good for nothing. I understand that he is trying to protect me but, there's a limit and he went over that limit a long time ago so I'm doing what I have to do to keep going I know that I'm a strong person and I can do anything that comes.

 

I know now that he is the sick person and that he need help.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, March 13, 2000

S1

I left my boyfriend after 4 years of living together. If I was smart, I would have seen the signs of abuse long before we moved in together. I thought the jealousy was "cute" and showed how much he loved me. When he wanted to be alone with me and not visit my family, I thought it was because he was shy. I was wrong. I can't believe it took me four years to figure that out.

The short version of my story is after dating for two months he asked me to move in with him. He said nobody ever made him as happy as I did. I was living in a little apartment and the idea of moving into a big house was appealing. I agreed. The verbal abuse started later. I was too fat, dressed wrong, did my hair wrong. I would be pretty if I did this or that. The rage started to show too. Anger outbursts over the most minor things. I didn't drive the right way, slammed the car door too hard, didn't pay enough attention to him. One time my sister came over on a visit and needed to give her baby a bath so she cleaned the tub real quick. When he found out he went berserk. He thought I had cleaned the tub after he had already cleaned it. There are so many rage stories I could tell, but not enough room. He resented my family. He had to know my every whereabouts. If he was at work he would call the house 9 to 10 times and I better pick up right away! If not I better have an explanation for where I was. If I did answer he would keep me on the phone for 20 to 30 minutes even if my family was visiting. He would guilt me into it. If I was at work, he would call me several times. He would get mad if I didn't call him while I was at work. He didn't threaten me, I just knew that there would be an argument or he would punish me with silence or a bad mood.

I left him two weeks ago. Immediately following one of his rages. I packed up while he was at work and moved in with my sister. I still care about him. I know he can't help what he does. He is going to counseling now and admits he was wrong. He calls every day begging me to come home. He has promised to start anger management classes this week. I feel so guilty. I don't want to go back. He is 46 and I think it will take years of therapy to change him. I am worried about how he is going to pay the bills and make it without my income to help. I went with him to counseling last week and tried to tell him and his counselor that I do not want to go back. They both seem to think after a trial separation that we can get back together. How can I convince the counselor and him that I am NEVER going back. I am afraid he might do something to hurt himself once he realizes that.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a post about how I left. This is what I did:

1) I talked to my family ahead of time and they agreed to help. My mom rented a u-haul and a storage unit, then we waited for him to go to work and started moving things out.

2) I took what was mine and some of the property we acquired together. I stored most of it until I can get a place of my own.

3) I made copies of the last statement from every bill so he couldn't come after me for money I did not owe.

4) I went through files and removed important things I might need (copies of old tax returns, payoff statements, old checks, etc.).

5) I changed my checking account number and cancelled his ATM card.

6) I made a list ahead of time listing everything I planned to take and its location. This way I wouldn't forget anything.

7) I wrote him a note saying goodbye and typed up a proposal to split our bills and left it for him.

8) I contacted the credit card companies that were in his name with me as an authorized user. I explained we were breaking up and requested I be removed and notified them I would not be responsible for any charges as of this date. I cut up those cards and left them for him when I moved out.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2000

S1

Guilty feelings are perhaps the very worst part of leaving, but DITCH THEM!!! The only thing that is important when you leave is that YOU FEEL BETTER about your life and your choices. Why feel guilty about leaving after all the abuse? It is completely irrational. DON'T. If you have to feel guilty, feel guilty about how you may have let yourself down. You don't owe your abuser a damned thing. Not a damned thing.

Also, why try to convince your abuser of why you are leaving and why the relationship is over? Have you given your reasons in plain English? Does he still not get it? If he pretends that your reasons for leaving are unfathomable, HE IS MANIPULATING YOU. Just like before. Don't bother trying to break through his denial. Waste of time and energy. State your reasons for leaving once, and STOP INTERACTING WITH HIM. If you're happy about leaving, then you made the right decision for you. When your relationship is over, IT'S OVER. If it's over for you but not for him, IT'S STILL OVER. If he can't grasp it, can't deal, makes promises, goes into therapy and classes and goes through all the motions, guess what? IT'S STILL OVER. Don't let your guilt pull you back in. Guilt is part of why we stayed so long in the first place, isn't it?

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 23, 2000

S1

When I met my boyfriend he was not drinking. He was kind, considerate, funny and intelligent. We talked about everything from politics to landscaping. There was a natural flow between us. We were sure it was a match made in heaven. He began drinking again, occasionally, not really a big deal. Slowly it became a big deal, and affected our relationship. I was very confused (still am) because almost overnight he became unreliable and neglectful. He never was physically abusive, never even came close. He never called me names. He even decided to stop drinking a few months ago because he said it was the only time we fought. He was also concerned about his health. Slowly, he started again. (He refuses to get help). A few weeks ago he decided he was not going to neglect me anymore, and stated he was going to put me first from now on. Night after night he would invite me over to be with him, and each time his "friends" would stop by and he would wind up drinking with them for most of the night. I would become outraged, even though I promised myself I wouldn't. I looked like a lunatic as he sat there, calmly. He tells everyone, and me, that the more he does for me the more I "break his balls". He calls me immature and ungrateful. 

After everyone left he would become nice and want to have sex. I felt it was my responsibility because I had behaved so badly and embarrassed him in front of his friends. Actually, I never even raised my voice or complained to him in front of anyone until recently. Anyway, he was very unforgiving. I thought I was the abuser because of the way I acted when I was mad. A few days ago I realized that I didn't start the fights, that each and every time it was him. He accused me of over reacting and carrying things on. I believed him for a long time. I made excuse after excuse about his unreliability and drinking. So, I realized that what he was doing was abusive because he knew by inviting me over and then not being with me until everyone left would start a whole big thing. He became very sarcastic and down right mean, over the past few weeks. I am so hurt right now, that I can barely breathe. I feel so unloved and unwanted. He knows I don't want to see him under these circumstances and does not seem to really care. He is madder at me than I am at him!

He truly feels I am an ungrateful bitch. Although I have threatened to leave time and again, I have always gone back, with heartfelt apologies for my behavior. He would promise to keep our time our time. I don't know if he really believes I mean it this time. I want to call him so badly and tell him just how serious I am, but I read about stages, and I don't think it's a wise thing to do. I know I am not strong enough, I can't handle confronting him right now. Can someone tell me if this is the end of my self esteem? Will I ever not feel hurt? Did he love me at all?

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 02, 2000

S1

It feels wonderful to leave but be careful after you leave. The abuser may be slow to get the message.

In my case, we've been divorced for several months and he would periodically send me emails which I ignored. I thought that he'd given up after no hearing from him for 6 wks. But last month when my birthday rolled around, he wired me flowers, then started emailing me every day. Obviously ignoring him wasn't going to work, so after consulting with my attorney, I mailed him a certified letter, return receipt requested telling him in no uncertain terms that I wanted no contact of any kind with him. If he does contact me, my attorney told me what to document so he can be prosecuted for harassment. He's not attempted to contact me in the past two weeks, but this weekend called a close friend of mine to find out what is going on.

Fortunately, he lives in a different state so it's unlikely I'll ever see him again, but I don't want his flowers, friendly emails etc. And if he tries to contact me, I wouldn't hesitate to turn over emails etc to a prosecutor if necessary (I think he knows that). I'd also have no problems notifying his boss about a charge of harassment (his employer is very sensitive about that sort of thing).

My counselor thinks he will continue to try to contact me or my friends until he's found another woman to hook up with. Although I wouldn't wish that kind of pain on anyone, I wish he'd find someone and leave me alone.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 06, 2000

S1

It is difficult, no doubt about it, to get out of the "cycle". The sad truth is that you will probably never end as friends. They really leave you no choice. My abuser didn't. He was so ANGRY and raged-out at me that he just flipped his lid. I would have to have been nuts to see him again. In a way, he made it easy. The harder part was TOTAL DETACHMENT, which we as victims must take responsibility for. My abuser (after his fiascos) would continually call me and leave me voice mail messages about how sorry he was, the help he was getting, etc. But I learned that he was FULL OF CRAP and that if I were back there again, right now, he would be doing the same thing again, BLAMING me!! You must keep this in your mind.

YOU HAVE TO PUT CLOSURE ON IT...BUT ONLY AFTER YOU'VE ALREADY DISTANCED YOURSELF. I did it and it worked. I waited four weeks while he was still calling and leaving his sorrowful messages then I did it. I sent him an e-mail note like this:

"DO NOT ever contact me again. I do not wish to hear from you in any way. Our relationship is permanently over. I ask that you respect my wishes. Then I signed it with my full name. It worked. I haven't heard from him in a month. Granted, it was the hardest thing I've ever done because what is outrageous is that even though this person DESTROYED me emotionally and totally abused me, I FELT BAD FOR DETACHING. THEN I FELT GUILTY AND RESPONSIBLE!!!

It really is all about WHAT we think of OURSELVES and knowing that WE DESERVE MUCH BETTER and it is OK to tell someone GOODBYE FOR GOOD when they've painfully hurt you and you've been so good to them.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2000

S1

Friday morning, after calling around and learning that you can't just get an apartment in this city, at any price, and realizing that I might not be in able to cope with commuting to work from out of town, I called the women's shelter and talked to a counselor. I learned that there was a shelter not too far from where I work. I found out that I had a meeting that afternoon which I wasn't dressed for (we usually dress casually of Fridays), and would need to go home to change. Lucky break-my husband called about 10am and left a message saying that he was going out to the store and to return some videos. I drove home as fast as I could, and packed up some of my jewelry and clothes (as much as I dared without it looking like something was wrong), and then changed my clothes, left my husband a note saying that I was sorry I missed him and came back to work. I called the counselor back and started to put together a plan. 

Sunday morning, when I made my customary trip to grocery store for the newspaper and a few groceries, I would call the shelter and confirm that I was coming Monday morning. The few remaining things that I wanted to take out of the apartment, I could pack up early Monday, and then just pretend I was going to work. Instead, I would go over to the shelter and then go downtown to meet an advocate from the shelter's legal department to obtain a protective order. The counselor had suggested that if I wanted, a police officer could escort me back to the apartment to pick up anything I did not get already. And, at that point, I could give my husband the letter I had written, and the information I wanted to give him about our finances. 

Friday afternoon, I took my jewelry and the documents I had taken (marriage license, previous year's income tax forms, etc.) and placed them in the safe deposit box I had rented the day before. I unloaded the trunk of my car, which had my clothes in it, and put them in the corner of my office. Saturday morning, I was very nervous, but pretended that everything was fine. My husband got suspicious because I was rearranging the books-there were a few that I wanted to take that I cherished and that are most likely out of print-and I tried to tell him I was just looking through things and had pulled out a few books that I wanted to read. But, that afternoon, while I lay down to take a nap, my husband went through the apartment trying to see what was going on, and noticed that I had emptied the box were I kept some of my current financial stuff (bills, bank statements, etc.). He was seething. He asked me what was going on, and said that the one thing he would never forgive me for was not talking to him or telling the truth. He asked me other questions to try to prove I was lying and then asked me why I was afraid of him-did I think he was going to strangle me? 

At this point, it was about 6pm, and dinner was in the oven. I sat in the living room and waited for my husband to go to the bathroom. After another beer, he did. It took me about 45 seconds to grab a tote bag where I had placed this year's income tax information, our wedding picture and a few other things I was able to stash; my address book; the photo of my mother and I, taken about 30 years ago which was hanging on the wall; my purse and my coat. I ran like hell down the eight flights of stairs to the basement where our cars are parked. Jumped in mine and drove to work. I knew I would be safe there because on the weekends you need a key card to get in, and I took the precaution of parking in the church parking lot across the street. I called the shelter, explained the situation and asked if they had a bed for me right now. I left many, many things behind, but I was able to take some of the items that I really cherished. Although I would love to get some more of my belongings, including photographs taken during our 22 year relationship/15 year marriage, I'm afraid to go back to the apartment, even with a police officer. So, I am now officially "homeless" and plan on staying in the shelter until I can find a place of my own.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 15, 2000

S1

9 days and counting..... It's not the first time I left him. The first time I left him, we were on vacation and he became nervous, created an imagined event, and told me I was evil. I ran to my friends cried and cried, he came in and found me crying and said, "your friends are out there laughing at you because you're crying for no reason"!!!!!! I told him to leave our friends house and find somewhere else to stay and take the bus home. In the morning, I cancled my rent check. (which he never forgave me for, like I needed his forgivness for that!!!!) When we got back to our hometown, it took a week or so to convince me to move out. He had slammed the door in my face because I was crying about something he'd done he left me on the portch crying and turned off the light saying, "why are you doing this to me? You are trying to keep me up, I have to work in the morning, you don't care!!!" So I kicked over his motorcycle and jumped on it and left, and came back morning when he was at work, and with the help of my mother, moved everything of mine out of his house. 6 months later I ended up with him again. Not living with him, but as a couple again. Stress and hard times hit him again, and his selfishness and ignorance of my feelings hit me again. I said we talk it out and try again or it's over. One minute he said he loved me and wanted to be with me forever and the next he said, "You are making me freak out and I never want to see you again!" and he jumped out of my car and ran down the street. I went to his sisters, where he was living at the time, and we cried together for hours, she said, "his problems are for a doctor and the right meds. to figure out, it's not for you anymore." He came in and rushed to my side asking if I was allright, I told him to gather my things and bring them to me, I gave him the ring he had given me 3 years ago, and said, "I don't want this anymore." He tried to give me the ring I gave him, and I said, "NO I don't want that at all." He walked me to my car saying he wanted to be friends, and that he couldn't understant why I made HIM freak out, (so typical), I said, "you make me sick, get out of my life and stay out. You will never control me again!" He tried to hug me and again he said, "I don't know why you made me do that" I wriggled free and ran to my car, peeled out and left him standing in the dust! I'M FREE NOW!!!!!!! I never knew I could be so happy and so sad at the same time! Happy for me and sad for me and sad at endings and happy at endings. Is it possible to cry tears of sadness and joy at the same time???Amy B.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 20, 2000

S1

what do you do when the verbally abusive person is your father and the abused is only 18...???__confused____

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 31, 2000

S1

After 27 years of marriage I left my abusive husband. Yes, I was scared and tempted to go back home...but I really felt that it just might be possible for me to be happy... for me to be me. After leaving he, once again, agreed to go to for help and swore his undying love for me. I knew in my heart that it was just his way of contolling me further... that in two years I would find myself in the same situation. Leaving was not easy and the divorce was hard and I felt a complete failure. I wish that I could relate to you the JOY I have each day as I leave work, knowing that I am able to remain ME as I drive to my new home. I wish that divorce was had not been our only answer but it was and LIFE is GOOD. I had one family member who supported my decision and listened to me and let me know that I was a worthwhile and lovable person. Thank God for her love and understanding.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, June 25, 2000

S1

So you want to know how to leave? First and foremost, there is NEVER a good time to break the news to your future ex. If you believe there is, you are choosing to take the risk of putting yourself and/or your children in danger. An abuser's actions, in my experience, are in direct correlation with his level of fear. The more fear, the more abuse. You are not in control of how MUCH fear he has, nor can you assume you know HOW he chooses to express it. Because you have decided to break the cycle of violence in your life, you are already choosing to take care of you for the first time in a long time. Please don't stop there, keep going; here's what I did.

After he left for work one day, I drove down to our county courthouse and obtained a restraining order. I told the police my situation and they advised me of my options. I chose to have them serve the papers to him at our home. I dropped the kids off with my parents and sat at a local restaurant and waited until I knew he was home from work. Knowing he would be outraged that I was not there when he got home, I called him and told him I would be home shortly. I called the police (they were SO helpful and SO understanding!) and they sent officers to my house to serve him with the papers and asked him to leave. They called me when they got to my house and I drove over. They asked me to identify him. I was so glad that I didn't "discuss" our separation with him!! His look to me was one which, even at his WORST times, was one full of hatred. It sent chills right up my spine! This is why I stress NOT trying to talk your way out of the relationship with him. JUST DO IT.

Somehow, during the years I was with him, as beaten-down as I became spiritually, I had called the police when he frightened me to the point where I thought I would get hurt. These police reports served me well in court later as they established a pattern of violent behavior to the judge. I therefore became a very believable petitioner. It was HIS behavior that got him where he was, not MINE!!

He fought each renewal of the restraining order (they're only good for 6 months at a time here). I got an attorney through Legal Advocates for Abused Women (wonderful people!!) and fought back. The judge saw through his lies ("...but I never hit her!", etc.) and extended it THREE TIMES. It was enough time for me to go to school, get a job, get therapy, and get on with my life.

Now I'm a legal secretary and am in court-reporting school, my kids are happy and healthy, my ex-husband has recognized that I, too, have power and will use it when I feel I need to, and he treats me with a great deal of respect these days. What's better, I treat me with a great deal of respect these days!

It takes a lot of determination, a lot of phone calls, a lot of knowledge (knowledge is POWER), and a great need to break the cycle of violence for the sake of our children, if not for us alone.

Don't hesitate to ask for help, support, or just an ear to listen when you need it. There are people out there willing to do just that. My home is now on a list with a local abused women's shelter as a "safe" home. I could get a call in the middle of the night to take in a woman and/or her children who are trying to leave the abuse. Pass on what you learn! It's a good feeling!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

I have lived in a verbally/physically abusive relationship for the past 8 years. Last year I had a major wake up call, and ended up leaving him. Although this did not work out and I ended up taking him back, I have spent the past year reading everything I could get my hands on about verbal/physical abuse and anything else that had to do with my situation and I couldn't tell you how many times i found myself rummaging through this web site in the wee hours of the morning. Just over a week ago I ended this relationship again, but this time I think it will be permanent. After all that I have learned I cannot see closing my eyes and letting him abuse me anymore. The day I made him leave my home was a great victory for me. We had been arguing all day about why I didn't want to have sex with him all the time and why i'm not as affectionate as I was in the begining and how I could "make him happy" simply by showing him the affection that he wanted from me, even though I had no desire whatsover to touch him or to be touched by him. I couldn't tell you how many times I have had sex with this man just so he would stop yelling at me and let me go to sleep, anyways the day escalated and he became very angry at me because I was speaking my mind, being honest and was not answering all of his questions in the way that "he" wanted me to answer them. I was taking a stand for me, and being honest about my feelings. Instead of bending to his needs I was honoring my own needs. So he decided that I needed to be punished for having my own feelings and opinions. "Punished" was the exact word he used. Punished like a child who did not do what she was told to do. I am 27 years old, who has the right to punish me? This is what was going through my mind. I am an adult here, I have rights and damnit no one has the right to punish me except a court of law and that is only if i break a law, which i have not done. Anyway, my "punishment" was this, he hid the monitor cord for my computer (I get a lot of on-line support and he does not like this), He destroyed my brand new cell phone (he always loved to destroy my things), and he burned a book I had in my purse "The Emotionally Abused Woman : Overcoming Destructive Patterns and Reclaiming Yourself" by:Beverly Engel. Aparently something he didn't feel that I should be reading. (by the way, this is a great book, 2 big thumbs up!) I was so devastated by this. I could not believe that he was doing this to me, again! I burst out in tears of disbelief. Once I gathered myself up I told him he had to leave. I stood my ground and followed through. He left within a couple of hours. He had crossed a big boundary with me and I could not let myself put up with this behavior from him any longer. I "AM" entitled to my own opinions and feelings and I will no longer let someone punish me for having them. I know that it has only been a week since he left, but I have noticed a big change in my home. It is much calmer and peaceful here now. I don't have to lock my credit cards and car keys in a safe at night to keep them away from him. It is just all around nicer! Tonight he called me, wanting to come over and spend the night with me. Said he misses me and doesn't understand why i am doing this to him. I stood my ground with him and told him that he could not come over and spend the night with me, that our relationship was over. I think I am being fair with him, I agreed to let him see the kids whenever he wants. I know I still have a long road ahead of me, but I will not be ruled by this man again.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, August 06, 2000

S1

I knew that my husband of 6 yrs would not let me leave. so i packed everything that i would need to take with me, so that i would not have to come back to the house again, because i knew he would be waiting for me. i packed things up in a box in each room, and kept them in the closets and he thought i was getting ready for a yard sale. so one morning when i felt that it was safe, i collected my already packed boxes, and called my sister while he went to work. i left all the big stuff, i was out of the house in about 30 minutes. he continued to stalk me at my mothers, on the way to work, everywhere. now finally he doesnt bother me anymore, we have kids together and he is good to them and has finally left me alone. you just have to stick to your guns and no matter what they say if they are abusive they cannot be trusted. i dont know why i waited so long to leave. now i am in a verbally abusive relationship, and thank gosh i have my own home, ive just got to find another way to get him out of my life and not get involved with men like them again, but i will, i did it once and thought i would never get through it, but i did.. tammie

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, September 06, 2000

S1

My verbally/physically abusive husband always tried to kick me out of our home, or threatened me with things, so finally, I told him that the next time he said to pack my stuff and leave, I would. And what do you knwo, the next day, he told me to do just that!! I really threw him for a loop when I did actually follow thru with it. He started crying and begging, I went anyways. He pestered me for three days, all day long, on the phone, refused money for his children, until I finally gave up and came back home. He did however agree to seek proffessionaly help, but it doesn't seem to be doing any good. Yesterday, I told him I wanted a divorce, the very first time I have ever uttered the word to him. I was afraid to admit defeat and afraid of what he would do when I told him this, but he just went into his normakl pattern, trying to talk me into staying, trying to give affection that he so often withholds. It isn't working this time. I am serious about this, he isn't going to change, because he sees that the only problem with our marriage is the name calling, and there is oh so much more. So, despite the fact that he says always that he is trying, I don't buy it anymore, and I still want the divorce. I will take the advise of this board, and leave when he least expects it. Part of me says that that is cruel, he should know, but the sane rationaly part says, that he will never let me leave any other way. Wish me luck.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, November 18, 2000

S1

If this is the wrong place to post please redirect me. I would like to hear from a victim who left succeeded in leaving her abuser who would go to no expense to "win, win" everything including the kids that he too abuses.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 29, 2000

S1

I left my abuser in April. I had not at that point realized that I was being verbally abused. I trusted him to be decent. A HUGE mistake. Friends told me to plan to leave. I didn't listen. I felt guilty about decieving him. I have not gone back, in spite of his begging, guilt trips, coercing. It felt like he was this vacuum that had turned on full blast after I left and if I didn't have anything to hold on to, I would be sucked back in. I remember thinking "this is my last chance to escape". He was incredibly sneaky. We were married for 10 years. I never even saw the abuse. He "pretended" to be nice, that con-man or jekyll and hyde thing, until he got the divorce papers. Then he was downright obvious about the verbal abuse. If you are thinking about leaving, MAKE A PLAN!!!! Learn from my mistake. Make lists of what you want. Make plans where to stay. Read all you can about other's experiences. Get support BEFORE you leave. You will need it.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2001

S1

How I left: Decided that abuser was verbally abusive. Went to shelter to find out about services. Called shelter everyday until there was an open bed When an open bed became available, I borrowed by abuser's own truck, lied to abuser that my sister was sick and had to leave with her truck and would probably need it until around 4:00 that afternoon, hired movers, signed up for storage for my furniture, dropped the cats off at the vet's and explained the situation to them Dropped the truck off at home before abuser got home And I did this in all of 7 hours! It's amazing what I did in 7 hours. ladywolf

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, July 03, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, July 13, 2002

S1

This is another excerpt from Trauma Bonds

The list of liabilities and payoffs for rescuing:

I can avoid conflict in rescuing them so they sill not be upset with me.

I want people to appreciate me and my efforts.

I protect my own childhood wounds by overcompensating so others will not feel disappointed or hurt as I did. I end up blocking reality from there.

I have a reservoir of resentment that excuses my sexual acting out.

Feeling obligated keeps my shame intact and powerful because I am overextended and behind all the time.

Rescuing supports my hero role in the family.

Turmoil prevents success, which is my life script.

Overextension by meeting the needs of others creates great martyrdom stories.

Rescuing creates a one up position from which I can avoid my feelings and intimacy.

It is one more way for me to obsess about someone.

Liabilities:

I lost my freedom and ended up owned by those I saved

I wanted to prevent him/her from leaving but my helping became so much it forced him/her to leave.

It never works and actually backfires.

I set myself up to be exploited—and then was upset because I felt taken for granted.

I lost money I could ill afford

Real issues were not addressed and I could keep drinking

Keeps me in denial—even when it is dangerous for me.

Feeling important falsely bolstered my sense of worth. Boy, was I surprised when the truth came out.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, July 13, 2002

S1

My story seems different. i believe I am also the abuser, it was me who flew into rages. I could not trust this man and sensed his motives were other than loving me. I believe he is a narcissic personality type who uses everyone around him to inflate himself. Everyone is flawed except him although deep down he feels very much flawed.

The real raging started when he was taking a dance class at the community college. He met someone there who became his partner in dance class. At the end of the class (she was calling our home) he decided to stay out two nights until 12 pm. A friend called up on the second day of this late night stuff and told me he was going to another town that day and was going to get back to him about moving a piano. We talked and the guy mentioned that what we had was not love. I flipped out by 9 pm and started putting his belongings to the curb, all of them and locked the door with the second set of keys that he did not have. When at midnight he came home saw what was up he tried to step through the window and I called the police. The police made up put everything back inside and escorted him to a motel telling him he'd better leave the apartment because they didn't want to be called again to that address.

A month later he was gone, even though I begged on my knees that he not go. We had guests from out of town the day he left. I was very distraught managed to get them to the airport the next day and stopped at Pier 1 to buy a kitchen table since he took his, I also stopped at Walmart where I ran into him. He was buying bedding and told me he thought he had made a terrible mistake. Since the table had to be built I asked him if he could do it then. He agreed and came over. We resumed our relationship, he in his space me in mine.

If he was involved with other women I didn't know it or suspect it, that went on for another year. His 14 year old daughter decided she had had enough of the demands for babysitting her younger brother and moved in with him. Two narcissics now. He and his daughter agreed to go on a vacation for two days that I orchestrated in my car. He acted like he was doing us both a favor and was distant and sarcastic. Finally I'd had enough and sent him to the back seat with his daughter for the remainder of the trip. In between his provoking me to angrily respond in rage his daughter seeing a rageful hateful person held her composure and apologized if she was the cause of our trouble. They slept in their own tent and I slept in the car. He asked me to start over and to come out of the car, I didn't and early in the morning I drove from the campground to town and got breakfast for us all. I really didn't want to wait for them to get up and get moving. When I drove into the campground they were waiting by the road. They assumed I had abandoned them, still do.

During the move in of his daughter when he would hug me affectionately she would turn away in disgust. He was emotionally and physically distant, but I figured that it was a time of adjustment and that he was spending time with her. Little did I know that a near-widow approached him at the gym and told him her husband was dying and that she wanted to go out with him. Apparently the husband died the weekend we were travelling.

I could see that I was being exploited but I moved into his apartment and was verbally abusive while he was moving me. In the morning after the move and his lazy fat daughter decided that because she helped him unload the third truck that they were doing all the work I exploded at them and called them assholes.

Then I began to feel that the move was precarious and I was advised to get out of there by a counselor and did with my son's help on a monday when they were at school and at work. All I was thinking was I would be on the streets and they would have a houseful of my belingings they had none of their own.

Then the other woman became his girlfriend. I was in extreme pain still not fully out of the bond. He would tell me he loved me best that after Christmas he'd be back with me. During that time I had several one night stands and told him about them. I also moved in a man I had known as strictly platonic roommate. He brought Christmas gifts that my roommate disposed of unopened. He proceeded to come by for sleazy sex as he called it.

In the meantime I left a message on his machine about his "fat" daughter. And once got her on the phone and told her he loved me and how would she like it if I were her stepmother? In a very nasty sarcastic tone. He continues to stop in whenever he feels the urge and to continue seeing the other woman as his public girlfriend.

I have done many things to put this guy off, I was charging him 100 dollars for sex. Got a tattoo which he hates, cut my hair, threw a handful of rocks on his car on our fourth anniversary after he'd had his way with me two days before and ignored me the entire weekend.

I joined a support group SLAA in October and slowly I'm catching on to my Trauma Bonds and sex addiction. I also learned I have BPD and have taken steps to arrest it with a skills training developed for the mental illness. I work at a Treatment Center for Trauma abuse, their hope is that I heal from these things.

I have been through a roller coaster ride from hell in the arena of career and nearly lost it all my apartment. For an entire month I could not find employment. I decided to read the bible it was all over for the world God was going to destroy it. Got on a Christian chat and listened to two people who kindly guided me to a church and the book of Acts.

My life turned around. I called a local treatment center told them I was sober for 16 years but couldn't keep it together. A woman there hooked me up with the director of the Trauma center where I am working. I got some unemployment coming to me and progressed to here.

I have a support group of women and gay men who talk to me and write me emails who share in the same meetings I go to and who help me beat the crisis in my life. I start therapy and training in a few days and my life is starting to change. Things that I need to know pop up when they are needed. I am reading a lot of Patrick Carnes and books on my BPD. I am determined to get out of the trauma bonding that I am set up to create in my relationships.

I am 53 a female and raised a pretty decent son by also including my grandmother who really didn't think too much of my behavior or me. But my son now 29 is happy educated doing something he loves and in a supportive relationship with a woman for now 2 years. My son also moved into the state I am living in after trying a relocation cure, moving to Santa Fe NM from Michigan 6 years ago. My son is moving on to LA but we saw each other and hadn't for 6 years, since he was going to school in NYC.

I have my doubts about change still wondering if it is possible. The pain around the great sex being lost and the dream of loving the man I was in an abusive relationship with is dying. But so far I haven't been able to say no when he shows up at my back door.

I am learning by the grace of God to take care of myself and to avoid more chaos in my life of which I am very good at creating.

Life goes on, I don't know what the future holds. It's one day at a time and the stress and pain hits hard still. They tell me it's withdrawal and it is really frightening and very very painful. I fear for my life.

One Day At A Time.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 27, 2002

S1

Good site especially for abusers who tried to abuse their partners. Basically, Dr.Irene only tells us how to defend ourselves when the truth is she should teach us how to beat the abusers in their own game. We must teach them a lesson to let them know that we cannot be step-upon like a doormat.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 13, 2002

S1

I have spent my adult life from age 16 until now "FINDING" the abusers. I married them, had children with them, continued to "beat myself" over them... I didn't know what I was doing. The abuse, narcissism, games, etc. in my biological family was so pervasive/covert that it took me nearly my entire life to see it! My biological family is sick! They have banned together and thrown me literally out of both their homes without warning (every time I DID LEAVE these men) the times I stood "alone and vulnerable" and needed help! My two children (in my sub-conscious) were the victims I WAS SAVING! I did not know that I was supposed to save myself too. Just putting this into words makes me extremely sad. My parents/sibling - to this day - are still trying to "break me" "discard me" "play with my feelings" and hurt me. Why, because I have been through counseling and read..read..read all my life. I am independent, getting stronger every day! That is the main rule that is not allowed to happen in the abusers' mind. The light finally came on for me. I actually met a wonderful man who is kind to me (as I am to him) and I am not dependent on my biological family in any way. Keep working and asking and looking and SEEING! First chance you get - get out! Even if you have to stand alone (divorcing your own parents). Yes, it will hurt and YOU will hurt - but eventually you will believe in your own vision. When it hurts, you WILL FEEL IT; AND, you will get away. We all matter! We all can protect ourselves! bebrave4u

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, February 22, 2003

S1

It was all so gradual. I almost feel ashamed to think that all of the signs were there and I didn't listen to my gutt. He was a real charmer. He preyed on me and I was so blind to what was happening. When something seems too good to be true....it just may be! He built me up and showered me with compliments and gifts. He treated me better than any man had ever treated me before. We were happy for a while and then 4 months after we met we moved 3,000 miles from our homes together. I wanted a change. That's when he changed. He just snapped on me one afternoon. He said such terrible things that I thought he would hit me!!! He didn't, he probably should have. Maybe then I would've left sooner and saved myself the torment. Well, he really made up for it by promising me it would never happen again...you know...what they ALWAYS say!! Charming for weeks and then an incident. I wondered why I started having stomach problems. But I still got engaged to him and I still married him. It just didn't hit me! I knew what he was doing to me and I was almost blind to it still or as I realized later in denial. I was fooled into believing that he was the best thing I could ever have and that I was a loser nobody would want me. He had me believing because I had no self-esteem left. Any self-steem I did have which was already close to non-existent was ripped away by him. He told me constantly what a loser I was, lazy, good for nothing, that he'd punch my face in. He would rip me apart verbally and then go outside the next minute and talk to people normally. He was such an actor. He tried to act like he was the greatest guy in the world. Everyday was like walking on eggshells. One day something was fine the next day it was all wrong. I never knew what would piss him off. I fell into a deep depression. I didn't want to talk to anyone or do anything. It wasn't living. Finally after months of disgust and horrendous fighting I woke up. It was like I was dreaming and woke up only I was wide awake. I went away for 3 weeks alone, realized how happy I was when he wasn't controlling my every move and I decided. I had no money but I was not letting that stop me. I decided that I wanted to live. When I returned I told him that I had to leave. He let me and told me that when I was ready to come home. He thought it was temporary because every other time I left I always came home after hours or days. This time I moved into an apartment with my girlfriend on borrowed money and started to live again. It has been a rocky 6 months but I am happy to have control over my life. He tries to get me to come home all the time admitting his faults but nothing will convince me. He is sick and needs to help himself. He came from a verbally abusive family and I will not wake up in 45 years with my husband calling me names. I will not be his mother. I may not have any money, I may be struggling not to cry my eyes out every day but I have my life back and I will never let any one take it away again. Love does not have to hurt. The only thing I wish I had done was to listen to my gutt instinct. It was right all along.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, February 28, 2003

S1

I too, planned my "excape" secretly for fear of what he might say or do - not hit me, but make my life miserable with put downs and maninpulations for days. Eventually, I had to tell him because I hired a moving company to load a truck and move me out of state. He couldn't understand why my decision was so "drastic" and why I couldn't have rented an apartment instead so we could work things out. Though I had tried to explain to him more than several times how I felt about his verbal abuse, he was still so surprised that I was actually leaving. I was so tired and it took all the strength I had to drive away behind the moving truck. I cried for two days. Even I didn't understand why I was crying. Now I do. It's been 6 weeks and I am getting stronger each day. I am calm and wear what I want to wear and do not fear criticism where I am. I know now that his desire to control me and make me feel bad about myself was not because I was not adequate, as he had made me feel for two years but as a result of his insecurity and low self esteem. I am so thankful that I only had 2 yrs of the crazy making. YOU CAN DO IT!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 05, 2003

S1

This was my plan to get out. I always had my own bank account so saving money was easier. I would purchase travel checks and hide cash, saving half of my ATM withdrawals (not as questionable on bank statements), in a safe place at work. I rented a small storage unit (pay cash or money order) and began placing (slowly so it was not noticed) important documents and irreplaceable/sentimental items in it. I purchased new household items starting with the highest priorities - towels, air beds, blankets, dishes, extra clothes etc. To save even more money, I shopped at garage sales and thrift stores. Then I rented an apartment. I was very fortunate that after I told the manager of my situation, he did not run a credit check (as not to identify my location). Later I moved all the items from the storage unit to the apartment. This was a slow process…it took me months to complete. My abuse was emotional and verbal. If it had been physical, I would have left immediately. The best overall advice I can give you to implement your plans is to analyze your strengths and weaknesses and his/hers. Use them to your advantage! To give you a few examples: My husband has a bad memory and I am a anti-clutter freak so for me to 'clean out the closets' and the missing household items would not be as noticed nor questioned (I would separate the items - one bag for the Goodwill and the other for storage. I would say I was taking them down to the Goodwill - and not mention the stop at the storage unit). He is ultra frugal - I started paying my bills online and stopping the mailed statements to "save a stamp". An idea he really liked. This also gave me more privacy/control and made it easier change my address (private mail box). Also read "Stopping a Stalker" by Robert Snow. Excellent book to help protect yourself after you leave…more than likely, you do not want him/her to know your location. This book gives great tips on making it much harder to be located.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 03, 2003

S1

After being occasionally physically abused and daily verbally abused for years, I finally got the courage to leave. One day, I told him I was going to work, but would be in a meeting (in case he called)My boss was aware and would ocver for me. I packed what I could and then escaped to a friends home. I was frightened out of my mind, but also relieved.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 18, 2003

S1

My parents knew that I was in trouble, and bought me a plane ticket to return to my home state. I visited a lawyer (without my husband knowing), and I felt very guilty doing it behind his back. But I needed to know my rights as a parent, and what would happen if I took my baby out of the state. The lawyer told me to get myself and my child away from my husband immediately, and gave me her blessing to leave the state. I forwarded my son's medical records, and put some stuff in boxes, and mailed it to my parent's house. I told my husband that I was going to visit my parents and have a job interview. He didn't want me to leave, and told me if I went, then I should just stay out there for good. I packed up as much of mine and my son's belongings that I could fit in five boxes. I got some important paperwork, and I got on that plane. It has only been five days since I left, and it is still very difficult. I talk with my husband still, and I know he wants us to come back. It is hard, and I know the road will be rocky ahead. I hope I have the strength to stay put. I need to do it for my son, and for myself.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 19, 2003

S1

After 3 years of dating and one year of marriage I have 3 broken noses and have been to jail 2 times. How it all happen I do not know. I do know it can happen to you if you don't run!!!! It is ending for me and my family now and I am very much relieved but it took testifiying in court and his 1st conviction. I testified on the 9th and have the police to our home 6 times since. Altough we have a no contact order in Ciccuit Court pending I had to get a order of protection on the 16th. We appear to be a good looking wealthy couple but inside it is horriable, I was controled by him and could not seem to break his spell. The Truth Set Me Free..........It really did and now I'm letting the Courts put the pieces back together. Stay strong and run........ Mrs. Greg Biggs

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 16, 2003

S1

I recently left with help from police and a crisis agency which operates in our town. I was given a lot of really great information about abusers and victims. Good thing, because I came back, and he's been open to discovery with me. (He is SUPPOSED to come by here tomorrow...) One of the fliers I received was directed to the victim returning home. Two items included I feel are well deserving a place in your own list. a)Make up a survival kit; changes of clothes for you and all kids, non-perishable foods, copies of all important ID/documents/phone lists, etc. Leave the kit with a trusted friend when possible; if not, be creative and store it in a secure, dry place. Chances are astronomical that his abuse will occur again; where physical abuse is present, this step must not be ignored. b)Coach younger children to dial 911. Teach them an escape route including the homes of neighbors who's phone could be used in an emergency. (This is actually how I managed to get to safty- nice to see affirmation!) I have come a long way, as far as recognizing, managing my reactions and desire for help go. I feel he is also ready, but will not withstand any more physical violence. Rest assured that I am working on that kit; and of course a savings account (get a PO box!!). Believing in your marriage is obviously an easy choice, or this page wouldn't be needed. There is no reason to make yourself more open to abuse! Ok. I'm done. I love your site very, very much. I feel blessed to have come across it.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, June 15, 2003

S1

I need buig help i mean big help i am a bout 11 years old and my dad abused me and my mom moved to georgia who tried to get away from all this but the juge said this was and icelated event and it wont probley happen again but i know it will and one of us would be dead next time like my brother who is brandon mays and he got hit with the belt buckle in the head and with a class ring and mt grandmaw hide all the phones so we could not call for help and i found Aa phone and called my mom who call the police for help and the laurel county police told my dad that it was okay he had kids of his own but then when we went to court my dad lawyer David.O.Smith laughed at me while i was on the whitness stand but my dad fusses 100% of thhe time and my grand parents did not even have mathng stories but still if you have any tips plese give me some thank you ... Meagan.mays

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, August 10, 2003

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, August 21, 2003

S1

My girlfriend would get suddenly very angry about me seeing friends I'd had for years, for example, which was outside her control, and she'd sit in front of the TV dead silent and refused to talk about it. Or she would be verbally abusive and then silent again. I told her I would move in a month and we spent a month not talking. It was horrible. Then I moved and cried for months, but I was free. I must add too that I made things worse by not being secure with myself anf my own life before getting into such a relationship. Peace. It takes lots of courage and I still love her.