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4,365 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I posted this in another thread about why women stay in abusive relationships. This is my story - how I ended up there and how I got out. This is really the 30,000 ft. view - the details had my friends' heads spinning and suggested I write a book - his NPD made for a lot of unwanted drama and some truly unbelievable allegations and lots of time and money spent in court.

I had no history of abuse. I grew up with the upper middle class "white picket fence", a nice vacation each year, had everything I needed and a lot of what I wanted. I don't know if being adopted fed into my low self-esteem or not but my parents always made it clear that they wanted me and loved me as much as their birth child.

But once I hit puberty, I always saw myself as an ugly duck. Before that I was a chubby child but it never occurred to me that I was less than pretty until I went to Jr. Hi. Then the merciless teasing started. Add braces and glasses. The first boy who asked me out I said yes. He was a big fella and not too bright. I guess I figured some boyfriend was better than none at all. Same thing with next boyfriend who I stayed with through 1 year of college and broke it off. (Looking back, what I thought was 'fat' in high school was probably only 20 extra pounds and I'm 5'6-7ish.)

Fast forward 1 year - lost weight, dated a few guys. Met the 'alpha' male who was 12 years older and I was SO flattered that someone who was older and sophisticated was interested in lil' ol me (roommate worked with him). He was on summer break from law school - had his BS in CJ and been a police officer and decided to go back to school. I had tired of going out with 'boys' and the prospect of a real adult who had been overseas, married before, studying law, etc. - seemed sort of glamorous.

I moved in with him after 2 months in 2 more he was going back to law school 700 miles away so I decided to go with him for fear of losing him. By this time I had burned the bridge with my roommate and really had nowhere to go, working a low paying retail job. He had given me glimpses of being NPD (narcissistic, not bi-polar) but it just seemed over confident/demanding a bit and I was too naive to see the signs.

Moved with him, got a job there, married him at the court house and 2 months later he dropped out of law school (I see later all of his 'stories' add up to someone who can't complete anything but they seemed to be good reasons to me back then) and move into an apartment and he starts his own business and I become his admin. That was the first time he shoved me and it was into a sliding glass door - I still remember being terrified I was going to break through it. I'd never seen or known anyone besides school kids that shoved people. I was stunned and apologized because surely it was something I did - he told me it was.

Over the years it escalated and I had gradually been both intimidated and emotionally downtrodden to the point I didn't think I could make it on my own. Any little mistake was cause for criticism. He told me I was dumb, stupid, f-ing dumbazz, to get my head out of my azz, etc. I would try to tell him why I did whatever it was which only angered him more, got him screaming in my face, shoving, etc. so I learned to not talk back. There were good times but even then I was always being careful to not anger him. I thought about leaving several times but was always afraid of failing to make it on my own. Crticism went to shoving, lead to grabbing my throat and pinning me against the wall. Then he'd hit me in the head so the lumps and bruises wouldn't show because of my hair. It hurt most days to brush it. Sex was on his terms - if I didn't, it would get ugly, he'd threaten to leave me so I went along with it - usually daily. He criticized that I never initiated but under those conditions, who would?

There was always an excuse when I tried to talk to him about it - he was under stress, I was trying his patience, he loved me and couldn't understand why I did such stupid things...

Then the huge house (at 7 years of marriage) - business was good and I had this gorgeous 4br colonial house and 3 months later became pregnant. I was on the pill but he was 42 and I was 30 so we figured it was time. I thought he would see the example he was setting and might cool down a bit and not yell so much in front of a child. Things were pretty good for a while.

At 5 months pregnant I was jerked out of bed because I had left a box of paperwork on the floor of the bonus room and he had run into it, stubbing is toe in the dark going to open a window. He screamed for me to go move it, how stupid and careless I was and threw it at me and over the balcony down the staircase, ripped my PJs, and shoved me down the stairs to clean it up. I sat on the bottom step crying knowing this wasn't right but now felt more trapped than ever knowing there would be a baby in 4 months.

Things were OK shortly after she was born. He insisted on hand jobs daily (he couldn't come from BJs) and at four weeks pushed to have sex. It was awful and painful. But now my company was moving out of state and closing the offices so I was out of a job. We sold one car and I stayed at home with little one. It was a trade off for me - I got to be with her all day but I also had to be with him all day - his own business working from home. He also complained about my weight gain during pregnancy and would measure my arms and thighs. After birth he would weigh me. I would sneak food because I bought it. Maybe it was the only control I had?

Tension escalated and he was screaming at me one morning, still in robe, holding toddler and he started shoving and screaming, spitting on me and went out to the garage and got his gun from his vehicle (needed it for job). He said he would kill us both and then himself because I wasn't worth going to jail for and he wasn't letting someone else raise our kid. I REALLY knew then he was crazy. The phone rang - business call. He left he gun on the counter. I seriously thought about killing him. I held the gun wondering if I would be convicted or if it would be self defense. I only have very few bruises and had never called the police before so there was no record of abuse. I hid the gun instead. He came back looking for it and I wouldn't tell him where I hid it. He calmed down, did the usual apologies and he found it (kitchen drawer - I had no time). I tried to tell him that kind of behavior was killing our marriage. It wasn't the first time I'd told him that. I had said it takes 10 nice things to overcome one bad, etc. I knew I had to get out and the first step was getting a job. He didn't want our daughter in daycare but I argued at 2 she needed socialization and activities, we needed health insurance... I convinced him it was the right thing. Got a job at a bank in marketing but it was temp to perm so no security yet.

That summer she was 2.5 years he rented a 6br beach house and invited friends and family to come. Two of my friends and hubbies came - later I found out it was to support me. They had met him and had somehow known. One had been abused and the other was from a patriarchal society and her brother abused her. As usual he was charming to them and an azz to me. It was all about appearances for him. Then family came for the last half. My BIL/SIL and MIL where already there. My family showed up but were going to find a hotel because it wasn't handicapped equipped and he yelled and made an azz of himself, said they were ungrateful, etc. and were never welcome in our house again. I played nice til after dinner. I told him he made the wrong move if he thought I'd choose him over my family. He got stoned and went to bed and I sat up with SIL (his brother's wife). The first thing she asked was if he ever beat me. I broke down in tears. I'd never told a soul. She saw it in our dynamics - I probably cowered or something. We sat up for hours. She became my life line.

After that trip I emailed her often. I was still on a contract basis for the next year and afraid of the lack of security so I stayed but the secret was out and there was less power now that someone knew. Business wasn't good so we moved into our rental and got rid of the big house. The stress was making him worse. Finally I borrowed money from my parents to open a secret checking account so I could pay to consult an attorney. I packed an emergency bag and hid it in the master closet. I got a cell phone on a basic plan. I was offered a permanent position but after 10 years of undermining my self esteem, I was still was unsure of leaving and managing on my own.

Often he would want me to leave our daughter with him instead of daycare. He would drop her off if he needed to meet a client. One day I came home and he told me how bad she had been and that she had been in her room all day. ALL DAY AT 3.5!!!! (He fed her and allowed bathroom use.) I immediately went to get her and yelled at him about how inappropriate that length of punishment was - by now she had no idea why he shut her away. I knew things had to change - for her.

Our financial situation had changed and I visited the attorney once again. This time I was ready. Apparently he sensed that because a few weeks later I come home and he's acting really odd. He's sweaty, said he'd been cleaning the garage and says he's going to take a shower. Kiddo comes down the stairs w/ toothbrush and toothpaste looking scared and confused. I went outside and saw a big black trashbag in his SUV - with a tiny pink striped sleeve hanging out of it. Hers. I grabbed the bag of clothing and threw it in my trunk, went in and asked her if she wanted to get McDs for dinner and she said yes. I didn't dare go back up for my bag - I was afraid he'd be done in the shower, see me, grab me and then who knows. I put her in the car and left. Got McDs, parked behind a shopping center and called my Mom. He called. I ignored. Called friends to say I'd left. He called, I ignored. I got the # to the battered women's shelter and before I could call he had disconnected my phone. I pulled out the secret one I'd gotten earlier and called.

I later find out that he had come to the parking deck and found my legal file hidden under the passenger seat of my car. He also found the VAR hidden in the bathroom where I'd recorded some of his threats and rants. He was going to take kiddo and go to Grandmother's house for a bit.

We stayed for 30 days. I spent the first couple trying to get settled - I got $500 from at ATM the day my automatic deposit hit. Apparently he was at the bank at that same instant because after the first $500 the account was zero. I got a restraining order and was escorted to my home by deputies to get my personal things. I was laid (layed?) off from the bank after 1 week. They were being investigated by the SEC - bad coincidence/timing. My parents paid a deposit on a little rental house. They paid for my attorney. I don't know what people do who don't have resources. I got temp jobs and a roommate to make ends meet.

I was in counseling at the shelter who referred me to United Family Services to continue. Those first two years turned my life around. I learned to stand my ground, make boundaries, not engage in arguments with him. I won custody and did so many things on my own. I felt so self-sufficient and strong when it was all over. This will NEVER happen again.

9.5 years later I'm confident, happy, own my own home, car is paid for, in a great job that I really love with a company that appreciates me. I've been promoted twice in the 9 years I've been there. I've held my own with him, defeating him twice in court. Including getting a court-ordered psychological evaluation for parental fitness which is why I can now say he IS NPD. After reading the findings and looking up the behaviors it makes SO MUCH SENSE! It was never about me. It was him. He had to be perfect so that meant he criticized everyone else. Except our daughter who, because she is part him, is perfect. I keep her grounded.

Bottom line (TL/DR) he tore me down bit by bit without my even realizing it. I felt I would live in some hell hole, barely getting by in some pathetic existence without him. I was afraid of him. I realize, too, that I never loved him - I was in awe and then I was afraid but I was never in love.

I'm adding this bit: My personality of being a people-pleaser (not co-dependent) and my youth (20) made me an easy target. My 'fix it' (action vs. reaction/emotion) what what helped me fight. His favorite saying was "Never underestimate your opponent". My greatest satisfaction was in his underestimating ME. Now MY favorite saying is "The best revenge is living well".

I'm VERY fortunate to have parents who could afford what has now amounted to over $75,000 in legal fees for two bouts in court for custody related matters and other financial support during the days immediately after I left him. As I said before, I don't know what people do who have no resources.

I'd love to go to law school so I could work at a family law center that works on a sliding scale, helping people of limited resources who get screwed by the system and STBX spouses. That will have to wait until my kiddo is grown because the other chapter to this story involves parental alienation and can be found in the parenting section. If law degrees could be granted on real-life experiences, I would have one!

Anyone who needs help, guidance, encouragement - feel free to PM me.

Premium Member
270 Posts
I'm VERY fortunate to have parents who could afford what has now amounted to over $75,000 in legal fees for two bouts in court for custody related matters and other financial support during the days immediately after I left him. As I said before, I don't know what people do who have no resources.

I'd love to go to law school so I could work at a family law center that works on a sliding scale, helping people of limited resources who get screwed by the system and STBX spouses. That will have to wait until my kiddo is grown because the other chapter to this story involves parental alienation and can be found in the parenting section. If law degrees could be granted on real-life experiences, I would have one!

Anyone who needs help, guidance, encouragement - feel free to PM me.
A lot of people who don't have the resources either stay in the situation, lose their kid(s) and/or live in near poverty. I hope that you can get into law school and work towards your goal. It's a worthy one and would be helpful to others. When I was in a custody battle for my daughter the only way that I could do it was making small monthly payments. Thankfully my lawyer had a heart.

Thanks for sharing your story.

4,365 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·

He showed these bit by bit - the last two were the last ones I saw - he wasn't abused but he didn't bond properly as an infant and he abused animals. He said he respected and appreciated his mother but those were words, not actions. I can see all 10 in retrospect.

1. Jealousy & Possessiveness ' Becomes jealous over your family, friends, co-workers. Tries to isolate you. Views his woman and children as his property instead of as unique individuals. Accuses you of cheating or flirting with other men without cause. Always asks where you've been and with whom in an accusatory manner.

2. Control ' He is overly demanding of your time and must be the center of your attention. He controls finances, the car, and the activities you partake in. Becomes angry if woman begins showing signs of independence or strength.

3. Superiority ' He is always right, has to win or be in charge. He always justifies his actions so he can be 'right' by blaming you or others. A verbally abusive man will talk down to you or call you names in order to make himself feel better. The goal of an abusive man is to make you feel weak so they can feel powerful. Abusers are frequently insecure and this power makes them feel better about themselves.

4. Manipulates ' Tells you you're crazy or stupid so the blame is turned on you. Tries to make you think that it's your fault he is abusive. Says he can't help being abusive so you feel sorry for him and you keep trying to 'help' him. Tells others you are unstable.

5. Mood Swings ' His mood switches from aggressive and abusive to apologetic and loving after the abuse has occurred.

6. Actions don't match words ' He breaks promises, says he loves you and then abuses you.

7. Punishes you ' An emotionally abusive man may withhold sex, emotional intimacy, or plays the 'silent game' as punishment when he doesn't get his way. He verbally abuses you by frequently criticizing you.

8. Unwilling to seek help ' An abusive man doesn't think there is anything wrong with him so why should he seek help? Does not acknowledge his faults or blames it on his childhood or outside circumstances.

9. Disrespects women ' Shows no respect towards his mother, sisters, or any women in his life. Thinks women are stupid and worthless.

10. Has a history of abusing women and/or animals or was abused himself ' Batterers repeat their patterns and seek out women who are submissive and can be controlled. Abusive behavior can be a generational dysfunction and abused men have a great chance of becoming abusers. Men who abuse animals are much more likely to abuse women also.

4,365 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here are some helpful items to get together when you are planning on leaving an abusive situation. Keep these items in a safe place until you are ready to leave or in case you need to leave suddenly. If you have children, take them. And take your pets, too, if possible.

Checklist for preparing to leave an abusive situation Identification for yourself and your children

Birth certificates
Social Security cards (or numbers written on paper if you can't find the cards)
Driver's license
Photo identification or passport
Welfare identification
Green card

Important personal papers

Marriage certificate
Divorce papers
Custody orders
Legal protection or restraining orders
Health insurance papers and medical cards
Medical records for all family members
Children's school records
Investment papers/records and account numbers
Work permits
Immigration papers
Rental agreement/lease or house deed
Car title, registration, and insurance information


Credit cards
ATM card
Checkbook and bankbook (with deposit slips)


Safety deposit box or post office box

A way to communicate

Phone calling card
Cell phone
Address book


At least 1 month's supply for all medicines you and your children are taking, as well as a copy of the prescriptions

A way to get by

Jewelry or small objects you can sell, if you run out of money or stop having access to your accounts

Things to help you cope

Children's small toys or books
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