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Travel the path from illness to wellness with Awareness Journey. Grab your copy now!

Francesca Villardi Treadmill Treats



Francesca Villardi Treadmill Treats


In the beginning

In the beginning

4 mins

In the beginning he was a different man

I sometimes wonder if I don't really speak much about the beginning of my abusive marriage. If you've been in an abusive relationship you know all too well that it doesn't start that way. Come on do you really think if someone starts off being a dick to you, you would stay? Of course not, you have nothing invested, so you would run. 

Abusers know this as well, so they start off on their best behaviors just as mine did. He will make you think you're the only woman in the world. He wined and dined me, he treated me like gold, bought me thoughtful gifts, flowers and jewelry. He loved bombed me until I fell and I fell hard. Yes, in the beginning he swept me off my feet, I felt like I was the luckiest woman in the world. I was so in love that I sold my business, rented out my home and gave my dog to my mother and moved 1500 miles away to be with this amazing man.

Did we have good times? Of course we did, incredible times, I felt like I won the man lottery. He was all I dreamed about, the perfect husband and father material and he had dreams and goals, and was a hard worker bonus!

I could picture a life, building and working towards our dreams together. We enjoyed the same things, fishing, the outdoors, shooting pool, it was as God made him perfect for me.

Again in case you don't know, abusers don't show you their dark side until they know they have your reeled in...hook, line and sinker. They have to make sure you're in deep, that you are truly in love first before they start their manipulation.

And this love story was no different. About a month after I moved away from all of my family and friends, it started with a big red flag. A "we have to talk" moment after a long day at work.

He informed me that the only two friends I had down here, he didn't like. And I needed to choose them or him and yes, he was dead serious. 

My one friend was my friend since we were 6 years old, but because she slept around in and after high school he didn't want me hanging out with whores. 

Who didn't sleep around in the 80s? Seriously? But yes he was. My second friend, I've known since we were 12. He's been my best friend since then but because he's gay and he didn't like "those types of people" he had to go too.

Yes, the only 2 people I knew here had to go to please him, and guess what I did. I cut them off, stopped taking their phone calls and everything because I was so in love. 

Yes, this was a huge red flag and so many of us get them but we poo-poo them away. I was thinking how could I go home with my tail between my legs? I sold my business, rented out my home so I go back like oops I made a mistake, he wasn't prince charming after all and what? Live in my mother's basement? No, I had a big ego. I said he loves me. That's why he's doing it (repeating what he said to me) if I loved him I would want to make him happy, wouldn't I? 

We all have the excuses we tell ourselves to justify the red flags but they are still there and will get worse, trust me when I tell you that. I am telling you this because so many people ask how do you get with a abusiver? They say didn't you see it? No, because in the beginning, they were all you dreamt about, that perfect man you fell madly in love with. You were blindsided first with love then with the abuse.

So today my friends, I'm begging you to look out for the red flags, they are always there. Little things they say or do. Keep your eyes open for things that aren't right, that you can't put your finger on, that don't sit right with you, these are all signs. And even if you fall in love when that dark side comes out, get outta there because it won't get any better but it will get a whole lotta worse.

There is so much help out there today, women's groups, shelters, Facebook groups, and of course I am always here to lend a helping hand. But please, please see the signs before it's too late because I understand all too well that in the beginning he's a different man.

"Be the change you want to see"


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