Susan Powell and her boysIn early February 2012, I began writing my story of abuse and eventual escape from the boy, the sociopath in my book. One of the reasons I started writing and telling my story was because I had a sinking, gut feeling that if the boy wasn’t stopped, he could one day do exactly what Josh Powell had done to his family. Murder them!

If you are unfamiliar with the Powell’s story, I provide their story below (taken from interjected with parallels and comparisons (in red italics) of my life with and knowledge of the boy.*

Josh Powell and Susan Cox, each the children of churchgoing families, met at a church function. They were engaged when Susan was just 19 and married in 2001.

“At the very beginning they were, you know, happy, holding hands, hugging, kissing each other,” said Susan Powell’s sister, Denise Cox. “You thought [they were] a perfect couple, a very happy couple.”

The boy was always very affectionate with me in public in the early stages of our relationship, and he often proclaimed to me and others that our love story was THE PERFECT love story that I should write about it one day. Many of his friends agreed that he had finally found his soul mate, THE ONE who would make him happy forever.

Those who knew Susan Powell said she was warm and open — qualities that endeared her to her neighbors in West Valley City, Utah, where the couple had settled several years after their marriage. Josh Powell was not as popular.

“We all love Susan and we tolerate Josh because he comes along. It’s part of the package — that’s how most people felt,” former Powell neighbor John Hallewell told “Nightline” recently. “She was always worrying about other people, where Josh was always the opposite. He was only ever concerned about himself, which made things, sometimes, a little difficult.”

After I escaped the boy, my sisters, family, and friends told me how they really felt about him. Many used the words “controlling” and “manipulative” to describe him. Others used words like “needy” and “crass” and “rude” and “obnoxious.” I laugh now, but one friend even described the boy as someone they wouldn’t cry over if he got hit by a city bus. Everyone agreed that when the boy started to talk, they couldn’t wait for him to stop talking.

Susan Powell’s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, found it strange when Josh Powell refused to drive his wife to the hospital when she went into labor with their first child, insisting that her parents take her instead because he had to finish something.

He finally did show up at the hospital two hours later.

“And what he had to do was, he wanted to back up his hard drive before he left,” Chuck Cox said.

Thankfully, I did not have a child with the boy. However, I did suffer a miscarriage which he convinced me was my fault do to my drinking, my depression, and my lack of interest in wanting a child with him to begin with. He was convinced I somehow wished the child dead because I didn’t love him the way he NEEDED to be loved. Delusional.

After escaping the boy, my family and friends expressed their overwhelming relief. They worried that if I had stayed with him, married him, and had his child that the boy would isolate me further and eventually have me committed to a mental health hospital.

Graves said she watched as her younger brother, Josh Powell, “faded out.”

“As the, the years progressed, I saw him go downhill, you know, slowly at first,” she said. “He kind of just regressed a little bit. And then the last few years before Susan’s disappearance, it just seemed to accelerate and he seemed to get worse and worse.”

The boy’s abuse and control was slow and insidious. Toward the end, right before I left, I witnessed a crack. The day I moved into his home, he helped me move in my boxes and my things. As more and more of my things started piling up taking over more and more of “his” space, I visually watched his face change and grimace and crease, like a shape-shifter from a horror film. At one point during the move, I stopped him in the kitchen and asked, “Are you sure this is what you want? You want a life with me and my son? You seem to be burdened right now. Or am I just paranoid and imagining things?” The boy claimed he was fine and that I was just imagining it. He was just tired, the boy explained. I wasn’t convinced. I kept my guard up. Thankfully.

Friends said Josh Powell became so controlling of his wife, it became legendary among those who knew them. She had to get his permission just to use the family car and had to follow a strict procedure in order to spend any money.

“He would give Susan an amount of money — and on grocery shopping, he also had a spreadsheet that she was to look at through ads and find the cheapest price of things,” said a friend, Michelle Oreno. “When she went shopping, she came home and she had to enter every single item into that spreadsheet. And if she spent more than a couple of cents more on a can of beans, Josh would really yell at her and get angry.”

Josh Powell wouldn’t even let his wife spend money on socks, insisting she knit them instead, said Denise Cox.

Luckily, I was not married to the boy and made my own money. I paid for my own car expenses, gas, clothes, insurance, student loans, food, and other expenses. The boy hated that I wasn’t more dependent upon him. He insisted that he help me with my expenses by adding me to his cell phone account. He said it would save us both money. In my naiveté, I agreed, not realizing he wanted to have me on his account so he could read and access my text messages and my phone log. He was monitoring my phone activity daily through AT&T’s online account system. Even though I secured my actual phone with a pass code, the boy could STILL access my phone log. It was torturous for the boy to see that the only other man I called or texted on a daily basis was my son’s father. It drove him bonkers knowing I was talking to a man I had married and now shared co-parenting responsibilities. The boy accused me daily of sleeping with my son’s father “every free chance” I got and that I would surely leave him one day and go back to my son’s father. Wow! Can we say masochistic and self-fulfilling prophecy? 

She said her sister considered leaving Josh Powell but didn’t do so for fear of what would happen to the couple’s two children, Charles and Braden.

“When I told her to leave with the kids, she told me that he had told her, ‘Over my dead body will you have those boys. They’re mine,'” Denise Cox said. “The boys were a possession to him. They were his possessions.”

Again, I didn’t have a child with the boy (thank you GOD!) But he had a dog he purchased with his previous live-in girlfriend. He admitted that it took him a long time to finally “kick her out” because he feared she would want to take the Shih-Tzu. Even though the dog had been originally purchased for her, the boy became closer to the animal because he rarely worked and was home more to take care of the puppy. He got attached. He got obsessed with this poor dog because the dog was this living and breathing thing that the boy had complete and utter control over. He WAS this animal’s master. And he used the dog to control EVERYONE in his life. Believe the myth that the way a person treats his dog and uses his dog against others is an indication of how he will treat and use his own children. If a man is possessive and controlling of his dog, he will be possessive and controlling of his child. I envisioned a sweet little girl being forced to do as Daddy says or else. Children have their own minds and they grow up and start using their minds. They aren’t like pets who remain dependent for life. His child would have surely grown to hate him. I’m certain of that. Who would want to bring a child into this world that would grow to hate her own father?

Josh Powell wasn’t the only man creating havoc in Susan Powell’s life. She told friends her father-in-law, Steven Powell, made a pass at her and tried to fondle her chest.

Susan Powell’s friends told “20/20” that Josh Powell didn’t defend his wife against his father.

“They had a very heated argument about Steve where she was talking about him and Josh would kind of excuse him, [saying], ‘That’s just my dad. You’re blowing things out of proportion,'” Oreno said.

It wasn’t the boy’s father I was worried about. I was worried about his mother. She dressed up as a witch for Halloween every year, and the only thing different about Halloween and any other time of the year is that she wore the costume in October. She was the boy’s accomplice in many of his strange rules and controlling behavior. And she FOOLED a lot of people. She hid behind a deep, dark family secret (which I won’t tastelessly expose here). I refused to trust this woman with ANY of my personal feelings about ANYTHING. After all, I know what she did to and how she talked about his ex before me.

Josh Powell himself may have suffered at his father’s hands.

In my opinion, oh, never mind.

Documents obtained by “20/20” from Steven Powell’s 1992 divorce from his wife, Terrica Powell, paint a disturbing picture of Josh Powell as a severely troubled teenager under the thumb of an abusive father.

Terrica Powell wrote that Josh was exposed to pornography by his father at a young age, that he once tried to commit suicide during his early years and, most shockingly, he threatened his mother with a butcher’s knife after she asked him to do the dishes.

The boy’s mother ran a little street kiosk in the streets of Mar Del Plata, Argentina when the boy was a pre-teen. The boy claims someone fondled him in this kiosk while his mother was oblivious to what the man was trying to do. I find the story almost difficult to believe. I, however, believe SOMEONE had been fondled in that kiosk. I do not believe it was the boy. I believe he over heard this story about another little boy in that kiosk. Another little boy he knew. Another little boy his family knew. But that is JUST my opinion based on my perceptions of how he told his story. (Again, I am a just a deranged drunk and highly depressed, so I have no idea what I am talking about.)

She said Josh Powell’s father had “explosive behavior” — including severe spankings — that hurt the son. Yet, the teen also sought his father’s attention and approval.

Terrica Powell declined a request for an interview.

No one in the boy’s family would ever talk to anyone, even if a murder is ever committed. They are all in denial and are all delusional, in my opinion. They will just flee to Argentina. 

Josh Powell claimed his wife had her own faults. In a 2011 interview with “Good Morning America,” he accused her of erratic behavior and said she once left the house in her underwear.

Josh Powell tells a really good half-story, doesn’t he? So does the boy. He liked to tell his family and friends that I also went nuts one night, threw a chair at him, and left his house without my shoes, my purse, or a coat. He forgot to mention what led to this:

It was near Christmas. I received an out-of-the-blue text from a friend, a male friend, wishing me Merry Christmas. I began responding to the text when the boy stole my phone out of my hands. He held my phone above his head spewing hate at me and calling me a whore. I continuously jumped to try to reach my phone. Of course, I couldn’t reach it. He is 6’3″ and I am just 5’6″ a difference of 9 inches! Frustrated and angry, I grabbed a chair and threw it in his direction in hopes of distracting him enough to get my phone back. Instead of hitting him, it hit the wall. In his rage, he grabbed me and threw me outside in the snow without my shoes or my coat (or my phone). I had my car keys in my pocket and drove off. I was deemed crazy by the boy after this incident. Why would I be so crazy and violent and throw a chair at his wall? Why would I leave without my shoes? Why would I leave without my driver’s license, purse, belongings? I MUST be crazy to do such a thing. And domestic violence is “tasteless.”

He defended himself, too.

“People who know me know that I’m a good dad,” he said. “I work hard. I put my sons first. I was a good husband. I took care of my family.”

The boy talks like this, too. He tells his friends that all he ever did was love me. He has a home and a car and takes care of his dog. He’s a good dog owner and was a good boyfriend, DAMMIT!

Still, years after his parents’ marriage collapsed, Josh Powell was facing the meltdown of his own relationship.

Before Susan went missing in 2009, the couple had begun counseling, said Graves, but it wasn’t going well.

“It was clear to the counselor that there was no progress being made,” Graves said. “Josh wasn’t doing his part. And so the counselor was frustrated, Susan was frustrated. They weren’t getting anywhere.”

Graves believes that Susan Powell was finally ready to call it quits.

“I think her intent was that they were going to get a divorce,” she said. “If this last-ditch effort of counseling didn’t work, they were gonna get a divorce.”

I was too afraid to tell the boy of my plans. I knew weeks before I escaped that I was going to leave. But I allowed the relationship to deteriorate to the point that he would agree I was nuts and would leave me alone long enough to ‘let” me leave. The weeks leading up to my escape, I feared for my life and slept with a bread knife under my side of the bed. Who sleeps with a knife under their side of the bed? Crazy people, I guess, huh?

Susan Powell was reported missing Dec. 7, 2009, in Utah. Josh Powell was the only named person-of-interest in the disappearance, but he was never charged. He continually denied involvement in his wife’s disappearance and later moved himself and his sons to live with his father in Washington state.

If anything had happened to me or my son, the boy would have fled to Argentina. He and his Shih-Tzu sitting in first-class licking himself. 

The couple’s two sons were placed in the custody of Susan Powell’s parents after Steven Powell was arrested on charges of voyeurism and child pornography in September 2011. Steven Powell has denied the charges.

The boy continues to deny any abuses he inflicted upon me or my son. To him, everything he did or said to me was because I deserved it and asked for it. My son was a spoiled brat, and I was nothing but “a drunk whore and a bad mother” and deserved to be treated the way he treated me. But he tells his family and friends he loved me “so much” and loved my son and that all of my claims are the lies of a drunk and depressed woman. He’s upset with himself for putting up with me for as long as he did. (He is delusional!)

A judge ruled earlier this month that Josh Powell could not have custody of his sons until he underwent a psycho-sexual evaluation.

Powell attacked his sons with a hatchet before igniting an explosion in his home last weekend, killing himself and his boys, officials have said. Powell locked a social worker out of the home before the explosion.

The day I learned Josh Powell killed his children, was the day I realized that I HAD to keep writing and never, ever stop writing and sharing my story. How many Josh Powells of the world can we stop? If I can stop just one, I’ll feel all of my writing and efforts have not been in vain. The boy and his family have accused me of being tasteless and classless. If telling the truth is tasteless and classless, I am tasteless and classless!

May Susan and her children continue to rest in peace.

*Don’t try using this blog to put together the pieces of who the boy is. I have not used actual names of people, places, or animals. But some of you already know who he is because you know me and you met him. And some of you know who he is because he informed you about this blog thinking it was too incredible for anyone to believe. Thinking he could hide behind it and continue to declare me crazy and a drunk and depressed. Lucky you! I bet you don’t think it’s funny, though, do you? Not because you think I’m lying, but because you know the boy, and you know he is seriously disturbed. Hopefully, you won’t try hooking up any of your friends with the boy.

abuse, Alcohol, Child abuse, Children, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Family, Friends, Journaling, Kids, Lessons, Love, Mental Health, Narcissist, Peace, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychopaths, PTSD, Relationships, Sociopaths, Spirituality, The Washington Times
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Join the conversation! 36 Comments

  1. I stumbled across this site searching for some good old fashioned Josh Powell hate. I have PTSD and my stepmother was a psychopath who played severe mind games with me for roughly 8 years until I left home at 19. One of my last goals in life is to dance on her grave, which I will (when she dies). Ugggghhh, but travelling to Fresno Ca to do that is psychotic in itself.

    Because of my unique set of experiences, I have the ability to spot a freak within minutes of meeting him/her. My wife says I’m a brilliant judge of character. We have plenty of female friends who date absolute clowns, and I tell them so. I’ve never been wrong.

    It’s currently 3:45 am in Melbourne Australia, and i should be asleep. I also forgot my point, ha ha.

    Ah, here’s one. Psychopaths cannot be rehabilitated. They’re broken, and broken things need to be discarded. Or at least avoided at all costs. My step mother drove a wedge between my sister and father, and almost got my grandmother to kill herself.

    So i’ll have zero qualms when dancing on her grave. By dancing I mean pissing.

    When I was 14 I told my dad and stepmother i wanted to move back with my mother. My dad wouldn’t speak to me for a week. During that time, stepmom told me if i left he would disown me. I relented and stayed another 5 years. Things got worse. As great as my teenage years were, I got robbed.


  2. Paula, this post right here is the one thing keeping me sane right now: THIS was my reality with the x.


    I need help. I accidentally stumbled upon (it was in some way attached to correspondence last night between X and I regarding child support) a blog written by X. He uses my actual name, and spins lies, and it has me feeling scared like when I lived with him.

    Is it legal for him to use my actual name? Can he be made to shut the blog and facebook page down? I assume he’d start a new one….


    • Would you be willing to contact me through this contact form?

      Proving libel or slander is the burden of the plaintiff in the United States. You would need to prove that what he writes about you are actually lies. I don’t use my abusers name, because he would surely take me to court and lie and say I was the liar. These monsters are delusional and are expert liars. That’s why my book was written in the third person. I’m not taking my chances. Your abuser seems quite bold and highly charged in his smear campaign against you. Thankfully, my X is only skilled in writing love-bomb letters and hate-filled texts. I’m waiting for the day he starts dating someone who can write, so he can use her to start his own blog. I don’t care at this point. But you need to stop reading THAT blog! It’s just going to make you angry and fearful and that’s what he wants. Does anyone close to you know about the blog?


    • Hi, I 100% agree with Paula. This is going to sound dumb but I don’t read the court papers or letters my ex attorney puts on the record. They are all deceitful and speak in hyperbole (over exaggerate in order to cause drama and them to believe what they say). Stay away from the blog.
      I believe he could be in trouble for slander and libel. Even in my case though, I am not up for being in another courtroom, I would rather let him continue to murder me with his tongue and stay away from all these perilous people. The court system is also full of people who are not neighborly. That is the best word I have for it. I don’t want to be a part of that if at all possible. (that being said I know our children are sometimes stuck in this system, and we have to do whatever we can to make a better way for them).
      Take care of yourself in every aspect of your life. Something I had to learn, I was always taught I had to give, to the point of almost death.


    • Thank you for your comment, Melissa. Being “unneighborly” is a very nice way to describe the people in the court system. 🙂


  3. Wow! Unbelievable. Kat 😦


  4. I love the money comments on both. When the economy would get bad, my narcissitic now-ex husband would put financial constraints on me as you listed above. A year after he sold his business for 57 MILLION DOLLARS, he told me I was not to spend over $100 on anything but the grocery store without calling and okaying it with him first! The control was endless! It’s amazing what kind of gift cards you can buy at the grocery store though! 😉


    • Haha! Love it! And if had he found out, you would have been considered an ungrateful lying b#$@h! They are delusional, controlling pieces of garbage. I they could only see it. 🙂


  5. I am sorry you went through this. I am happy your true self survived. You have always been a good person. There are too many men like him out there. Please keep writing to help others.


  6. And we never will forget that I am a crazy, pill popping, drunk 😉


  7. The way he controlled the money with her really hit home for me. I was given an allowance and could only buy the very cheapest stuff. He wouldn’t allow me to replace a disgusting, 10 year old, mop, or have more than one pair of pants at one point. I’d find notes he’d written to himself….”03/10 Poured hamburger grease down the drain though I had told her before not to do that.” Or, “She spent too much money again”, including a total of what I “owed him to date, even though we were married. All so very insidious, all covert…all lies. Everything that came out of his mouth. Still is…


    • Oh, wow! I am sure things would have progressed to this. There is no doubt in my mind. They control to the point of making themselves miserable in finding more ways to control. It’s absolutely mind-boggling! And like we have discovered, many people can’t understand it if they have never lived it. Bless those who have never had to live it. 🙂


  8. and I misspelled succumb LOL. .i can spell, its been a long day. Blessings!


  9. oh, your a drunk, crazy and depressed too? lol.. same mo, they really make me sick. This relationship I have come out of almost put me 6 feet under. I am just now getting the crap he said to me, that I believed and succumbed to, along with the tactics of his new wife, out of my head so that I can function. I commend you for your courage.


    • I am glad you are realizing it wasn’t you, it was him…and them! It’s difficult for good people to deal with these sick and twisted types because we trust and assume all people have good intentions. Good people do. It’s the evil ones that fool us. 🙂


  10. This is just chilling and i’m so glad you escaped the boy in a safe way. it’s weird reading this as so much of this describes my father. keeping speaking out, you’re making a huge difference! xo


    • I can’t even imagine how your father treated you. I really can’t imagine it. 😦


    • nor can i in a sense…lol
      they really can be dangerous. i had no idea it got so bad for you that you had to sleep with a knife. my heart just ached for you reading that.
      the father made a couple scary comments about wishing the mother dead, he eluded spoke about drowning her at one point because she was very ill and it was inconvenient for him and his travel plans.
      boy am i glad you are out!


    • Holy cow! It doesn’t get better. It only gets worse, doesn’t it? I am glad I am out. I can’t imagine where or what I would be today if I had stayed. I no longer have nightmares about the “what if” scenarios, thankfully. But I can’t help think about the ones who come after me and what their nightmares will be.


    • it does get worse, i wonder what he would do if the mother wasn’t catering to his every whim. i worry about those caught in it too especially the ones that don’t realize they are being abused and it will only get’s just so sad.


    • He and his mother reinforce each other’s nastiness. When I left, his mother was out of the country. He would never admit it, but he was stronger when she was there enabling and encouraging his behavior. Gives me goosebumps thinking about how long that woman fooled me with her fake sweetness and her pity-parties over being a neglected wife and mother. Those who seek pity are always the ones we need to be careful of. Now I know!!


    • ugh yuck! they are such cons! they surround themselves with “yes men.”
      interesting you should say that the father was looking for pity all the time if things weren’t going his way, that is when he wasn’t raging…they are also so manipulative!


    • Yes. The rage would be followed by an apology and often accompanied by a sad story to get my pity and ultimate forgiveness and another chance. More like opening the door for another opportunity to be abused!


    • that’s exactly it! i could tell you stories but you already know them all too well xo


  11. Let’s toast to the tasteless and classless! Keep writing. You may never know who it saves, but it will save someone, or someones.


  12. This is not the time or place…but…I’ve had many severe episodes with the father of my children, my 2nd husband and then a couple of others, over perhaps 30+ years, BEFORE I learned! I’ve been violence free for 25 years! Tears come when I think too much/deeply about what I went through…knowing but not knowing…each situation is unique, children, money, no one, nowhere, etc etc. you live with it for years, decades, watching, fearing, you readers know what I mean, yet/and/but you still can make the same mistake and pick the wrong one…again…up then…

    I learned this 25 years ago…I was walking down the street, there’s a hole in the street, I fall in the hole. It takes me for ever to climb out of the hole but I do. I continue walking down the street, I fall in another hole and it takes me a long time to climb out of the hole, but I get out of it. I continue to walk down the street, I see a hole in the street….I CROSS THE STREET.


    • Great way to illustrate what sometimes happens, even after experiencing it. I followed you in crossing the street. Here’s to my first 25 years without abuse and to your next 25 years without it. 🙂


  13. My Gods! and Goddesses!
    Someday, I must write some of my stories…
    it amazes me sometimes that I am ALIVE after some episodes that have happened to me. I see them in this dual story…Paula you are so damm lucky to have gotten out when you did. I was lucky to escape, not once, but several episodes, that were oh so similar to what you have put down here, both your own and the Powell’s that were killed.
    Anyone out there, that has ever had only one small little bit of either of these stories in your life, get out and LEARN ABOUT ABUSIVE CONTROLLING BEHAVIORS. And, if you have any FEAR about anything, start NOW with getting a plan together.
    Get copies of important documents, and money, and put them AT WORK. Tell your doctor, nurse, priest, anyone that you are NOT COMFORTABLE at home. Keep herself quiet around the abuser, but, also learn excape routes, get extra keys, hide them. It is not a joke…when these types blow, they blow FAST.


    • Absolutely, Gert! The build up is gradual, but the blow up is tragically explosive. My family witnessed my emotional and physical deterioration, but they were helpless to remove me themselves. I had to make that choice. I am thankful I did. I am thankful I had enough dignity remaining to leave. But as I have said many times, I think I was more concerned about my son being exposed to this man than I was about my own state. 🙂


  14. Great blog!!


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