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My Name is Not Laci

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And he is not really a “golden boy.” He walks around bearing the same image, that of a loving husband, a good provider, well liked and respected by colleagues, neighbors and fellow church members. But behind closed doors, much like Laci Peterson’s husband, Scott (remember them?), there was a completely different scenario. Most days, it was the complete opposite of what he showed the rest of the world. The story continues, however, all of our stories have not made national news, and I pray that they never do, for when it hits the news, that means it’s too late. That was Laci’s story; this is part of mine …

My spirit nearly died being married to him. Our marriage was short-lived, but I refused to be one of “those women” who stayed for years on end. Throughout the short duration of our time together, I was subjected to some the worst verbal and emotional torture anyone could imagine. Spitting in my face, throwing heavy objects at me, driving recklessly with baby and me in tow, all the while threatening me and taking swings at me as I sat in the back seat attempting to keep the baby calm—all of this was an attempt to break me down. But he didn’t. Initially I stayed because I thought things would get better, but as I saw them get progressively worse, I made up my mind and I put together an action plan.

Each of his violent actions he tried to justify as if it were only a “re-action” to something I had done or said to him. It was always my fault—I had provoked him. Oftentimes, he would go as far as saying that I deserved it. After each and every incident came the well-known remorseful stage, where he would profess his “deep love” for me, and in the next breath he would call me out of my name. I don’t know if I was just stupid in the beginning, or whether I actually believed there was a shred of hope that might hold us together. I believed him OVER and OVER and OVER again, literally hundreds of times over, until I simply believed no more. 

There was a sad reality that came over me the moment I realized that after all the years I’d spent as a single mother raising my older daughter, this was the man I had chosen to marry and have a second child with. This was the example I had chosen for my teenage daughter. 

Eventually, his very presence disturbed my being, even when he tried to be nice for all of two days in a row. In misery I asked him to move out and give us time apart. Because he refused, I knew I’d have to be the one to leave. I also knew this would require careful and discreet planning. I had heard far too many stories of women who, upon deciding to leave an abusive situation and rebuild their lives, lost their lives. It was difficult to imagine that my husband was capable of murder, but do you think Laci thought for one moment that her husband was a murderer? 

On one side of the coin, my husband was personable, loving, and charming. The other side revealed a controlling, EXTREMELY insecure, EXTREMELY jealous, oftentimes depressed person who would fly into a fit of rage over a pizza delivery guy that he swore I was having an affair with. This same loving, kind and supportive husband (outside view looking in) needed to account for every moment of my time and even monopolize my time. For example, if I went to the grocery store and decided to pop into the shoe store right next door without “informing” him, he would yell and scream. If I missed his call because I couldn’t get to the phone in time, there’d be another episode even if I called him right back. It didn’t matter what I did or what I didn’t do. There was always something to trigger his “reaction.” 

Did I mention that he tried to hinder me from having a career, even though I had a career before we got married? How many reasons did I need before I finally decided to leave my marriage? Fifty must have not been enough because he gave me close to a hundred. I could actually list a hundred, but I’ll save that for another time and place. Let me sum up just a few more … 

He went through my purse. He monitored my phone calls. He tried to isolate me from family and friends. He played mind games. He tried to convince me that I was crazy. He told others that I was crazy and that I needed to be on medication. He had secretive, inappropriately close relationships with other women. He blamed me for 95 percent of our problems, made excuses and even went as far as trying to justify his behavior. He was also VERY secretive—yet accused me of having a secret job and a secret life. He lied TO me and ABOUT me to others; he lied about trivial things; he lied to cover up lies; he lied after being caught in a string of lies; he lied, then acted confused like he didn’t remember saying it or that I misunderstood him. He was a LIAR—plain and simple, and it sounds harsh, but he was and still is. He continues the lies and the attempts to manipulate; the difference is that now it no longer matters and he no longer has control. This is still just a sampling of what I experienced with him. 

The scariest part is that he didn’t have to yell and scream or curse me out. He could be “quietly abrasive” and display the most hateful and evil manner while whispering in my ear. He made me feel like a low-paid prostitute only I wasn’t getting paid. Sex with him had become something nasty and sleazy and something I dreaded. I continued to have sex with him to avoid arguments, but again, I eventually realized that it didn’t matter what I did … or what I didn’t do. He could see the disgust on my face and hear the sigh of relief when it was over. His next step would be to accuse me of having been with someone else, usually accompanied by a comment like, “I guess I just don’t do it for you anymore.” My silence would say it all, which would lead to his storming out of the house and slamming doors. 

By the way, counseling did not help. We saw three different counselors, and the sessions would usually end with a shouting match in the parking lot. 

Timing was crucial for me. I had no money and no motivation to find a decent-paying job. How did I go from being self-sufficient and having a successful career to being this person who barely had the strength to get out of bed? (This is what verbal and emotional abuse can do, but it doesn’t have to). I could no longer allow myself to get caught up in his repeated and vicious cycle of building me up and simultaneously tearing me down. 

My own father could hardly believe my situation. He initially dismissed it as typical marital problems that had gotten out of hand. He even said that he couldn’t imagine my “golden boy” even losing his temper. I gave up trying to convince him that this was not normal or typical, and that the person he saw a few times a year for a few hours at a time was not the same person I lived with day to day. 

People on the outside considered me “lucky” to have such a loving husband and devoted father for our kids. I was “lucky” that I didn’t have to go back to work right after the baby was born. My being “lucky” was good for his “golden boy” image. It was his way of showing the world how good he was. Scott was Laci’s “golden boy,” and he was mine—until I saw the darkness that overshadowed that image.

This could have been Laci Peterson’s story, but Laci’s story was not told until it was too late. Laci was not the first; unfortunately she won’t be the last, but maybe, just maybe, more stories that remain untold will come to light before it’s too late. 

My name is not Laci, however, I and countless other women bore a similar burden to what Laci did. Laci is gone. Her name might be Lisa or Lori or Lucy or Lara, but her story is like that of Laci’s. I just hope they don’t end like Laci’s. God rest her soul. I pray indeed that her soul rests.


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