by Susan Murphy-Milano
Angie never thought when she married her husband in 1988 that she would be "one of those women." Stuck in a relationship with a controlling and violent man. She met her husband in her last year of college. He came from a stable family environment and by all appearances acted normal. While they dated he was very attentive to her. Angie graduated magna cum laude with a masters degree in nursing. They dated for about a year before deciding to marry. The couple settled down in Florida. He had a contacting business and Angie worked at a nearby hospital.
Six months or so into the marriage Angie's husband began with verbal assaults. Angie says "he didn't like me to work extra shifts, you know he always wanted to know where I was at all times. When I didn't come home straight after my shift he would accuse me of fooling around with an intern or doctor on staff. It seemed there was nothing I could do to please him. And yet I was not doing anything wrong. Most nights he found fault over everything from the how I wore my hair to the way I cleaned the bathroom. One night I got called into work a shift. We only had one bathroom and I needed to jump in the shower. On purpose my husband tripped me in the hallway. I should have left then and never returned. But I learned the day before I was pregnant."
Angie said she loved him and believed he was under pressure to make a go of the contracting business. She excused his behavior. Angie wanted to believe his outbursts were only temporary. When Angie announced they were going to have a baby her husband was happy and their relationship improved. Once their daughter was born "he changed all the attention was on the baby, not on him." The fights became physical. Angie stayed because she was too embarrassed to seek help or tell anyone she was a victim of abuse. "My God, I am an educated woman, how could this have happened to me? Where was I going with an infant?"
Angie gave birth to another daughter two years later. She worked part-time at the hospital and on weekends when a shift was available. Trying to see the good in her husband Angie continued to convince herself the rare moments of good were enough to outweigh the bad. Over the years the bad consisted of broken jaws, wrists and ribs. "He would always apologize, nurse me back on my feet and repeat the abuse once I was my old self."
When her oldest entered high school she made an appointment to see an attorney. Angie had money hidden away and could get a job anywhere in the country. Her husband found out and informed Angie "if she went through with a divorce" it would be her death. In no uncertain terms Angie's life had been permanently hijacked.
In 2009, with both her children grown and living their lives, Angie began making arrangements to end the marriage. But she had to do it very carefully. If he got wind of her plans, Angie felt certain she would be dead. Angie was in crisis and required a road-map with directions.
Angie reached out to me and we formulated a plan of action. She started taking items from the home that would not be missed. Angie secured a post office box and a cell phone from Walmart that could not be tracked.
She was very careful not to tell anyone. Following the information in both the Moving Out Moving On book and the Time's Up guide, Angie at her own pace moved forward.
This past Thursday, Angie prepared a letter to her husband, informing him she had left. This is important as he would have reported her missing. Her attorney advised against it, I argued it was necessary to do for many reasons. With everything she needed already in another state in her new home, Angie placed the letter on the counter and headed out to the driveway where her girlfriend was waiting to take her to the airport.
Saturday Angie spent the first night of what will be many in her new home. Sunday morning she called to report how good she felt. "My life, I have control of my life."
A good relationship should not be lived in secrecy or fear. A good relationship is one where both partners are treated with mutual respect and love.
Angie's life was hijacked by an abusive relationship. She embarked on a journey in 1988 with the goal of living happily ever after. Instead, Angie became a passenger on a flight of never ending violence and abuse. Once she took the steps to take back her life and implement a plan of action that fit her needs, Angie was no longer a passenger, but a survivor. In the middle of her life she changed flight plans, charting her own course to a life without the fear of violence.
If you are in a relationship that has a history of violence, simply mustering up the courage to confront the person and say it is over, without the proper tools, can cost you, your life!
One of the major reasons women stay in abusive relationships is fear. They are afraid of what will happen to them and their children if they leave. Sadly, their fears are often justified; statistics show that a woman is at the greatest risk for injury when she announces her plans or leaves an abusiverelationship. The book "Time's Up A Guide on How To Survive and Abusive and Stalking Relationship"is the prescription, if you will, that every person must obtain before they announce they are leaving. Below is an example from Chapter 4, one of many unique tools provided in the book. It is available on Amazon.com, or you can purchase via e-book or on a cd. If you have questions, the email address is: email@example.com
Before you decide that you have had enough and are ending the relationship, create for yourself the "Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit" and video (shown below).
If you do nothing else, please take one important step that if something does happen to you, if you do vanish like Stacy Peterson, Vensus Stewart, Rachel Anderson, Susan Powell, Lisa Stebic, or arefoundmurdered like Monica Beresford-Redmond, Franki Jacobson, Renee Pagel, Summer Inman,Kelly Rothwell and others where the person responsible has gotten away with murder that your voice and record of the abuse will be captured and recorded. Do it for you friends, family and loved ones. Do it for your children. Do it for you!
Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit by Susan Murphy Milano from the Book "Time's Up"from Courage Networkon Vimeo.
If you have questions, the email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
This book doesn't merely discuss when you should leave or why you should leave, it tells you HOW you should leave. The book has step-by-step instructions how to covertly make a plan, set-up a safe escape, deal with financial issues, and the paperwork. Susan even takes you line-by-line through the process, the forms, the legal issues...she takes you by the hand, and, believe me, when you are being terrorized and you are an basket case, you don't need vague ideas, you need specific instructions. TIME'S UP can save your life and your sanity. If you need to get out, get this book before you make a mistake that could be fatal. It is money well spent.