In March of 2018, I learned some real truths about the character of a man who I had brought into my kids and my life. A man who I knew wasn’t quite right, who I knew was abusive and led me to believe that I was losing my mind anytime I tried to speak up about this emotional abuse and toxic treatment.
When in fact, he was just a master manipulator and knew how to tell a good story to get people to see things his way. He crossed the line many times, but this particular time, he crossed the line in an illegal way that left me unsettled for months.
I shared one side of the relationship online because behind the scenes got far too scary for me if I didn’t make things look all “happy”. As with every abusive relationship, there were good moments for sure, but those good moments do not add up when placed next to the toxic and abusive treatment we dealt with behind the scenes.
I learned a hard, hard lesson about standing firm on my beliefs and never allowing someone else to live life FOR ME.
A Tiny Synopsis of the Back Story
I had been asking for the separation of this relationship for a long time, I even had gone to look at a rental home that sadly had a drug bust in recent months so it wasn’t a good choice for the kids and me. I don’t have any kids with this man, so it should have been easy to dissolve this relationship, but nope, that’s not how toxic relationships work.
I could have stood more firm, but he had me so brainwashed and wiped out that I lost my self-confidence, my strength and pretty much anything I had going into the relationship a couple years prior.
We had built a bunch of websites together that were earning some decent money, but no contract was written up. I tried so many times to discuss how we would share the sites, but all of my damn ideas were tossed aside, as usual in this relationship. Whenever I discussed my feelings or tried to discuss things reasonably he would shut down the sites so that customers were messaging me wondering why they were down, he would yell at me, he would beg and plead that HE LOVED ME and this was LOVE, but it wasn’t love to me.
It was abuse.
It was gaslighting.
It was twisting storylines to make me look crazy and him the Saint. He once slept in the garage for 3 nights and when inside the home during the day he wouldn’t speak to the kids or me, at all. He did this a few times during the relationship to get me to “hear what he had to say”.
The list of things he did to “get me back under control” and to stay could go on forever, but I am choosing to give a tiny synopsis because this isn’t about all of that past drama. This is about something else.
I had to walk away. I had to get away. Somehow. That’s all I knew. I was tired of crying all of the time and not being able to have a reasonable conversation with a grown adult about how we could no longer reside together, it was absolutely unhealthy and I needed to protect my children as well as myself.
My relationship with my kids was strained during this time and it sucked. SO much was strained, and it sucked. I spent hours crying to friends and family. They all saw the emotional abuse and knew I had to leave, finally, I was told that I’m not an excuse maker, never have been so what the hell am I doing?! That wasn’t that long before this happened …
Invasion of Privacy
The correct term is something along the lines of willful interception of oral communication and invasion of privacy. Those two things are something I never, ever dreamed would be a part of my life. I had my privacy invaded.
My kids had their privacy invaded.
All for what?
Who knows exactly but the excuse given at the time had to do with jealous thoughts. I had a feeling that this man was recording me, I couldn’t figure out where in the home the device was or how he was doing it, but since he’d told me he had done this to women before, I knew based on how he was being “so calm” and saying things that were NEVER said when he was in that home, like citing that I was looking to get a home loan with a specific lender.
I had learned to be VERY cautious of what was said when he was inside the home because he was always lurking listening to us. I know for a fact that this conversation did not happen when he was even at the house, yet he knew about it. That was one key that told me he was recording me, but he wouldn’t confess that to me.
I had been told so many times that my intuition was wrong, and crazy and just emotional. BUT this proves my intuition KNEW what this man was up to. My intuition isn’t stupid, it was his gaslighting that made me second guess my own gut instincts time and time again.
One day, after trying again to get him to realize we needed to discuss how to handle the websites and he had to leave because clearly, I couldn’t get into another home at this time with three kids and a dog. He was one man and a dog. To me, that was the obvious choice, but I really didn’t care who stayed or not, one of us had to go.
I tried to find a place and just couldn’t so I was frustrated for sure that he wouldn’t work this out like two grown-ass adults. He left upset as usual because I was being “stubborn” as he liked to say whenever I reminded him that this relationship was not healthy and we had to move on in separate homes.
I took a hot shower because I was so tense from the conversation and the pain of once again trying to get him to be a reasonable adult. That’s when I found an audio recording device in the shower. I instantly froze. I remember thinking OMG, is this thing ON? I picked it up and sure enough, it was recording and had been for quite some time.
I instantly put the device back where I found it, I got out of the shower, dressed, and called the police. From there the State of NH took it over and I got a restraining order.
He was removed from the home a handful of days later when a judge granted me the restraining order. His name was Michael Fuqua or perhaps you may have known or know him as Mike Fuqua.
Again, there is more in-between stuff here, but this is not about all of the ups and downs from an abusive relationship. I know what I lived. I know what the kids lived. I know what other people messaged me anonymously throughout the years about this man who did similar stuff to them, so I know what other women lived when they had this man in their life. What matters now is that I know we’re safe. That’s what matters most.
Fast forward to January 9, 2019 …
90 days. That’s the time that this man is currently serving for invasion of privacy, a felony level crime. 90 days.
I was anxious for two weeks leading up to this particular date. I didn’t know how it was going to go, and I had no idea if this date would mean a future trial or if they would come to a plea agreement. I didn’t want to go to trial, I wanted this chapter to be OVER with. I had already taken the time to get over the anger and hurt from this crime.
I had taken time without my kids, as I had to choose to live without them for almost 3 months. I had already found a new home for my kids and me where he could no longer stalk the home. Yes, he was stalking the prior home even after a restraining order. I’ll dive more on how restraining orders kind of suck but are still good to have, on another day.
I had moved forward in so many ways that make me feel complete and confident. I struggle with some areas still, and perhaps I will for a long time now, I mean, this is a serious matter, years of mental abuse doesn’t go away quickly but I know that it’s going away quicker than I thought it would.
My passion for life has come back and I have new goals. I didn’t want to have to relive this day on a stand at a trial as a “victim”, for one I hate the word victim, and for two, I hate public speaking. I was anxious about the idea of having to relive moment by moment of this incident that happened almost a year ago, as the trial would have been set in February of 2019. I wanted this door to be shut completely. I wanted this man to have a consequence for his crime.
That’s all I wanted. Justice for a man who committed a crime against me. Period.
A plea deal had been agreed upon prior to January 9, 2019, from what I was told and this date became sentencing day. I sent in my victim impact statement, as I couldn’t fathom the idea of standing in that courtroom. The judge heard my statement and whatever else he had to hear on sentencing day and decided what he felt justice was.
90 days served behind bars with probation, a 3-year no-contact for my kids and me, and other terms are what this judge ordered. I feel that justice was served on this day in January 2019, and now I feel a sigh of relief that I can move on with my life even more so than I have already done.
Yes, I know he may read this.
I know he may still stalk me online.
I know that it will be difficult to prove stalking, so I just can’t even deal with it.
I made a commitment to myself to LIVE LIFE. Period.
I’m not interested in anything now except personal growth. That’s what I am going to do … learn, live and love life again
Brandy Ellen has been a blogger since 2008 and enjoys spending her free time with her family and making the most out of every moment she has. Brandy enjoys sharing personal stories, tips, and other advice based on real-life & work from home experiences to help others live a fulfilling life.