In 2012, I had an amazing job with one of the state government departments, earning great money….and I was confident and thriving. I struggled at home trying to cohabitate with my ex-husband while we waited for our lease to expire. Then we had a state election and our work world was thrown into absolute chaos. Part of our department had been dissolved into another, and the new team we had to work with was far from welcoming. So when they started offering redundancy packages at work, I decided to take one and make some changes.
I moved to the US, basically as a leap of faith. Thanks to the wonderful world wide web, I made friends in different states. I had been online friends with the man that would become my second husband (Michael) for about 3-4 years, and with all of our online banter and video calls, I felt completely relaxed and safe going to be with him. Besides, it was my first real adventure.
When I arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I was greeted at the airport and driven to the extended-stay hotel I had booked. For the first week, I was there, Michael had shown me around, helped me buy a car, and was, by all appearances, a complete gentleman, just as he had been online. At the beginning of week two, he asked if he could stay the night….then he stays the week. Little did I know that this is where I started to lose control of myself, and his control of me begins.
He had asked me to marry him, and in the whirlwind of excitement and emotions, I had agreed. Everything quickly yet subtly became all about him and his needs. If there was something I felt was important, I pushed back, and he would let me think I still had some control. After seeing a lawyer about getting residency paperwork submitted, it was suggested that they retain the fee for submitting the paperwork $1800 and their fee was $3500. I paid this and was told that it would be best if we lived as husband and wife for at least two years; I should volunteer and do everything in my power to show what an asset I was to the community so that it wouldn’t look like I was just after a green card. Without this paperwork being submitted and without receiving residency and a green card, I’m not allowed to work.
We find an apartment, and I pay the security deposit and the first few month’s rent. All the while, Michael is okay with me not working, because I can be an amazing woman and take care of the house and the husband. I have begun to see that his facade has started to crack. CONTROL
I had started volunteering with a local homeless and underprivileged community outreach center, which was not at all in the book Michael. Within 8 months of volunteering, I somehow became the Manager and Pantry Director of the facility. One evening I arrived home from volunteering to find a very drunk and belligerent Mike. For almost three hours I sat and listened to him scream about why I should not be volunteering there. He abruptly stopped and told me, “Get your shit and go!”. So I got up from the dining table and went to walk into the bedroom to get some things and leave….and he had the loaded 9mm semi-automatic gun from the waistband of his pants, cocked and pressed against my temple with his other arm around my neck….in seconds. I waited for the click of the trigger…. I couldn’t tell you how long we stood there like that before he left me to fall to the floor. He calmly uncocked the gun, put it back in his waistband, and told me to “Get up! You’re not going anywhere! You’re my wife.”. CONTROL.
Whenever I video chatted with family and friends, he would always sit behind me and slightly to the side so he could be seen. CONTROL.
When COVID hit, he began to lose control of himself. His drinking got heavier, he lost his great job and could only get employment sanitizing shopping trolleys (not helpful when control is already lost). He had started stockpiling food and supplies for when the shit hit the fan. He began fighting with people on social media…which was always my fault and a reflection of my type of person. He had started to become physically abusive. He would get so drunk, misplace some of his many guns and blame me for “hiding them from him” when he woke up the next day. After an eight-hour online argument he was having, I was woken by an extremely agitated man and found out later that the argument was with a friend of mine in Australia. A few days later, I messaged and apologized for my husband being a douche. It took months of planning, but she recognized his behavior and organized for me to be snuck out of the US. Sadly, his own family was concerned that he would kill me by his warped sense of protection.
I arrived in Australia with $84 (that my Mum had wired me days before I fled) and two suitcases of anything I could fit in there…my laptop, some clothes, shoes and toiletries, and whatever paperwork I thought might be helpful. I had to leave everything else behind – pets, heirlooms, artwork, personal belongings and I didn’t get to say goodbyes to anyone. This was how I had to start to take back control. SELF CONTROL
I occasionally get messages or emails from him asking if I would like him to send me any of my things, any of the artwork, any of the heirlooms my Mum had brought over for me to have…..and now I have control. I don’t respond to any of his messages or emails Now, with all the work I have done on myself and for myself…. I don’t even react. SELF CONTROL.
I choose myself, and I choose my peace over choosing stuff. SELF CONTROL. 💗💗💗
Written by N Osborne