I am often asked how I managed to get out of that place of darkness to live with such light and joy in my heart today. The answer is fairly simple — I chose to. The reality is much more complex. The following piece describes where I got to in that journey. It is an excerpt from my book, The Dandelion Spirit. I originally wrote it on a forum I belonged to about a year after he was arrested. It was my ‘explanation’ of what happened to me in that relationship.
There is a warning with this post — it may trigger you. If it does, breathe — and know, when a trigger explodes in your mind, it is your opportunity to embrace it, walk into it, accept it and heal it. Only you can make that choice. Triggers exist in our mind. The past is no longer. It is gone. The memories are what are hurting us. And when we pull the trigger and let the bullet of memory pierce us, we give ourselves the grace of being free. Nameste
He told her it was ‘love at first sight’. Destiny. Fate. He asked her to marry him on the first date – has anyone ever loved you so completely? Has anyone ever swept you off your feet with such passion? Such fervour? She told him she was not ready. He pursued.
He wanted sex within the first week or two of meeting and showered her with gifts, flowers, champagne, to prove he truly, madly deeply loved her and only her. When she told him it was too soon for physical intimacy, that she needed to ‘go slowly’ he respected her wishes. But, then he arranged a ‘special’ weekend away at an exotic location to surprise her. How could she refuse him?
And on that first time together, he became short of breath, his skin started to flake from lack of oxygen. He had a heart-attack. The ambulance came. She was whisked away, and though his business partners kept her informed of his health, she never knew where he was, or what was truly happening. When next she saw him, he sadly told her of his rare heart condition. Being ‘a man’s man’ he could not fathom living with someone else’s heart beating in his body. He must undergo experimental surgery, but only once his heart has deteriorated to a point that it was feasible — 1 month, 2 months at the outside 3.
He gave her a new cell phone so that she did not need to worry about the expense. He constantly reminded her that though she was successful in her own right, all that she had accomplished to create her beautiful life was nothing compared to what he would make possible. He told her that no one would ever want for her what he could give her, for what he was going to give her were her dreams come true. The dreams she had whispered to him while lying safely in his arms, the world far away and silent. He held her and told her of his love. He laughed and teased her, told her with fervent kisses of his dreams for ‘them’, for their happily ever after.
And she slid into his arms.
Everything circled around his desires and wants—he was dying, he was weak. He could not be ‘excited’. But even in his ‘ill health’, he was only concerned about her well-being. He told her he was setting up trust funds, changing over his insurance policies, investing in her business, investing in other businesses to create a life for her greater than any she could ever imagine – or ask for or wanted. She only wanted him to live.
As his health failed, he would confess that he was part of an organized family. One of the ‘upper echelon’. She didn’t understand. She didn’t believe those things really existed. He told her that was what made her so beautiful. Her innocence. Her belief in goodness.
“You do not believe in evil,” he said, stroking her hair where he held her head against his chest. “You have not seen what I have seen.”
What did the past matter, she wondered. He was dying. Now was all they had to share.
As a parting gift, he wanted to give her the story of his life – “It will be such a story,” he said. “Your fame as a writer will be assured.” It will be called, ‘A New Don Rising’ for he was changing the old guard, he was ridding the ‘family’ of its unethical, illegal businesses. He was honourable, righteous. He did not want to be remembered for the destruction he had created, but for the lives he had saved through his ‘good works’. She was his inspiration, his reason for hanging on to see that what he started was completed, and that she never need for anything again. That she and her daughters were safe from harm.
He had secret friends, and many, many enemies. He will toy with her by telling her that his enemies were willing to harm her and her children to get at him. He told her evil men had sent him three bullets. Pictures of a young girl being violated — she looks like your eldest daughter, he said. These evil men were threatening to kidnap her daughter, drug her and put her in the sex trade unless she remained silent. He promised he would never let harm come to her and them, but she must do what he says and be silent. Only silence will keep her children safe. She will never see these evil men, but he will tearfully tell her of the threats he has received against her and her children.
He will triangulate his relationship with her and with other people. He will tell her who is ‘plotting’ against her. He will tell her who is working with the police to build their case against him and using her and her love for her children as the wedge to destroy him. He will tell her that she is being investigated by child services, that he has men following her to keep her safe and the police have people following her to spy on him and the bad men have people following her to get at him. Wherever she goes there are people following her, taking pictures, watching. And she knows they are there, because sometimes she sees them. Sometimes she is shown pictures. Sometimes, he comments on what she was wearing that day, even when he has told her he wasn’t there. She never knows when someone will be watching. Or not. She never knows.
He will appear emotionally hurt at what he tells her others are doing to turn her against him – and though she will never see or know what others are doing, he will ensure she believes him and is too frightened of her daughters’ safety to risk confronting him or these ‘others’ about him.
He will tell her about his past lovers and relationships – before his marriage. He will tell her how cold and sterile his marriage was. He will tell her that he has never paid for sex, never used pornography, never been with a woman other than his wife while married – but theirs was an arranged marriage between families – she was an exceptional wife and mother but they had never truly, madly, deeply known love together. And now, with her, he does know true love, and he’ll leave out the mad part but she will feel it. And he will ask her about her experiences – and keep the intimate details stored until a later date when he will use the information to terrorize her.
He will always give her compliments. He has known her through many lifetimes – but this is the first time he has to show her his love. She will come to wish it were the last. She will come to believe that his love will kill her. And she will remain silent.
He will act overly concerned, soft and caring when she speaks to him of her terror of these unseen evil men and her fears for her daughters’ safety. He will tell her not to cry. He will tell her it’s okay to cry. He will take her tears and use them as his weapon, to show her how weak, stupid and ugly she is. How pathetic.
And she will believe him. She is pathetic for not being able to handle the terror. She will try to take her own life and he will laugh at her pitiful attempt to end it.
“You can never leave me,” he will tell her. “I will never let you go.”
And she will grow silent and only say those things that keep him calm, that cause him to applaud her, to appreciate her, to admire her.
Eventually, he will tell her that she reminds him of his mother. He will tell her how sad it makes him that his mother will never know her – for she is the woman she would have loved as her daughter-in-law.
He will create a ‘husband’ for her. One of the top family men whom no one will mess with – and to ensure no one messes with her. He will show her the wedding invitations, the marriage certificate. He will promise her that he will have the ‘marriage’ evaporate as soon as he has corrected all the wrongs so that then he can marry her himself — as soon as he has wrought vengeance on those who have tried to harm him. She will never wear the dress. Never walk the aisle. But he will convince her that isn’t necessary. He is doing this all for her. She must trust him. Believe him. She doesn’t. But she never tells him. And she never tells herself of her fears.
He will always take away the evidence and leave her with nothing to show for his promises, his threats, his lies. He will tell her he has signed papers in her name. “It is for your own good,” he will say. And she will remain silent. Sometimes, she’ll wonder where the papers are. But she doesn’t dare look for them. He will be angry if she does. And so, she stays silent and holds onto the darkness he tells her will keep her safe.
He will tell her of the many assassination attempts against him. He will carry a gun and show it to her ‘accidentally’. She will panic and he will laugh at her and tell her to face the truth, “life is tough and if she wants to keep her children safe, she’d better learn to accept he has a gun.” He will call her in a panic, telling her of the latest assassination attempt, telling her his cousin is dead, but he escaped with only minor wounds. He will call her from the funeral, tears in his voice. Begging her to help him understand why it has to be like this. Why can’t they just leave him alone to love her as she deserves to be loved.
He will keep her on the rollercoaster of his lies and she will keep her eyes tightly shut, missing the exits flying by.
He will make sure she fears for her life, and her daughters’ safety. She will despair that she has brought such terror into their existence, and he will tell her it is his fault, but he will fix it. And then, he’ll blame her for the mess and remind her that only he can fix it.
He will arrange for ‘things’ to happen to convince her that the evil men are watching, plotting, attempting to kill her or harm her daughters. There will be dead birds on her doorstep, bombs beneath her car. Kidnappers lurking, items missing from her home.
As her terror rises and she become less and less able to function, he will promise to protect her, to take care of her. He will remind her it is all her fault that she is like this and that the beautiful life he was building for her was destroyed. When a police investigator comes to see her about him and she spends five minutes talking to the investigator, he will yell and scream at her that she is stupid, stupid, stupid. When the ‘other woman’ accosts her in her office, he will scream and yell at her that she should not have gone into the office that day. And he will never explain why there is an investigation, or why the other woman exists. And she will be too frightened to ask.
He will make her change cell phones many times – to foil the evil men from listening to her calls. From tracking where he is and knowing where she is going. But he will always know and make sure she knows he sees her, even when he isn’t there.
He will ensure she knows he is taping her calls by repeating conversations she’s had with others. He will call her from far away places in the middle of the night and accuse her of having another man in her bed. He will accuse her of having at least two affairs. He will accuse her of vile things. He will use every ounce of knowledge he has about her against her. He will use her.
He will ensure she knows he is capable of murder. He will ensure she knows there is no getting away from him. He will ensure she witnesses his ability to harm others, to obtain vengeance. He will build the case to ensure she tries to kill herself and when she fails, he will hold her pinioned in his arms until she becomes the walking dead, alive only through his munificence.
And when he is not there, when he is away, she will sleep with one eye open for he is always lurking, somewhere in the corners of her mind.
I no longer sleep with one eye open. He is not lurking anywhere in the corners of my mind. I have filled my thinking with all that loves and supports me. I have no room for him in my mind today. He is not important. He has no value.He does not count in my life today.