I took the back door out the front door and left him when he went out-of-town. The kids and I left with what we needed for our stay in the domestic violence shelter. My cousin rode with us while my mom, dad, and uncle stayed back to pack our belongings into a small trailer. They left after cramming the last box into the mix. We drove 1,150 miles from Florida to Missouri to complete my escape. I dropped my cousin off at her house and spent one night at my parents’ house before going another 50 miles further to the shelter.
Donkey was in Georgia at his parents’ house. The day after I arrived at the shelter I let the kids call Donkey one last time and then put my phone in an envelope, along with my Dear Donkey letter, and mailed it to him at his parents’ address.
This note informs you that [I], [N], and I have left. I will no longer live under your control allowing you to daily whittle away my confidence, integrity, and self-image. I will no longer live in an environment of fear and physical danger. I will not give you additional opportunities to psychologically or physically abuse me and [I]. I will not allow [N] to experience this. I will not allow the kids to grow up in an atmosphere of tension, fear, and anger. I will not allow the daily emotional and psychological abuse you heap on me to continue.
I am leaving so that I can be a loving, strong, protective, and supportive mother; to provide a stable environment free from your continuous criticism.
We can no longer exist under your control. We can no longer live in fear of your temper. I asked you twice to leave. Now I have. I have packed up what belongs to me and the kids. We are at a shelter for victims of domestic abuse.
There were five days between my leaving and him knowing. I left 8 August, arrived in St. Louis 9 August, arrived at the shelter 10 August, and mailed my phone 11 August using the 2-day USPS service. After learning that I was gone, Donkey sent several emails before I shut down that email account and completely eliminated the last and final way he had to get to me. I did answer one email in hopes he would stop trying. I simply said, “I cannot communicate with you right now.”
I only saved four of the emails. I don’t know why I selected only four, nor why these four got the honor. This is the most blurry time. The dust storm was huge and I cannot see the landmarks in my memory.
He was right that I was dealing with some very strong emotions. For the first time in five years I was free. I was eating what I wanted to eat, when I wanted to eat. I was crying when I wanted to cry without the threat of psychiatric incarceration. I was sleeping when I wanted to sleep, only according to the schedule of an 8-month-old and a 2.5-year-old and not him.
The kids and I were playing when we wanted to play, reading when we wanted to read, and hugging when we wanted to hug. Even tho I refused to leave the safety of the shelter for anything, I knew I had the freedom to come and go. It was my choice. It was My choice.
I have never figured out what he was trying to do or say here. He knew what was going on: I had left him and was in refuge at a shelter. The lawyers I had consulted I had paid in cash so as not to leave a trail. I paid for the gas on the drive with cash as well as the food and the hotel. I was ecstatic to find a hotel that took cash, but wary of it as well. I threw our safety out the window for 10 hours in order to stay safe.
He may have been referring to the money I withdrew from the account, but I had already told him what I would be withdrawing and when. I knew I was leaving and so I told him I would be taking $500 to pay for Florida license plates so I could take the money without raising any alarms. FL license plates are (or were in 2010) $480. It was the perfect cover.
He wasn’t wrong that I said I was staying with him. Of course I said I was staying with him. I was warned of the potential for violent escalation by the counselor I had been talking to at the shelter I would be staying at so I protected myself by letting him believe I would stay with him and accept continued abuse.
He was sorry? He was “deeply concerned”? He thought I was just “away”?
He had closed our joint baking account, without my signature, and then offered to make funds available. If he actually wanted funds to be available to me, he would have kept the account available to me. I learned later that he spent money until the account was negative. I also learned someone loaned him the deficit amount to allow him to close the account, plus some. Donkey deposited $4000 before closing the account.
I opened a new gmail account and forwarded these emails to myself and then shut it down. I was free. Or so I thought.