When I turned my back on the dysfunction is #WhenIBecameFree

I dropped the phone and ran to the bathroom, just making it in time to violently vomit into the toilet. I couldn't breathe. I was shaking. My heart was pounding out of my chest. The boys were due to be home any minute, they had been at the park, it was summer and they were there for the free lunch program. I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't know what I would tell them. I didn't know if what I just heard, was even true. All I knew was my life was out of control and I had no one to help me pick up the pieces. That was just proven to me by the person who had been on the other end of the phone call, it was an immediate family member.

"You fucking bitch, you finally did it! You fucking bitch! Tim is hanging in a motel room in Monona! I hope you're fucking happy with yourself!"  

That was when I dropped the phone and ran to the bathroom -

A neighbor happened to be over when all of this took place. She witnessed it all. When that family member of mine called back, she answered the phone only to hear more abusive language and how my estranged husband had hung himself because I was a bitch and refused to take him back after everything that had taken place in our marriage.

It was just a couple of weeks prior when he had violently shoved me into a closet, knocking the air out of me and I passed out on the floor. I awoke to my boys kneeling over me, crying, all because they thought I was dead. When I went to get the phone to call the police, he came lunging at me, ripping the phone out of my hand and then the phone cord out of the wall. At the time I was already on with 911, the police were at my door within minutes. In the 60 or 90 seconds it took for them to get here, he had already taken off in a drunken run.

I remember sitting on the steps to my home, shaking. I didn't know what to do.  I debated with the officer who arrived on whether or not I should follow through with a complaint. All I wanted was for this nightmare just to end. I knew writing a statement meant it would continue - more charges - more court dates - he would be out on bond and he would come back. That was proven to me many times over. I also knew I would have to fight that weakness that was in me. A weakness that kept him coming back, like a magnet. I had no money, living in an area where I didn't know that many people yet I could call a friend, and no parents to call for help as my mother had just died the November before and my father a decade before. I had children to feed. I was on a lonely island of despair.

I have to say, the officer who came to my home that night, was kind. He did convince me to follow through with that statement and he did find my abuser walking around the neighborhood, drunk. He was arrested and now today that officer is our Chief of Police.

Summer of 2006 - It was taken on one of those days
where I was forced to spend time with my estranged
 husband if I wanted money to feed my children. The boys
didn't know it at the time, but that is how I was able to
purchase  hot dogs for dinner that night. 
We had an outing at Lemonweir Mills,
the river close to home. That is where we met him that day.
He took the photo. 
That was in May of 2006. That call from my family member happened in June of 2006. Between the two time periods I dealt with many phone calls of nothing but pure threats from my estranged husband. He played games with money, keeping it from the children and I unless I agreed to see him. He had been staying with my family members, that didn't help the matter, and he knew it. He could bond with them over a beer - like I always said, he had a charming personality when sober. He was an extremely functional alcoholic with a sense of humor I yet to meet again. Those family members he bonded with, they had their own string of past bad relationships where alcohol had fueled abuse and the women were always "the bitches."

As for that phone call, well, a couple of days prior to it he had threatened suicide to me. It was a go-to threat for a few years by then, that and how he would kill me first.

I had no idea if that call was a prank or the truth. I had no choice but to call the police to find out if my estranged husband was, in fact, hanging in a motel room near Madison.

When the officer arrived I can remember telling him that if it was a prank, I wanted to press charges. I was tired of the alcohol-induced harassment from both of them. The constant verbal attacks over the phone and in the messages left on my answering machine. Messages that my boys heard when they checked that answering machine.  I tried to stay on top of it all and keep it from them, but I couldn't be everywhere at all times, I had children to feed. I needed it all to stop. I needed a mental break from always being on guard, preparing for the onslaught of the mental and verbal torture I was under from people who were supposedly my family.

The boys were walking up to the house as the officer was leaving. That officer, today,  is our city's detective. He phoned a little while later to let me know that the call was indeed a prank. I would soon learn that my estranged husband was sitting next to that family member when that call was made. He too phoned me later to say, "I told him not to do it." Then he laughed.

Unfortunately for that family member of mine, when he made that prank call to me,  had been out on bond for a prior domestic abuse incident within his own relationship. He ended up having to serve some jail time. I am sure I am to blame for it all - in his mind.

I hadn't planned on writing about this incident until I was reminded about it all when survivors contacted me this week about their own family betrayals, a couple of them having family members continuing on the abuse from their abusers. It is common for this to happen when there's domestic violence. There's a reason victims land in a relationship where there's an abuse of power and control. Often it was the building blocks of their childhood that created that path to Hell. The very same building blocks guiding their family there, too.

The hardest tie to break is walking away from the tornado of dysfunction, especially when the people you call family are swirling around you, keeping you within the storm. If you cannot do it for yourself, look at the children, the young children in your life - those that were created in the eye of the storm, guide them out. Break that cycle.

The summer this all happened, my friend Steve who lives 2000 miles away, sent me a cd he mixed of songs he thought would help me get through some of the worse days. He was leaving for a trip and up to then I would call him at night and we talked the entire night about anything and everything, just so I could make it to the next morning without fear to get some sleep. He wanted me to have something to go to, to help me get through those trying nights, this song was on that cd - with that cd he sent a video, the movie The Butterfly Effect. You may think you're alone when going through trials and tribulations - but, yes, there are angels waiting to help guide you -look for the signs.


Your support will help keep the project and me going to completion. All stories are being compiled into a book and mini-documentary -

GOOD NEWS - for that mini-documentary I will be working with a student from ILead Charter School who is an experienced videographer, Thomas Houy.

50 percent of the profits will go to Survivors Offering Support (S.O.S.), of Juneau County and to a crisis fund and Kelli's Haven. I will also donate 25 percent of the funds to ILead Charter School! The remaining profits will help recoup some of my losses and pay for promotions. This is not about me getting rich, this is about making our community and others - building resources and awareness.

Any and all donations are welcome!

Go Fund Me Page

Any way you choose to support this effort is greatly appreciated! Even if it is just sharing my blog, the website, or liking and sharing the Facebook page.  

Thank you to Wisconsin River Meats,  Benders' Family Restaurant, The Dirty Turtle, and the Fun Company Game Store for being official sponsors of #WhenIBecameFree. Give a like to their their Facebook page (click links above) and let them know how appreciative we all are that they are supporting survivors finding their voices!



Also,  my baby boy who has donated his own hard earned cash and in-kind support as he will be writing and performing the music for the video, Kyle Roberts.  Give a like to his Facebook page.


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