December 26, 2009

A Christmas to Remember

My children and I have been living in a community shelter for victims of domestic violence since December 15th. My husband hasn't paid the child support he was ordered to pay for the past 2 months. The five of us are living in single room that doesn't even have a lock on the door. We have restrictions, curfews and we live with strangers, some which are strange to say the least. Things are pretty bleak right now.

But yesterday, my children had the best Christmas ever!

When they came down to the children's playroom in the shelter where the Christmas tree is set up, their eyes beheld a sea of gifts. They were awestruck, squealed with delight, dove in and set to work on the seemingly impossible task of unwrapping an incredible pile of gifts. They opened and played with gifts for hours. At one point I asked my 3 year old Joshua if he was going to open some more of his gifts, and he said, "That's enough Christmas, I'm tired of opening presents." LOL!!! Once he got a second wind, he was right back at it.

My children were blessed beyond their wildest dreams thanks to the employees of Aramark Corporation located in Reading, PA. They chose to adopt our family for Christmas after we were brought to their attention by one of their employees by the name of Lucy, whom we had just met through our mutual friend Nani.

On Wednesday December 23, my children and I went to Aramark to meet with the people who decided to bestow us with so much kindness, without even knowing us. They were having their holiday luncheon and they invited us to join them. When we walked into the lunchroom where their Christmas tree stood, I was just overwhelmed. All of these smiling friendly faces, and a tree full of gifts that were all for us. I was overcome with gratitude.

I introduced us to everyone while trying not to cry, straining to talk over the huge lump in my throat. The true spirit of Christmas had come to us this year. I remember in years past donating toys or clothing for those in need and it was a good feeling, but until this day, I didn't know personally what the recipients felt. Now I understood intimately.

Words are not enough to describe the thanks in my heart to the Aramark employees who rallied together for the cause that was us. All I can say is that I am forever grateful and know that I could never ever repay them for their incredible generosity. They gave us a Christmas to remember!

We don't have much right now, but we have family and friends who love us and strangers who care. Most of all we have a heavenly Father that watches over and provides for us. Our Christmas started 2 weeks ago when we went to a holiday Christmas party for Forestdale Fathering initiative where my daughter won a bike in a raffle. It continued with a visit to Grandpa and a generous gift to all of us, and it continues on as we visit with their aunt, Grandma & our friends.

The windows of heaven opened up and poured out a blessing that we literally don't have room to receive! Again God has done what I could not possibly do and used our family, friends and strangers to pour out His indescribable, uncontainable, incomprehensible love on us. When we finally settle into a home of our own one day, the children will each have enough toys to fill thier rooms.

So we'd like to thank:
The employees of Aramark in Reading, PA
The employees and donors of Turning Point
The employees and donors of Forestdale Fathering Initiative
The teachers and friends at Life Academy
Our friends: Liz, Zori, Nani, Tutu, Austin, Kela
Our family: Grandpa, Grandma, Aunties Raina & Pam, my oldest son-big brother Anthony

We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts and pray God's blessings upon you and your families in the coming year!

(I don't have access to my PC right now to upload the pictures I took, but I will post pictures as soon as I can.)




December 21, 2009

Home For the Holidays

Its been a couple weeks since my last post and so much more has happened that I will share with you soon. Unfortunately, I don't have access to the internet at this time and I'm doing this post at the library. Since I'm not a resident of the neighborhood, I only have 15 minutes to use the express PC.

My children and I moved out of our friend's house last Tuesday and we are currently staying in a shelter in Bethlehem. I told my children earlier this year that I believed we'd be in our own place by Christmas, it seemed very possible. I guess we are in our "own" place in that we aren't living with our family or friends any more, but a shelter wasn't exactly what I had in mind. We have our own room, but it is community living and we have to share the bathrooms, kitchen and lounge/TV area.

My husband bailed himself out of jail the day after he was arrested and his bail was $10,000 straight, which he paid with no problem. But he hasn't paid his court ordered child support because he says he doesn't have it. He hired a lawyer to defend his criminal charge and he has hired one to fight the support order. He wants the order vacated. He will be spending a wonderful holiday with his mistress and his daughter, spending his children's support money on them and himself. He may even spring for the trip to Japan for the three of them.

So anyway, we are in our new "home" for the holidays. We have 30 days here and maybe an extension and then on to the next unknown place. Please keep us in your prayers.

I wish you and your families a blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

December 5, 2009

Because of the Hardness of His Heart

"But Pharaoh hardened his heart again and refused to let the people go." Exodus 8.32

I have an order of protection against my husband that is in effect until March 10, 2010.
It orders my husband to:

[1] Stay away from (me);
[2] Refrain from communication or any other contact by mail, telephone, e-mail, voice-mail or other means with (me), except for issues related to the children and subject to court ordered visitation;
[3] Refrain from assault, stalking, harassment, aggravated harassment, menacing, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, intimidation, criminal mischief, threats or any criminal offense against (me).

On last weekend's visit he violated that order. He left the children and me shaking and trembling in fear, as he had on so many occasions when we lived with him.

Because of the hardness of his heart, he can't leave well enough alone. The visits that he has with our children are supposed to be for him to spend time with them, being a father. But I know that the visits are really just his way of digging his talons into me. They are the only strings that keep him attached to me and his only way to continue bothering me in my life.

I wish I could video tape these visits. The way he interacts with them, they could be anybody. As soon as he arrives on the scene, let the games begin! The overacting, loud voice and disingenuous laughs, come off like a clown that has shown up at a birthday party. It's like he just met these kids and it's his job to entertain them with his performance. There is a total lack of warmth and intimacy.

It's one game after another at the fun center and one exhibit after another at the science center. There's no sense of longing from a brokenhearted father that desperately misses his children. There's no time spent talking to them about them, or school, or anything that people in real relationships connect over. It's all on the surface. He doesn't talk to them the way a genuine loving father would.

In any event, keeping in character of a true batterer, even while going to Domestic Violence school for his 'Batterer No More' certificate, he just had to start some trouble on the visit last week. Abusive people aren't cured because the person they abused isn't in their life any longer. They find other ways to get their thrills with them until they find someone else to abuse.

He's got his old girlfriend back, he's free in his life to come and go as he pleases, hangs out with his friends, doesn't have to wipe one runny nose or poopy butt. He doesn't have to clean up after anyone but himself, doesn't have to cook for anyone, doesn't have to get up before the crack of dawn to get anyone off to school. He's independent and free. All he has to do is show up down here spend a couple hours playing and go home. You'd think he could just move on.


But an evil and idle mind is the devil's workshop.

"Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your mouth is full of lies, and your lips are tainted with corruption. You don't care about being fair and honest. Your lawsuits are based on lies. You spend your time plotting evil deeds and then doing them. You spend your time and energy spinning evil plans that end up in deadly actions. You cheat and shortchange everyone. Nothing you do is productive; all your activity is filled with sin. Violence is your trademark. Your feet run to do evil, and you rush to commit murder. You think only about sinning. Wherever you go, misery and destruction follow you. You do not know what true peace is or what it means to be just and good. You continually do wrong, and those who follow (or tried to have a life with) you cannot experience a moment's peace." Isaiah 59.3-8

When you have been in a relationship with an abusive person, leaving him is like trying to leave a gang. You just can't say, "Hey, this isn't working for me, I'm gonna go now," and get a response of, "Oh, okay cool. You take care now."

No. You have to get "jumped" out. The abuser will come after you every which way he can. The courts, the kids, your family, your friends, the child support he won't pay, his other women he flaunts. If he can't get another lick in physically, he will do it psychologically, emotionally, and economically. He will attempt to grind you down mentally.

Getting back to the devil's workshop, my husband has been up to something for a little while now. He's been plotting and scheming in regards to the visitation or custody as it is set up now. The first I heard of his latest trickery was in early November when my lawyer called me and said that the law guardian for the children called her and said that my husband was emailing him. My husband was telling the law guardian that I wasn't cooperating with the visits and making problems.

I immediately told her that those accusations were not true and the law guardian needed to understand one thing first and foremost and that is, my husband is a pathological liar. I told her that not only was I cooperating but although I was only obligated under the agreement to give him 3 hours with the children, I had been giving him 5 hours.

I let her know that when he calls to speak to the kids, I give them the phone. If we miss his call, I have them call him back. I told her that the judgement in the support case had just come through and my husband was ordered to pay us a whole lot more than I'm sure he thought he would and I believed he was pissed off about it. She understood and said she would pass the info on to the law guardian.

In addition to his deceitful emails, he has been sending me text messages accusing me of manipulating the children's feelings in regards to him. When the children don't want to talk to him, he blames me and says that I am influencing them negatively by my feelings about him. I believe he was talking to some ignorant person in his life again or perhaps just came up with this latest plan on his own, to try and suggest I am guilty of 'parental alienation'. It is one of the latest tools that abusers pull out of their bag of tricks to use against their victims in court.

He believes that if he texts something to me, that it makes it true and evidence to be used against me. But what he fails to recognize and thereby crumbling the entire foundation of his position is that the children have always been with me and I have felt the same way about him since our escape - I don't like him. I don't tell them how to feel about him and they are usually okay with him. So who's influencing them to be cool with him?

I have the right to dislike someone who abused me, lied to me, cheated on me, and refuses to take care of his children. My feelings about him don't change. But the children's feelings for him fluctuate. They have their own independent feelings about him based on their personal experiences and eyewitness accounts of him and their own individual personalities, ages and genders.

I have resisted the temptation to hate him by praying for him. But I hate what he has done to this family, to our children and to me. I hate that he has left us with trauma, behavioral & stress disorders. I hate that he has left us struggling for survival. I hate that he has left us homeless, moving from place to place in search of a home to call our own. I hate that he has forced us to live like refugees.
In spite of that, the children can still be happy at times when they talk to him. They can still laugh and enjoying playing with him sometimes. For that, I get no credit. Only when they don't feel like talking to him or playing with him is it then my fault. I allow the children to feel how they want to feel about him or anything else and don't tell them that their feelings are wrong or bad. If one day they hate him or think he's mean and dumb, that's okay. If on another day, they love him and miss him, that's okay too.

I won't force them to talk to or interact with him when they don't want to. Some days they'll like him, some days they won't. Some times they feel like a nut, some times they don't.

He wants them to always act excited about him and cry for missing him. He wants them to never feel negatively about him and I guess my job is supposed to be to squash any bad feelings about daddy. That doesn't fit into his plan of being the poor misunderstood loving father. When they don't want to be bothered with him, it is a reminder and proof of who the real destroyer of the peace was and continues to be. That's evidence against him that he wants to get rid of. He thinks another person's feelings can be controlled, because that's what he understands, power and control.

Anyhoo, he thought that he had come up with a clever piece to his latest sneakery. On the visit last weekend, after about an hour and a half into the visit, he came and sat next to me - violation #1. He then began to talk to me - violation #2. He began to say things to me that were upsetting and although I went back and forth with him for a few minutes, I reminded him that he wasn't supposed to talk to me, but he kept right on going anyway - violation #3. When I got up and went to the stroller to get the baby who was now crying, he followed me, still talking - violation #4.

He upset me so much by the stuff coming out of his mouth, including another slur about Emmanuel not being his son, that I told him the visit was over, called the children and told them to put their shoes on because it was time to go. As I tried to move the stroller, he blocked me from leaving by putting his foot in front of one of the wheels. I had to ask him to move, three times before he did - violation #5.

Things got louder and chaotic as the children got involved and began to yell and say things as I tried to gather them up to leave and as he kept talking. People were starting to look and take notice - violation #6.

He got to the exit before I did, as I maneuvered the stroller in between the arcade games and other patrons. The children were up ahead of me and I couldn't see them directly because of the games that were blocking me. Just as I made my way to the front, my daughter jumps out, waving her hand frantically for me to come while calling in a panic stricken voice, "Mommy, mommy, hurry! Solomon is going out with him!"

I looked out the door and see my husband about to pick up my 5 year old who has just gone out the door to him. He picks him up and turns in a hurry toward the parking lot. I left the stroller by the door and told my daughter and 3 year old to stay right there. I bolt out of the door and take my son from him. I don't remember what we said to each other at that point, but once I took my son from him, he began to quickly walk toward his car.

After he got halfway there, he turns around laughing, holding up what looked like his Blackberry, with a red light shining. My daughter had joined me outside at this point and also saw him holding the thing with the red light. She said that her first thought was that he was laughing and holding up the arcade card to show us that he had it and now they couldn't play any more games. But then she said she saw the red light and knew that he was showing us a recorder.

It all became clear as soon as I saw the recorder. My husband sat down next to me, so that he could pick up my voice, and then instigated an emotionally charged conversation with me in an attempt to get me upset and on tape saying something that fits into this scheme of his.

Well, he accomplished what he set out to do and that was upset me. He also upset the children and frightened and traumatized them yet again. My daughter told me that her legs were trembling and she was shaking. I know what she means because I had the same feeling coursing through my body.


This was funny to him. Scaring and scarring his kids is funny to him. He could care less about the state he had just left his children in. He is despicable and diabolical.

Well I guess he hadn't thought of this, but he also accomplished something else, he broke the law. He didn't take that into account as he made his tape which is recording him violating my order of protection. It is also against the law in PA to record someone without their consent. So I don't know what good his tape will do him.

Since I never did it before, I guess he didn't expect me to do it now, but this time I called the police and filed a report. The DA called me and told me that the next time he came down here, he would be arrested. So when he showed up for the visit yesterday, the police were ready for him and took him into custody, as he waited for us to show up at the science center. We never even saw him, he was gone before we got there. The police officer that waited for me informed me that they picked him up already. I drove through the parking lot before we left, and sure enough, his car was there, silently covered in snow.

My husband was arrested for the first time ever, for his abusive behavior towards me. He wasn't arrested when he fractured my rib or nearly broke my arm. He wasn't arrested when he slapped me, mushed me, pushed me or pulled my hair. He wasn't arrested for spitting on me, cursing me or calling me everything but a child of God. He got away with committing felony assaults against me.

But today he was arrested for talking to me, blocking my path and doing this in a public place.

That is the nature of sin. It tempts us to do evil, but doesn't show us what will happen to us when we yield to it. He had this ingenious plan or so he thought, and it only ensnared him! He played himself.

He still doesn't understand that my heavenly Father told me, "No weapon formed against you will prosper and everyone who tells lies against you shall be brought to justice." Isaiah 54.17

This is the same God that he pretended to serve when we shared a life together. He clearly didn't believe God was real or that He really fights for and protects us.

So once again, I didn't have to do anything but tell the truth and watch what God did to the person who has made himself my enemy.

So I wonder, is he laughing now? God is. And I'm trying not to...

"How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you--when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm." Proverbs 1.22-33


Sometimes Brain, its possible to be so smart, that you're stupid.

November 26, 2009

I Am Truly Thankful


This year was very unexpected. Nothing that happened in it was planned by me. It was a very hard year. It was full of difficulty and pain. There was so much heartache and tears. The wounds are deep.

But I am thankful.

I hadn't planned to leave my husband. I hadn't planned to go into a shelter. I hadn't planned to leave New York. I hadn't planned to live with my sister, my mother or my friend. I hadn't planned to have my baby by myself. I hadn't planned to be a single mother.

Still though, I'm thankful.

This year was the year that God planned to deliver me. It was the year when God knew that I was ready. He knew that all I had been through up until this year had equipped me for the exodus. He knew that I was at a place in my life where I would trust Him completely for the strength necessary for the journey.

He knew that at times it would get so tough I would feel like returning to my place of bondage. But He knew I had learned well that His grace would be sufficient for me and in spite of how I'd feel, I'd never go back.

So, I am thankful.

This has been a year of revolution in my life, and revolution is usually accompanied by war. The one oppressing my life had to be overthrown. God fought all the battles and handed me all the victories. My enemy pursued me in an attempt to crush me. In the end, he was defeated.

The enemy of all mankind tried to tell me I couldn't do it, I wouldn't make it, that I was stupid and my life was over. But my heavenly Father said, "Not so."

I am so thankful.

This was the year that a change was gonna come. All change begins with a decision. A decision got me in this relationship and a decision got me out. I decided that my children and I couldn't live with the pain and the fear any longer. I decided that we deserved to live in peace. My decision passed judgement on something that had not really been a consideration and it translated into the catalyst I needed to act on it.

God has truly caused all things to come together for our good. He has done some amazing things for us this year. There is not a single thing that I could've made happen on my own in the perfect succession in which He did it. My children and I have witnessed first hand the way God does miracles today that are as awesome as the parting of the sea.

When I walked out of the door of my prison/home with my children for the last time, I had no idea what to expect. I didn't have a plan and I had no idea what would come next. I had just jumped off a cliff without a parachute. I stepped out to cross the sea without a bridge.

But God showed me that He is my parachute and if I take the courage to jump He will bring me to the ground gently. He showed me that if I will step out in faith onto the water, He will build the bridge step by step as I go. He is my bridge over troubled waters.

So on Thanksgiving and really everyday, I have so very much to be thankful for.

I am thankful we are free.
I am thankful we are safe.
I am thankful that we no longer live in fear.
I am thankful to no longer be hurt.
I am thankful for my children.
I am thankful for all of the court victories.
I am thankful for my mom, dad and sisters.
I am thankful for my good friends - old and new.
I am thankful for my church families.
I am thankful for a place to live.
I am thankful for food to eat.
I am thankful for my car.
I am thankful for good health.
I am thankful for God's supply and provision.
I am thankful for everyone that has helped us in any way.
I am thankful for Safe Horizon.
I am thankful for Genesis.
I am thankful for Turning Point.
I am thankful for Life Academy.
I am thankful for the people who adopted our family for Christmas.
I am thankful for hope, a new life and a good future.
I am thankful for God's love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and kindness.
I am thankful for Jesus and the joy, peace, goodness, eternal life and all that He died to give me.


My sistas (and any good brothers out there), I'm still not all that I should be; but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past, forgetting that man, forgetting all that was done to hurt me; and I will reach forward to all the good things that God has laid out ahead of me; I will press through and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3.13-14)

I hope you and your families have a blessed and
Happy Thanksgiving.


November 25, 2009

11 Years Later, Thanksgiving Has Come Full Circle

When Thanksgiving rolled around the very first year that I was in a relationship with my husband, I naturally assumed we'd spend it together. Unbeknownst to me, my husband (boyfriend at the time) had made plans behind my back to spend Thanksgiving with his ex and their daughter. Not only would he be going over for dinner, he'd be over early so that he could cook the turkey.

When I called him to discuss what we'd do for the holiday, that's when he informed me of what his plans already were. I was dumbfounded. Who does that? How can you be in a relationship with someone for 5 months and turn around and spend a major holiday with someone you've been out of a relationship with for 5 months?

I asked him how could he do that? I asked him not to do it. I asked him if I was invited? I wasn't.
I told him that what he was doing wasn't right, that he was in a relationship with me. But all of my pleading fell on cold deaf ears. His daughter wanted him to cook turkey (so he says). Period. End of discussion.

I was crushed. I cried.

On top of that, he had the audacity to get mad at me. I was the one that was betrayed. Yet he proceeded to get loud and scream at me on the phone. He was cursing and probably foaming at the mouth. He cursed me up and down, in and out. Then he hung up on me.

I was speechless. I had never been treated like that by anyone. I don't even think I knew how to react. I said to myself, "Screw him, it's over. I won't answer his calls anymore."

I don't know how many times over the years I've gotten mad at myself for not sticking to that. How I've agonized and wished desperately that I could turn back time and drop him right then and there.

Of course he called me at some point and talked me back into this stupid thing with him. I don't remember how long after he hung up on me or how soon before Thanksgiving that he called, but he had his idea of how the day would be for me.

His idea: He'd go over his ex girlfriend's house and spend the entire day cooking and eating with them. I'd spend this time waiting for him in his empty, cold apartment that he had just moved into in Brooklyn. He had no heat, almost no furniture and no cable. Then at the end of the day when he was full and they had their full of each other, he'd come back and have his full of me.

Mind you, I had a very nice apartment of my own in New Jersey that was fully furnished, warm, had cable and a nice stereo system. Why on earth would I drive to NY to sit in his cold dark apartment so that after he had his day with them he could come have his way with me?

I told him that wasn't happening. I am proud to say that I didn't go and I wasn't his dessert that night, I was at least strong enough for that. A day or two before Thanksgiving, I had bought several bottles of alcohol and intended to drink them all by myself. I was hoping that I could drink myself to death actually.

I was pretty depressed.

This was the first Thanksgiving that I wasn't spending with my son and soon to be ex-husband from my first marriage. They went to Virginia to spend the holiday with some of his family down there. He had actually invited me to come with them, but out of respect for my boyfriend that I thought I was in a serious relationship with, I declined. Now I felt stupid. I could've gone with them if I knew what this fool was planning behind my back.

I was lonely and low and I had a sociopath for a boyfriend, but didn't know it at the time.

Well, over the years Thanksgiving didn't get better with him. The first one he spent with his ex and daughter. The second one he didn't want to go anywhere or do anything, so we spent it alone. Maybe we had Chinese takeout, I don't remember. The third one, he didn't want to come with me to my grandmother's house, and so on and so on.

Thanksgiving became this time of trepidation for me. I would get anxious when the holiday was coming up, because I knew something bad or not right was going to go down. There were arguments or fights. Later when he finally had a steady job, he had to work and I was home alone with one baby, then two, then three.

It felt lonely and sad.

Growing up, Thanksgiving had always been so much fun. Everyone would come to my grandmother's house for dinner. There were cousins and aunts and uncles. It was lively and loud. There was music and football and laughter. I grew up looking forward to and loving this day.

It wasn't like that anymore.

After several years with my husband I dreaded it. I wished it wasn't even on the calendar. I knew that whatever warm good family time everyone else was having, whatever I would experience would be far from that.

I began to not care about the holiday, even resent it. I hated that there was a day on the calendar to magnify the situation in my life and what I was missing. I wasn't interested in going anywhere and didn't really want to cook, but would for the sake of the children, even though they didn't typically want any food that's on the traditional Thanksgiving menu. They had no idea what a real family Thanksgiving was like, but I didn't want them to not experience it altogether.

So now it's our first Thanksgiving of freedom. My first Thanksgiving in which Jeff is no longer in my life on a relationship level. But it's still weird for me. I really don't want to do anything or go anywhere. To have dinner with any of my family I have my choice of driving 2 & 1/2 hours, 3 hours or 5 hours one way, then same thing back again. It would be a waste of time for me to stay home and cook dinner for me and the children who pretty much wouldn't want more than turkey and rice. For now I've opted for the 2 & 1/2 hour drive.

The joy of the holiday hasn't returned yet and maybe it never will. But never is a long time, so I'll remain hopeful.

And my husband? Will he be having a sad, lonely holiday, lamenting the loss of his beautiful wife and children? Not at all!

The first Thanksgiving after leaving him, my husband will be spending it where he spent the first Thanksgiving after meeting him. That's right, back with his ex and their now almost 21 year old daughter. Apparently since the children and I have been gone, that is where he has been spending a lot of his days and nights and weekends.

Truth is, he was probably seeing her throughout the time we were together. I was never comfortable with his relationship with her. It was always secretive and sneaky. There were times when I questioned things and  ended up getting cursed out or into a physical fight after he hit me because of it.

Well, they picked up right where they left off as if their relationship was on pause or in a state of suspended animation. It's as if I imagined the past 11 years. He took this break with her to come into and destroy my life, then go back to her as if the children and I never happened.

And her pathetic behind is there as usual, to take him back into her life and into her bed as if the time he has spent married to another woman and having 4 children with her is of no consequence. Prior to me they had broken up a few times, probably because of his infidelities. He'd go off do his thing, live with other women, the whole nine, then come back and she'd lap him up.

I didn't matter to him and the fact that he was with me all these years doesn't matter to her. I don't get them. I don't understand people like them. The closest I can come is that they are both nasty dogs. He's the nasty dog that humps every bitch (female dog) in sight, and she's the nasty bitch (female dog, of course) that keeps licking up her vomit for his humping.

Nasty nasty. Well they deserve each other.

So 11 years and 4 children later, Thanksgiving has come full circle. Now it is complete. He is finally and officially out of the circle of life with me and our children. Things ended where they began. Crazy as hell. One day things will be normal for me again.

That first Thanksgiving was my warning, my preview of things to come. Unfortunately back then I was at such a low point in my life, I made an easy victim for him because I was too weak to fight for myself.

Well, what's done is done.

In spite of all that has happened, I do have a lot to be thankful for. And I'll give all my thanks in my next post.

November 24, 2009

The Most Disgusting Thing He Ever Did To Me...

He spit on me.
It was the most disgusting thing anyone on this planet had ever done to me. My husband spit on me, his wife, in front of our very young children.

And he didn't spit once, he spit over and over again. I don't know how many times in all, but at least 7 or 8 times, maybe even 10.

He spit in my face. He spit in my hair, on my chest, my head. I was spit on anywhere his spit landed.

It felt like slime and it smelled soooooooo bad. He had one of the worst cases of halitosis of anyone that I had ever known. He smoked weed, had some rotting teeth in his mouth and barely brushed them. I had not kissed him beyond a peck for this very reason for years.

Why did he spit on me?
Is there really ever a reason to spit on anyone?

You can be fined for spitting in most places and it is a crime in some places that is punishable by arrest. And that's for spitting on the ground!

But spitting on a person, someone who loves you, lives with you, your wife, the mother of your children? It's reprehensible and diabolical.

From what I remember we were having a conversation that was related to an altercation from either the day before or earlier that day. We weren't yelling or arguing, just quietly talking. I was in the bathroom and he was standing right outside the door. I don't remember how the conversation began or everything that was said, but I do remember that right before he began spitting on me, I simply said, "There are men who hit and men who don't. You are a man who hits."

Then as usual he changed in an instant. His face changed, his voice changed and I could see that evil glare in his eyes. He got loud and he said, "So I'm a man that hits? F#%K YOU!" Then he spit in my face.

I couldn't believe he had just done that and my mind was reeling trying to process it. I guess my look of shock was pleasing to him, so he spit again. I said, "Jeff, please stop," and put my head down to shield my face. He kept saying, "F#%K YOU," and continued to spit. I began to cry and squeezed past him out of the bathroom and walked into the kitchen all the while asking him to stop. He followed me and continued this scene of cursing, gathering his spit and projecting it onto me, while little Justina and Solomon sadly looked on.

I went back into the bathroom and he followed me and at some point he stopped and walked away. I was crying and began to try and wash the stench off of me. I used soap and water to try and get the funk out of my hair and off my skin.

I didn't retaliate, yell, argue or fight with him this day. I just cried.

I'm not a spitter so I wasn't going to go follow him and start spitting back. What he did was so hurtful that all I wanted was to get away from him. When I left the bathroom I went straight to the bedroom and got the phone and called my dad. I told him that Jeff was starting trouble again and asked if the kids and I could come over and he said of course we could.

As I packed a bag for us, Jeff suddenly changed again. He was asking me not to go. He was acting like he was sorry and began pleading with me not to go. I told him that he had proved my point. I said there are men who abuse and men who don't and his getting angry and spitting on me, was exactly what I was talking about. It was the kind of man that he is.

He said he was sorry, I was right, he shouldn't have done that and all that other yada yada he said on the occasions when his behavior was exceptionally heinous, like when he cracked my rib and slammed my arm in the door when I was pregnant.

But I was going no matter what he said. I was shocked, hurt and humiliated. I felt a new level of degradation and disrespect. I couldn't stomach to be around him.

While at my dad's, he called several times to talk to me and tell me he was wrong and he was sorry. Words he didn't mean. They're included in the abuser's bag of tricks.

What I don't understand is, if you have so much contempt for someone that you have to curse them filthily and spit on them repeatedly, why would you want to be with them? If he hated me so much (for what reason, I'll never know) why not just leave me?

Well after 2 days, the kids and I returned. He was over his act of humility in about a day, and the abuse continued in its regular fashion of cursing, name calling, controlling, hitting and fighting.

I've wondered sometimes, how many people have ever been spit on? How many of  them were spit on by someone they loved?

Then I'd think about Jesus. He was spit on too. He was spit on by people He loved. The sinners He came to die to save, spit on Him in addition to verbally and physically abusing Him.

I was loving my husband, forgiving him and staying with him, when he didn't deserve me, my forgiveness or my love. I'm not Jesus and not even close to being like Him, yet. But I'm doing my best to follow His example in my life.

Knowing that He went through something that I went through, helps me see it in a different light. I'm in the company of the Savior. Granted, we experienced the same thing for very different reasons, but I'm sure the way it felt was the same - it hurt.

I'm pretty sure no one will ever spit on me again in my life. But if it happened again, it surely wouldn't be done by someone who is supposed to love me.

If it did happen again one day, I would like to believe it will be because I am being persecuted for the King.


November 15, 2009

The Physical Abuse

He was physically abusive.

According to my husband he only had one fight with a male in his life. He was in high school and had said something smart to an obviously gay young man that I guess he’d thought nothing of on account of the guy being gay. But to his surprise, this effeminate young man, jumped a fence or wall and got to him and beat him up, embarrassing and humiliating him in front of whoever was around to see it. From that time on, he only fought women and terrorized children.

He was arrested on a domestic violence charge after assaulting another woman he lived with when she called the police and he spent the weekend in jail. The charges were eventually dismissed because he blackmailed her into dropping them. While they lived together, she paid for some stuff at Victoria’s Secret with one of his checks that she signed. So he told her that if she didn’t drop the charges, he would press charges against her for forgery.

When he first told me this story shortly after meeting me, he said that she was crazy and had made the whole thing up. He said that she just wanted to get him out of his apartment, as he was forced to leave due to the charges against him. He also said that she peed on his kitchen floor for no reason, she slept with a knife under her side of the bed, and she was forging his checks. Prior to him driving her across the country to come live with him, he said they had been good friends for a long time. Then I guess without provocation, she let the psycho out of the bag.

I believed him at first, because I had no reason not to. I had known him for a few weeks or so and he appeared anything but abusive. He was charming, polite, funny, fun, smart and a gentleman. So she must've been crazy, right? He kept telling me that I was beautiful and that I was making him fall in love with me. I believed him hook, line and sinker.

It wasn't until years later, after enduring physical and every other kind of abuse there was and being called crazy and off to the point where I began to think I was, did I begin to realize, that he actually abused that woman. I don't know if that was the first time he hit her or the last, but she called the police that day.

I understood the fear she must have felt when she peed on herself and why she slept with that knife under her side of the bed. I also had "went" on myself once, I had been that afraid too.

I confronted him years later after another abusive episode and told him that I believed he did hit that girl and that's why she called the police. And you know what? He admitted it. He kinda laughed about it as if he was just busted stealing a cookie from the cookie jar. I guess he must have been thinking, "Very good stupid, you finally figured it out." He nonchalantly recounted his version of the story to me, admitting to choking her at one point, smiling and laughing at times, as if proud of himself. Although I wasn't surprised at this information, I was still dumbstruck at hearing it.

I felt like a fool. I had been had. But it was too late now, I was trapped. I had children with this psycho. Why didn't I see this incident as a red flag from the beginning, no matter what the version? He played the pity card so well, I fell for it and had even felt bad that this nice guy had to endure a weekend in jail because of a crazy scheming ex-girlfriend. He was, excuse me, IS a very skilled liar, Ted Bundy style - doing it with a smile.

My husband took pride in the fact that he never punched me, in his mind that meant he wasn't abusive. When I would tell him he hit me, he would say, “I didn’t hit you, I mushed you.”

Well, he mushed me. He pushed me. He smacked me. He slapped me. He shoved me, squeezed me, and dug his nails into me. He threw things at me. He pulled my hair. He wrestled me. He fought me like someone he'd fight on the street. Over the past 10 years, I was covered with hundreds of bruises and had dozens and dozens of cuts and scratches.


He did all of these things in front of our innocent and frightened children. He didn't care what they saw or how terrified they were. He ignored their cries and screams. At times I was able to get them into the bedroom and close the door to shield them. But they could still hear those awful sounds of adults fighting. Sounds you sometimes can hear forever.

He was a family terrorist.

Once he slammed my arm in a door when I was about 7 months pregnant with our first child. My arm was very swollen, scratched up, sore and had just about all the colors of the rainbow. I had never seen a bruise like it. It looked really bad and felt terrible. I thought that I should probably go to the hospital, but I didn't.

I was afraid of what would happen to him and then to me and the baby. We were basically homeless at the time, renting a room from a heroin junkie in Washington Heights. He was making pennies working as a security guard, but they were the only pennies there were at the time. I was afraid to be alone and have the baby without him. To this day there is a lump in my right forearm from that injury. That was about one of the worst and most painful injuries he had ever given me.

He fought me throughout all of my pregnancies.
Most people are careful, helpful and kind to pregnant women. He isn't one of them. He wouldn't even open a door for me and rarely helped me with anything. I still had just as much housework and child-work as I did when not pregnant. He didn't care and had not one ounce of shame in his game. My being pregnant with his baby didn't matter in the least to him. He would fight me like a man no matter what stage of pregnancy I was in - early, mid, late term or freshly delivered. The harm he could have done to me or the baby wasn't even a passing thought to him. Then again, maybe it was.

He would fight me if I was holding the baby or nursing the baby and would even attack me if he were holding one of them. He would get angry and sometimes take whichever baby he was holding and shove them forcefully into me. The babies were no deterrence to him. If he wanted to hit me or hurt me, he would and no one, no matter how precious or fragile would stop him.

He fractured my rib. One day he started a major fight with me, it was an exceptionally scary one for some reason, and sticks out in my mind. Our third child, Joshua was about 6 months old at the time and lying on the bed. Jeff was tackling me onto the bed and we rolled on the baby. I was screaming at him about hurting the baby, he didn't care.

Then at one point he had me pinned down on the bed and began crushing me with all his body weight. He pressed on me and pressed on me until I felt like I couldn't breathe. Then I felt a cracking in my ribs and then a sharp pain under my right breast. I screamed and he finally got up. I told him that I was in a lot of pain and it hurt to breathe, that I believed he fractured my rib.

When I told him that I needed to go to the hospital, suddenly he turned caring and concerned, as if he wasn't the cause of it. He told me not to try to move. Then he went to the computer and looked up rib fractures I guess. He came back and told me that I didn't need to go to the hospital, that they don't do anything for it, that it just heals on its own in about 6 weeks. I just had to take it easy.

Every breath I took caused a piercingly sharp pain, so I had to breathe softly and shallowly. I tried to pick up the baby and it hurt. He told me that he would help me with heavy lifting until I felt better. He was actually kinda nice to me for the rest of the day and a couple days afterward.

I thank God it was a fracture and not a break that could've punctured my lung. That was the most serious injury he had ever inflicted upon me.

But the most disgusting thing he ever did to me was......

November 13, 2009

The Sexual Abuse


He was sexually abusive.

He had sex with me whenever he wanted to and as many times as he wanted. Other than my body, it had nothing to do with me. It was him gratifying himself. He lied to me about most things. But during the 2-5 minutes he used me to get himself off, he would tell me how much he loved my body. That is one of the few things he said that I believe was the truth. He didn't love me, but he loved what my body did for him. It was basically vaginal masturbation.

I was never on the pill and never wanted to be. I simply don't trust drugs and things that have to be ingested that aren't natural. So I didn't want any injections or implants that secrete drugs or hormones or anything of that nature. I didn't want to end up with cervical, breast or some other form of cancer one day. I had an IUD for 10 years prior to him and wanted to go back to that. But it cost about $500 and we didn't have insurance. He kept telling me we would get it, but somehow found other things to spend our money, excuse me, his money on. He bought condoms but rarely used them, at least not with me. That's why we have so many children together, not because I loved reproducing with him.

Having sex was not usually a mutual decision. I was usually awakened in the wee hours of the morning to being penetrated. He never asked me if I wanted to or if I was in the mood. There was no foreplay. As far as he was concerned, I was his property and he was entitled to do whatever he wanted with me whether it was hit me or screw me. Was I being raped? I'm still not sure. It wasn't violent and I didn't stop him. But I didn't stop the predator that raped me over several months when I was 14 either and I'm pretty sure that was rape.

Speaking of which, my husband once told me shortly before I left him, that I had so many children because I was raped when I was younger and he was dead serious. I looked at him and thought, "You really are insane and think you can make me believe anything you say." I asked him if that were the case, how come I only had one child from one husband when I met him at the age of 28? I don't even remember what his response was, but I'm sure it was another of his stupid attempts to use his imagined Jedi mind control.

I never told him no. I never said I had a headache, stomachache, backache or toothache. I never said I was too tired or too sick. I never said that it was "that time of the month." I never said he was a pain in my neck or behind. I never said anything that would stop him from getting what he wanted. I was too afraid it would lead to a fight, which I tried to avoid if I could. I didn't want the children awakened to another middle of the night fight, causing them to tremble with fear under their covers.

I also thought that if I kept him satisfied, then maybe he would be nice to me and he'd have no reason to cheat on me. Well I was wrong on both of those. I know now that he was unfaithful and there were times when he'd start a fight right after pleasuring himself with me.

I always felt used and if he fought me for some reason afterward, it made me feel even more used, degraded, humiliated, ashamed and brokenhearted. I was afraid and at the same time, this was the only time that he was remotely affectionate with me, so a part of me welcomed it, like an abused dog wanting a pat on the head from his master. I would usually cry quietly into my pillow until I went back to sleep, if I even could go back to sleep.

This was my husband and when he was done "doing his business," instead of feeling loved, I felt like an unloved worthless piece of meat...

November 11, 2009

The Economic Abuse

He was economically abusive.

In the early days of our relationship when I was working, he would call me at work to argue with me after he had kept me up all night arguing with me. I would hang up on him and he would call back again and again. I got in trouble with my job once and was put on probation after he called me over and over again when I went in to work overtime on a weekend. All the calls were monitored because it was a PC help-desk. They were able to see that when I was supposed to be taking calls from clients, I was receiving repeated calls on an outside line from this maniac.

Later on when I was a stay at home mom, I didn't have access to anything that had to do with money. I was on the same level as the kids in the home. His name was the only one on any account. He and he alone held any credit cards there were. He and he alone knew the account and pin numbers for any and all bank accounts. He and he alone knew the account and pin numbers for the stock account. He moved the money and only he knew exactly how much was coming in and going out. He doled out small sums of money to me on an "as needed basis." Once he started working off the books, I didn't even know how much he made.

Times were always tough with him, but there were some times that got rougher than others. Although I was staying at home with our children, I offered to go to work at least part time to ease things a bit. He was always against it. He said the money I made would just go to pay for daycare or that it wouldn't add on that much and it was more important for me to be at home with the kids. He would say that he'll do overtime or something. Anything that he would come up with was just to keep me at home. He didn't want me to be out there making any money of my own.
He didn't want me to do anything that he couldn't be in control of.

I rarely bought anything for myself. No new clothes, shoes, or anything. I didn't get my hair or nails done. Even when I received money as gifts from my mom or dad for my birthday or Mother's Day, I didn't really use it on me. I used it for the kids or the home. It allowed me to be able to purchase things without having to go to him. If felt good to be able to just go buy some toothpaste on my own instead of having letting him know we needed it, because either he'd get it or he'd give me a few dollars to get it.

On the few occasions when I did need to get something for myself, he'd take me shopping and pay for it. When he went shopping for himself, which was way more frequent, he'd go alone. When I needed something, the whole family had to come along. I felt like a stupid kid. I felt under pressure and rushed because the children were restless and he'd be giving off this energy and look like, "Hurry up." I also felt like I was being watched. I felt uncomfortable and couldn't shop in peace. I would usually end up quickly taking something I didn't want or say that I couldn't find anything and continue to do without, just to end the shopping experience.

On the one trip he took me on in the 11 years I was with him, he was actually picking out my clothing. Instead of giving me a couple hundred dollars and letting me go to the store like the grown woman that I was, he took me shopping like a parent takes a child. I felt like his daughter instead of his wife. I would pick out things that I liked and showed it to him for approval. If he didn't approve, it was put back. I think of all the things that were purchased for me for that trip, I may have only picked out 1 or 2 pieces. He picked out ugly, cheap and cheesy, hookerish looking costume earrings for me and like a good abusee, I wore them.

He even picked out my sunglasses. I didn't even like them and told him I wanted to look around at some other kinds. He got an attitude and began to say something to the effect of, "What's wrong with these? They look good on you, they're fine, you don't need to look at anymore." I knew where this would go, so I just shut up and took the stupid glasses.

I felt like I was in some Lifetime Network "bad man" TV movie. I remember thinking, "This can't be real. I can't believe this is happening. I've shopped for myself my whole life and at 37 years old, he is picking out my clothes and accessories?!! This is bad, really bad..."

November 10, 2009

The Verbal Abuse

He was verbally abusive.

My husband called me the "B" word so many times over the years, I'd probably be a millionaire if I had a penny for each time. Sometimes he'd jazz it up, by starting it off with "stupid, f#c%king, ghetto (or a combination of those).

Funny being called ghetto by someone that grew up in the projects of Harlem, who I was academically superior to and spoke better than. Anyway, he'd scream it at me right in the faces of our children, or my son who was over for a visit. I would not have been surprised if it were our babies' first words.

I remember once I was cooking some oatmeal for our daughter who was a baby at the time, maybe 9 months old. I held her on my hip with one arm, while I cooked with the other. My husband was screaming and cursing and berating me as usual for who knows what and got up in my face so close that I could feel his breath and his spit as he called me an "f@c%king ghetto  b#t%h!," at the top of his lungs. I often wonder if my baby girl thought he was screaming it at her, as her face was right there in the midst. I threw the cinnamon that I was holding in his face and he flew into a rage and hit me.

He'd call me stupid, dumb, idiot and on one occasion told our then 4 year old daughter to, "Call mommy a stupid, dumb, idiot." My daughter was crying and said, "NO!" Our son Solomon who was 2 years old at the time, happened to be sitting on his father's lap and hit his father in the face. Jeff then, smacked this baby in his tiny little face and made him cry. I screamed at him and took the baby from him. But none of this shut him up, he kept going and going.

He would call me crazy and tell me that I was “off” and that I had issues. I would be sad or depressed obviously because of how I was being treated. At some point almost everyday I would go into the bathroom to cry. If he saw me and could tell I had been crying, he would ask me in his cruel way of saying things, “What is wrong with you?”

To this day, he won't acknowledge that HE is what was wrong with me.

Before one of the last altercations three days before Christmas 2008, he began to berate me because some Nintendo Wii Systems that he asked me to post on eBay didn't sell as he thought they would so that he could  make some money. He told me that this happened because he followed me down the wrong path again. I reminded him that this wasn't my idea it was his, all I did was post them. He kept going on until we were in an argument. He said this was all another part of my stupid life. I told him that I could tell him about my stupid life and got up and went into the bedroom. He followed right behind me and said something, and when I turned around, he hit me in the face. An terrible fight ensued.

He would tell me that I was nothing and would never be anything. He would yell and had a filthy mouth full of poisonous venom. He had a low life ignorant street vocabulary and he’d curse and say a lot of mean and nasty things.

He was like a septic tank that was constantly backing up...


U.N.I.T.Y. - Queen Latifah

November 9, 2009

The Psychological Abuse


He was psychologically abusive.

He was jealous, possessive and controlling. Early in the relationship, he went to Vegas with his friend for a week, and I'm sure whatever happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas. When I asked him about what they did when they weren't having a meeting with someone, he told me he stayed in his hotel room - in Sin City.

Yeah, right.

I was offered an opportunity about a month or so later, to go to Jamaica and do a photo shoot for a swimsuit calendar. When I told him, he discouraged me of course. You would think that a guy would be proud of that - his girlfriend in a swimsuit calendar! Don't guys like to show off that kind of thing?

Well he told me that the guy who made me the offer just wanted to f#c% me. I told him that I wouldn't be going for that and that he could come if he wanted to; they were going to pay my way, so we could pay for his. But he held his position and didn't want me to do the shoot or go period. He was just my boyfriend and I had only been with him for about 4 months. I was a grown woman, and this was my life. I didn't have to listen to him. I could do whatever I wanted to right?

I didn't go.

He isolated me. He didn't want me to go see any of the friends in my life that I had prior to knowing him. He didn't want me to communicate at all with a very close male friend of mine that I had known for about 6 years before I met him, because according to Jeff, my friend also wanted to f#c% me. He didn't want me to go do anything social that didn't involve him, while he kept doing everything he did prior to me. I often wouldn't even know he had gone to something until after he came back.

He went to a Christmas party at the studio that he was working with when we met. This party was wild and had a LIVE SEX show go on. He watched it. Those were the kinds of parties he went to, but I couldn't go to my corporate office Christmas parties or after work get togethers anymore. There was one Christmas party for a company I worked for that we were supposed to be going to as a couple, but he didn't want to go and didn't want me to go either, so he started a fight. I ended up cut up and bloodied.

Needless to say, I stayed home.

He didn't even want me to go to any of my family's functions. On Thanksgiving for years, he didn't want to go anywhere and didn't want me to go either. One year he acted all pitiful and said that he just wanted to spend time with just me. Another year he said, he just didn't want to be around my family. I believe my son was with me that year, so I just left him and my son and I went.

The only Thanksgiving he ever seemed interested in celebrating was our first one, that he spent cooking and eating with his ex and their daughter, while I spent it alone. Even once we had children, the holidays were always tense and sometimes he flat out ruined them by making them into a day of horror with arguing or fighting. This last Christmas of 2008 the kids and I spent with my sister and her daughters after he came back from his business trip and started a terrible fight just 3 days before Christmas. Prior to that, the month had actually been going nice and I thought we were going to finally have a rare wonderful holiday.

But getting back to his control early on, eventually over time, I learned to not go anywhere, it was too much of a hassle. I would spend all my free time with him as if there was an invisible chain around my neck, like the one Jabba the Hut had around Princess Lea in Star Wars.

One year for Valentine's Day, I picked him up at the mall he was working in and saw that he didn't have a gift for me. So I jokingly said to him, "No gift for me?" He explained to me that he didn't have time to shop for a gift for me. (He worked at the freaking mall in a store that engraves gifts!) When I pointed that out to him, he got angry and began yelling and cursing and when we stopped at a red light on a street that was a semi highway, he jumped out the car screaming that he would "go get me a #$%& gift," and began walking back in the direction of the mall.

It was snowing pretty hard and we were already about 1/2 a mile away from the mall. I couldn't believe he had just reacted that way. But instead of turning around to get him, I just drove on home. I was mad that he went psycho like that and was determined not to go back and get him.

When he showed up at home hours later with a gift from Victoria's Secret and gave it to me as if nothing had happened, I told him that he shouldn't have gotten it. The spirit in which a gift is supposed to be given was ruined by his reaction and that now it didn't feel the same. Well, what did I say that for? He immediately flew into another rage and began to scream, curse and tear the gift up and throw it at me.

terroristic tirades, he'd often break the things in my apartment. He would throw them, leaving a hole in the wall and the object in pieces. He broke my house phone that cost me about $125. He broke the mouse to my PC. He broke my French blinds. He broke a watch that I had given him for Christmas.

He was clearly always in control of his actions and very aware and intentional about what he broke because he never threw or broke anything that he owned, paid for or meant anything to him.

During this time period of about 2 years, I was working and except for his 5 month stint at the mall and a month or two at a couple of supermarkets, Jeff was not. He was living with me, but not contributing and while I was at work, he'd be getting high all day and making beats. I remember being so afraid sometimes when I came home from work, that as I'd be putting my key in the lock of my own front door, I was trembling and my heart was racing. I didn't know what to expect that night.

Would I get through the night in peace or did I just unlock the door to Hell, again......?

November 8, 2009

The Emotional Abuse

He was emotionally abusive.

His behavior was very hurtful to my heart. It was like he went out of his way to make sure that I didn't feel good about myself. Very rarely would he compliment me. I could go to the hair dresser and come back looking pretty darn good. Most men would naturally compliment the women in their lives when they come back fresh from the salon. It would be strange and unnatural if they didn't.

Well, the unnatural is what Jeff would do to me. I would walk in and when I saw him, I thought his face would light up and he'd tell me how good I looked or at least that my hair looked nice. He would say nothing. It would be as if I just came back from the laundromat or something. Not a word. It would hurt my feelings, but I'm sure that was the intention behind his silence.

He would find more fault and reasons to criticize me, than to encourage me and lift me up. He operated under, "If you have something nice to say, DON'T!" When our daughter was about a year old, I wrote what I thought was a cute little rhyming story for her and was proud of it. I shared it with Jeff and I don't remember what he said, but I remember how it felt, it stung. After he was done ripping it apart, I felt stupid and small and didn't want to share anything I wrote with anyone ever again.

He didn’t support any of my dreams or goals. He didn’t support the things I liked to do or was interested in. Our lives became about him, his interests and the things he wanted to do. He would criticize what I watched on TV if it were not something he’d watch. Yet any of the trash he looked at was fine. I have always had an interest in the law and eventually got my A.S. in Criminal Justice, which was to be the first leg on my journey to law school. So naturally, true crime shows interested me. He would make comments about me being so morbid.

In 2005 I started writing and publishing a newsletter for my family. I would write short articles on spiritual matters, family, news that you don't hear on regular TV, and anything else that would be helpful or of interest to other people, and my mom would print it on her professional printer and mail them out. I got a lot of positive feedback from my family about them. I wrote this newsletter for a year and not once did Jeff look at them and give me a positive word about it. Yet, some people in my family would take their newsletters to work or show their friends and then some of them wanted to get on the mailing list too.

I like listening to gospel music for a number of reasons. It lifts my spirit, it ministers to my soul and it allows me to offer praise and worship to God. After rebuilding my relationship with God, I became less and less interested in secular music and really didn’t listen to it. Not to mention that to me, most of the music out in the world was crap and the singing lousy.

He had gotten me an MP3 player for Christmas about 2 years ago and when I finally figured it out, I filled it up with gospel music. Well I had it with me and was listening to music as we walked around one day at the Botanical Gardens with our kids. Instead of just enjoying the nice day and beautiful scenery, he had to find something negative to focus on with me. So he asks me in a condescending tone, “Why is that all you listen to?” I gave him the same reasons that I just mentioned in the previous paragraph. But he wouldn’t drop it. He kept needling me and saying stuff until we were arguing, ruining yet another family outing that was supposed to be fun.

He would disrespect me when it came to other women and let me know that he was a man and he could look at naked women if he wanted to, when I expressed to him that it hurt me when he did. He would let his ex disrespect me and call any hour of the night, and kept his daughter away from me because his ex didn't want her around me.

He spent our first Thanksgiving with his ex and their daughter and I wasn't invited. He made these plans behind my back and when I complained about it, he cursed me out and hung up the phone on me. I bought Christmas gifts for his daughter one year when he was broke. I also stayed up until the wee hours of the morning wrapping them by myself along with gifts I had for my son. I think Christmas is for the children and I didn’t want her not to have gifts from her father. As we got ready to go into NY and give them to her, he let me know that I wouldn’t be coming upstairs with him. He told me that I wasn’t welcome. He said, “That woman don’t want you in her house.”

Since I was not welcome, then I didn’t see the need for me to drive into NY from my apartment in NJ. But it was getting late into the evening and his mother had already called him cursing him out and saying that she would attack me if she ever got near me, because she believed that I was keeping him from his daughter. She didn’t know that he was getting high most of the day and sleeping off and on. So he needed me to drive him into the city so that he could get there fast. I was upset and crying after being yelled at and told I wasn’t welcome after doing what I felt was a kind gesture on my part.

But I responded like most abuse victims do. I pleased my abuser and did what he wanted me to do, confused within myself as to why I couldn’t just say no. When we got there, I guess he sensed that I might leave while he was upstairs, and I had it in my mind to do just that. So again he pleaded with me not to leave. And although I tossed the idea around while he was up in the apartment with his ex playing Santa with the gifts I bought, I obediently stayed and waited, feeling like a fool the entire time.

He took the Christmas presents that I bought and wrapped for his daughter when I was working and he was broke, to their apartment alone because he said that I wasn't welcome inside.

But apparently my gifts were...