Part 2 of How I Escaped: The Story of a Domestic Abuse Survivor

Part 2 of a 4-part series as told by Brie Alexis, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Warning: This is a true story.

Part 2:

The Gift and the Curse

In April 1997, I married the love of my life.  He was charming, giving and dependable.  He showered me with affection, lavish trips and a beautiful home.  Not only was he perfect, his family was perfect too.  I had always wanted a family of my own. Now everything I ever dreamed for had finally come true.

Like any 30-something year old person, I had gained some life experience under my belt. Before meeting my husband, there’s no denying that I had overcome a lot of hurt and pain from some of my previous relationships, but by the grace of God, I made it through. Good or bad, each of those experiences played an important role in shaping me into the woman I now was. I had it all, my life was perfect and now I could be the perfect wife to my husband. I cooked, I cleaned, I showered my man with affection — I was everything to him that any good husband would undoubtedly appreciate. But as our relationship continued to grow and our new life as husband and wife continued to unfold, I couldn’t shake this feeling that something was off. I knew deep down in my gut that something was wrong, and that maybe my perfect life wasn’t quite so perfect after all.

Let’s not forget that I married him without telling anyone.  I wanted a fresh start and all that jazz, without having to worry about the opinions of others.  I didn’t like the Midwest and wanted to move back South with my new boo.  While I would have loved to go back to Atlanta, I didn’t want to move back to my hometown before we had the chance to get to know each other better. I was able to convince him that we should start our lives together in Charlotte, NC. It was far enough away from home but at the same time, still close.

We lived in Charlotte just shy of six months before I ultimately landed an excellent job opportunity back home in Atlanta. So as hard as I tried to avoid the inevitable, it was time for us to be back on my turf now. While I was excited for this next chapter in my career, I became concerned that my very strong and independent better half was feeling emasculated. You see before, he had been the main provider in our relationship, but now he had become known as nothing more than “Brie’s husband”.  Maybe this “demotion” in status caused a loss of identity for him, or maybe it was something else. But something seemed to shift in his personality. 1998 marked a year of new beginnings for us. We bought our first home, I was starting my first real career and it was the first time that the mental abuse began.

All I felt was pain and eventually, I simply lost myself.

We were only one year into the marriage, and already I had reached the conclusion that our relationship was based solely on control.  Everything had to be his way.  This change in him was gradual, but eventually I began to notice some things. I noticed that things no longer looked, sounded nor felt right.  Why I decided to ignore it all, I don’t know, but I found myself living in a state of denial.  I would make light of the way he talked to me, the way he treated me, the things he did to me, the things he made me do.  All I felt was pain and eventually, I simply lost myself.

More and more frequently he would make sarcastic remarks about my weight.  He would interrogate me endlessly each and every time I came home; always questioning where I’d been and who I’d been with.  He soon became so bold as to tell me what I could and could not do — when I could go to work — when I could leave the house – what I could and could not wear — when and what I could eat — and even who I could talk to!  He really did control every aspect of my life.  He would say things like, “You almost 40 years old and fat… look at yourself!” He would say, “Don’t nobody want no fat-ass bitch!” and “You can plan a trip to go out of town but yo fat ass can’t go work out; look at your fat ass in the mirror!” But the worst was, “I’m not sleeping with you!  You ain’t sexy, you just disgusting as hell!!!” 

He put a gun to my head and threatened to kill me.  He even made a game of it, playing Russian Roulette, pulling the trigger again and again and again.

Eventually, the verbal and mental abuse escalated into physical violence.  He soon became my worst nightmare.  In May 1999, he put a gun to my head and threatened to kill me.  He even made a game of it, playing Russian Roulette, pulling the trigger again and again and again.  I just knew I was going to die that day.  He slapped me, kicked me, spit in my face and banged my head into the wall, all because I refused to purchase a new truck for him in my name. I was terrified. 

On the outside looking in, I had the life.  The big house, the good job, a husband and no financial worries.  He always bought me extravagant gifts after each incident. He told me how much he loved me and promised it would never happen again.  Well let me tell you, actions speak louder than words because it did happen again. He did it again, and again and again.