Five Year Reflection

Five Year reflection

It has been five years this month since I was brutally attacked and nearly strangled to death by my then boyfriend. And I was not going to write a post about it, because life has moved so far past that event.  But there are many women who experience violence at the hands of the man they loved and trusted, so this is what I have learned having been through it and survived.  These are things I wish someone had told me:

  • It is not your fault: No matter what you did, what you said, how you were dressed or how long you stayed, it is not your fault. You did nothing to provoke him or deserve being hit be the man you loved and trusted. That is on him. He is an adult and he is responsible for his actions. Not you.  Even when he blames you and says it is your fault, it’s not.   And no matter how many other people say it’s your fault, it’s not (we’ll get to that later). Remember that.
  • Get Counseling: I did.  You will need a safe space to talk to, beyond family and friends.  Being attacked will affect you in many ways. Taking care of yourself during this time is very important.  You may have PTSD, you may have nightmares, you may have flashbacks, you may have panic attacks, you may feel angry, depressed or like you are going crazy. You are not going crazy.  But seeing a counselor will help you get through this experience as quickly as possible. If you have trouble sleeping, see about getting on Ambien or similar. If you are getting depressed, ask about being temporarily put on an antidepressant.  It’s all about you and making sure you are OK.
  • This isn’t the first time: If he or anyone else says that this is the first time he hit a woman or was violent – it’s not. Do not believe them. This is not the first time. You are not the first woman. And, you will probably not be the last either.
  • It is not personal: It is extremely personal to you, but not to him.  You were just there. But no matter if it was you, or Sally down the street, he would have done it to whoever he was with. It just happened to be you. This time. Abuse is about control and power.  It is not because you did anything wrong, it is not because he was angry, it is not because he had a bad childhood and no one understands him. It is not because of anything other than power and control.
  • Verbal before physical: Before he will ever hit you, he will be verbally abusive. This may be obvious like yelling at you or calling you names.  Or, most times, it starts out very subtle and before you know it, you just feel bad about yourself, but may not be able to put your finger on it.  You just feel stupid all the time…especially when you are around him.  Many times the emotional abuse goes deeper and is worse.  Because when you have a bruise you can point to it and say he hurt me…but when it’s emotional…what can you say?  He hurt my feelings?  He made me cry?  Many times we are told we are too sensitive or are being trivial, over reacting or suffering PMS…You are not.  You have been wounded.
  • You are not stupid: He probably didn’t start out as an asshole when you started seeing him. He was probably charming and attentive. He was a con artist.  You are not stupid because you fell for him. You were just taken in by a con.  And it happens to a lot of women. You are not alone. Thousands, maybe even millions of women have been through this. And they survived. You will too.  And if people are talking or gossiping about it? Yes it is mortifying, but you’ll get through that too.  Because no matter they are, or how together they have it, at some point everyone has relationship drama.
  • The police are not Always on your side: When it comes to law enforcement, there is a lot of victim blaming.  I naively thought the police believe the good guys and go after the bad guys.  It can be the way around when it comes to domestic violence.  You will be asked what you did to provoke him, you will be asked personal things in condescending and accusing tones.  You may even be blamed…for everything.  I was blamed for leaving the first time he hit me, another woman I know was blamed for staying too long in the relationship.  I was blamed for being swift and thorough – I went to the cops immediately, assisted officers in locating my attacker, and lured him to the area when the police arrested him.  And then was called a vindictive actress by the assistant DA.  Another woman was blamed for waiting too long, and giving her attacker too many chances after several violent attacks.  Basically, it doesn’t matter what you did, you may be blamed.  Don’t listen.  Know in your heart that you did the best you could. And that is enough. You are enough.
  • He knows how to work the system: Because you are not the first person he has hit, or the first time he has been in trouble for it, he knows the legal system better than you.  That might mean not answering the door to avoid being served with a restraining order (if he can’t be served the order will be dismissed). Hire a process server to hunt him down at work, at the store, or where ever to get him served.  You can even do a service by publication. When he does get served, he will be charming, extremely charismatic and he will paint himself as the victim.  He may get an attorney.  And he may be vindictive and try to bring charges against you, accusing you of petty or untrue things.  People like that know exactly what they are doing. They know how to dance on that line of harassing and not get arrested.  My attacker tried to get me arrested for fighting back when he attacked me, saying that I attacked him, and that he had injuries and needed to be compensated. I thankfully got a female judge who recognized what he was doing and dismissed it. He would contact me constantly but not say anything threatening…and law enforcement would do nothing because he “was being nice.” He also contracted my friends and family harassing them.  Again the police said that there was nothing they could do. Then when I tried to get a restraining order against him, he taunted me by sending me emails saying he did not have to answer the door, and described my friend’s houses, and even what one of their daughters looked like going to school.  Law enforcement said he was doing nothing illegal because he was not threatening anyone. Laws for stalking have come a long way in the last five years, so it may be easier to get something done now.  Just be prepared for a master manipulations of the system.
  • Get an attorney: And make sure it is a good one who specializes in domestic violence and understands the personality of an attacker – that he will be slick and manipulative.  Even an open and close case can be dismissed if your attorney doesn’t take it seriously.
  • Some of your friends will blame you: IGNORE THEM. They are not your friends. They are wrong. It is not your fault, you did nothing to deserve this, you did not ask for it, you did nothing but open your heart to love and trust another.  This happened to me and it was both shocking and incredible hurtful. These were strong, professional women who had been close friends.  They looked at me and told me I asked for it because I invited this person into my life.  That it was my fault for provoking him and having a life so full of drama, it was my fault because I should have known better.  These “ladies” were supposed to be my friends. I was shocked that they would take his side, some for them even becoming friends with him.  It may sound silly, but it is their loss.  They are not your friends; they are weak petty women who would rather point fingers at you because that is easier than supporting you.  Leave them in the dust and don’t look back.  Your true friends will be supportive, understanding and patient. They will love you and help you.
  • You have the right to be shitty: Great advice given to me by one of the wonderful, kind, supportive women who stood by me after the attack.  That means you have the right to be mad, emotional, moody, whatever.  You have the right to feel however way you want to feel. For as long as you want to feel it.  You have the right to fall apart, to be depressed, to be whatever. You have the right to tell all of your friends you need an emergency lunch, then decide you don’t want to eat anything.  And your friends will love you anyway.  So give yourself time and permission to be shitty.
  • Lean on your friends: Let them stay with you or you stay with them.  Call them when you feel scared, or just bad.  Let them help you through this.
  • This does not and will not define you: It feels like it does now.  It feels like a definite divide between before and after.  But it won’t always be that way. It will rule your life for a period of time, especially if it is going through the legal system (and you have to relive it over and over). But after time, what happened will just be a memory. It will just be a bad moment.  Eventually there will be enough miles and time and life and distance between that you will say yes, this once happened to me, but I am still me.
  • You will be OK: It may not seem like it now, but you will be OK. And this will make you a better, stronger, finer, more compassionate person.  When you get on the other side of this, you will be scarred. But scar tissue is stronger than the original.  And you will be too.
  • You will never be the same, and that’s OK: it took a while for me to accept this, because I just wanted to go back to the way I was, the way life was, before the attack.  There is an innocence that is lost when another human being tries to kill you, especially as violent as strangling you.  Because that is so close, so violent, so angry and you can see into their eyes when they are doing it. You see that kind of evil and it changes you.  You cannot go back to who and what you were before you saw that.  But that is OK. Because now that is part of you. And you have the choice – keep it as a ball and chain to keep you down and make you bitter, or use it as a stepping stone to rise above it to become stronger.  I chose the latter and hope you do too.
  • Not all men are bad: It is easy to think that all men are bad after being attacked.  But very, very few men ever hit a woman. I remember right after the attack being at the airport and looking out at men in the crown, wondering “has he hit a woman before?” Has that man ever tried to strangle a woman?”  And I remember telling my therapist that I look forward to the day that I don’t see a man and wonder that.  Five years later I am with a wonderful man, who loves me and is so kind.  You will find one like that too. But just concentrate on healing for now.

There are many other things, but that is enough for this blog, for now.

Journalist Talks About Emotional Abuse

I saw this and it really rang true. Finally someone who is really bringing this topic to light. My ex who tried ot kill me, was EXTREMELY verbally and emotionally abusive (and physically as well). I told him from the get go that it was not OK to talk to me that way, that it was abusive, that he could not yell and cuss at me.

It may start out small, a few insults, maybe a little bit of yelling and cussing. And especially if you are married or getting married, you think you can;t leave. And these abusers count on that, that you will not leave because of the level of commitment. Don’t fall into that trap, because it is just going to get worse.

Take a look at this clip, and know that if you are in a situation like this, you have the right to stand up for yourself, you have the right to leave and you have the right to be happy. I got out before the wedding. But even if it had been after, I would have left, ahd the marriage annulled or gotten a divorce. You can get out because it is not OK for anyone to be abused verbally, emotionally, physically or sexually.

Advice and Support For Domestic Abuse

Since I started writing about my experience of being attacked by my ex fiance 2 days before the wedding, I have received hundreds of emails, emails of support, gratitude for writing about domestic abuse and encouraging dialog, messages asking for advice and thoughts on what to do and how to get help. Every situation is different, but here is what I have learned in my experience.

Do not be afraid to fight back. Fighting back could very well save your life. My ex told a woman once that if you fight back, the police will arrest you (the girl) not the man. This is absolutely false. I fought back and was never arrested. Men who hit women are bullies and cowards, who use their size and strength to intimidate others.

Leave. Now. And don’t ever look back. If he hit you once he will hit you again. And the abuse will get worse with each attack, because he will get more and more confident that you will not leave.

Call the police, and press charges. My ex did everything to try to get me to drop the charges, he promised and pleaded…don’t believe them.

Don’t be afraid to dig around…you are not the first girl he has hit – guaranteed. Call friends, ex girlfriends, ex wives, hire a PI (I did). I found out my ex beat the crap out of his ex wife for years, and several girlfriends. I was just a number in a long list of girls.

Call a battered womans shelter. Even if it is the first time he hit you, call the shelter. According to statistics, the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when you leave and/or break up (that is when my ex attacked me). The person you talk to can tell you what to expect and how to protect yourself when you leave. Things like making sure you have a contact and a safe place to go when/if he stalks you or finds out where you are.

Now, what to expect, what they won’t tell you: You will tell your side of the story at least a thousand times. To your attorney, to the DA, to many police officers, to detectives and investigators. You may not even remember all the details of the attack right away and that’s OK. You will go through a different emotion every minute.

He will get back in touch with you. Trust me. He will not leave you alone and he may stalk you (mine still stalks me, and the DA is aware of the phone call he made this weekend). This is why it is good to call the Battered Women’s shelter so they can help keep you safe when this happens.

Also, do not be afraid to talk about it. Don’t be afraid to tell people what happened. There is often a sense of shame that is associated with domestic violence. There is no reason for you to be ashamed. You did nothing wrong, you did nothing to deserve being attacked. My ex still tries to blame me for him attacking me. There is nothing you could possibly do to deserve being hit, choked or whatever else he might have done to you. Along those same lines, do not be afraid to go to the media and get them involved. You would be amazed at what a call from a reporter can accomplish.

Some people may not appreciate you talking about it, and may walk away. That’s OK. When I started talking about what happened to me, 99.9%  of my friends where very supportive, only 2 were not. Don’t worry about those who don’t like what you are saying. It’s not about them, it’s about you.

This is for starters and very general.  Thank you for all your support. Email me if you have any further questions. I may not hav ethe answer, but I can help direct you to someone else who does.


Peace be With You

One last post before signing off, as I have written much today.  As I go to spend time with family and friends, new and old, I am also taking this as a time of reflection. A new year approaches and I want to clean out the cobwebs. A new year is a fresh start. I cannot lie that while much of 2011 has been great, this last relatioship has taken it’s toll.

There is a process to healing. There is a process to grieving. There is a process to getting over domestic violence and being attacked.  And the process takes time, it is not an instant thing. You cannot write about it once, or even twice and have it magically cleansed from your being.

There are many questions that I wanted answered, now I realize I do not care. Why did he attack me?  Why could I not tell of his terrible temper? was there truly love on his part, or was I simply a conveneint replacement for whatever, or whomever, was his obssession before me? The answers do not matter because they do not change the outcome. I truly do not believe he cared for me, because you do not hit, choke or threaten to kill those you love. You protect them.

And if he truly had feelings for me, then he would have been honest about what he did. H would have accepted responsibility for his actions, Even now. never an appology or even aknowledgement that he did anything wrong. If he was the man I thought he was, first and foremost, he never would have put his hands on me. Second, when he realized what he did, he would have admitted it, faced the charges and entered therapy into for his issues. Just like with an alcohalic, the first step is admitting you have a problem, the second is getting help for it. Real help, professional help, not the Charlie Sheen, self help at your house kind of help.

To hang on to the questions and what the answers may or may not be is not healthy. I must also make peace with my error in judgement. Maybe I just wanted to believe, Maybe he was just a very good con man.

Yes it is a process, this getting-over-it-thing. And one must make peace with the anwers that may not come, the mysteries that will not be solved.  And the next step in the process is simple: Acceptance. It didn’t Work. He did attack me. He may have never loved me and I will probably never get that appology or aknowlegement. And that is OK.

Because the next step after acceptanace…is moving on.

And where there is moving on, there is hope. And life.

So Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. Be safe. Be happy.

Danger, Danger

The new alarm system is installed, survaliance cameras too, inside and out. Tthe new addition of the family arrives tomorrow. A pit bull. Trained. My gun loaded. At first I thought I was going a bit overboard, with all this security stuff. But the ex can’t seem to let it go. He is making new threats now against me and my safety…to get me back and show the world who I really am.


My friends are very scared for me. I am scared too. Choking me, threatening to kill me and robbing me is not enough?

Now I understand what his ex in laws meant. Wow.

At first I didn’t understand the danger of someone being truly obsessed. Now it scares the crap out of me. I cannot even imagine that kind of imbalance. Why can he not let this go? Why can he not just move on? Why can he not accept the fact that it just did not work out between us and move on?

I just want to be left alone. I just want to put this whole thing behind me. I could have taken further action in court, but I have not done so. Maybe that was a mistake and I should reconsider.

In the end, what makes an unbalanced obsessed person leave you alone? The law? A loaded gun pointed at them when they break into your home? A straight jacket when they are put in an institution? How far does it have to go for him to move on and leave me alone?

Take Flight

“a “strong woman” still has feelings…and you’re allowed to have every single one of them as many times and as long as you wish…it doesn’t by any means make you weak, he is the weak one. you remember that…you have a heart and a brain that connect and stay in contact with one another…it takes no amount of will, wit or talent to overpower someone not physically capable of defending themselves…it takes no more than a little muscle strength and cowardness…he couldn’t fill a thimble with any amount of decency or valor.”

I love my friends who send me messages like this. Not only do I love them for supporting me, but I love them for being so right. How much bravery, talent, honor, decency does it take to over power someone who is 150lbs lighter and 8 inches shorter?  How brave was he, to attack me, who could not defend myself against his weight and strength? Doesn’t that sound like a real man? A man every girl dreams about? A man every mother wants her daughter to marry?
I loved him, wanted to share my life with him. Then he attacked me.  Women are to be cherished, loved and protected. Because if one man treats a woman badly…another man will treat her very well. If one man attacks her, another man will cherish her. And a woman of my caliber will not stay where she is mistreated.


Sometimes you do things because they are the right thing to do, sometimes you do them out of principal, sometimes you do them to stand up for those who cannot, and sometimes you do them to make the road of those who follow you easier.  I did it for all of these reasons, especially the last two.

Sadly statistics show that I am the vast minority. (but when has being different ever bothered me?) Sadly though, I am not his first and I will not be the last.  However, from  now on a pattern of behavior has been established, and those who have the same experience, those who have the courage to stand with me and say “No More”, those who are not afraid to stand up to bullies and cowards, shall have a much easier road than I.

Today I stood up for all those who could not and would not, as well as those who cannot and will not in the future. But to those who will – you will not have to go the road alone.  You walk on the foundation that has been set by (at least) two others who came before you, 8 years apart.

This will be my last blog for a while as I heal.  Or maybe I will pop up on some anonymous blog somewhere else (you know how stubborn we writers are). Contact me if you would to continue to read my writing.