I met this man, who we will call F through a mutual friend when I was looking to join a networking group for my insurance business. He was the owner of a Real Estate company and was looking for various contacts to get and give referral business to. I got to know him a little before actually meeting with him and his group in person, through his facebook page. He was very religious and outwardly professed his love for his wife and four children. The picture he painted was that his life was as close to perfect as you could get. I’ll be honest, I was a little envious, but I was also a little bit skeptical. Someone who is outwardly showing that much devotion and love for God and his family may be doing so to try to prove something to other people or maybe even to themselves.
The first time I met him in person, I went to his office for a networking meeting. I thought that it was nice that his office shared a driveway with his home so that he never had to be far from his wife and family. It only solidified his devotion to his family.
When I walked into the office, I was greeted by a beautiful woman, who appeared to be in her late 30’s to early 40’s. She was wearing a very classy dress that showed off her nice figure, she had nicely styled red hair, perfectly applied make-up and most of all, a very warm smile. She introduced herself as F’s wife and brought me over to the meeting room. We will call her B. My first thought was that she was too pretty to be married to this guy, but I figured that they must really be in love after over 20 years of marriage and 4 children, never mind the fact that they worked together day in and day out.
F looked as awkward in person as he did in his facebook photos, with his braces, and tacky suit. I sat and listened to him speak about his business and the success that he has had. Overall it was impressive and I felt that he had a solid company. His tactic seemed a little off kilter and something about him made me feel uncomfortable but I couldn’t pin point what it was.
For some reason, I never continued the networking group and eventually after reading so many of his facebook posts about God and gushy love posts, I decided it was time to delete him as a facebook friend.
I never thought about him again until a friend of mine, who knows B since highschool, told me that they were getting divorced.
Wait, Mr. Godly with the perfect life and the perfect wife was getting divorced? What did I miss? Damn, Maybe I should have stayed facebook friends with him. I chalked it up as another marriage that ended badly.
About 6 months later, B was introduced to my blog and we got to talking about the relationship. We decided that we should meet up with some of the other girls and exchange stories. Four of sat around my kitchen table with some fruity drinks and listened closely to each other.
When it was B’s turn, we all sat silently, with our jaws dropped. Her story was so unreal that I had to ask if I could share it and include it in my blog. I am so honored that she is allowing me to do this and I hope that it helps her to heal even more and that it could help other women. So here goes…
24 years ago, B was set up on a blind date with B through a family member. He displayed himself as a gentleman, protective and kind. They fell in love and married a short time later and soon after that began having children. Over time F started becoming controlling and overly-protective. It started off with small things, like being possessive of her time and money and then eventually leading into who she could and couldn’t interact with.
Throughout the marriage F owned a few businesses, most recently the Real Estate company. He had B work for him there, but she wasn’t financially compensated for her work. She was allotted a strict $25 weekly allowance that had to cover gas, milk, diapers, formula and to pay for HIS dry cleaning. This allowance gradually increased over the 15 years that she worked for him to $120 weekly, of course so did the cost of living and the price of gas. She wasn’t allowed to take any money out of the joint checking account without his permission or she would be interrogated and she certainly wasn’t allowed to go work anywhere else. She was forced to work 8 hours every week day as well as Saturdays by appointments. She was never allowed to call in sick, not even when she was one week post-partum with their fourth child and trying to recuperate from a difficult delivery .She was forced to go into work to cover for someone else who was out sick, while nursing every two hours and chasing their 2 year old son.
Not even a 104* temperature for 4 days straight, along with bronchitis, and ear pain that woke her out of a dead sleep got his attention. She woke up at 2am and touched her ear to find that it was wet with blood and puss. B woke her husband asking him to take her to the Hospital and he said no. He told her to wait to see how she felt in the morning and he would take her if it didn’t get better. When he finally did take her the next afternoon, she found out that not only did she have bronchitis and vertigo but she also had a ruptured ear drum, which has since left her with permanent hearing loss.
B and her 3 daughters were instructed to wear only dresses and skirts daily for biblical reasons. They could only wear jeans or pants if the activity fit wearing them and then they were to change into a dress or skirt after the activity. At one time, for many years, he had them color coordinate their clothing every day of the week. She wasn’t allowed to choose a different color unless it was her day to choose which was only on a Saturday. Their son was not excluded from this ridiculousness, as he was always forced to be dressed up and wearing a tie.
F also felt that it was not Godly to have televisions in the house which left B even more secluded from the outside world.
While B worked for his business, home schooled the children (also not by choice), took care of everything that he asked, F was out having dinners with prospective clients or more often, female friends. B on the other hand was never allowed to have male friends. When facebook became popular and he allowed her to join, for selfish business reasons of course, her name had to include Mrs. in the title. She was to have no male friends other than him not even family members.
B was also prevented from attending weddings, wakes, funeral, showers, and birthday parties (mostly for her side of the family). Her brother asked her to be in his wedding party but F wouldn’t allow it because she would have to walk in with another man that wasn’t her husband as the usher.
He was extremely disrespectful, whistling at the children to get their attention and discussing their sex lives with friends. He would tell people that he never allowed his wife to wear pajamas or nightgowns to bed because “a wife should always be ready to please her husband whenever he is ready.”
What I thought was a nice setup having his office on the same property as his home, was actually just another way to keep his wife a prisoner in her own home. There was a gate in between the building and the house that would make enough noise so that F knew when she was coming or going.
When she would try to fight back, he would physically restrain her, yell at her in front of the children and sometimes even confiscate her phone. When she tried to escape for more than an hour or two or hope to never come back, he would harass everyone they knew and find her every time. There were times he couldn’t control himself enough to not yell over his wife when she was trying to speak to him, his solution was to cover his mouth with a scarf. But even then, he couldn’t help himself and would talk through the covering.
There were times that he promised to change, saying that God wanted him to change, but any change never lasted. He would not only revert to his old behaviors but become even more controlling and abusive.
After witnessing many years of this type of mistreatment, B’s closest friend sat her down and spoke to her about the situation. She told her that she needed to go to a center for abused women and get out of the marriage. The advocate there gave B the courage to finally do what she had wanted to do for so long, leave this monster.
When she told F that she wanted out of the marriage, like she had many times before, he must have seen the seriousness in her face. His response to her was that she was selfish and that she was going to destroy their children’s lives. He then said to her “You better pray that God either takes you home or me home and that the only way we will be separated is by death”. He gave her a scripture verse reference in conjunction with this and the passages surrounding it deal with death and dying, and he wrote a note that stated “I had the Victory in Christ”.
The day that she left the house to file for divorce, F must have known something was up because he didn’t know where she was for over an hour, he was panicked. As she sat at the lawyer’s office, her phone displayed a message “You are now being tacked by F with the Sprint family plan tracking system”. The lawyer was fearful for her life at that point and treated this divorce with a little extra caution.
B is finally away from him and there is an active restraining order against him. But it wasn’t easy and it won’t be easy. He is letting the house foreclose, had her car repossessed and is doing anything in his power to make her life miserable, even if that means buying the older kids love.
The divorce is still not final and there are many unanswered questions but at least she has some peace in her life.
B has a long road ahead of her but what is most inspiring about her is that she is just happy to be able to finally be herself; to wear whatever she wants, style her hair any way she feels like, use perfume, leave her house without a curfew and to have friendships. Her positive attitude, strength and beauty are undeniable. She is a survivor and I am proud to know her.