Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following email from a reader who we’ll call “Laurel.” She married Frank as a teenager and had five children with him. Her oldest, Amy, is 19 in the story and married to Matt. Her son, Andy, is 14. Names have been changed.
I knew I was leaving.
I had been plotting for months, since my first few tastes of TRUE freedom and being around normal people, that I was getting myself and my children out. I had been saving and accumulating paperwork, solid proof of income for months. Keeping it safe and duplicating everything.
One morning I walked into Frank’s bedroom to give him his coffee and do whatever bidding he had in mind on his IPad, when it occurred to me, mathematically almost, that I just didn’t really have anything to gain by waiting any longer. If what I had didn’t work, why wait any longer? Throw it where it needed to go and leave. If it wasn’t enough, deal with it and go on.
Just a tiny bit of fear was left.
I was flying to STL the next day, I had that pre-planned, supposedly I had a dr appt and had to bring back Amy’s car. It was snowed in from the last run.
I got into STL ALONE for the first time in my adult life for 4 blessed days. Imagine, sleeping ALONE, traveling ALONE, just sitting in a room ALONE.
Then I spent the night with my old friend from Jr HS. I went not knowing what would happen, and what a night it was. To an outsider it wouldn’t have appeared to be much; to me, it was life changing. We laid on a his couch almost watching a terrible movie, then went to his bed and watched some more movies, and slept like 10 yr olds holding hands. Nothing more. We hugged goodbye the next morning, smiled and I drove the 40 miles back to my place.
I guess it showed me yet AGAIN how I had been lied to, there ARE good people still in existence, not just waiting to pounce, and I didn’t think about the monster once that night. I wasn’t afraid anymore. I didn’t look over my shoulder mentally all night. I will always remember that drive home, that morning.
The song “Crazier” by Taylor Swift was on and I felt like I was walking on air.
I wasn’t in love, nothing to that effect, but I was different. I felt freer somehow, transformed. I don’t think my friend will ever know or appreciate what that night did for me, one day I hope to thank him and let him know. In any event, I send him my most powerful loving happy wishes. He did me a great service that night. Somehow I think it did something for him as well. Neither of us knew where that was going, but it wasn’t what we thought … and I mean that in a very positive way.
I got back down South 2 days later. It was horrific. Worse than ever.
Frank was a living nightmare, worse than ever. The minute I walked in the door he had me making a list of things he needed done the next day, ridiculous requests of getting dump trucks licensed and his business license, getting fake insurance papers made up and oh yeah get his BP emergency claim handled THAT DAY. Sure Frank, I’m on it.
Two days later my son Andy told me he was to the point (due to Frank’s constant degrading remarks and harassment) that he didn’t want to wake up in the morning.
At this time Bob, his new racecar friend from Ohio, flew in with his wife, Andrea. Them being normal, nice family people, Frank put on his game family face. The kids were astonished and making fun of him. Andy just shook his head. Frank would brag on him in front of his guests, then turn around after they left and say things like, “Why don’t you just stay home with the women where you belong tomorrow?!”
Bob and Andrea did pretty well at reading him and we still talk. While they were there and his family guy act was on, which was quite nauseating to watch, and armed with my knowledge of psychopaths in my mind, made watching the transformation of his persona really freaky. I could have enjoyed them, but even with them there, he was a ticking time bomb.
On their final night, I figured Bob and Andrea were tired of the going out to eat every night thing and invited them to our place for dinner. They seemed to enjoy the kids and just hanging in the kitchen while I cooked, and sadly the kids liked them and enjoyed the company of “outsiders” paying attention and playing with them. Andy barely spoke, and I kept pretty quiet because by this time, when I would interject something into the conversation, I was weighing my words, twice Frank had already told me via gypsy language to shut up. I was treading on thin ice if I mentioned certain subjects. I don’t even remember what they were now.
Once I was gone, Bob texted me, having no clue, and I told him, then I emailed his wife via FB and told her. I’ve come to see that making people aware, bringing things long kept secret out in the open, is important. Plus this man is someone Frank is going to use and he needs to be aware what he is dealing with.
I was pleasantly surprised when I got their replies. Both were super supportive, and offered me shelter in their home if I needed it. You see, they genuinely love their family and she came from an abusive father. Again, another lie of Frank’s blown out of the water.
Tension in the air
Two days after they left all hell broke loose. Amy was at my place, her and her little husband, Matt. It was like they could sense the extreme tension in the air, Frank HAD been performing and very viscous for about a week, so they were staying at my place.
It was strange; everyone kind of hovered. I’m not sure if they were afraid for me or him, by this time I know I really could have, well, killed him, and wouldn’t have given consequences a thought. My mind was very close to snapping. All those years of being told lies about myself and the world around me were crumbling down and I was furious.
Over the past few months, before going back down South, I had been seeing in a friend capacity a few attorneys that, ironically, I met thru Frank when he was in legal trouble, and still is. They were fun, impressive and smart, and shock of all shocks, they thought I was too. I kept in touch with them on a daily basis, and when in STL met up with them for drinks during the day, went to a few cool places, and was amazed by it all. There went another lie.
So … a few days after the guests leave, Frank comes out of his room. Andy and Matt were getting ready to leave for work, and he begins to browbeat Andy, the kid had such a look of defeat on him that I just came unglued. I jumped up and screamed, “Back the fuck off! You’ve got my child suicidal with all your constant putdowns! NO MORE!” Andy ran out the door away from it, Amy and Matt stood still taking it in.
He then proceeded to tell me I was making Andy an idiot just like Amy, not letting him chastise Andy just like I did with her. This was said with her standing RIGHT there! I replied, “I think she’s great and I’m not sorry I didn’t let you misuse her and abuse her the way you do others.” It was the ONE thing I got right.
Things just progressively got worse that day, but as soon as he went back in his room I began to pack and ship out my things and the kids. Not easy under his watchful eye, but possible. Off and on all through the day he would come back in and start again, screaming at me to, “Go ahead, you know everything so show him how to work! All all of you are is dead weight.”
Again, said in the kids’ presence. And again, I went ballistic. I screamed in his face that he was the only dead weight in that house. Matt stood by me, God love him, sure that Frank was about to attack. Strangely enough, he didn’t, not physically. I’m still not sure why, normally for such a display I would have at a minimum got a few slaps, possible a body slam.
I left to go to the office and take care of a few things there. When I got back he was walking out the door and wanted a ton of tacky lawn furniture he bought all moved to the porch. He was screaming at Amy to get outside and move it! I jumped out of the car screaming at him, “What the hell do you think your doing?!!!!!” Amy was standing there not sure what to do. I told her she had no business picking up all that heavy stuff and to carry her ass right back inside. He went wild, began screaming what an idiot I had made her, I said, “No, to the contrary, she’s not going to go through all I did. I will not allow you to cause her the trouble you did for me.”
I said that if he wanted that shit moved so bad, (btw the hired men were 10 min away and easily could have done this), then he’d have to get off his dead ass and help me do it. When we picked up the swing he couldn’t hold up his end, kept stumbling, dropping it, so I threw my end down and told him to do it his fucking self. I wasn’t doing shit. Again, surprised he didn’t hit me. He did scream and curse at me for awhile, but I just ignored him and went inside.
By this time I was absolutely livid. Amy kept saying, OMG he’s lost it finally. She was crying because of the ugly words he said. How I hated him for that. Again, I told her he was a liar, afraid only of losing his control over his kingdom and he could sense it coming. Try not to personalize it, KNOW it for what it was. The ramblings of an imbecilic psychopath.
That evening, as I was preparing dinner, he started AGAIN about Andy. Andy wasn’t there thankfully; he was in his room, Amy was though, and she witnessed the whole exchange. As he was eating, I had ignored him with virtually no response, by this time I didn’t trust my own response, he says, “So Andy wants to kill himself huh?” I didn’t answer. So he said it AGAIN, much louder. Matt and Amy ran into the room, afraid it was going to get really bad. He THEN said, “Well throw him a fucking rope then.”
I came unhinged. I went flying at him, got stopped, I screamed at him that the only person that was going to die was HIM if one hair on my child’s head was hurt. I told him I would kill him with my bare hands. He replied that I didn’t scare him, to which I said, “You should be, your dead body would be the best thing I could see.”
After that he sat back down to continue eating, and out of the blue turns around and says, “Frankly I don’t care, I don’t give a damn.”
I said, “You know what? I believe you.”
That’s the last coherent situation I recall having. The next day was spent getting our clothes shipped out, tying up my loose ends. It was hard, I was afraid, but I was more afraid of staying. I knew none of us, worst of all my children, didn’t stand a chance if I didn’t get out. And if I stayed and something happened to Andy it would be on me. MY fault. That would be unforgivable.
SO the next morning I loaded them up and we left. The getting out was the hard part, I was so overwhelmed with fear, mental fear, it ALMOST locked me down, but if I felt myself being crippled by it, all I had to do was pull out the words he said about my son, his own flesh and blood and that’s all the fuel I needed.
Once I got on the road driving I felt a tiny bit of relief, but not until I reached Interstate 55 north did I start to feel really better. And once I hit Memphis and saw the signs reading STL I was completely just relieved.