I am the hero of this story

by Laura McNeil
(Ridley park , Pennsylvania )

After marriage, I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Layla. My funny caring husband started to change for the worse. He was laid off of his job, never looked for a new one, and was mad that I had one still.

He became addicted to pills and went to multiple doctors to get prescriptions to sell and take. I'd wake up for work, and when I got a shower he would turn the water off down the basement so I had to stand there with shampoo in my hair and soap on my body until he was done playing games. I'd walk out the door and he would throw things out the second story window that were hard and heavy and hurt me before I reached my car. Like humidifiers, glass mugs, tools, and even full laundry detergent bottles.

I had about 7 min to get home from work so he could leave to go party, and if I was a minute late I'd get messages that said " I will slit your throat if your not here in one minute". As soon as I walked in my bag was ripped from my arm and I was pushed outta the way so he could steal any money he could find. I knew I had to leave him but my family moved far away and no one wanted to get involved. No program like The Dap house or anything would provide me a temp hiding place to live Bc my income was to high.

I tried to be smart and started recording him with a voice recorder for proof and coming up with an escape plan, but he found out. That was the first time I wasn't able to breathe. I was strangled to the point of feeling like slowly fading out. And then he let go. This was the first time I called the cops. The problem was I was stuck there with him until they arrived. I was told that I would die that day if I told them what happen. So I was a sucker just this one time and told them we just argued. But I knew I had to leave for my daughters sake and her future.

My dad and my brother decided to come up from Georgia one random day to help me escape. I told him I was going out to breakfast and grabbed Layla to leave. He wouldn't let me out of the door. Finally he panicked and ran when my dad and brother got there, and it was then i realized I was going to be free. I thought.

So we spent the day at the courthouse. The humiliation of telling my story in front of them was devastating at the time. Like I had failed life. So Tim was kicked out by a restraining order, and I immediately filed for divorce with a lawyer. I was to scared to sleep at home that night so we stayed at my brothers place. The next morning when I returned home all I had was destroyed. Tim had re-entered the home against the law and urinated on every piece of clothing I owned. Poured water in all my makeup, Bleach in my contact containers, all over my bed, even cut the cords to my washer and dryer so I couldn't wash my clothes. The sick part was he was hiding in the woods/backyard with a video camera trying to capture the moment I discovered all this and even made sure all the blinds were up for it. He was obsessed with seeing me suffer.

So my dad stayed up here for a whole month as I had endless days in court and with lawyers. Sad part is that I have to remain in contact with this man Bc the courts say he has every right to joint custody of Layla. Even though he hurt his 2nd wife even worse shortly after. This is the guy who media courthouse says should absolutely see his daughter. So he got her every other weekend in between all his rehab and jail sessions over the years. And after about 2 years I met Mike.

I didn't realize at the time that I was not healed and that victims have a tendency to fall into the same type of abusive relationships again. He was a smooth talker and I fell for it thinking finally someone nice actually loves me. I didn't know that he was bipolar and off his Meds, and I didn't know he was dangerous. Shortly after we decided to live together I was stuck in hell again.

This guy pretended to go to work everyday and pay the mortgage and did neither. He was out drinking with whoever he was gonna sleep with that day. I was not allowed to go to the gym Bc I had to pick up his child and mine after work and make dinner right away. He made me feel guilty for ever thinking about doing anything fun or nice for myself. Once again I knew I had to leave for my daughters sake and future. So I started to put money away to get my own place asap and plan the escape.

Well, one day when I got home from work he was really mad and really quiet. It was scary. I was scared. I put the kids to bed and sat on the couch. A minute later a cell phone was thrown at top speed and just missed my face out of nowhere. I grabbed the phone and made a run for my keys to lock myself in the car and call the cops. It was like an instant flashback. I jumped up and sprinted away. This guy was really big and strong. He was staring straight ahead and grunting and panting even! He charged at me until I was knocked on my back to the ground. It took the wind out of me for a second. I rolled on my side and looked up. He stood over me with a heavy duty kids shopping cart toy. He raised it as high as he could to get more power. I knew this was gonna be bad. I couldn't move yet from the fall. I just caught my breath and cried and screamed "please don't do this" and shielded my head in fetal position Bc I didn't wanna die my daughter needs me. He slammed it down on me anyway and it hit my left rib cage with great force. Once again I could not breathe. This pain was like no other. I let out little wimpers of "please call 911. "And he laughed and sat on the couch and watched me lay there unable to breathe.

I finally managed to get up and locked myself in Layla's room to sleep it off with her. When I woke up the pain was worst. I went to the ER after dropping her off at daycare and realized I have 3 displaced broken ribs. My parents did not believe my story of falling on the toy and called my family doctor. My wonderful family doctor gave me his piece of mind and made me sign probably a fake waiver that I would go right to the police. So I did. And mike was sent to jail, and I had another restraining order.

Try packing and moving with a 3 year old and broken ribs. I was broken at this point. Before I moved out, I was in a deep sleep and rolled over and winced at the pain. Standing at the foot of my bed just staring at me was him. He violated the restraining order and my phone was dead on my nightstand. I thought to myself. Somehow you must move fast enough to grab that knife under the mattress and be brave enough to use it. But I knew I was weak and injured already. My doctor said one more forceful action could make my ribs puncture my lung. So I played the part. I bit the bullet and accepted his apology and hugged him and had him so satisfied with my reaction that he left happily. Then I plugged my phone in and sent him to jail for a month. Haha sucker!

So I remained by myself with my daughter for years after this and was the happiest of all time. We had a wonderful life me and her. I still have a few strange fears from this. I can't go underwater anymore. I can't stick my face in the running shower water Bc I feel like I can't breathe and I panic. I don't like people's hands on or near my face. And apparently I want to control situations sometimes to feel safe. I found love again but it didn't last because I worried too much and I was honest about it. I finally had a voice and I used it.

You see once you experience this trauma you are forever changed. You don't " just trust " people. They have to be willing to accept that your past is a part of you. That you are different and that being different is okay. They have to want to make an effort to build a bond of trust because well my heart is fragile.

But me...I am strong. I've worked on physical strength since my ribs stopped hurting me 2.5 years ago. I lift weights 4-5 days week and it makes me feel powerful. Through all the pain I remained the happiest mother. My child knows how to be independent, with courage and kindness.

I am the hero of this story.

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