How I Escaped: The Story of a Domestic Abuse Survivor

Part 1 of a 4-part series as told by Brie Alexis, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Warning: This is a true story.

Part 1:

My Knight in Shining Armor


I’ll start from the beginning, just the way most fairytales do. Only the story that I’m about to tell you is a far cry from anything I could have ever dreamed of. This isn’t a very pretty tale. It has no castles, genies or fairy dust, but it does have a bit of magic. Through these posts, I will tell you all about how I created the happy ending I deserve. I hope that if there is anyone out there reading this with a story similar to mine, that you will be inspired to reimagine what’s possible and write a brand-new chapter for your life.

I was an Account Manager at the time. My company relocated me from Atlanta to Detroit to open a new branch, since most of our business came from the Midwest.  It was a full-time job, but the work was really seasonal.  I was in a new city with no friends other than my four co-workers.  I wanted a part-time job so I could meet people in the city, and fill-up my time until I had to work my full-time job.  The bank I frequented was looking for part-time help. I interviewed for a position and just a few weeks later, I began my new role as a bank teller at Wells Fargo.

From the second he walked into the building, this man caught my eye.  Don’t ask me how, but I just knew he’d be mine.  From head to toe, I liked what I saw.  In fact, I had never met a man with so much swag.  He had a magnetic smile that framed a perfect set of pearly white teeth.  From his attire it was obvious to me that this man looked impeccable in everything he wore.  Never had any man made me feel the way he made me feel. I mean, I’d known him for all of one minute and I knew it was love at first site!

Before I knew it, I found myself wanting to make a move on him. I’d never done anything like that before because in all honesty, I never had to.  Men always hit on me but for the very first time in my life, the script was flipped.  I’d become the pursuer and baby, there was no shame in my game!

Just a few minutes passed and right before handing back over his license I said to him, “Here you go, Sir, all done…and is there anything else I can do for you? Like maybe hook up in a few hours when I get off?”  He smiled.  I melted.

He said, “Now what would a fine woman such as yourself want with a roughneck like me?  Seriously Boo, you don’t wanna get involved.” I replied even more confidently, “Oh but I do! You see I’m new in town and haven’t been here that long. I don’t know anybody, so it would be nice to have someone to hang out with sometimes, maybe catch a movie or a meal.”

Looking back, I suppose he tried to warn me about what was coming. He tried to discourage me from wanting to be with him.  However, I wasn’t hearing it.  This man seemed to be the perfect match for me and I assumed he was just being modest in attempting to deflect my advances. I would eventually come to realize that modesty was the furthest thing from his personality.

Time passed and we grew closer and closer.  We were truly inseparable.  From the day we met, we were together every day that followed.  He wined me, he dined me, he took me on shopping sprees and even paid off my debts. I never once questioned his intentions, especially after seeing the lifestyle he could offer me.  He told me that his family owned all kinds of businesses and they were all doing well.  I wasn’t about to look this gift horse in the mouth (an old expression meaning to be grateful when a gift is received).

I decided to just go with the flow.  Life was good, better than ever in fact. We partied, we traveled and the love we made was everything I imagined it would be, and so much more.  OMG…this man blew my mind constantly.  I was head over hills in love with him.  There was nothing standing between us and bliss.  Or so I thought…

He always told me he didn’t deserve me. It wasn’t long before I realized that he was right.

After a few months of dating, I began to notice behaviors in him that I had not seen before. For example, I would hear him talk to his family and friends in a harsh manner.  Even his own mother was afraid of him (I guess that should have been my first clue that something was off). I remember us being at a family dinner one evening where his aunt cornered me in the kitchen and whispered, “Does he treat you ok baby?”  I said, “He treats me like a queen.”  She looked at me with a blank look and walked out of the kitchen.  We never talked about that subject again. 

He always told me he didn’t deserve me. It wasn’t long before I realized that he was right. He didn’t deserve me, and I didn’t deserve his psychotic behavior and insecurities.  He was very controlling while we dated but believe it or not, it was refreshing to be with someone that knew how to take charge.  I have always had to take the lead in my relationships and finally, I had a man who I did not have to boss around.  I was in such vulnerable place. In my eyes, he could do no wrong.   He was my knight in shining armor and no one could have convinced me otherwise.

Subconsciously, maybe I always knew he was the wrong man for me, which is why I kept him a secret.

Less than 14 months after meeting him, we jetted off to Vegas, checked into a penthouse suite and made our union official, which was witnessed by the hotel staff.  I couldn’t see it at the time, but the fact that my new husband did not want our friends and family at our wedding should have been a red flag.  This man could have said or done anything to me at the time and I would have been all for it.  I was so enamored by him I didn’t see any signs of the horror to come…and there were signs.

I married him without telling anyone.  Subconsciously, maybe I always knew he was the wrong man for me, which is why I kept him a secret.  I didn’t want to give anyone the chance to talk me out of being with him.  So now I am living my dream; we are husband and wife.  My family and friends were shocked when they received post cards in the mail from Las Vegas announcing my new last name.  Everyone wanted to get to know the mystery man.