I was 44. My husband had passed away 8 years prior, my kids were grown, and I found my teenage crush on Facebook. We had “dated” a little in junior high, and I had always thought about him, because we always had the best time together. Laughing and had the same weird humor. I had just gotten myself a one-bedroom apartment, a car, and I was the healthiest I’d been in my life. Working three 12-hour shifts at a psych hospital, then going to the gym every day, even took up hiking. He and I messaged back and forth for a while. He was divorced grown children except for one that was 16. Seemed like we could pick up right where we left off and I was thrilled! We had dinner one evening and it was like we had never lost touch. We laughed, we talked. It was wonderful. He didn’t love bomb me. If anything, I was the one moving too fast. I didn’t want to lose him again. We did things together, and he was living in a camper since he was a bachelor and worked 12-14 hours a day in construction. He came to my apartment and just kind of stayed, but we were happy. I was so excited to come home and be with him and would get up super early just to spend time with him before we went to work. I did notice a slight obsession that he had with his ex-wife and mother of his children. He told me in the beginning that he would probably always love her, and it hurt to hear that, but I just thought that if we spent quality time together and I could show him what true love is, he would totally fall in love with me. Within a few months, he did tell me that he loved me. After that, things spiraled out of control pretty quickly. It started out with him asking to see my phone once. He was going through my Facebook friends and messages. I felt slightly violated but figured it was a one-time thing to maybe test what he was “getting into”. He then subtly asked me to delete certain males from my Facebook. I was reluctant, but I did that. Then he started saying things like “you’re going to the gym a lot. You know someone there?” So, I just started inviting him to go with me. Then it got more intense. He asked if I was “sneaking men into the tanning bed” and would accuse me of “staring at waiters” when we would go out to dinner. He would swear that I had him blocked from seeing certain things on Facebook. Accuse me of talking to men at night when I couldn’t sleep and would just be scrolling. Accused me of talking to an ex. It became almost a daily thing. Then 6 months into the relationship, he verbally attacked me, calling me a whore and took my phone and combed through it for hours. He then called a work friend of his to pick him up. He stayed out all night and returned in the morning and jumped into my car as I was going to work. He drove erratic at high speeds while screaming at me asking who I was sleeping with or talking to behind his back. When I would say “nobody!” He would hit my head against the passenger window. He pulled over and began strangling me. He did that twice. I was so confused and hurt and terrified. I dialed 911 and threw the phone in the floor but nobody ever came. He told me he hoped I called my kids and told them I loved them because I was going to die that day. I finally told him I called the police and he had me to drive (he had no license due to DUI). I found a convenience store where some guys saw us struggling and grabbed him out of my car and I left him there. Then I became who I swore I never would become. I believed his crying and begging and apologies and that began a cycle of mental and physical abuse that would last nearly 3 years. I stood my ground and refused to allow him to “clone my phone” so he could have full access to my conversations. My children and friends talk to me in confidence, and they have a right to privacy just as I do. I was bullied every day. If I was late coming home from work (it’s a hospital. Report makes you late almost all the time) he would swear I was meeting up with someone. He accused me of every male coworker, every man that ever said “hello” to me. He would even make people up in his head to interrogate me. He would choke me, take both my ears and beat the back of my head against the walls, pin me to the bed or floor, head butt, (he said he never beat me because he never punched me and that I should be grateful to him for that). I would go to work covered in bruises. Sometimes I wouldn’t even make it to work because I had been up all night either getting cussed and bullied and interrogated or beaten for 3-4 hours until he wore himself out. I would urinate on myself during the beatings either from fear, or from being thrown around. He would keep ahold of my phone so I couldn’t get help and he would pin me in the apartment so I couldn’t get out. So many times, I was sure he was going to kill me. There were times I wished he would and get it over with because I was so tired. He held a lit cigarette to my eye because I didn’t know the last name of a co-worker's uncle that she and I gave a ride home to after work one night. Pushed down 14 steps. My throat stayed sore, like swollen glands constantly from where he would grab my throat and squeeze so hard. There are so many other things too numerous to mention. The mental torture he inflicted every single day via messages or face to face tore me down to nothing. I gained a ton of weight because I stopped caring. On August 28th, 2020, I spent the night at my son and daughter in laws house because he had been escalating via messages all evening. He was supposed to be packing his things and leaving. He told me that he was gone from the apartment but that he left the door slightly ajar accidentally and that I better go check on my dog. I got there and he was hiding in my bathroom. I was immediately attacked, and he drew a knife. He slashed my thumb and forearm and threw me around and threatened my life for about 4 hours. Ultimately the police were called, and a warrant was issued. He got 1-3 for pleading down to attempted malicious assault. He’s already been paroled but thank God he hasn’t attempted to contact me. He spread filthy and disgusting lies about me to his adult children and ex-wife, and they believed him. They truly think he was the victim. I never ever thought I would be in an abusive relationship. I was trained for 26 years in behavioral health and intervention. I lost everything. I cannot handle the volatility of a psych unit any longer. I freeze. I missed so much work I’m basically unhireable. I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure due to “prolonged high blood pressure” …: 47 now, living with my mother, unemployed for the first time in 26 years, not even healthy enough physically to do the work I’m qualified and used to doing, and not mentally stable to handle an aggressive patient. I truly got a life sentence for being a victim.