Dear Auntie Esther

Dearest Auntie Esther,

As I’ve come to grips with what happened in my relationship with Richard, it occurred to me that I withdrew from some people (including you) because I was afraid that I would not be believed. Based on everything I knew about Richard from 8 years of friendship would have made it difficult for me to believe he could be capable of such brutality. However – “Richard The Friend” and “Richard the Husband” are two extremely different people.

Towards the end of that relationship, it was a regular thing for him to strangle me. With him being left-handed this left me with permanent nerve damage to the right side of my brachial plexus causing me to loose sensation and grip in my right (dominant) hand and arm. I’m learning to better manage and cope with the help of physical therapy, but there is no cure. For the rest of my life, I will carry the damage of what he did to me within my body.

I also withdrew from some relationships out of fear for my own safety. I did not know who I could trust and who might tell Richard of my whereabouts – even someone inadvertently putting me in danger was not a risk I was willing to take. I know the two of you are still connected via social media. This mistrust deepened when I found a GPS tracker on the underside of my car’s bumper which was not placed there by any legitimate authority. 

However, now that Richard is far away and currently engaged to marry to someone else I am feeling more safe and more comfortable reaching out to those I have dearly missed who likely have no idea what I have survived. Branding, strangulation, and having a gun held to my head are all items on that list of things I have survived and things that Richard is responsible for putting me through. Obviously, I have needed a great deal of therapy to process it all and to now be able to both think and speak of it without having a complete meltdown. 

I hope it is alright that I’ve reached out to you, but if you prefer me to remain a fading memory I can go back to being just that. I hope you and your family are well as I keep you all in my prayers. 

Sincerely,

Jacqueline

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