Monsters. They are all around us. We learn as children that there are monsters under our bed and in our closets. As we go through life, we find out how real they really can become.
I believe that all of our sorrows and pain are what shape us to be stronger and independent and by sharing our stories, together we make each other stronger and the days a little more bearable.
I met Richard in 2000 and we instantly had a great rapport. I had finally met the man of my dreams. He was funny, smart, and successful and also seemed to be very caring—what more could I want? Soon after we started going out, we were pretty much spending 24/7 together. We were having a great time in a great relationship. As time went on, alarm bells would go off in my head, but I always brushed it off. His showering of gifts was becoming too much and his obsessive behavior was straining at times. By 2003, odd things were happing in my life. My vehicle was being vandalized on a weekly basis, my business was being broken into, I was receiving disturbing phone calls all day every day, my mail was going missing, and I also had this lingering creepy feeling that I was always being watched.
After repeated meetings at the local police station, they basically told me until I end up in a body bag, there was not much they could do. I was mortified. Then they asked me to check on my enemies. Enemies? I had none, and I could not imagine one single person I knew who would do such things to me.
Stress really started to take its toll. I started smoking again and living on coffee. I was not sleeping and I worked sixteen hours a day. I lost so much weight, I was down to 105 pounds. Richard sure played his part of the loving partner to a tee! Soon friends and business associates were calling to let me know that a strange man was calling them to ask questions about me. Then male friends and customers were telling me that Richard would follow them outside and tell them never to come back. At this point, I thought I would die of embarrassment. At night, I would arrive home and my stuff would be in disarray; I would wake in the morning and stuff would be moved around. I thought I was going crazy. He even told me that maybe I was losing it!
By 2004, I was a mess. My relationship with Richard was something right out of a Hitchcock novel, and I was terrified. When I would bring certain situations to his attention, he would lose it and scream at me, or hit me, or throw things at me. One time he threw my glass coffee table. I decided it was time for my own investigation, and what I found out chilled me to the core.
The things Richard did to me are unexplainable to me. I still do not understand his behavior. The man who claimed to love me so much was very sick.
The alarm bells were ringing and I did not hear them, or maybe I did not want to. Not long after we started going out, he bought me a ring. I told him it was too soon for that; he was mad and flushed it down the toilet. He was convinced from that day on that there was someone else in my life. If any man talked to me, he would become violent and obsessive.
He stole my phonebook and called everyone I knew and wanted to know what the relationship was. He cut keys to my home and would come and go as he pleased. He checked my phone and email every day to see who I had talked to. He followed me everywhere I went and knew the dates and times of where I had been on a daily basis, and he would even go so far as to ask where I had been and then go there with a picture of me to make sure. He would take my garbage to his home and go through it. He cut keys to my parents’ home and was snooping through their home. This is just a partial list of how sick he is.
My breaking point came one night as I was sleeping. I awoke to hear someone in my home. I crawled to my bedroom door and looked out to see Richard rifling through my purse. I sat and watched him for about twenty minutes until he left and then I cried and could not believe what I had witnessed.
The next morning I told him never to come back and I wanted him out of my life, but he did not leave me alone. He kept harassing me, and a few weeks later I went out to wash my car and Richard followed me and cornered me in the wash and became erratic and crazy. He was screaming and hitting me, trying to put me in his car; he wanted to go for a drive. Lucky for me, a witness came to my aid. Richard jumped in his car and said the words I will never erase from my mind: “You will never get a good sleep again.” Absolutely chilling!
Richard has been arrested a few times over the years, eight to be exact. It amazes me that unless these people actually harm us, they are free to roam the earth. He still harasses me with phone calls, chilling in the night. I have caught him following me, and a while back he killed my cat. I feel like I will never really be free of him, but what I know for sure is that he will never break me, and as long as I can help just one person recognize the signs of stalking and abuse, I will make a difference because I am so much stronger than he will ever be!