Because the reaction was so positive to last Thursday’s podcast surrounding domestic violence, I wanna share with you some of the emails I received. This was only a portion of the ones I got, but to see this reaction was really cool. Thanks to all those who emailed in and shared.
I have been a longtime reader and listener of your podcasts and have always admired how you give a voice and a platform for women who otherwise wouldn’t have one but I have not related more to an episode or been more affected than when I listened to the domestic violence podcast this week.
I recently separated from my partner of 4.5 years due to physical assault. We have 2 young children. The first time the abuse happened was a year into our relationship. The second time was 2 months ago. Both times alcohol was involved. After the most recent incident, I left and stayed in a transition house and just recently moved into a place of my own with the kids. I know that I made the right decision, despite harsh criticism and judgement from his friends and family, because I do not want my kids to grow up witnessing violence or to believe that it is OK to stay in an abusive relationship (which is what they will believe if they see their mom stay in this relationship). Also my kids deserve a mother who is alive, physically alive as well as a soul that is alive. It’s hasn’t been easy but it has been worth it.
I really liked how you said that you felt Mandy’s husband unfortunately would eventually become abusive again. I do believe people can change, however it rarely happens and the statistics shows that the cycle of violence is unfortunately what happens most of the time, as so correctly pointed out by Ashley.
I also liked how you guys discussed the role that financial control/abuse and family dynamics/children play in victims staying with their abuser as I have experience the same.
I would like to add that another reason is the stigma around speaking out about this and the judgement people unfortunately make about the woman. It’s so disgusting and ignorant that people in 2019 still do not believe the woman when she speaks out and shame and judge her so harshly for doing so. I’ve had friends say that this is my fault or pressure me into getting back together with him or shame me for feeling angry or any emotion that is completely normal for someone who has experienced trauma. It speaks more to who they are as people for condoning violence. Maybe these people are perpetrators or victims of abuse themselves. I’ve had friends leave out of my life because they can’t support my decision to leave my abuser just because they are biased and are friends with him as well and unfortunately he has been denying everything and it has become a he said she said situation. People’s true colors have come out and it has shown me who my true friends are and who were only friends with me because it was convenient for them to hang out with us as a couple.
I want to say thank you, listening to the episode was impactful and so meaningful and you should know that you have truly made a difference. I think it’s fate that this episode landed in my lap at the very time I’m going through the same experience and needed so much to hear it.
I have become a huge fan listening to you the last couple of years. It has been a joy listening to you and I can’t help myself but want to hear your spoilers on Bachelor/Bachelorette.
I just listened to your domestic violence episode with the caller. It affected me so tremendously! I cannot even relate to the physical abuse and would like to think that if something like that happened to me, I would leave immediately. However, I am in a very emotional abusive relationship and have felt stuck and made to feel guilty for wanting to leave my fiance. Without going into so many details, the man I live with gets so angry, calling me names both in private and has done so in public. He has made it so my adult children will not come to our house if he is here. My father will not come over to my house if he is here. He has called me the ‘C’ word in front of his co-workers. He blames me for everything, he texts me non-stop every day when he is at work and if I don’t respond the way he likes he accuses me of ignoring him. He constantly accuses me of cheating on him, is extremely jealous of everything I do. He has thrown my indoor cat outside the house when I wasn’t home. He drinks 12-15 beers at least every single day. He does all these things every 2-3 weeks and then the cycle is just like a physical abuser because as soon as he is not angry anymore he professes his love to me, stating how he can’t live without me, I am his whole world, he makes me feel guilty that I am all he has. I have allowed the cycle to continue by staying…I recently have been saving money and keep thinking once I have a certain dollar amount am going to leave, but when I do I know I will have to change my phone number, block him on all social media, possibly even quit my job because when I have left him before he will call and text over and over again for days, literally 50-100 times in a day.
So having said all that….please keep doing what you’re doing. You’re great to listen to normally about Bachelor but this podcast helped me! And I hope makes other women feel stronger too!! Thank you!!!
I’ve been reading your blog since Jason’s season, and I want to recognize your growth as a human. You are empathetic but keep it real. I appreciate that you use your platform to get difficult, yet important, messages out.
I listened to your podcast today and had to stop it 20x because of the domestic violence triggers.
As a child who grew up with an abusive dad, the kids absolutely know what is going on…. I hid in my closet every night from age 4 til age 8, and locked my bedroom door every night til I moved out.
The kids know. My parents would say we didn’t know….but we knew and were terrified.
To this day, when someone yells or gets visibly angry, I become the 4-year-old who is hiding in her closet and afraid dad is going to kill mom. (Complex PTSD, and I’m in therapy for it.) To this day, I don’t like being around my parents or in their house.
PLEASE tell Mandy that she needs to see a licensed therapist, not a life coach. A life coach is not equipped to deal with domestic violence.
If my story can help Mandy, or any of your readers, please feel free to share.
I just finished listening to your podcast about domestic violence with Mandy and I really felt compelled to email you. I, myself can relate to the abuse cycle I recognized signs in fleiss’s story and in hers but from a different angle. My father is not in my life anymore as a result of behavior exactly like this over my lifetime. Over the past year I have thought many times about writing to you and to Ashley about my experience but I we stopped myself because I thought I got under control but after hearing the story I just really think it needs to be shared with you because it got my feelings start up again about my experiences. I can remember when I was really young I was always afraid of my dad because he would have moments where anytime he would drink he would always get very angry and I would always hear him and my mom argue and he would always talk to my mom with such control that his money controlled everything and he made all the decisions and her opinions didn’t matter. He is one of those guys that believes that women should be seen and not heard and dinner should be on the table for him when he gets home and his opinions are the only ones that matter and his money controls everything. I remember being 13 years old and telling my parents friends that my dad was emotionally abusive because he was always demeaning and belittling and calling me names and telling my mom also but he did it to her so she didn’t view it as something she should speak up to him about because I think she was afraid of him and she would always say ‘I love him’. I even used to tell her that she should leave him so I can just go live with her but she said I can’t do that I love him!
My mom and I were extremely close pretty much inseparable and in my family pretty much I was always with my mom and my brother is always with my dad. Fast forward to 2 1/2 years later my mom passed away from cancer. My brother was away at college when this happened but I was a sophomore in high school so then it was just my dad and I at home. My dad said he didn’t know how to deal with his grief so he dealt with it and pretty much the worst way possible that he couldn’t take care of me at all because “he was hurting too much” he didn’t even go buy groceries or food for the house he would just buy a box of popcorn a week for himself and would come home late at night eat a bag of popcorn and that was his dinner not even concerned how I was going to get food. My neighbors and my friends parents alternated every week buying groceries for me so that I would have food to eat in the house and dinner. He also would go out late pretty much every single night saying that he was going to play poker with his guy friends I would come home drunk at two in the morning waking me up many times. I found out months later that he was really going to see another woman and going on dates with her and over to her house the whole time and have been seeing her starting from when my mom was dying of cancer. I remember specifically one night he came home at two in the morning he woke me up got me out of bed and it was a school night he grabbed my arms and shoved me up against the wall and start calling me a stupid bitch for no reason because he was so drunk.
The next day I had CCD class and was telling one of my friends and my teacher overheard me and ended up calling DSS. About a month later a phone call came in with a letter saying that they need to do an investigation at our house on reports of neglect and abuse on me from my dad. I was so afraid of how he’d react and what he would say and do that I called them and told them that they didn’t need to come everything was fine and try to cover it up kind of exactly like how Mandy said. They told me they had multiple reports from multiple people calling so they had to come in and do investigation. I had to give the letter to my dad and immediately he accused me of being the one to call and complain and that I was going to “fix this” and trained me on what to say to them when they come and that I better not say anything different or there will be consequences. They came to the house and asked about his drinking and feeding me and I said exactly what my dad trained me to say that he doesn’t drink very much he doesn’t really get drunk and that he does feed me I don’t know what other people are talking about. They left it up to me if I want to stay in my house or go somewhere else so I decide to stay at my house and stick it out. He did get me a therapist during this time because he knew how close I was to my mom except he came with me to the therapist at one time and said that I need help and “getting over this so I don’t have to talk about it anymore and I have problems “not listening to him”. After that anytime I brought up my mom he said that I was having a pity party and that I should be over this by now and I have a new mom. He would always use money and control as his power over me by saying that basically I needed his money to do anything and that he could give me whatever I needed I just need to ask for it but I knew that came with the price of his control. When I moved away to college he was overseeing my bank account and anytime I went to the grocery store I had to call him and give him a list of every single item I was going to buy at the store and he had to approve it or deny it because I was not allowed to buy frozen food canned food or too much junk food because ‘ that would go straight to your thighs and butt just like your mothers’. One time he even had me on the phone for 45 minutes after my work break was over because I had to finish telling him the list of the things I was going to buy. He would even show up at my work unannounced if I didn’t answer the phone. I should also mention that this money I was spending was my own money not even his money! I got fed up at one point and opened my own bank account to put some of my money and so I would have my own money without a phone call or email from him every time I bought something. I confided in a family member about this and they went and told him about the bank account so then I had to go close the bank account with him and then he grounded me for the summer at 19 years old! He said I was lucky that he already signed the lease for my apartment next year otherwise I would be not going back to school to live I’d be commuting almost 2 hours each day. I should also mention that my mom before she had passed had set up a fund for my brother and I for college and her best friends and other family members had told me there is enough to get both my brother and I through college all four years.
After the second year of college my dad told me that the funds dried up and there is never that much money in there only enough for books and that’s it so I needed to keep taking loans out. I found out after I graduated college that this was not the case as I was told by my uncle and grandparents that they had also given money to the fund and found out that my dad had spent it on a new house new TV new car and on himself and I was very angry about it. I did find this information strange as when my dad was grounding me one of his reasons was he said I told people that my grandparents paid for my education which I never did because I had no way of thinking this but after hearing that other piece of information made more sense. Even when I denied it to my dad he said I know you did you can’t convince me that you didn’t and why would you think that I told you there wasn’t that much money! He would always get so angry over money that I would tell people he’s nice to other people just don’t get money involved with him! There is one time I still remember I was driving to work and he asked me if I got an oil change on my car and I said that I haven’t yet. His response to me was “fine! I hope your car blows up on you and then you’ll be out of the car and you’ll be out of a job because you can’t get to your job without a car and I’m just gonna stand there and laugh in your face and not help you!” After this I didn’t talk to him for a week until he emailed me a page long apology letter saying that he sorry for what he said to me but it’s not his fault because he doesn’t know how to raise a teenage daughter and after my mom died he didn’t know what to do and he should be held accountable for what he said. . After that he would randomly call me and say “are you mad at me? I feel like you’re mad at me for something I did I feel guilty” when I would ask him why he feels guilty to try to get him to say things he would say he can’t think of anything or didn’t remember except if I would bring up money from the education fund he would get angry and tell me again there was no money and that also my mom never left any behind. In fact he would say that my mom spent so much money on credit cards that he had to clean up her mess which never made sense to me because I’m almost the most frugal person I ever met.
After I graduated college I started distancing myself from him because the verbal abuse became so much that my body was physically reacting from it. I had an upset stomach that gave me also; I had an upset stomach that gave me ulcers in my colon from stress for three months and when the doctor told him that it was caused from stress he said “ why would you do that to yourself? You need to stop stressing yourself out!!” As he’s yelling at me about it. I had gotten a period of two years without talking to him and I also had no other family to talk to during this time because he would tell me over the years that my uncle and my cousins and my aunt didn’t want anything to do with me because he told him that I wasn’t talking to him and that they wanted nothing to do with me. During these years I was too afraid to confide in anyone else because the first family member that I told about how my dad was acting they went right back to him and after what he said I believed him for years so I literally had not one family member to talk to you for a period of three years so I didn’t feel like I had anyone I could trust. It wasn’t until my grandfather’s funeral now seven years ago that my dad‘s brother sent me a message asking to meet up and even though I was a little nervous of what he was going to say I went to see him and my cousins. I went and I told him everything that had been going on and to my surprise he believed me and said that he doesn’t buy my dad‘s bullshit and that my dad is a con artist and that he wants nothing to do with my father. I heard stories from my uncle they never heard before that completely disgusted me. Stories like him selling my grandfathers condo and getting rid of the paper trail and using the money to buy things for his house and then hiding the money from my uncle because both of them are on my grandfather‘s bank account only to throw my grandfather in a nursing home a few months later because “he couldn’t handle him anymore”. He also said he was surprised I was driving to see him because my dad had told him that my car was repossessed from me even though it clearly wasn’t. In another story he told me how my mom had so much money in stocks that my dad would always talk about it and his plans for it. He even said that he individually went around to different family members when I started distancing myself from him to try to control his narrative by saying that I wanted nothing to do with family and that I think I’m too good for a family and saying awful things about me that were totally untrue. My dad even started messaging my best friend and one of my other friends asking what I was doing and why I wasn’t talking to him and that he finds it strange that I still recognize my moms birthday every year so he was going to message me that he remembered his anniversary with my mom just to ‘shove it in my face’ and “ her boyfriend doesn’t love her I can see it in his eyes!”. Even at my grandfather‘s funeral I tried to be the bigger person and I went up and gave them a hug and while I was hugging him he whispered in my ear ‘do you know grampy’s last words were I can’t believe jill abandoned her family? I’m just saying I was there to help him pass over’. After the funeral my uncle said that he was there as well and in fact my dad had left a good part of that night because he needed a good night sleep while my uncle slept in a chair there and that those were not his last words. My uncle also told me that the entire reception after the funeral my dad was talking bad about me and saying he wondered what my credit score was and laughing about it. I even didn’t have a relationship with my brother for six years until this past November because my brother was always at my father side and now him and I have finally reconnected and have a great relationship. I’ve realized over the years that my dad is a huge bullshit artist but it’s definitely been easier to detect it over the past few years. I had even sent my dad an email after my grandfather passed saying that I’d be willing to sit down and talk about things and try to work on the relationship to make it better and his response two weeks later was “my heart hurt for you for a long time but I learned to get over you- maybe sometime in the future.”
After that I decided I was done that I couldn’t deal with the back-and-forth and emotional abuse and there some days he was nice and some days he was really mean and I couldn’t take that every time I sent email from him my stomach would literally drop from anxiety of what he was going to say next or the phone calls I was going to get from my friends about what he was saying about me now. Occasionally I get emails from him that are always passive aggressive about how I missing so much in the family and when I’m willing to open up on communication he’s there. I got engaged last year and I’m getting married in six weeks now and deciding whether not to invite him what is the hardest decision ever because he is my father. I did message him to let him know I was engaged before he found out on social media and when I told him his response was “congrats! In other news I’m moving to Arizona we are you sold the house!” He also after that sent me a text message saying he doesn’t understand my relationship with my uncle and my cousins but not him and why am I so close to them now. My uncle has not spoken to my dad since my grandfather’s funeral. I did send a long email to my dad last fall telling him how I felt the last few years and why I’ve distanced myself hoping that he would realize it and change and I’d be able to invite him to the wedding but that was not the case. He turned everything around back on me like he always tries to and said “I told you I don’t want to rehash past events because it’s not helpful but it’s clear that you’re not over things with you saying things were “hurtful “several times. He also then started telling me how things were “hurtful “to him and end of the email by saying “I’ve done nothing wrong just loved you and hoped you’d come around I always will”. I’d even be willing to forward you the email to show you what it says and my uncle’s response to that as well. I decided that for my own mental sanity I couldn’t invite him to the wedding because I’d always be turning around thinking who he’s talking to and what he saying and what he’s doing and I have stomach knots my entire wedding day. He emailed me two weeks after that email saying that he’s not getting any younger and to let him know when I want to open up in communication in the future which made me want to bang my head against the wall because that’s why emailed him and he just didn’t want to listen because I wasn’t saying what he wanted to hear. Everything is always about him controlling the narrative and him as my uncle calls it being a “lobbyist”. On the positive side I now have relationships with almost all my family members and not one of them speaks to my father because they think it’s a bullshit artist and they don’t trust him. Even all my mom and dad’s family friends talk to me on a regular basis and have told me how they never want to talk to him again and not believe him which looking back over the years I can’t even believe that he had convinced me that these people were against me. My mom‘s best friend had told me over the years and another family friend had told me over the years but when my mom was dying her last wish was to look over me and said “just take care of my gel Bob doesn’t understand what he needs to do” four different moms had told me that and because of all of them I am doing OK today and still looked after by all of them. I even decided that instead of doing a father daughter dance I’m doing a dedication dance to my mom and dancing with all the moms that were there for me after she passed to thank them. I’m sorry for the extremely long and probably long winded email but even just writing this all down and sending it to you feels extremely therapeutic and freeing getting it all out there. Sorry that it so long I had just thought for months about writing to you about it and something always stopped me and after hearing the podcast I just really felt like I wanted to get it out there and talk about it. I had also still carried some guilt because he is my father and I’ve had my moments of should I just talk to him because he’s my father except that I know he’s never going to change.
Thank you for taking the time to read this if you’ve got this far I know it’s super long but I’m glad I could get this out there and if you think it’s something that might be helpful to talk about some more I’d be willing to talk about it. I think it helps talking to someone not in the situation and they’ll have the advice you and Ashley give.