To my dearest younger self, who can never let her guard down and be happy: I’msorry.

Let me explain.

When I met Ray I was so impressed by his good looks, his generosity, his charm,his eagerness to see me again, and his entrepreneurial spirit that I overlookedimportant things about him that should have been signs to me that he was not tobe trusted. My friends didn’t, my parents didn’t, but I did.
I’m so very, very sorry that I didn’t keep you safe from harm, when I couldhave had I only been willing to look past my immediate wants and needs.

I was fresh out of college, 22 years old, and had no idea what I wanted to dowith my life. I was lonely and wanted to meet someone special. He owned ahouse, and his own business. I thought this made him stable. I wanted tobelieve that someone who could do those things would be able to take care ofus. He swept me off my feet and I wanted that so badly! All of those romances Iread as a young girl had given me a deep desire for someone who would bestrong and romantic and just dangerous enough to be sexy, and I finally had aman willing to play the part.

I should have known when he “seemed too good to be true” that he probably was.

  • I should have known when he wouldn’t tell me how old he was that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known when he sent two dozen roses to my workplace every day for a week, starting two days after we met that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known when he bought me a leather jacket after knowing each other a week that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have listened to my friends and my family who said “something isn’t right, I don’t trust that guy.”
  • I should have known when he suggested that I move in with him after knowing him for only 3 weeks, that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known when he asked me to help him buy a boat because he had bad credit from something to do with his youth and my credit was good, that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known that when “he” (me) then had to buy a bigger truck to pull the boat that something wasn’t on the up and up.
  • I should have known when we had our first argument and he terrified me by screaming at me that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known when I came by to see him during our falling out and saw that he had another girl there, that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known that when my parents told me if I got back together with him that I couldn’t come back home that something was urgently wrong.
  • I should have known when he told me that he used to be a ‘lock expert’ for the Chicago mafia that maybe he wasn’t kidding, that maybe he had dangerous friends.
  • I should have known when he told me about his psycho ex-girlfriend that was claiming bankruptcy and blaming it on him that maybe she wasn’t psycho.
  • I should have known when I found out that she was accusing him of assault and battery that maybe he was dangerous.
  • I should have known when he flew me off to Mexico for a vacation with him over Thanksgiving after being together for only 3 months that he was trying to isolate me from my family.
  • I should have known when he almost abandoned me in Mexico after we fought because he called me fat that he wasn’t really a very nice guy.
  • I should have known when he started needing Nyquil to fall asleep that he was probably an alcoholic.
  • I should have known that when I started waking up every morning feeling like I had to throw up and getting the dry heaves for weeks on end that my body was telling me to get away from him.
  • I should have known when he came home from his court date after being convicted for assault and battery and he was threatening to call his “buddies” in Chicago to have them put out a hit on her that I could be in danger from this man someday.
  • I should have known when he told me how much he hated women (except me of course) that someday he would hate me.
  • I should have known when he fled California in the truck that I had purchased before his appealĀ  date that I should get out and go to the police.
  • I should have known before I flew to Chicago to spend Christmas with him that flying to see a man running from the law was not a smart move.
  • I should have known that installing a security camera on his front door that could be viewed from his office was going to lead to me hiding him.
  • I should have known when he returned from Chicago that helping to hide him from the law for months on end via hiding him in my trunk every time we left the house was a very bad idea.
  • I should have known when the cops came to the door and asked for him that I should have shown them where he was hiding under the house.
  • I should have known that when he allowed me to be put in danger of being arrested for aiding and abetting a criminal that something needed to change.
  • I should have known after the boat and the truck that when he suggested buying a house in my name, that saying yes could lead to financial ruin.
  • I should have known when I found a picture of a boy that looked just like him and found out he’d been married and divorced and had a son but hadn’t mentioned it in the previous 10 months we’d spent together, that something wasn’t right.
  • I should have known when he began to regularly yell and scream at me, calling me names and accusing me of cheating on him, and doing it where the neighbors could hear us, that he was abusive and crazy.
  • I should have known that when my friends stopped calling and stopped making plans with me that it wasn’t about me, that it was about him.
  • I should have known that when he needed me to account for every minute I wasn’t with him that something was wrong.
  • I should have known when he got caught and thrown in jail that I could leave him. I should have known that it wouldn’t make me a bad person who gives up on people when the going gets rough.
  • I should have known that when he was let out three months later and he was able to get into the house without a key or breaking a window that he wasn’t kidding about growing up in Chicago.
  • I should have known that every time he left the house angry (with and without a gun) was an opportunity for me to leave him, not an occasion for fear.
  • I should have known that when he called me every day for a month on end at my temp job to threaten to kill himself that he was crazy and I should leave, not cry and not panic.
  • I should have known that when I stopped crying and panicking about him suiciding and started telling him to just do it already that it was past time to leave.
  • I should have known that once I left him I would be living a life of fear and made better arrangements for that day.
  • I should NEVER EVER have gotten together with him. All he did was hurt me, and hurt me, and hurt me for three years in a row.
  • And I let him hurt me because I was damaged inside emotionally and I didn’t know yet that I deserved someone better.
  • And because I let him hurt me, I let him hurt you, and I hurt you, and I’m so, so, so, so sorry!!!!! I hope that you can forgive me.
  • I NEED YOU TO BELIEVE THAT JOHN IS NOTHING LIKE RAY. He is not trying to control you. He is not a hurtful person. There is no need to get angry and defensive every time he asks you what you are doing or why you are late, or where you have been. HE’S ONLY CURIOUS! It’s okay for him to want to know those things, and it’s okay to tell him without being spitting angry. He loves me and he loves you and he wants only the best for us. His love comes without conditions, which is more than we can say about our love. Let’s let it slide and stop over-reacting to him.

I am writing this to you with all of my love and a heart filled with sorrow that I ever let anything bad happen to you.
~ Sandi



  • bethanythegreat

    wow. what a tremendous and painful time. i mean, i get super anxious just reading it–i can’t imagine what living it must have been like. all i can say is, wow. and, that i am so happy you have someone like john (and an insightful therapist) who can be alongside you in this courageous journey of healing.

  • Anonymous

    I’m stunned.  I am seriously considering the notion of suggesting to my 11 year old daughter that she read this post.  I hope you can experience a life without regret, that there is some divine and mysterious experience in which you can scorn the regret that you now feel.

  • aledawithwings

    Wow… that’s really intense. I have dated my share of losers but that is really really rough. I hope things are getting better for you in your heart. I know how much help letters to you in your past can be.

  • Antonius_Bloch

    wow, that’s rough. i can’t even imagine going through something like that.

  • Chicken_Pax

    I am so glad that you are here, that you survived. And also that you aren’t a “victim” and aren’t just surviving–though sometimes that is all a person can do–but are struggling for much more. You are facing this stuff and the background stuff of life and childhood that preceding it. You are changing, open to change, and facing the sun. I have never written a letter to my past, and this is encouraging me to try that.God bless you my friend

  • curtin_severn

    fine. you can be my life coach.

  • theotica

    my sister is in an abusive relationship like the above right now. stink. i hope that she will learn to take care of herself.

  • Circus_of_Redemption

    What a difficult “exercise” to go through for yourself but strangely empowering when you see it written down I imagine.You deserve so much better:)

  • scuttlebutt7

    bastard – I’m really glad you’re out of that
    ryc – yeah, I’ve never really wanted kids of my own. I’ve always planned on adopting foster children so I see this as practice for learning to love and care for children that aren’t mine (yet). These are probably the easiest kids I’ll ever care for I’m the oldest of 4 and babysat and worked in my church’s nursery like crazy all through Jr. High & HS and got SO burnt out on kids…I haven’t really even wanted to interact with them until this year (makes me sound like a terrible person). I’m kind of at a different place in my life now and it’s a really good thing for me

  • weedorwildflower

    You survived and you’ve learned from your mistakes. That’s awesome–something you should be proud of.

  • Yohan1969

    What a strong and loving person you have become, some even due to that horrible past.

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