The Conviction of the Stalker

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From the moment John was arrested, I felt like I was vindicated. Through the initial stalking, people did not believe me; the police, hospital, family and friends…treated me like I was the crazy one. Treated me like I asked for it, I may have caused it to happen and held me responsible for becoming a victim. No one asks for domestic violence, no one asks to be terrorized, it’s not a goal people aim for. The vindication was a relief.

He was arrested in June 2001. The prosecuting District Attorney was an amazing woman, the best I can describe her now is like the character Grace Hanadarko from Saving Grace.  She was straight forward, took no shit, had a tough yet beautiful appearance, yet very caring on the inside. I was in good hands. We had to wait for a couple of months for this case to be brought into court, which was scheduled for August 22, 2001.

Right after he was arrested is when my mom, Joan, started to become very ill.  I have written about that time and it was beyond stressful, therefore having this bullshit court hearing piled on top of her dying was a level of trauma I can’t really explain. If you haven’t read about Joan, please go back through my blog, you’ll get a good idea about her. To help explain those 2 months, click on Joan here and you can read about this shitty time with her.

I thought once John was arrested, we would just have to wait for the court hearing, and I was terrified. I had to come face to face with him, I had to tell my side of the story, be cross examined…it caused me high levels of anxiety. I ended up running away from home for a week and stayed at a dude ranch far from home, so I could be “unknown” and feel safe and have no contact with anyone. Upon my return I had a message from the D.A. to call her, she informed me that there had been a development while I was gone.  Apparently a woman (Vera) that used to work at the same hospital as us once before, called the D.A. and told her that I met with her. Vera told her I met her in a park on a specific day, we sat on a park bench and I admitted that I made the whole thing up and that it all was just a huge mistake. Grace gave me the details of the name of the park, the date and time and location of the bench. Grace then said, I know this isn’t true because you were at the dude ranch during this apparent meeting. I was at the dude ranch, 300 miles from my home, so the possibility of this happening was slim to none. Grace knew this and pressured Vera further about the subject. She then let her know what happens to people who interfere with a felony case and how much jail time she would be looking at.  Vera caved immediately and admitted that John put her up to it.

Wow.  This crazy fucker just doesn’t know when to stop. It did however, put a “nail in his conviction” and he was forced to plead guilty. He no longer had any leverage for a trial, hearing, nothing. He lost all credibility in that moment.  Huge relief once again. I still had to go to court for his guilty plea, in 2001 victims didn’t have a lot of protection at hearings, especially because a stalking conviction was so rare and misunderstood about what the victim had gone through. I didn’t really have much time to think about it though, Joan was on her way to dying and I was stretched so far and so thin.  Between the stalker and Joan, I was a mess.  I got fired from my job at the hospital because I couldn’t focus, which was a fucked up blessing in disguise. It allowed me to be home with my son, focus on mom, wait for the hearing and process everything happening.

Joan died August 18, 2001. I was in court August 22, 2001. I faced that slimy son of a bitch 4 days after the death of my mother and I was strong!  Joan was by my side in spirit and she gave me the strength.  I could hear her words “Men are shit sweetheart, fuck him and the horse he rode in on. You can do this.” So I did. I sat there and listened and I waited for the judge to sentence him, but the judge asked John if he had anything to say before he handed him his sentence. John said yes and looked directly at me “I’m sorry for what I have put you and your family through, those weren’t my intentions and I hope you can forgive me.” That motherfucker just couldn’t stop, he had to speak to me one last time, he just had to have “his moment”. Psychopathic piece of shit. My blood boiled. I raised one eyebrow and gave him the death look and responded with “Fuck you”.

The judge handed him his sentence, and this part really just kills me. Because John had no prior history of domestic violence or stalking, a completely clean record; he served no jail time.  He was guilty of a class 5 felony and now a felon, but no jail time. He was entered into a diversion program, something the county had started new, where John would go see a counselor through the court once per week at his cost for the next 3 years. There was a permanent restraining order against him for me, my son, family, work, and home. No restitution paid to me.

In that moment I thought “IT’S OVER!” It is finally over, I can now live freely and not be afraid, I can heal from this and the death of mom and get a new job.  Nothing could have been further from the truth. “It” wasn’t over, I wasn’t free, healing didn’t begin and life just got worse.

No, John didn’t go away, but I have to stop for now.

To be continued….

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Physical & Emotional

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“There are so many secret wounds, so many types of hidden scars. The soul, being stronger than we think, can survive all mutilations and the marks upon it make it perfect and complete.”

This is from the PBS series Call The Midwife Season 6 episode 6. I love this series because of all of the stories of true life. It’s not just in today’s society we see aweful injustices on women. It’s been happening for years, behind closed doors, victims kept silent.

The ending spoken narrative, stuck with me. Something to reflect on.

 

The Final Straw – The Stalkers Arrest

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It is hard to finally write about this series of events; just know my hands are shaking as I type and I had to meditate into a pretty deep calm before writing.  The above photo is the actual mug shot of John.  I’m trying to plow through this event no matter what; I’m determined to get this written out.

After the event at my sister’s house, about a week later, I was able to finally speak with my dad Clint.  Clint owned a motel at this time about 350 miles from me up in the mountains.  Clint was a busy man, so we could go for weeks without speaking.  I called dad to tell him about what had happened at Sis’s house with John.  He listened carefully and asked what he looked like.  After describing John, dad said “Honey I’ve met John”.  At that moment I still remember the feeling of my heart drop into my gut, it was the sickest feeling to date.  I asked him to explain further.  Apparently this fuck-stick drove 350 miles to meet my dad, went to dad’s motel and introduced himself as one of my friends from high school.  He showed up with a snowmobile on the back of his truck, said he was “passing” through and remembered my dad lived there and thought he would stop to say hello and meet my dad.

My dad, being one of the most friendly men I know, invited him in.  Showed him the house, pictures of me and my lifetime on his walls, toured the motel and then invited him to the bar for a drink.  Dad said that John asked questions about me, such as “What was she like as a little girl”, “What were her hobbies”, “How often does she come to visit”, “Is she coming to visit soon”.  Then proceeded to tell my dad what a nice girl I am, what fun I was in high school and how kind I was.  John received more information about me in that short 2 hour period then he had for the past year and a half.  As dad told me all of this, I cried and shook uncontrollably, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  A level of panic struck me that I can’t explain.

This was on a Sunday that I spoke with my dad, so the next morning after a night of restless sleep, I got up and went straight to the county court-house where I obtained the temporary restraining order.  I knew John worked in the basement of the court-house, but I was so scared and so pissed off, I didn’t care.  I went straight to the courtroom where I got the TRO to see the same judge.  I barreled into the court room and stood at the front seating area and stared at the judge with tears in my eyes just shaking.  The judge looked at me, cocked his head sideways and put his hand up to the attorney who was presenting and asked him to stop speaking.  The judge said “I remember you, you have a TRO on a man who works in our building correct?”  I replied “Yes sir, and I need help now!”  The judge ordered a temporary recess and asked the bailiff to escort me to the judges chambers, I sat down and he asked what was happening.  I told him everything that had transpired from the moment the TRO took place and how scared I was and how the local city police were just blowing me off.  He got on his phone and asked for a sheriff to come to his chambers.  Then called the local city police Chief and told him what had been happening.  After the sheriff arrived, the judge explained that the sheriff would be driving me to the police department and that I would be meeting with the chief of police and their lead detective.  That I needed to stop at my house on the way there and pick up any evidence, basically all of the letters, video’s and gifts.

I had no problem with that, I couldn’t believe it!  For the next 5 hours I spent telling the story in detail and provided the evidence.  The detective and Chief told me that I was dealing with the “Poster child” of stalkers.  That they would be charging him with a Class 5 felony of stalking and harassment.  That it typically was a Class 6, but because he used the Government Postal Service to harass me, it was considered a stronger felony.  They were going to head out to the court-house and have him arrested immediately.  Yet to understand that he’d most likely make bail and only stay one night in jail.  Then the detective advised me to buy a gun, that once again I was only protected by a piece of paper.  They advised me to have a safe person I could call every morning on my way to work of when I was leaving and then when I arrived.  To do the same when returning home.  That my safe person needed to know my whereabouts at all times and if I didn’t check in on the set schedule we agreed to, my safe person was to call the detective immediately.  They increased the police presence on my street in addition.  After receiving a great deal of apologies from the detective and the Chief for their officers failure to comprehend what was actually happening, I had a sense of relief, yet more fear.  Retaliation was eminent, and I had to be prepared.

Upon leaving the police department I went straight to a local gun shop and started my purchase of a hand gun that would be easy for me to use and carry.  Nickle plated snub nose .38 special to be exact.  I’m no stranger to guns, I was shooting them by the time I was six years old with my dad on the ranch.  His name in this story is Clint for a reason, and where I live we have the “Make my day” law.  I signed up for classes to get comfortable with my new shooter.

This was the starting point of a whole new level of fear, I chose Kojak to be my safe person and I now had to wait for the next steps.  That evening the detective called me at home and let me know they had John in custody and that he would be spending the night in jail until his arraignment the next morning.  That John was an arrogant ass during his interview process, John labeled the judge and said the judge was a complete asshole and emphatic that he had done nothing wrong to me. Then the JUDGE called me that night and was extremely kind and reassured me, he also told me to know that he did not believe in any coincidences, that if I happen to “run into” John at the store or gas station, that I needed to call the police immediately.  He said “This guy is on my radar, and I will make his life a living hell here at the court-house if I hear he violates the permanent restraining order that will be placed on him tomorrow at his arraignment”.  DAMN! Vindication!

I had a new level of fear AND I was pissed off even more.  Not at the police, but at John.  My old fear turned into anger and I actually prayed I would run into him “coincidentally” so I could shoot him in the face.  Fear and anger combined equals SURVIVAL!  As I write this 16 years later, I still have that same feeling.  I have a conceal carry permit and I swear IF I ran into John again, I will blow his face off.

That night knowing he was behind bars, I slept soundly and deeply.  But that was only for one night.

To be continued…..

Katy…the Rough Draft (Part I)

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I believe all masterpieces were created through several rough drafts. A masterpiece comes in many different forms and mediums. Such as oil vs. watercolor, Broadway play vs. film, novel vs. television and food vs. food.

I believe both of my son’s are masterpieces, each unique and beautiful in their own way.

There are flaws in a masterpiece, but only the artist knows of them all. What we see as a possible flaw could have been meant to happen by the artist; therefore I feel critic’s are a waste of space and time. A masterpiece is in the eye of the beholder.

I also believe that God created us each unique and each a masterpiece per His great design.

I also believe that a masterpiece evolves and can continuously be altered, added to or adjusted. For example, Oscar-Claude Monet didn’t conduct just one painting titled Water Lilies. Monet painted over 30 variations, presumably to create each very distinctly, yet with just enough difference you can tell them apart. At least to the trained eye you can identify them.

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What I love about his work are the combinations of color, chaos, free-flowing brush strokes and depth. This is how I feel God created me. I have various colors I portray, I’m not typically just a sterile white, I have several colorful moods I vacillate through. I am not a super intense person about most things, I’m free-flowing and laid back.  There’s a depth to me most will never see on the surface. My mind is in such chaos at times I feel like a tornado sucking up everything in its path.

To know this piece of work, you need to take the time to get to know me. By this time in my life per the blog, I am about 22 years old. I have many appreciations and gifts for who I am and what I have.

Physically I no longer looked like I was 14. I actually started looking more like a woman with curves. Still slender, brown hair, big green eyes, classy dress for work and play.

For employment I was in a career by my own doing, starting off as a receptionist and working my way up in a financial analyst industry. Which is funny to me now, especially since I failed geometry and had to take math for dummies to make up the credit.  Watching my mother and father, who were both professionals, I watched them and absorbed their mannerisms.  I was excellent at customer service and making clients feel important. I cared for them like I’d know them for years. I was well-known for what I did and I loved it.

My domain was perfect and living on my own was liberating, in a little “matchbox” sized house I rented. I’d decorate it from garage sale finds. Heck at Christmas it was decked out, but I don’t think I ever invited anyone over to see it or visit. It was mine and I was “playing” house.

Financially I was able to buy my first new car on my own.  Little red semi sports car. I was so proud of it. I wasn’t a frivolous spender, I watched my money closely. Very responsible.

Relationships were few and far between. I had a couple that were very serious and would have gone somewhere. Yet one had cheated on me,  which ruined the trust factor and reminded me of my father. The other was emotionally destructive, couple bouts of violence and I was done.  I wasn’t sleeping around and just enjoyed life.

My family at this point was scattered. I tried to build a relationship with Joan, it was important to me, maybe hoping she would see how well I was doing on my own. Hoping she would be proud of me..looking for the nod of acceptance. Clint was still in California and we spoke every few weeks. Our closeness went away, his wife basically shamed him when talking to me. Sis moved to California to live with our Father and start over. I guess when I look back, Joan wanted me around more after Sis left.

Spiritually I believed in God and Jesus Christ as my savior. I was baptized non-denominational at age 5. Yet we never went to church, not even on Christmas Eve or Easter. I longed to understand more about the bible. I tried reading it, I didn’t understand it. I’d go to church with my paternal grandmother, it was a Baptist church, I felt like a big piece of sin when I left. I never went back. I’d have moments of feeling lost and unattached, I’d drive up the mountain and go to the beautiful church I was baptized at and just sit.  I felt so safe there. I’d cry. Pray and talk to God and then go home, never to return until that feeling of emptiness came back.

Deep down I was confident in what I knew and I portrayed that confidence in all that I did and how I looked. I was tender-hearted and clearly a caregiver at heart, I helped anyone I could with anything they needed. I was hungry for life and to learn more. I could analyze any situation rather quickly. I thought I wanted to be a career woman with a lot of options to go anywhere anytime. Yet I yearned to be married, to be with a man who would love me unconditionally and take care of me, have babies with. Make a life of longterm, one of which I never had as a child.

This is who I was as a young adult from the foundation laid out for me. Damn if I could go back to when I was 11 with the knowledge I had at this point, was a lot of the thoughts I had during this time.

Naive little piggy.

Ephesians 2:10 NLT

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

 

The Mask of the Wolf and the Sheep

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A wolf in sheep’s clothing has been a parable used for centuries.  Except the poor wolf has been labeled as an angry beast and only out for blood, meanwhile the sheep is innocent and prey to the wolf. Both used to describe humans as either predator or prey, the emotionally angry beast could cover up his gnashing teeth with a mask of emotionally lacking sweet innocence.  Is this where we humans learned to cover up our emotions with the proverbial mask?

Did you know that both of these creatures from God represent all of our emotions? Take a look at this wheel of emotions, the center emotions are our core base emotions. Moving outward are the next phase emotions generating from one of the core emotions.

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Wolves have our similar core emotions as humans, they don’t show all of it on their faces, but they do with body language and vocally without words.

Sheep also have our similar core emotions, again based on their physical and vocal actions.

So why does the wolf have to be the bad guy in this? He’s the predator plain and simple. Raw end of the stick I’d say!

The “bad guy” is the expectation that we must cover our true identity with a mask.

  • “Never let them see you cry”
  • “You have no right to be angry”
  • “What are you so scared of you pussy”
  • “You know you look stupid”
  • “What are you so happy about”
  • “Don’t just stand there”
  • “Look how you made me feel”
  • “I don’t understand you or where you’re coming from”
  • “Wipe that look off your face”
  • “Keep your chin up”
  • “You have to stay strong”
  • “You’re being dramatic”
  • “Your feelings aren’t fair to me”

Each of these common statements inflict shame, embarrassment, condemnation and conditional love. None of us want to feel this way, so we “put on a happy face” our mask, disconnect from our feelings and become someone we’re not.

Maybe this is why I loved Halloween for so many years, I could dress up and be and act the part of my costume. Freedom for one night of the year.

I took my mask off 16 years ago when the Matriarch of our family died. I was no longer ruled over by her, I didn’t have to please her any longer. I got to confront her destruction head on and find the lost little girl who was never good enough. I cried for the first time in front of my psychologist of 6 years!  I found my angry voice and let people have it who’ve hurt me. I was like a shaken can of soda opened for the first time, I exploded in emotions.

Ironically at this time a homeless wolf hybrid showed up at my house.  While most were afraid of her, I saw her pain in needing love. I took her in, I loved her, fed her, bathed her, took her to the veterinarian and gave her a home. She in turn protected me, saved me, comforted me and loved me unconditionally.  This emotionally connected creature was a gift to me from God.

The sheep in all of these parables, is the mask. The mask of being stifled. Such an interesting word to describe “the sacrificial sheep”.

stifle [ stahy-fuhl ]

Definition: prevent, restrain

Synonyms: asphyxiate, black out, bring to screeching halt, burke, check, choke, choke back, clam up, clamp down, constipate, cork, cover up, crack down, curb, dry up, extinguish, gag, hold it down, hush, hush up, kill, muffle, muzzle, put the lid on, repress, shut up, silence, sit on, smother, spike, squash, squelch, stagnate, stop, strangle, stultify, suffocate, suppress, torpedo, trammel.

 

I will no longer be insignificant in regards to my feelings.  This doesn’t mean some of my feelings don’t scare me. I do know for many getting into touch with real feelings is beyond painful and more than they can handle. Doesn’t make them weak.  I’ve always liked the song Bridge Over Troubled Waters, because the bridge is much like the mask, protecting you from unforeseen trouble.  That water represents so much in our lives. Crossing that water without the bridge is going to be very difficult, scary, unforgiving, you’ll get pulled under, swallow water, have stinging pain from the cold, you’ll trip, question yourself and your sanity. Yet after you get to the shore and crawl to higher safe ground, you’ll be physically and emotionally wiped out. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and relief you made it through all of it.  Then after you practice crossing the troubled waters more and more, you’ll learn how to survive the trek across again and again. Make sure though before you take this adventure with another person, you know this person is safe and won’t attempt to stifle you. I believe you know what I mean.

The stifling pig in my life has been sacrificed and my emotions and feelings are my own..my very own and no one can take them away from me again.

Insignificant Pig

 

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After daddy left I was the proverbial red-headed step child of my home.  During this time I watched a movie on HBO titled “Mommy Dearest” and became obsessed with wanting to understand more.  This movie is why my mother’ name used in my blog is Joan. Joan Crawford, movie star, classic narcissist, center of attention, gas lighting, mental & physical abuse, alcoholic, insecure, many men in her life, required the best of the best of everything, unrealistic expectations of others, always looked glamorous and had the facade mastered to boot. This was my mother, except for the movie star part.  Everyone loved my mom, her facade was unbreakable.
I was mothers proverbial punching bag.  I look just like my dad Clint, spitting image. I do things like him, we have similar hobbies and interests and mannerisms.  I was told daily in a condescending tone “You’re just like your father”.  Which was basically telling me or as I heard it “I hate you, you disgust me, you’re not good enough, change who you are, get out of my sight, don’t look at me that way, you disappoint me”.  Fantastic words for a preteen girl trying to find herself and her place in this world.

 

Along with this was also the deep pain of abandonment I felt when daddy moved out. He left me with her. Joan’s right, I’m not good enough or even a good girl, because maybe he would have stayed with me or took me with him. Why did he leave me with her?  I wasn’t mad at him though, just sad and hurt and scared.
I was insignificant.  How does a preteen get approval?  What’s society teaching her?  Who and what does she turn to?
First, she over compensates for approval from everyone.  She becomes friends with EVERYONE.  Jocks, stoners, geeks, pre-madonas and outcasts. I loved the movie Breakfast Club because they were all of my friends. I wish they casted a character like me because I know I’m not the only person whose life was like this.  The mommy issues I had made me afraid of women and the positive mom influences in my life were too hard to be around. I was jealous of my friends who had mom’s that cared, mom’s I wanted to have.  Which caused me to be leery of all girls or women, mom always said to “never trust another woman”.  Did she know something I didn’t and am I supposed to follow her words?  Maybe if I follow her words she’ll approve of me.  She trusted men, except for my dad, so she had plenty of male friends.
Daddy issues were abandonment and if I was better he’d approve of me and ask me to live with him.  Okay so how do I get men or boys to like me or approve of me, what do they want? So I followed mom’s lead; I dressed proactively, flirted, hung out with them, fawned over them, and tried to date as many as I could. This was all before the age of 15.  I drank with them, smoked weed, made out and became like a groupy.  They loved having me around and that’s where I got my start of feeling accepted and approved of. I felt significant and needed.
This was the beginning path of many of my traumas in life. I mastered this behavior, but the older I got the more they wanted from me.  It scared me, but the curiosity of having acceptance became my demise.
It became my pig.

White Knuckling the Suck

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Have you ever had to drive in a storm or situation that scared you so much, you grasped the steering wheel so tight your knuckles turned white?
After driving through a gnarly blizzard up the mountain to a church event, I realized how white my knuckles were. Which seriously surprised me, as I have been driving for a few decades in this type of weather. In fact, I am an excellent driver in snow and have a four-wheel drive. But this current situation caught me off guard and made me question…why?
To be honest with you, I’m afraid to die, it’s that simple. Not because I think I’m going to hell or hades, I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I’ll be with Him. I just can’t bear the thought of leaving my toddler, my 21-year-old nor my husband. I know in heaven I will be forever happy spending eternity with my one true Father. My fear-is how will my family survive without me? Not because I’m a perfect being and the be all end all, but it’s how I’d feel losing any of them.
My little guy, Calvin, would be lost without me. I am his everything. I can’t pee alone EVER, because he fears losing me. If I am out and about for more than five hours, he’ll be glued to me for 2 days straight.
I also have agoraphobia, I fear going places. I fear running into the stalker, the DV nightmare or being at the right place at the wrong time; like the Aurora Theatre massacre.
“What if” scenarios can play out in my head ALL day. I have no control over them at times. I simply panic and that panic takes over me and paralyzes me.
I’ve recently been white knuckling everything in front of me. Such as the drive up the mountain, leaving my little guy for a couple of nights for the first time, going to an event with well over 500 people and stepping up and “going first”. Paralyzing fear which results in and pounding heart, increased heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, abdominal pain, tears, confusion and thirst.
This white knuckling is not to be confused with nor compared to “white knuckling addiction”. THAT is a whole other topic of blogging I will get to. That type of white knuckling will get you into trouble one way or another.
White knuckling the suck is courageous, heroic, adventuresome and horrifying. It’s taking on your fear, giving fear the middle finger and turning your back on it. However, know that after being so extremely brave, you might transgress a bit. The shock of your courage might keep you hulled up for a bit afterwards, DO NOT LET THAT UPSET YOU!
My psychologist gave me a tip recently on when my panic or anxiety steps up to the plate to jack with me. I have a 5×5 box with a lid, little note pad and pen; whenever I have to or want to go somewhere, yet fear is trying to stop me I write my fear down. Then I put it in the box put the lid on it and say to it “I’ll deal with you later”. Simple. It’s not the perfect antidote and doesn’t always work, but it’s helped me through small steps.
Each small step I take is celebrated. I shake in my shoes afterwards, trembling a bit. Yet I bring myself back and this huge accomplishment, even if it was to simply walk down the front walk to the mailbox.
This “suck” is growth, don’t minimize you’re accomplishment. Be proud of yourself, stop shaming or doubting yourself. Sometimes just getting out of my bed is a huge accomplishment.

 

We CPTSD-ers are a continuous work in progress, we are forever unique; even if we feel like lipstick on a pig.