“Are you okay?”

Often, there is a much darker side to domestic violence and intimate partner abuse beyond the physical assaults and destruction of property. I’m referring to the destruction of the victim’s ability to find a purpose to go on living.

At my most depressed before escaping the boy, I thought about how easy it would be for me to end the anguish just by dying. I imagined myself dead. I thought about how my death would affect my son and my mother and my sisters. I didn’t like what I was imagining, but I couldn’t help but think about my own relief. I was tired of quietly crying myself to sleep or drinking myself into unconsciousness so I didn’t have to answer his phone calls, respond to his texts, or listen to the boy degrade me with his accusations and words. I didn’t know any other way to make it stop, but realized that dying was a great solution. Dying would end it all.

I remember sitting on the edge of the bed, grabbing my journal, and beginning THE letter. I didn’t get far before I heard my cell phone ringing. It was the special ring tone I chose for my sister Rachael. I answered. She asked me, “Are you Okay? I am worried about you.”

Instead of going into what I was in the midst of writing, I just talked with her. I took this call as a sign that I was being really, really stupid and really, really uncaring to myself and everyone who loved me. We kept talking. I felt better by the time we hung up, and I ripped the beginnings of the letter out of my journal and flushed it down the toilet. (If I had tossed it in the trash, there is no doubt the boy would have found it and had me admitted immediately. I think he was always hoping I’d end up in a mental hospital, because he KNEW, he was convinced, there was something wrong with me. Little did he know that the “something” was him.)

I never told anyone (not even my counselor) about these thoughts I had about dying. I don’t even know how I would have gone about dying. Killing myself seemed so far from anything I could imagine. Stepping out into traffic. Eating spoiled food on purpose. I honestly didn’t get far with thinking about the “how-to” part of the whole event. And to me, that simply meant I wasn’t THAT serious. But was I?

I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t received that call. Would I have written the letter and realized I was stupid? Or would I have written the letter and felt more certain dying was the only answer and way out? I don’t know. I have no idea what my next steps would have been. One thing I do know is that my sister did call me, and I picked up.

Thankfully, the thought of dying on purpose, of killing myself, of committing suicide, has not crossed my mind since that day. That day I started writing little notes to myself about why I wanted to live. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to miss out on my son’s life. I didn’t want to miss out on my own life, regardless of what setbacks it brought to me. I realized that I was the common denominator in my own life and my own sadness. But I also realized that I had to let go of the people who made my ability to fight for my happiness impossible. I had to escape. I had to surrender.

Walking away and giving up on a futile fight is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. I didn’t know it at the time I escaped. It took me many months to regain my self-trust and self-confidence. I am still growing and learning. But, thankfully, I am growing far, far away from the pain and suffering that once had me doubt myself so completely.

If you are having doubts or if you know someone who is, visit the RU OK? site and learn how to lift the fog. Nothing and no one is worth your life and the guaranteed pain those left behind will suffer.

Be good to yourself. Be good to others. Namaste!

(image source: http://d-e-v-i.deviantart.com/art/Call-me-66015254)

Why the sociopathic boy is like Josh Powell (in my opinion)

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 abcnews.go.com) 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.

Sharing what is happening to us. Believing us. Why is it so hard to believe?

emotional abuse hurts just as much as a punch to the gutWhy do I need to show you a picture of bruises on my body or a black eye to convince you that I am a victim of domestic violence/intimate partner abuse? If I could show you a picture of my broken spirit, I would show it to you, but the technology necessary to capture THAT doesn’t exist. Even if it did exist, would you be convinced that emotional abuse is just as damaging as a punch to the gut, a kick to the face, or a gun to my head?

Emotional abuse is often a predictor of physical abuse. Before the punches begin, the nasty words, name calling, and put downs come first. In many cases, however, the abuser prefers to stick with the emotional abuse. Why? Because it’s harder to prove (no physical proof) and the results are long-lasting (bruises go away; emotional turmoil grows deeper), and the abuser gets the thrill of seeing his victim suffer longer.

So, instead of physically harming his victims, the emotional abuser chooses to destroy things his victim holds dear: a favorite book gets burned (accidentally in that gorgeous fire burning in the fireplace he slaved to build for her), a favorite lamp gets smashed (because all she had to do was listen to him, dammit), and a favorite pair of earrings suddenly turns up missing (because she needs to be more careful where she leaves things).

But the most precious “thing” an abuser destroys is his victim’s spirit. Losing her spirit results in depression, lack of interest in things she once loved, loss of her job, loss of her friends, loss of her connection to family, and ultimately, loss of her desire to live. THIS is what emotional abuse does to her. Like bullying, emotional abuse of an intimate partner can lead to suicide or murder or both.

And when she does get away from her abuser (if she gets away from her abuser), her fears and insecurities will keep her from EVER sharing her story. But she NEEDS to tell her story, doesn’t she? The abuser’s next victim deserves the chance to know, doesn’t she? Besides, what is the abuser going to do if she does speak out? Come after her? Maybe. Sue her? Not likely. (Look what happened when a lawyer, yes, a lawyer, tried to sue his ex-girlfriends for letting the world know what a jerk he was: The Failed Matthew Couloute Lawsuit.)

Unfortunately, the victim will never talk about it. Instead, she’ll enter counseling, get prescribed some antidepressants, and everyone will tell her to get over it and move on. Future victims never receive her cautionary report (or at least we don’t get the report in time).

I received the following “report” (part of a larger e-mail) from one of the boy’s ex-girlfriends nearly 13 months AFTER I escaped him. In addition to my personal story, I pass along this small snippet for anyone currently dating the boy. Hopefully, this will serve to provide you with additional proof and validation that the boy is a piece of garbage not to be recycled for future use:

“I am sorry you were caught up with Ruben. I hope you didn’t get sucked in for too long and are able to rebuild your relationships. I make it a practice to not meet with Ruben, his family or correspond with any friends we had in common during my time with him. …I do not honestly want to waste any more of my life thinking or talking about him. I look at the that time in my life as a lesson learned. Because of that experience I will cherish even more the blessing in my life now and the ones to come.”

“I used to watch those mystery murder stories on TV where a psycho husband killed his wife for some senseless reason and used to think if I didn’t leave Ruben, I might end up that way.”

The most beautiful part of the failed Matthew Couloute lawsuit is that Matthew Couloute himself has made it VERY easy for all of us to avoid him through his simple arrogant act of filing a public lawsuit in the first place. Genius!!! (Keep THAT in mind, boy.)

Tell your story. Tell it anonymously if you must. But tell your story. We believe you and don’t need to be convinced that words hurt, too.


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