A little about me

My photo
Brook, IN, United States
Abuse doesn't stop at the court room. Melinda has shared her battles in her life and through the court room as she navigates through the legal system Bringing encouragement, insight and empowerment to those that are in a abusive relationship. She is in the process of creating a new life, speaking engagements to "Break the Silence" of abuse, while putting a face to abuse. She is currently working on writing a book about her experiences as a Survivor.View short Bio here- https://www.patheos.com/blogs/ahappymedium/2013/02/notbrokenbutbrave/

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Marriage, birth and death

Image result for feeling isolated

I felt very isolated during my relationship with Rob. He seemed to drive a wedge between many of those around me, that I craved a friend desperately.

Any poor telemarketer, door-to-door sales person or Jehovah Witness didn't have a chance if they called or rang our doorbell.
As the kids grew a bit older I had taken it upon me to busy the kids and me with, a stay at home Moms group that I founded and was the president for. Later I moved into a position of coordinator for the state of Illinois. I later stepped down as the President and Coordinator as a member of the group was approached by Will for an affair.

I was devastated! I had enjoyed the position, feeling good about myself and that I was making a difference with other Moms that needed friendship as well.

Will had demanded my time be taken up with lists of house chores, errands and time with him when he arrived home at the end of a long day. Even though I tried to gain normalcy by participating in the school board, scout leader for both my daughters and son, it was in vain. During events or meetings he would do everything he could to make sure we were not out long by calling me constantly, yelling or berating me to get home with threats of harm if I didn't arrive by a certain time.

Invitations by friends and family were declined. I was asked to be a Bridesmaid for one of his cousins and later a high school friends of ours that were getting married. Will was not asked, so naturally I was forced to decline. He was furious that his friend since they were 6 years old hadn't asked him to be part of the wedding at all!
He insisted that everyone was against him. He declared that I would be spitting in his face if I said yes. A few years later, when my friend from high school announced she was expecting and could I be the Godmother, Will was once again upset he was not asked. He did not allow me to say yes, citing once again that he was being shunned.

I was hurt. Will refusing me to even go to these affairs, much less bring a card. We did go.

Any event was always awkward. Will never truly allowing us to have fun. Any time someone talked to me quietly, Will assumed it had to be about him and it must have been something untrue or mean.

It wasn't uncommon to leave a gathering in the middle or with Will in a huff about this or that. All the events he blew out of proportion or he made things to be more than they were.

I missed many funerals.

Who doesn't want to go to one of these right? I’m not being weird. I missed the wake and funeral of my Grandma Lorraine. I missed other family members and friend’s sad time as well. Why? It took too much time away from him or he would complain that we didn't know the person that well.

My friend that I mentioned from high school lost her Dad, I attempted to reach out and help her as best I can. During the wake, Will called me every 10 to 15 minutes asking when I was coming home. He was also accusing me of fooling around rather than going to comfort my friend.

After time, invitations stopped coming. No one wanted Will to attend because of his escalating and erratic mood swings.

I felt alone, angry and depression settled over me, like the darkness of the time early in the morning.

Are you hungry?

Image result for Beef Sandwich from Pop's Crown Point

Spring 2008

It became ever increasingly apparent to those around me that something was going on behind closed doors.


Will was losing control while we were in public. A laundry list of incidents became more and more noticeable. Though, no one said a word. If anyone raised an eyebrow, Will would shoot a cold glance at them, causing any comments about the incident to fall by the wayside. 

A good deal of those saw me on a regular basis managed to pull aside from time to time to ask if I was okay. Many times anything that was done in public would include threats about what would happen when he and I were alone at home or he would pinch me, hard.

I grew close to a Darlene, whom I am still close to today, she is like a Mom to me. She saw and over heard many of the exchanges.

Though she never said anything out loud, there was an occasion where she would say something snappy to de-escalate the situation.

My favorite fast food had really good beef sandwiches that I couldn't help but stop and grab before I opened the store, also ordering one for Darlene for lunch, randomly on a Sunday at lunchtime. She would often return the favor by surprising me with a yummy beef, waiting for me on the front counter.

One Sunday afternoon, she had stopped off and said she brought me a sandwich! I was tickled, the smell of the drippy, soaked beef sandwich and fries caused my stomach to grumble! I couldn't wait to dig into it, the store wasn't very busy at this time, so I eagerly took a bite. No sooner then I started chomping did the front door open and Will walked in. He had gotten off work early and decided to surprise me by dropping by. He quickly walked to the front desk, demanding to know where did I had gotten the sandwich.

I shuffled my feet, nervously wringing my hands, feeling beads of sweat forming above my eyebrows. I had an upset churning in the pit of my stomach. Will, barked back that I was getting fat why the hell was I eating junk food? I told him Darlene had bought it for me.

“You’re not eating this!” He proceeded to pick up the beef and eat it.

I was flustered, I had barely squeaked out a sound to protest, when Darlene had come from the back of the store, seeing Will interrogating me about lunch, she said, “Hey! What’s wrong? I bought that for Mel!” She walked up to the counter and added that if he was hunger he should get his own lunch!

His face turned crimson in the matter of a millisecond. I interjected that I wasn't that hungry and appreciated her kindness, hoping to soften the situation.

Darlene had looked at me, her eyes seemed to ask if I was okay. I nodded and she walked away. Will had left about a half hour after storming in, with a full tummy and a reminder that I would have to speak to him later about this situation. He said I must be bad mouthing him when he wasn't around.

I breathed a sigh of relief that he was finally gone, calling the kids to alert them that Will was on his way home, to pick up the house and make sure to play well.

Darlene came to the front and noticed Will was gone. She asked me if I was alright and asked me if I really was not hungry. I shook my head. She could tell I was visibly upset. Deep in thought for a moment, she said that he was an asshole for eating the sandwich and treating me badly. She gave me a big hug, letting me know if I wanted to talk she would listen and that I was too nice to be treated the way he treated me.

Every time he left a situation or gathering, the air seemed lighter and the mood was lifted!

I worried myself sick on the way home about what was to come. I dreaded the trip home. When I walked in the situation seemed to be forgotten until later that night in bed, after the kids were sleeping. I had hoped he would have dropped the whole incident. He told me that I was not accept any food from anyone and forbid me to speak to Darlene as she is turning me against him. If he ever caught me talking to her other besides talking about the store, he would kick my ass.

He moved quickly, straddling me holding down my wrists, his full weight over 280 pounds coming directly down on me, he was angrily repeatedly telling me to say that I agree with him to never talk to Darlene.

I defiantly turned my face away from his gaze, saying nothing. He roughly grabbed my face with one hand and my neck with the other, chocking me. He was yelling that I was a bitch. Perhaps I was fucking Darlene and was planning on leaving him for her.

Spit was running down his lips covering my face. I clawed at his hands with my free hand, bucking and trying to twist him off me.

I panicked, furiously trying to save myself, thrusting, scratching and kicking to no avail.

I began to feel light all over, I couldn't breathe, and felt as though I was suddenly in a tunnel, seeing his outline fuzzy and faint.

I woke up several hours later, sore, hurting, scared, hearing him snore next time, I breathed a sigh of relief. I slid out of bed as gently and quietly as I could, hoping the weight leaving would not wake him.

I tiptoed into the bathroom to survey the damage, hearing the heavy sounds of breathing from the other room.  I softly closed the door behind me. I checked myself in the mirror. There were hand prints on my neck, which was sore and raw. My face was marked with dried spittle and tears. I had dried blood on my lip, not recalling how that happened. My wrists were bright red in spots from being held down. I was still felt light headed.

Suddenly, the house grew quiet, I paused like a deer sensing danger, all at once the door swung open and Will walked in, staring at me.
He shuffled past me to use the bathroom and said, “Good morning! Sleep well? I slept like a rock.”

“Hello? You okay?” He asked with a deep concern etched in his face.

“I’m fine, just going to wash my face and get moving.” I advised.

“Well you look like hell Mel, what did you do? Whatever it was you better be careful.” He nonchalantly walked past me.

wasn't surprised. This was typical after an assault. I busied myself with getting myself together, making sure to wear something to cover my neck and long sleeved.

I had to open the store in a few hours. I felt as though I wanted to just stay home and lick my wounds.

couldn't. It would not be allowed.

I told the kids that I would be leaving soon; ordering them to eat breakfast, clean up and to play outside rather than play video games or watch TV.

The kids had no idea what transpired. We had a whole house fan that was used regularly also Will regularly played the radio loud to get to sleep, so they didn't hear many of the altercations that happened between Rob and me.

I gathered my purse together feeling with the night’s events fading into the background of the rest of the day as I rushed for the door. 

I was halted in my tracks by Will, coming from the dark of the basement; he grabbed my already tender wrist as I was walking past the hallway to get my shoes.

Drawing me close to whisper to remember what he told me last night. He gruffly barked out that he would have people watching me and he may stop by unannounced as well so I better be a good girl.

He let go. I felt my throat tighten, tears springing into my eyes. He kissed my forehead, “I love you!” he said, staring at me, waiting for me to return the comment.

“I said I love you Mel! What do we need to have a repeat of last night?” He snarled.

“No, Will sorry my throat hurts a bit. I love you.” I murmured, trying not to come off snarky.



He never came into the store. Nor do I believe he ever had anyone watching me at the shop.

Sick


July 2007

Remember I mentioned earlier that I was tired all the time and not feeling well? About two months later after many interesting events that would forever change our lives, in July I had gotten very sick. 

After about a week I went in to the doctor. While I was at the office, I was informed my temperature was over 102 and my blood pressure was terribly low. The doctor took a peek in my throat as it was killing me, he winced, while looking and he informed me that it was pus filled and bloody!

He announced that in my present condition that he could not authorize me to leave by myself. If forced to he would have me picked up by ambulance.

At this time, I am panicky because I was unsure how Will was going to handle the news. Surprisingly he decided to pick up me up and he would take me to the hospital as soon as possible. The doctor had made arrangements for me have a room as soon as I could. I wanted to make sure the kids saw me before I went to the hospital. 

The week long hospital stay was miserable for me, my throat hurt to talk, to yawn, eat and drink. Will called me all the time and he was furious that I wasn't talking to him. He was also upset that I was on vacation from my duties.

A nasty infection had spread through me like wild fire! In some ways it did fell like a vacation, but I was worried about the kids. Leaving the kids alone with Will was not something I was thrilled about.

Two days later I had gotten several bits of news regarding my condition. The first is that I was going to have my tonsils out after a few months of healing and the second bit of news came as a big blow.

I was informed I had HSV2.

Herpes Simplex Virus 2.

I was floored! I cried but at same time I was not surprised. I worried about STD’s after swinging and the second wife incident and had gotten tested for STD’s over the last few years prior. Only two things I could think of is that my ex was seeing someone else or the second wife crazy episode left me with cooties.

When I broke the news to Will, he was less than happy. He was mad! At me!

He threw plenty of accusations of me having an affair and he continued to berate me. He said, if it was something he picked up then why wasn't he sick? I felt that it was my fault. My journey to find someone seemed to have back fired.

wasn't seeing anyone or fooling around with anyone. I was able to get my tonsils out after I recovered from the infection. But my spirit felt bruised.

About two months later my abuser had symptoms of HSV2.

Despite my protests and denial of affairs. It all fell on deaf ears. Since the diagnosis I was called a slut, whore and interrogated repeatedly. For some reason I was to blame.

I had a new added complex problem to an already volatile situation.  

To make matters worse the girlfriend from the crazy episode had come back into the picture. Will had called her to tell her off about the STD and to let her know I was in the hospital.

After several more insane situations between her and Will. I was able to come to terms that there is no way he was going to change. There was no way I was going to stay in this marriage.



Rock bottom believe it or not was now.

*I would later discover Lyme Disease opened a doorway for my cooties. Unbeknownst to me my resistance had been lowered allowing me to feel sick. The stress also contributed to my illness.

Note to the GAL



Enter in an interesting chapter in our divorce. As we emotionally bounced back and forth in the courtroom decisions, the appointment of counselors and a Guardian ad Litem, proved to be interesting, my then sister-in-law was also kind enough to write some insight that she shared openly with the Guardian ad Litem in 2011 as follows:






Jose,

My name is LaVern. I am the sister of Will and the Aunt of Nathan, Miranda and Zoe. Many months ago I was asked to contact you on the behalf of the children, but all of my attempts went unanswered. I figured that meant you didn't need my input. Well, I have just heard that you are siding with Will in this matter and was forced to write to you, whether or not you want to read it.

Where shall I start?

Will is four years younger than I am and nine years younger that my sister. When did I learn that there was something wrong with him? 

One day we were rough playing in the back yard as children will. He was no more than 5. I usually let him win at most everything, but that day he landed flat on his back and got the wind knocked out of him. His eyes got big as he was clearly terrified. When he could breathe again he told me that if I ever did anything like that to him again, they would never find my body. Yes, I said he was 5. That was when it all started. Perhaps sooner, but being just a kid, maybe
I didn't see it before that.

A short time later, when Will started going to school for the whole day, our mother got a job. As a result, we were left alone at home in the afternoons until our dad came home. (He was a tradesman and started very early and as a result was home first.) That hour or so became the most horrific time in my life. Especially once he started to get bigger than me. For years he would torment me. It was verbal at first, but the bigger he got, the bolder he got. 

Soon the violence began. His favorite trick was to take something that he knew I held dear and throw it out into the three feet of snow in the front yard. As soon as I ran out after it, he would lock me out. No shoes, no coat. Luckily for me we had a VERY nice elderly couple for neighbors and she always let me stay with her.

Where was our sister in all of this? Well she was older. She got a job downtown as part of a work study program when she was 16 (that makes me 11 and Will 7). After that she was never really around.
I don't know if you have any siblings, but I loved my brother and hated him at the same time. That ended the day he escalated to weapons. When I came out of my room before our parents were home, he chased me around the house with knives. Big sharp ones. That was the day I stopped being conflicted.

Where were our parents?

They didn't believe me. Until some years later when he got bolder. My Grandmother lived with us for a time and he even got brazen enough to hit on her! Once I remember my Dad chasing him because he deserves a good smack. Don't think he caught him though. Mom still didn't really believe. Now a days she says she believes, but he is always going to be her little baby boy.

When he learned to drive, he would go around terrorizing the neighborhood. One day, someone had just gotten a new appliance so the giant box was sitting on the curb for trash day. He plowed right into it deliberately. He did not know that the homeowner had put the old appliance in the box and it became a several hundred pound projectile and nearly killed the kid playing in his own yard.

Will thought that was hysterically funny. So my parents took his car away and hid it on him. Then out came the Hyde in him. Swearing, threatening, destroying, hitting, and on and on. One time he was so bad, that I had to call my Uncle (federal special agent) to come over. Will was pretty big at the time, but he got put down and cuffed by his own uncle!

Now Will could turn on the charm better than any psychopath ever. He got himself a young girlfriend who wanted out of her own bad situation. When exactly he began to show her the other side I do not know. But I know what followed. Verbal and physical abuse to his wife and then eventually to the children. Before they were married, my mother, sister and I all sat Melinda down and tried to tell her what he was like. In the end, she said that she understood, but the heart wants what the heart wants. Now ask her about that day and she has a very different opinion.

For the details on what happened in his house to his family, you should talk to Melinda. But I can hit some of the highlights over the years.

He felt a transit bus cut him off in traffic so he came screaming around and cut the bus off so that it had to stop and then he got out with a hammer or tire iron or something like that, and smashed in the door of the bus while screaming at the driver and ordering him to come out so he could beat him up. Luckily the cops were able to take him away first.

That was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to his seething rage.

Will has always felt that he was entitled to anything he wanted and the world and everyone in it owes him something. After he got married, they stayed with my parents for quite a while because he had made my parents give him the down payment on a house. He then tore the house to pieces and practically gutted the entire thing.
God only know how much my parents had to pay to get it back into a livable condition. (More on his intense love for destruction, especially of houses, later if you would like to know.)

He would also break into my parents’ house any time he wanted and steal tools from my Dad and food and whatever else he decided was his. So much so that when my parents finally got up the nerve to say something about it, he did this great "You never loved me or wanted me to have anything" episode where he brought back to them so much stuff that he had stolen that it filled one side of a two car garage. And he did that so that they would then have to move everything before they could park there. That was a pretty big project for them at the time as they were getting on a bit. Please feel free to have a chat with my parents about any and all of this. 

But I digress...

For years Melinda had tried to get up the courage to take the kids and leave him to stop all of the insanity, but it took her a while. When she finally did, my parents and I were VERY supportive of her. We helped her all we could. Unfortunately she ended up going back that first time.

In order to coax her into returning, Will checked himself into a psychiatric facility for evaluation. After a few days, they called me to discuss his condition.

They said that Will had told them to talk to me because I don't take or give any bullshit. I found that strange, but while I was talking to them I asked if they knew that everything he said was calculated to some end of his own devices.

They told me that he wasn't fooling them even a little bit because they were experts on people that only say what they think the doctors want to hear. I then asked if it would be alright for them to tell me with what they had diagnosed him.

They said sure, I was immediate family and she started rattling off a list of disorders, syndromes and tendencies so long that I couldn't keep up when writing them down. After the first 5 or so I just listened with my mouth hanging open. You should try to get a look at those records.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention the religious fanaticism he apparently "found" while he was in the hospital. Suddenly he starts rambling on how God is now talking to him directly and telling him what to do and what will happen. He took to typing out dozens of pages of ranting with religion, profanity and rage all rolled up into one. I have a copy of some of them if you would like to see them.
When he left that facility, it was with a prescription for meds to help with his manic - depression and bi-polar diagnoses. He took the pills for a little while and then stopped because they interfered with his ability to have sex three times a day. Soon everything was back to as bad as ever.

After some time, she tried to leave with the kids again. Well, let's just say that the third time was the one that stuck. She had all three kids and they were very relieved to be away from him and everything he put them through on a daily basis.

Now came summer vacation and she took the kids back to his house during the days when she worked because there were other kids and a yard there. She came for them at night to take them home. That clearly indicated to us that reasonable custody/visitation schedule could be reached.

Will took this opportunity to do as much damage and brain washing as he could. Zoe is young and everyone who knows her will tell you that she is in her own little world, but it is OK because they know her there. Miranda sees the unvarnished world through the skeptical eyes of a middle child. She has always been very aware of everything that goes on around her and is forever trying to keep the peace. But then there is Nathan.

Nathan has spent his whole life wanting just one thing. To make his father love him. He spent years trying to figure out some way into Will's heart and all he ever got was shot down. Perhaps an example...Nathan had some good news to tell his father. I don't remember if it was a good grade or something else, but everyone was there including my parents and I when Will came home. Nathan was called downstairs to tell his good news in front of us all. So, beaming, he told him. Then he goes to have a hug with his father and Will smacks him on the behind and yells at him because he stinks. And he wanted to know why Nathan had forgotten to put his deodorant on that day. And why doesn't he do what his father told him to do.

The boy was crushed and mortified. After all, he had just started wearing deodorant and had probably forgotten in all of the excitement.  And as of that moment, he started to change. He took the “who gives a crap” attitude because he had to in self-defense. 

Soon after that he started fighting at school.

When Will started the deliberate brainwashing began on Nathan, all he had to do was pay him some attention and reward the desired behavior. Soon he had convinced Nathan that his mother was the one responsible for destroying the family and that she was just evil and God wanted her destroyed. He told him he would be doing God's work if he stabbed his mother in her sleep one night. It was around then that Rob requested a letter from a judge stating that if Nathan ended up having to kill his mother that he couldn't be held responsible.

I can only imagine that his lawyer at the time discouraged it. 

Shortly thereafter, Nathan started a fire in the apartment in which he and his sisters and mother were living. I believe the intention was to get them kicked out so they would have no choice but to go back home to Dad. Let's not forget the day that his backpack was searched and they found knives. I don't know if they were the same kind his father used to use on me, but I do know there was more than one.

Let me take this moment to insert Terry into the picture. I believe that Melinda's meeting Terry was the thing that gave her the courage to finally leave Will for good.

Just to be clear, Terry did not enter the picture until after Melinda's first two attempts to get away. Nevertheless, Will jumped right onto the "this is the guy who broke up our family" mode with Nathan. He trained Nathan to hate him. You will hear some fabricated story about how Terry is a child abuser or the likes. This all stems from the day that Nathan pulled a knife on his mother while Terry was in the room. Terry proceeded to push him away from her and take the knife.

The fact that Will thinks that is child abuse may be why he does not recognize all of the abuse he perpetrated upon his own kids. It was decided that since Nathan was trying to kill his mother, that he should go back to live with his father. I understand the necessity of the move, but fear it was that event that has undone Nathan for good. A short time later, Nathan sucker punched Terry in the lobby of the county courthouse. The guards were witnesses.

Melinda had tried from the beginning to get Will to let her go, but he would not and will not have any of it. You see, Will is entitled to anything he wants and God will ensure that he gets everything that he is supposed to. She has asked him for child support and to be left alone. He is not interested. God has told him that once she is done making her mistakes she will be back and all will be as it was. He has refused for more than a year to simply let her go.

I am sure you can get a list of the lawyers that have represented Will throughout this process. They will all tell you that he is nuts and that is ultimately why they no longer represent him. He is totally self-centered and extremely pompous. He goes around threatening Melinda, Terry, Mom, Dad, me and Melinda's lawyer with how he is going to go to court and get a court order for this or against that.

My favorite one was when he told my parents that they are not allowed to talk to Melinda anymore and he is going to get an order of protection so she can't talk to them nor them to her. He is a huge blowhard that tries to use the system to threaten others into doing what he wants.

He cannot even create the thought in his head that his kids are more important than he is in this matter. There is nothing in this world that he cannot and does not control. He is severely mentally ill and delusional. He has written of lengthy conversations he has had with angels and God. She just wants him to leave her alone.

I'll even give you a perfect example of how he plays the system. He works in the trades as a waterproofer/roofer. My father worked in the trades all his life and I am well aware of the income brought in by side jobs and under the table overtime. It is how many families make ends meet. For some reason, his boss trusts him and has helped him out over the years. I would imagine Will is too smart to show him the other side.

Many months ago he stopped working. Actually he stopped working on the books. He was taking the vast majority of his pay under the table so that it would go unreported. He stopped making the mortgage payments and lost the house. According to him, he "wasn't going to spend any more money on something that she could get half of." So he lived rent free until the bank kicked them out. What would you do with almost a year of mortgage payments in your pocket? Melinda didn't want the house and was happy to sign it over to him. But he doesn't take chances. At the time they took the house he had ripped apart the girls’ bedroom to fix a supposed leak from the laundry room below.

At last viewing, it was still torn apart. He is now renting a house and making plans to start improvements (which means tear it apart.) My sister's basement is still without walls or insulation and he tore that out years ago. He makes big plans and does not know the meaning of the word moderation. He requires instant gratification in all things.

He doesn't like me around much because I am the only one alive who is not afraid of him. I have always been able to see the actual motives behind everything he does and I do not take his bullshit. I have called the police on him before and have no fear of doing it again.

My parents are old and can't handle the amount of grief he puts someone through when he doesn't get what he wants. My mother was nice enough to allow the kids to have visitation at her house. Each and every time, Will waltzes in like he is part of the kid’s time together.

They let him.

One day he got Miranda in a bear hug and he's whispering into her ear. Now I know from history that he is telling her not to worry and he will have them all back very soon. I told him that he is not allowed to isolate and whisper to the girls. 

At which point he begins threatening me with court orders, etc. He was asked to leave and refused. So I told the girls we were leaving. He didn't like that one little bit. No one can control something of his! And another time I actually did call 911 to have him removed. He left moments before the 9 Crown Point police officers arrived. They searched the neighborhood to make sure he wasn't coming back and went by his house to see if he was there. Now he is known to police in South Holland, Dolton, Lansing, Griffith and Crown Point.
Nathan, I regret to say, has not had an original thought or spoken his own words for many months. He is a full blown puppet of my brother and is being encouraged to commit violent crimes. I lost count of the number of times that he has been suspended from school. He will fight at the drop of a hat. He has learned all sorts of obscene language and uses it regularly. 

We all fear that it is too late to get him back. So much so that there have been discussions about who could possibly take Nathan, just to get him away from Will. Even my Aunt and Uncle (retired federal special agent) have thought about taking him. Nathan is allergic to cats and I have two that are my babies, but if he needs to come live here to get away from his father then I will find other homes for them.

Nathan is showing the same signs of mental illness that his father and his grandfather did. Unfortunately, he will not get the help he needs because Will refuses to admit that there is something wrong with himself, much less his son.

I implore you to not only keep the girls away from him, but get Will away from him too before it is too late. I think at this point, even Will going into the foster system for some time would be better than staying with his crazy father who refuses to take the meds that make him lucid and rational.

LaVern