Posted in Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, Stories of my life, writing

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.

Posted in Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, Stories of my life, Uncategorized, writing

I Was a Stalking Statistic (part 2)

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. Yesterday I wrote part one, today is part 2, the actual stalking years.

It took *L two weeks to find me after I left that July 4th weekend. Terri, my best friend took me in and shared what little she had with me. We would talk for hours every night while her 3 young sons slept. In the mornings she would get her sons off to school and leave for work. I would stay at her place and just sit and think. I tried to figure out what I would do. I literally did not have a dime to my name. No vehicle and no job. I also knew that *L was looking for me. He wouldn’t let me leave so easily. It just wasn’t in his nature.

So for those first 2 weeks I sat and tried to decide what I would do. I talked to my older sister about the possibility of her helping me get back to Wisconsin. I just wasn’t sure if that’s where I wanted to go though. I had been away for a long time. And except for *L, I loved Texas. I had a good friend in Terri and I just wasn’t sure I wanted to leave.

Terri had made it a habit of calling me several times a day. Just to make sure I was ok. One day after worrying and trying to make plans I fell asleep on the couch, I was just so emotionally exhausted. If I hadn’t fallen asleep I probably wouldn’t have made the mistake that I did.

Terri and I had set up a phone code (she lived in rural Texas and at the time did not have caller id). She would call home and hang up after two rings, then immediately call back and that’s when I would know it was safe to answer the phone. We knew *L was calling everyone he could think of trying to find me, so we also knew it was just a matter of time before he would call Terri. Anyway, I was asleep and the phone rang and I answered it without thinking.  I picked up the phone and said hello. There was a short pause and then *L’s voice saying, “I finally found you”. My heart just stopped.

I debated just  a few seconds of just hanging up. But, I knew he would just come over. And that’s one thing I didn’t want to happen! So instead I just said, “I guess you have”. He wanted to drive over and talk to me. I refused. I told him I didn’t want to talk to him. Then he said something that just blew my mind, but I think men like *L just are not wired right. He asked me why I left! He started crying! He begged me to come back. I said no. And that’s when I hung up.

The phone of course started ringing again. But I refused to answer it. At that point I felt nothing but fear. He had found me! I knew *L was going to come over. I knew he just wasn’t going to leave things be. I made sure all the doors were locked, that the windows were closed and locked also. I sat on the couch worried and scared. The phone rang again, but it was Terri’s code so I answered. I told her what had happened and that I was positive *L was coming. She told me not to answer the door and that she would try to come home as soon as she could.

It wasn’t too long before my fears were proven right. *L had come over and was pounding on the door. I yelled at him to go away. He said to open the door and talk to him because he wasn’t leaving. At this point I was just numb. I just wanted things to be over. I didn’t care how they ended. Just wanted the nightmare to end. So I let him in.

He begged me to  come home. He promised me the moon, stars and  sun for good measure. I sat and listened to the lies and told him no. He started getting more upset. I was feeling nothing. It’s kind of odd, feeling nothing. It was like my body was there and I was watching everything from outside my body. It was the strangest thing.

Terri had made it home and convinced *L to leave. He left, but I knew it was just the beginning. I knew he wouldn’t give up. I just didn’t know at the time how far *L would go.

(Jumping forward another couple of weeks.) I was in contact with my mother-in-law. She understood her son more than I realized. She and I talked and I told her I was filing for divorce. She understood why. She really didn’t try to talk me out of it. She just wanted us to continue being friends. That was fine with me. She was a great lady. *L’s parents were so supportive of me that they offered me a place to stay with them till I could get on my feet. They even co-signed for a car so I could find work! It was just too bad that their son was such a douche bag.

I found a job at an Antique Mall, the kind where they rent space out to different vendors, but the sales all went through the store. It was a great place  to work. The boss was good and the other people who I worked with were great! I managed to get a small, cheap apartment in Ft. Worth and was actually beginning to hope things were going to go well.  I hadn’t heard much from Larry for a few months.

stars and splendid antiques malls
stars and splendid antiques malls (Photo credit: starsantiques)

Then he started showing up at my apartment. I would go out to my car to go to work and he would be leaning against it waiting for me. He got so angry one morning because I wouldn’t talk to him that as I was pulling out he kicked the front of my car so hard he dented it! I started worrying again. Started being afraid again.

I started to find notes left on my windshield when I got off work. Now he knew where I worked! The first note said, “I can always find you.”  He started calling me at work. The same M.O as usual with him. I explained to my boss what was going on, and thank goodness she was so understanding. His phone calls at work suddenly stopped though after a couple of weeks. I never really questioned why, I was just so grateful!

I was still finding notes on my car. At work, at home, sometimes even at the grocery store. I knew he was following me some days. But, I was determined to live my life! I wasn’t going to back down! Then, even those started showing up less and less. Oh wow, I really thought he had finally given up. I wish!

I stopped one time at the same grocery store that Larry and I would always use when we were  married. I just happened to be in the neighborhood and stopped for convenience  sake. Not even thinking about it, I went to the same cashier that I used to. She smiled at me and stated she hadn’t seen me in a while. I said yeah, it had been a while. She looked around and said “No husband today?” Nope, I stated, we are divorced now. She looked at me for a second and then smiled really big. She came around the counter and gave me a huge hug! I was taken a bit back. She then told me that every time that Larry and I would come in to shop she felt sorry for me. She said that she could tell Larry was a bully. And then she said something that stuck with me ever since. She hugged me again, and said she always thought that when we came in I had the saddest eyes she had ever seen. But, today my eyes weren’t sad.

Anyway, back to my story.

I found out Larry was shifting gears. He had started calling my mother, my sister, my few friends, even my boss at work! He was telling them that I was sick. That I was having a mental breakdown.  I needed professional help. He was being the caring, loving husband, and wanted only what was best for me! I was delusional. He wanted them to understand that what I told them could not be taken as the truth. I think the only person that he had half way convinced was my mother. But she was always quick to think the worse of me those days.

(Fast forward another couple of months) In the midst of all Larry’s craziness I had managed to meet a wonderful man who I fell in love with. He was smart, funny, cute and believed in me 1000 percent. He knew all the facts about my  marriage and now ex-husband. And he loved me anyway. Bless him. But, that love was going to be tested in the coming months.

One day as I came back to work from a few days off, my boss called me to the office.  She closed the door and told me to sit down. I sat feeling somehow after this talk it was going to turn out to be a really bad day. She then stated that while I was off work my ex came in and rented a space in the Antique Mall. I remember just staring at her!  I couldn’t be hearing right!  She told me that she tried to persuade him to go elsewhere. He told her that the store was in the business to rent space to vendors and to make money. He wanted to rent.  The stuff he was going to sell fit into the mall’s criteria. Legally she had no right to turn him down and he knew it. (He obviously did his homework) Larry stated that if she wouldn’t rent to him that he would call the owners and his lawyer. She rented to him. She really had no  choice. She was telling me  so I wouldn’t be caught by surprise. There was just no getting away from him! I just cried. Then I went back to work. Wondering what Larry had next on his agenda.

What was next was months of psychological torture for me. Larry found me a few days later taking a break in the back of the building. He just wanted to tell me that he was re-married. “Why tell me?” I asked him. He stated he wanted to tell me so I would know that there is no chance of us getting back together. I think my jaw hit the floor! He was nuts!! Then I happened to glance to the side and saw a couple of employees hanging out. Of course they overheard! And of course they were two of the biggest gossips there! Oh hell! Larry knew exactly what he was doing! Damn him!

It was hell those next couple of months. In my few days off I would go and apply for different jobs. I knew there was no way I could continue working where I was. Even though I had received a promotion and more pay. With Larry there is was just too much for me.

What seemed like a godsend  was that my boyfriend had an opportunity to go to school in Waco, Texas. He asked me if I would go with him. I jumped at the chance! I loved him, but in the back of my mind was also the thought that it would distant us from Larry.

English: Aerial view of Downtown Waco, Texas, ...
English: Aerial view of Downtown Waco, Texas, looking east. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My boyfriend was going to go to the technical school there and I would find another job. So that’s what we did. Larry in the meantime was being attentive in his stalking. He even left notes on my boyfriends car!  So we jumped at the chance to move out of Ft. Worth. We didn’t tell anyone where we were moving. I just told those at work that I had found another job. I didn’t even tell my family where I was going. The only person who knew was Terri.

We moved and found an apartment that we shared. I found a job at the Waco Tribune-Herald newspaper. It was a challenging job, but fun. The first month was hectic, but quiet. No Larry. What a relief! That soon ended one afternoon. My boyfriend had gone back to Ft. Worth to visit family. I stayed in Waco. I wanted to get a few things done. I heard a knock on my apartment door. I thought it was the landlady. I was expecting her because I wanted to talk to her about the refrigerator that was not working right. So without thinking I opened the door. And felt my breath leave my body. There was Larry standing in my doorway!

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

***It looks like this is going to be a 3 part series. I’m sorry it’s turning out to be so long. It is a subject that I feel shouldn’t be just glossed over. It touches so many lives.

  • 6 million women and men in the United States are victims of stalking each year (2)
  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed (2) According to this article.

It’s a serious crime, but still most officers can’t do much until something tragic happens. It’s sad and it’s scary. But if I can just touch one person with this story, even to help just one person. Reliving this nightmare is worth it. It is turning out to be an emotional journey back in time. One that I have needed to go down for a while now. Thank you to all who have read my journey thus far. I hope you will join me till the end.

Posted in Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, writing

I Was a Stalking Statistic

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.

My story starts with me moving from Wisconsin to Texas. I was young and naive. My younger brother lived there and convinced me to move down to be with him. Him and I were always close when we were younger and so I went.

Soon after I moved there I met my future stalker. My future husband. My future abuser. And my future ex-husband. They were all the same man. My story starts like a lot of stalker stories. I fell in love. *L, was a sweet talker. One of those big cowboy types. At 6 foot 2 and 250 pounds he was way bigger then my 5 foot, 130 pounds. But, he showered me with attention, compliments and presents.  It was something I wasn’t used to. I didn’t date, I was too busy working and then burying my head in a book. At that time of my life I was terribly shy. So I suppose I was easy pickings for a man like *L.

Marriage
Marriage (Photo credit: Lel4nd)

Soon after, we were planning our wedding. Looking back, boy was I stupid! I saw so many signs that I should have heeded. A few people even tried to talk me out of the marriage. One was *L’s own father! That should have told me something was wrong. But, I was in love for the first time in my life. So I shut the outer and  inner voices off. We got married. And that was the start of my road down to hell.

It started almost from the day after we were married. The controlling, the belittling remarks. The violent outbursts of temper. It was like as soon as we signed those wedding papers he changed. The mask was off. I wasn’t really scared yet. More confused than anything. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Because he told me it was all my fault. I made him lose his temper.

He didn’t hit me. Oh no! That might leave marks that couldn’t be explained. What he would do is crowd me against the wall, yelling in my face with this giant booming voice. Then he would smash his fist through the wall next to my head. We had lots of holes in the walls of our house that I tried to hide with pictures and things on the wall.

There were times I had enough and I would threaten to leave him. Those were the times he would be that sweet, kind, gentle man I knew in the beginning. He would promise not to yell at me anymore. Promise not to use his fists on the walls. Promise me the world. And I, still wanting to believe in him, would take him back.

I had a job when I first met *L. It wasn’t a great job, but it paid the bills. He convinced me to quit. He had a good job that paid well and he promised me he would take care of me. Little did I know at the time it was just another way to control me. After about six months of just being a stay at home wife, I got bored. So I got another job. It didn’t last long. *L would call 10 – 15 times a day to talk to me. It got to the point he would call so often checking up on me that I was told that if *L didn’t stop calling I would have to leave. Well, I told *L this and he exploded! He yelled that it was my fault! That I made him do it because I couldn’t be trusted! Another fist eventually went through the wall next to my head.

I had to leave that job, and a few more through the years. During those years I didn’t notice till it was too late just how isolated I was. *L had been so rude, so obnoxious to my family that they eventually stopped calling me. I had no friends, except for Terri. We pretty much kept our friendship away from *L. Terri hated *L, and always said that I should leave him. Unfortunately, by that time I had been married to *L for more then ten years. And was pretty much convinced I had nowhere to go. I certainly didn’t have any money. He kept control of the finances at all times.

During 13 years of marriage I was not only verbally abused, emotionally stripped. *L also cheated on me numerous times. He would tell me, I forced him to cheat. He stated he cheated because I wasn’t woman enough to keep him home.

I lost 4 babies during those years. I never could carry them past 10 weeks. He constantly threw that up at me also. Telling me, I wasn’t even good enough to have a baby. Secretly I was glad I couldn’t have children. I know it sounds cold and terrible. But, my thoughts were always about what a terrible father, he would have been. I didn’t want any children of mine to be subject to that.

What finally made me leave was he hit me one day after calling me every name in the book. He hit me and when I tried to call my sister for help to finally get away from him he pulled the phone out of the wall and locked me in a bedroom for 3 days. I pretended to comply with his demands on being quiet and not to call family so he would let me out.  But my mind and my heart were finally convinced to leave him for good. I had enough. It happened on a July Fourth weekend. He was out boating with his new girlfriend. I sat at home and just became numb. I called Teri and told her I was packed and ready to leave, could she come get me. She must have broken speeding limits she was over so fast. She took me and my one suitcase to her house and that’s where I stayed for the first 2 weeks after I left.

That was the end of my marriage and the beginning of my stalking nightmare.

*L is just a letter because I hate saying his name. Superstitious maybe, but better safe then sorry.

***I will continue this post tomorrow. That will be about the stalking. Right now I’m emotionally exhausted, but glad I finally got it out.

July
July (Photo credit: kurafire)