I Was a Stalking Statistic (part 3)

This post is part of my series “Mi Vida Loca”. Believe me, it doesn’t get any crazier (or scarier)  then being a stalking victim. I was one. For five years. This is the third and final installment of “I Was a Stalking Statistic”. You can read part one (here) and part two (here). This is a true story, a part of my life.

“I told you I can always find you.” he stated.

I could hardly believe it. I blocked the doorway with my body and asked him what he wanted. He said he had some things of mine and thought I might like them back. I told him that since I had gone without whatever he had for the last couple of years. I didn’t think I would need them now. Then I asked him how he  found me. He just smiled a cold smile and stated that he had his ways of keeping tabs on me.

I tried to reason with him, again.

“We are divorced, you are re-married” I stated. “You shouldn’t BE keeping tabs on me!”

He stepped forward and wanted to know if I was going to invite him in. I told him I wasn’t. Then he asked me if I would go get a cup of coffee with him at least, since he had driven all the way from Ft. Worth. (It’s a 2 hour drive from Ft. Worth to Waco, give or take) I almost said yes, hoping to get rid of him faster. But things felt “off”. In a few brief seconds something Terri said to me once went through my mind. She made me promise that I would never go with Larry anywhere! She told me she feared for my safety. And with the vague feelings I was getting off of him, I certainly believed she might be right! I finally convinced him to leave. He wasn’t happy about it, but he left.

The days following that incident were quiet. Too quiet looking back with hindsight. At the time, I was too busy settling into my new surroundings to give it much thought. My job was going well. I let myself feel happy.  Then Larry struck again, with a vengeance.

I was at work when a phone call came through to my desk. It was a Waco police detective! He stated who he was, then asked me a few questions to determine if I was actually the person he was looking for. I was. Then he said something that nearly made me faint! He said, “Jackie, I have a warrant sitting on my desk for your arrest.”

detective
detective (Photo credit: The Thinking Doll)

I felt the blood drain from my face. I asked him from a mouth gone dry, why did I have a warrant out for my arrest. He said it was for ‘theft of services’. I remember thinking, what the hell is that?? Then he started to explain. It seems the Ft. Worth phone company was trying to collect 1200 dollars on a long overdue phone bill. He asked me if Larry was my husband. I told him he was an EX husband. Then the detective went on to say that the phone company had been going after Larry for the money since the bill was in his name. But somehow Larry had convinced the phone company that it was MY bill and that they should go after me for it. Seems there was this little used law that stated a company could file charges against a customer for “theft of services” to collect on a bill. This is what happened to me.

Ah, you wonder how the company could do that since my name wasn’t on the bill? It seems Larry convinced  them that in the divorce decree I was responsible for paying that bill off. They in turn took his word for it. And no it wasn’t in the divorce decree. I was not responsible for the bill.

I was scared to death! Then the detective stated he had talked to Larry himself. He wanted to get a few facts straight since he had never in his 20 years being a police officer had to arrest someone for “theft of services”. He asked me if Larry had ever abused me. I thought at the time it was a bit of a strange question to ask. But, I answered, emotionally and verbally oh yeah. That’s the main reason I left him. “Physically?” the detective asked.

I explained to him that only one time did Larry hit me. I left soon after. I did explain to the detective about the stalking. Showing up where I lived. The notes, the phone calls. All of it. Then I asked him why he asked. The detective stated that during his conversation with Larry, he came away with the distinct impression that Larry would hurt me physically if given a chance. He strongly recommended that I try to never be alone with Larry. His words were this  “Quite frankly, I disliked and distrusted the  man.”  This coming from a veteran  police officer! I don’t know what scared me more. The threat of arrest or his complete confidence that Larry wanted to hurt me, maybe kill me!

He suggested I work out a payment plan with the phone company. He said once I had a payment plan in place the arrest warrant would no longer be in force. I promised him I would call the phone company as soon as our conversation was over. Then he gave me his work number, his cell number AND his home phone number! He told me  to call him if I ever felt threatened by Larry. To not to hesitate to call him day or night. He stated that if he couldn’t come to me personally he would make damn sure some other officer was there pronto. I felt like he was my personal guardian angel.

Then came the days of constant phone calls. All hours of the day and night. I knew who it was even when they said nothing. But, I had no way of stopping Larry.

Several months after that incident my boyfriend and I moved to Nacogdoches, Texas  so he could go to the University there. Again, I felt it was a good move to get away from my ex. Nacogdoches was a 5 hour drive from Waco. Maybe, just maybe, I thought we could finally get away from Larry. The stress was getting to both me and my boyfriend.

English: Part of historic downtown Nacogdoches...
English: Part of historic downtown Nacogdoches, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We lived in Nacogdoches for almost a year. A year of no Larry. Finally! My boyfriend and I thought we had finally heard the last of him. We moved back to Ft Worth because my boyfriends mother was having a lot of health problems. He was an only child and was very close to his mother. He owned a house not far from his parents and that’s where we moved.

It was less than a month after moving back to Ft. Worth that Larry showed up. I was in the back of the house when my boyfriend came to get me. He said, “Guess  who’s at the door wanting to talk to you?” There was a funny look on his face. So not thinking of Larry at all I asked him, “who?”  He stated it was my ex. I said how the hell did he know we were here??? I was angry!! How dare he?! After a year of not hearing from him now all of a sudden he shows up and thinks it’s perfectly normal to come over???? I stormed to the front door and walked out  to the drive way where Larry was leaning against my car.

I asked him what he wanted. He calmly stated he just wanted to say hi and welcome back.  I told him he had to stop coming over. We had been divorced for a while now. He just had to stop all this crap. He leans back against my car and asks me if I wanted to go get an iced tea somewhere and talk about it. The man was insane! I got over being mad and started being scared all over again. There just was something not right with him. I stepped back closer to the house and told him no I wasn’t going to go anywhere with him. I tried to reason with him. I told him that he had to remember that we were divorced. He was married and had been for almost 5 years now. I was in a committed relationship of my own. He needed to move on.

I asked him to leave and to not come over again. He agreed. But I could tell he was angry. He left though. Which at the time was all I wanted. That very night the phone calls started up again. A few days later the first of many notes started showing up on my car.  The stress was almost too much. Years of this. With a few breaks just to make me hopeful that it was over. Then the nightmare would begin all over again. His psychological warfare was taking its toll. On me, my boyfriend and our relationship. It had been almost 5 years. Five years of constantly looking over my shoulder. Five years of wondering what he would try next.

I decided to try one more thing to make him stop. Something I had never tried before. I called his wife. When she answered the phone I told her that I was returning a phone call that Larry had made to me. She got really quiet. I knew then as I had suspected, she didn’t know a thing of what was going on. She asked me when Larry had phoned me. I made sure she knew that he had been in contact with me for years. I made it sound like him and I were very friendly. It was an out and out lie, but she didn’t know it. I’m not sure what besides desperation made me call her. I knew from a few brief things Larry had let slip through the years that she was the person with the purse strings. She had money. He did not want to lose that money! That was the way he was wired.

The phone calls, the notes, stopped. I did it!!!! I thought. I was wrong. Soon after, my tires were slashed. When my boyfriend and I would leave the house, things got stolen out of it. That happened several times. We reported it to the police, but we had zero proof it was Larry. We both KNEW it was. Just couldn’t prove it.

Our electricity and phone got turned off. Took us days to get it back on. Both the electric and phone companies stated, WE asked that it be turned off. We had to convince them it wasn’t us. Which was a big hassle. They stated a man claiming to be my boyfriend requested they be turned off on a Friday. (Larry knew that nothing could be done to get them turned back on till Monday.) They said he had all the information he needed to prove he was who he said he was.

The next six months were pure hell. We didn’t know what was going to happen next. The strain was showing in both of us. We lost count on how many times we saw Larry drive past the house. I had finally come to the decision that I needed to leave. By myself. I needed to distant my boyfriend from Larry. My boyfriend had some major health issues, and constantly being under pressure from my ex was aggravating these issues. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. I told my boyfriend I was leaving. I was moving back to Wisconsin.

My mom and my sister flew down from Wisconsin to help me move. My mom, bless her heart paid for it all. We rented a UHaul, and a flatbed. We filled the Uhaul with all my belongings and put my car on the trailer. My sister and I would take turns driving across country, with my mom in the middle, from Texas to upper Wisconsin.   Although  my heart was breaking, I knew I was doing the right thing.

A few months later I knew through phone calls to my boyfriend that Larry was leaving him alone. Also, Larry had found me again. He phoned my mom and sister both. Neither one gave him any information. But, he let it be known he knew I was there. I got a job, a place to live, and a phone. Soon after the phone calls from Larry started coming. I would never say anything to him. I just hung up the phone.

Then one day I saw his truck! I thought I was seeing things! I was driving to work and I saw him following me! How could this be???? NO!! I didn’t tell anyone. Who would believe me?   For about a week I would catch glimpses of him. Now, where I was living it was mostly woods. It was a very small town. I worked at the Casino in a neighboring town. But I knew it was Larry! I just knew it had to be! I lived there for about six months. In those six months I saw his truck following me twice. The phone calls came every day. Every night. He left one message on my recorder.  One was plenty. It said that I would never get away from him. That he knew where I was, again. To expect a visit some night.

Again, I never told a soul. I thought I was losing my mind. That Larry had finally won. And I knew I had to leave again. Run. Again. But where? During these months I met a man from Canada. He was a nice man. I really liked him as a friend. He asked me to visit him in Canada and he would show me around. I went. I never left.

He knew my story and all about Larry. We had long conversations on my visit. I confessed to him that I was scared for my life. If Larry kept his stalking up for 5 years, he would never let it go. I was terrified he might even decide to kill me. It seemed to be working up to that.

Rob and I are ONLY friends. There was nothing romantic or sexual between us. He was a nice man who had been married several times before. We got along well. So one day we were talking about my ex and all the crazy stuff and Rob said, “Don’t go back. Simple really, just don’t go back.”

“What do you mean don’t go back? I have to, that’s where I live now.”

“Stay here, you can live here.”

“I have no job, how can I live in Canada? And don’t I have to immigrate here?”

“You’ve been staying in my extra bedroom, you can stay here and look for a job. Have your family send you your things. I have this whole house, no reason why you can’t stay here.”

 

So here I am. In Canada. Married to a really nice man. I told him all about *L and the many years of stalking. It’s not a torrid love. But, we have mutual respect and caring for each other. We enjoy being with each other. We have love of a kind. And no *L. He has called both my mother and sister looking for me. They tell him nothing. About once a year around my birthday he calls someone I know trying to find out where I am. So far so good. I feel safe for the first time in many years. I have come to love and care for the man I am married to. I have come to call Canada home.

But, I miss my family. I miss my real home.

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19 thoughts on “I Was a Stalking Statistic (part 3)

    1. changeforbetterme

      well actually it was discussed a time or two. Once with a police officer. I could have gotten away with it IF he was caught breaking into the house. And IF his body was inside the house. I could have pleaded self defense. And with his history towards me, gotten away with it. So I was told. Unfortunately *L was either too smart, or my luck just wasn’t that good. And YES I would have shot him. No doubt in my mind.

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      1. Peaches

        Good. Did you ever try a restraining order or would he have just ignored it?

        I mean, you had lots of proof. Phone records, all those little notes, credible witnesses, you could have taken pictures of him driving by. I’m not saying this as ridicule. I’m just curious.

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        1. changeforbetterme

          Hey Peaches. Yes I tried restraining orders. The first one he ignored. Didn’t get much help because he “didn’t hurt me” as I was told. Back then stalking in Texas was not taken all that serious. Also *L had a silver tongue. It was amazing what he could talk himself out of. Or what he could convince people of! It was so frustrating. After 2 I just pretty much gave up. Stalking is still so hard to prove and back then it was near impossible.

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          1. Peaches

            I believe you. I never meant to make it sound like I was putting it back on you at all. You just didn’t mention them and I know you’re super smart so I was curious if you did or why you felt it wasn’t worth it.

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          2. changeforbetterme

            Oh honey, I know what you meant. I never took what you said as bad. I had to cut out some things on my tale. I had already wrote 3 days worth. 🙂 So I never mentioned the restraining orders because they just didn’t work. And actually I almost forgot I did get them on him….ha! Too much crap from him so I just weeded that part out. I don’t mind questions, no worries.

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          3. Peaches

            ok. hahaha. good. I’m glad you’re safe and ok now.
            I can understand a bit of self editing. Some stuff feels uninteresting (even when it isn’t) or just makes the story flow better

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          4. changeforbetterme

            yeah. And after 3 days there was probably some other stuff I could have left out. But hey. More then 5 years condensed into 3 days of posts, thought I did pretty good. I probably could have used your editing skills lady. 😉

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          5. Peaches

            I’m still here anytime you want me, but for what it’s worth, I was riveted the whole way. I wouldn’t have cut a thing. I might have added the restraining order part back in…it’s a worthwhile story.

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          6. changeforbetterme

            You are probably right about the restraining order part. I just honestly pretty much forgot about them till I was almost done writing it all. So I just left it out. But I do see your point. And thank you for the compliment.

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  1. I am so sorry to read your story, and I am happy that you have finally found some peace. It’s terrible how men (people) like that can take a strong woman and create in them a helpless, victim mindset that takes so much to overcome. While the marriage you have now sounds more like a friendship, it also may be just what you need at this time.

    I was involved in an abusive marriage as well, in my early 20’s. It was much more brief than your ordeal, but I understand enough to know how frightening and drama-filled your life was. While we dated for several years, the marriage only lasted 6 months because it escalated so much right after we were wed. It was similar cycle of being abusive and then flipping over and saying I was the best thing in his life or that he would kill himself without me.

    The irony is that I considered killing him, I honestly did. I thought long and hard about how to do it and get away with it. Even though I am not a violent person in the least, I think that it was somehow reassuring to think that there was a way to be free from this mistake I had made. It was that feeling of possibility that I had to cling to. I felt like my life was so condensed and filled with fear and that there was nothing I could do. No one understood because he was a very different person when we were alone. (I spent the night in the emergency room with him once because he busted off his knuckle when he hit the wall instead of me.) Fortunately, I was working, and I started hiding money in my closet until I had enough to leave. It was hard because I found out that he had been spending our bill money on booze and drugs (He was supposedly in AA.) We’re only talking a few hundred dollars hidden away, but that money meant the world at the time.

    It escalated from emotional and psychological abuse to physical, and when I said I was done for real, he threatened to kill me, and when I called home to my parents to come and get me (my car had broken down), he threatened to kill my father as well. I never went back, filed for divorce, and never saw him again after the final hearing. The End.

    My story was terrifying enough, and it didn’t include all the aftermath that you faced. There needs to be a change in laws to prevent recurrent stalking. A restraining order should definitely cover things like leaving notes or showing up at someone’s work place. A woman should never have to leave our country in order to be and feel safe. That is such a total FAIL on the part of our justice system.

    You are right in sharing your story, and to any women out there who are second-guessing their gut feeling, LISTEN to it. Listen to family. Get help. Get out.

    I hope you feel a relief now in writing all this down 🙂 You are brave.

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    1. changeforbetterme

      Thank you so much for sharing with me Gretchen. Any kind of abusive relationship leaves its scars. I’m sorry you had to go thru what you did. There is never an excuse for hitting a woman. I’m glad you got out when you did. I’m glad that once you left and filed for divorce that was the last you saw of him. Thank goodness for that!

      My ex also spent all our bill money. He spent it on strippers and booze. Then he would blame me because the bills weren’t paid. Typical. I did try hiding money, but what little I had he found and took, so I left with nothing. But I figure it was worth losing the money and everything else of mine to just get away from him. It just took me a while to actually get away.

      I also agree that the stalking laws need to change. That I shouldn’t have to stay in another country just to feel safe. Sometimes that makes me so angry. But I don’t stay angry for long. Spent too many years feeling things that just drained the life out of me. Now I try and concentrate on doing what I love and have little or no drama in my life.

      Thanks again for sharing and for understanding. I had a good cry when I finished writing the 3rd installment. But, I felt such relief. I never have really told the full story to anyone before. Bits and pieces only. Getting it all out there for the world to see was a bit cleansing for me. I appreciate people that read it.

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  2. It shouldn’t be this way, but I think that physical abuse is easier to identify than emotional and psychological abuse is. It leaves scars without question, but no one ever knows the depth of them except you. For some reason, I think that women are hard-wired to be nurturing and try to repair things, improve things, and also have a tendency to automatically believe that things are their fault… it’s 10X worse when you have someone telling you that it is! (No matter how irrational their words actually are.)

    My ex had no clue at all that I was hiding money, because he was so far off in lala land that I honestly don’t think he had any idea how miserable he was making my life. I did leave with an immense load of debt, because my name was on everything. I felt the same as you did though, that I didn’t care if I owed thousands of dollars that I shouldn’t have, I only cared that I was free. I went to a non-profit consumer credit counseling service that listened to my story and helped me to get things arranged so that I could take control. It took me several years to clear my credit. It’s a shame that the laws about debt are built only for the benefit of the companies that need to be paid (not that they shouldn’t be paid, obviously) but for it all to fall on one person, the responsible one (and often the abused one), is patently unfair.

    I’m glad to hear that you don’t let the anger remain the dominant emotion. It’s so important to embrace thankfulness, peace and love in order to heal. I even forgave him. Not that I told him that, as I wanted no contact, but inside myself, I forgave him long ago. Only someone who is mentally and emotionally ill would do something like these stories to another person. I don’t hate him, on the contrary, I hope that somewhere in his life he has found healing… for his sake, but more so for the people that encounter him in life. I am a much stronger and compassionate woman than I would have been if I hadn’t had those experiences.

    I’m glad you didn’t mind me sharing all this on your blog; it’s not usual for me to write about personal issues online, but this is an important topic. Women need to understand that they are not as alone as the abusers want them to be, and that hope is always possible when you take your life back.The road may not be clear or certainly not easy, but it’s possible to make your own way. I’m so glad that you are healing and sharing both here and on your food blog!

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    1. changeforbetterme

      Thank you again Gretchen. And thank you for sharing your story as well. It helps show that we aren’t alone and anyone who is going through what we did can reach out and get help. Or just leave, with or without money. No, it’s not easy. But it’s better then staying.

      I am usually a very private person. But I felt compelled to share my story on my blog. It was strange in one way that it was easier to share on here, to people I have never met, then to share with my family. And the reaction has been nothing but positive.

      Anytime you have something to share please do. I am always willing to listen. And it does help to get it out. I know *L is mentally ill but neither him nor his family will ever admit it. Which is sad.

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  3. Your story is so sad, but at least you have peace of mind now. I too had a stalker, I won’t go into any of the details, but wanted to give readers a tip in staying hidden. When I moved to hide from him only three people knew where I was. Two of them had rented the apartment and helped get him out of town so he wouldn’t catch me moving. I only gave friends and relatives my new phone number, no address. It was unlisted so he couldn’t get the address from the phone company, but it only took him three days to find me. My one mistake… I put a change of address in at the post office. He paid $3. and was given my new address. I spend the next 16 years hiding myself and my children, until one night my grandfather received a phone call from the stalker’s sister telling him that my stalker had taken his own life. It had been so long I didn’t know how not to protect my privacy any longer.

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    1. changeforbetterme

      I’m so sorry you and your children had to go through that for so many years. It must have been almost unbearable. My heart goes out to you. I never thought about the change of address! Of course my stalker had other ways of keeping an eye on me. But I bet he found me several times this way! Wow. Once I moved to Canada I never put in a change of address. What ever mail I had went to my mother and she sent it on to me. That might be one reason he hasn’t found me here. Thank you for that tip! And big hugs to you!

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  4. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Release Me | To Breathe is to Write

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