#4 Red Flags
#4 (Warning...some of this may be shocking)
During 1994 and 1995 Craig started trapping cats in cages in our back yard. At first I thought he was taking them to the humane society. He would bait them with tuna, and then they would be gone. One day I found out what was happening to them. He was shooting them. He was trapping the neighborhood cats and killing them. When I found out, I freaked out. I went nuts. I cried, I begged, I yelled. I could not understand how anyone could do such a horrible, horrible thing! He told me they were a threat to our chickens and baby chicks and he had to take care of them. I suggested he could at least take them to the Humane Society... but he said no, they were a public nuisance and had to be taken care of. This man who I had chosen to marry and be the father of my children. This man who was a massage therapist and gave the best massages you could ever ask for. This man who hand fed baby birds through the night to tame them. He was killing my neighbor's pets. Here comes the part that sent shivers down my spine....he said he would look at the cats in the eye first, then say a prayer to each one before he shot it. Like that made it ok. I call this RED FLAG #1
I don’t know how to explain why I kept going, but all I can say is when everything ELSE in your life is going well, you let some things go. I wasn’t about to unravel my whole family because of this. Yes, I was disgusted, saddened, hurt, horrified. But I didn’t leave him over it.
Richard was born in 1996. Before he was born I had another red flag that I “ignored”. My sister Kathy and I had become good friends and we spent a lot of time together. We also spoke on the phone a lot. I had stopped giving massages when I was about 7 months pregnant, as I could barely reach the table. Kathy and I were excited about the new baby coming and did spend a lot of time on the phone chatting excitedly. I was still building my financial services company and kept busy with that too. One day I came home from an appointment and Craig was very angry. He yelled at me about Kathy calling me too much and he was sick of answering the phone every time she called. I told him I was sorry and would ask her to not call the house so much. This wasn’t good enough. He went on and on about it, and if you know anything about personality colors, I am a white. I am motivated by peace. I did everything I could to calm him down, but he ended up breaking the phone on the desk in his temper. So I went to the bedroom to try and get away from him. Craig followed me to the bedroom and by now was yelling so loud I was worried he would wake the boys up. When I asked him to calm down he grabbed me and threw me on the bed and told me not to dare tell him what to do. I was in utter disbelief and crying hard by now. I put my head in my pillow and sobbed. He grabbed my foot and pulled me off the bed and I hit the floor so hard it took my breath out of me. I was seven months pregnant and now was terrified that I might lose our baby with all the physical and emotional trauma. He was still yelling at me and I remember thinking he was going completely overboard with his reaction to my sister calling me too much. (Two years later I found out what was really going on, but for now this is all I knew). At this point I realized I needed to get away from him, so I ran for the front door. When I reached the living room he pushed me into the wall really hard, got really close up into my face and told me not to even think about leaving. His eyes had a look I had never seen before. I didn’t know who this man was, but he wasn’t the man I was married to. The next day things were back to normal, but I called Kathy and asked her to wait for me to call her, as Craig was getting mad at her calling me so much. This hurt us both, but he was my husband and I thought I had to obey him. Richard was born in June and was an awesome little baby. He was very attached to me and would get restless when Craig held him. One day Craig told me he thought Richard knew about the bad fight we had when I was pregnant with him, and that he was probably mad at him. That made me sad to think about. Craig had been very loving, kind and wonderful since that fight. He was so charming and so incredible with the boys. Every day I was more and more in love with him because he really was everything I had ever wanted….except for the part where he became something else. I blamed myself a lot for the fight. Yes, my sister and I did spend a lot of time on the phone to each other and called every time we saw or thought of something else. I didn’t realize it was too much, but after that fight I learned my lesson, and kept my distance with her to keep the peace for my family. My Mom was always worried about Craig controlling me. When we got married she expressed to me that she felt that way. I couldn’t see it at all. All I saw was this man who adored me and gave me everything I wanted. I was physically and emotionally very attracted to him and the last thing I saw was the controlling part, Literally, that was the last thing I saw before he was locked up years later.Craig was still not going to church so I was taking the older boys by myself on Sundays. I had the missionaries come over and teach Doug the lessons he needed, to be baptised. Doug was baptised when he turned 8, but Craig would never allow us to go to church after that. He said it was a crutch for the weak and he didn’t want us getting sucked into it. This was surprising to me as he had not only served a mission, and had been a zone leader while in Washington, but his family had been in the church for 5 generations. I honestly thought he was just going through a phase of being overwhelmed and just needed a break, and then would come to his senses again one day. The next time Craig ever stepped foot into a church building was in 2002 after I separated from him. He then started taking the boys to church and convinced all the neighbors that I was the wild card and that he was the one who always wanted to go to church. He was very convincing, that was one of his stronger attributes for sure.
By now we were exploding out of our 2 bedroom house in WVC and we started looking for a bigger house. Through my business I had met a girl whose name I will change, for whatever reason. I don’t feel I owe her any privacy at this point, but since I have not specifically received her permission I will take the safe route and call her Cindee. Her husband was in the mortgage industry and they helped us find and buy our home in South Jordan. We moved in when Richard was just a few months old. Our new house was a lot bigger and in a great neighborhood and the boys were very excited. Craig had taken care of all the paperwork for buying the house and said he would add me to the title once everything was settled.I was still working as an insurance agent and was gone a lot during the day and some evenings. Craig built a big chicken coop in the back yard (with the boys help) and they loved it! He also grew a big vegetable garden which I loved. Craig never ate vegetables but he loved to grow them. It was hard for me to leave everyday when so much activity was going on at home. I just wanted to be a part of it and be there with all my boys, but I also knew that my business was growing and I had recently been promoted to a Vice President and had my own office of agents. My income was growing and I knew I was doing the right thing for my family by sacrificing time in the beginning to secure our future.Craig was still giving massages and he had also started day trading. He studied online about the stock market and would get up at 430am to be ready when the stock exchange opened. We were doing well financially and one day decided to buy a boat. That boat was my baby. I LOVED it. The smell of it was utter euphoria for me. We would take it out every Wednesday afternoon when the lake was empty, and we taught all the boys to ski. Richard was a bit scared as he was still pretty young so he would sit at my feet under the dashboard, with his head tucked down, and would only come up when we stopped the boat. The boys would all jump off and swim in the lake and then Craig would drive the boat around in circles around them causing a big wake and the boys squealed with delight. They all had their life jackets on, and would encourage Craig to go more, go more! We spent many, many days, weeks, months and years on that boat and it was my favorite thing to do. I learned how to reverse it down the boat ramp like a champion, could drive it and pull skiers, take care of it, and get it back on the trailer at the end of the day. I would clean it the moment we got home, and sometimes I would just go sit in it on the side of the house, just to be in my peaceful place. It really brought me that much joy.
Some days Craig would take our friends out without me. I would be working, so he would just go with Cindee and Mike (the ones who helped us buy the house) and they would spend the day boating.
One day I received a phone call that changed me forever. The news I received hurt me so much that I wanted to drive my car straight into a pole! And the rest of that story is in blog #5
Thanks again for allowing me to share my journey, my path, with you. I have kept some very dark and hurtful secrets for nearly 20 years and now it’s my time to get it out. BUT when you are the one to bring light to the dark secrets of a family, you can be portrayed as the BETRAYER. I hope and pray that my children and Craig’s family all know that I love them more than anything in this world, and even though I am going to be exposing some dark times I experienced with Craig, it by no means changes how I feel about any of them. I think Craig needed mental help that he was too proud to ever admit to, and I believe he was scared of himself at times. I thought my constant love and support would help him, and that he would be able to live a balanced life of love with his family. Most times it was so easy to be with him, but some times were extremely difficult or next to impossible. It was hard for me to determine what was too much. When was I supposed to yell UNCLE? (Hopefully you all know what that means...it is not literal). I did not tell ANYONE about what was going on. No one. I thought it was my problem to sort out and I figured this was my journey. I didn’t know what was too much. But not for long.
Thank you all for the support and encouragement I have received! I have received so many good responses and that is what keeps me going. Keep love in your heart!