Survivor 22 of #31Survivors Domestic Violence Series - Keyonna Wallace - The Prince Charming Effect

When Keyonna Wallace met her husband, he was the perfect gentleman. He wined and dined her, giving a whole new meaning to chivalry. His love for her became the embodiment of what it meant to fall in love at first sight.

I began dating this guy that I truly thought was a prince charming. He had an amazing relationship with his mother and he would always do random acts of kindness for those around him. If he saw his neighbors grass needed to be cut, he was the guy to go out and cut it. He was the guy that would stop if he saw someone on the side of the road in need of help. He was what you would consider an all-around good guy.

As time passed, the prince charming effect wore off. The thoughtful surprised dates and spontaneous, adventurous getaways became few and far between. As the love potion weakened, Keyonna began to see his true colors.

One day I saw a different side of this “prince charming.” He became very jealous of EVERYTHING! If someone walked up to my desk to ask me a question while I was on the phone with him he'd ask 100 questions about this person and why they had to ask ME the question. If I wanted to hang out with friends or family, he conveniently had something else planned. I couldn’t please him with any answer besides ditching all of my friends for him.

He'd completely changed. His obsessive love for her grew with each passing day. She was fed up.

When I became very uncomfortable with these actions, I made my first attempt to leave. It was a failed attempt because the very next day he called me to come by his job so he could tell me something “very important.” It was when he first told me how he broke into my house to break an anniversary gift I had for my parents sitting on the table. I knew that he wasn’t telling a lie about this because there was no way he would have known the gift was there. He begged me to keep it to myself and promised that he would never do anything like that again if I gave him another chance. At this point I was afraid…very afraid! I told him I would give him another chance because at this point I wasn’t sure what his next move would be. I made a second and third and fourth attempt to leave but every time his actions got worse. He seemed to be extremely crazy after I attempt to leave. Nothing stopped him from breaking in my house or just jumping out on me. All I could think was, “if I don’t stay with this man he might try to kill me. He is absolutely obsessed with me.”

She stayed, hoping that it would let him know she was in it for the long haul and that he'd change because of it.

I decided to marry him because in my mind I thought that if he knew I wouldn’t leave him he would change and not be so obsessive. It only got worse! I found out I was pregnant shortly after we were married and throughout the entire pregnancy, he told me my daughter wasn’t his and he was getting a DNA test as soon as she was born. It was also when I was 9 months pregnant that he made his first attempt at hitting me. He raised his hand and before I could blink he was on the ground. It seemed like a split second. All I remember was opening my eyes and him looking at me telling me that I was a “crazy b****.” I told him that if he ever attempted to hurt me or my child again that I would kill him. When I had my daughter, it all became clear to me. If I didn’t leave him, my daughter may suffer. I knew that I needed to protect her at all costs. I just didn’t know how to leave safely. I knew that he wouldn’t let me leave without a fight and that if I did leave, he was not going to let me walk out with my daughter.

Keyonna prayed for an exit strategy. Another year later, God gave her one but it would cost her the one thing that allowed her husband to continue mental and emotional abuse - her daughter.

About a year more of the verbal, emotional, and mental abuse and God gave me my escape route. He was given a job where he had to leave for training and the very next day that he left I moved in with my parents and I vowed to NEVER go back. When he returned he took my daughter and would not let me see her. Because he didn’t flee the state, there was nothing I could do but wait until the divorce hearing. Months went by and he would dictate when I could get my daughter. He was let go from this job shortly after his return from training so he had nothing but time. I would call the daycare to find out if my daughter was there so I could get her but I could never beat him to pick her up due to my duty hours at work. It was a very stressful time where all I did was cry! I mean every single day I cried uncontrollably. It was the worst! Even though he put me through hell, I still agreed to 50/50 custody because I thought it was the right thing to do. I never wanted to be that woman that keeps their child from their father. I never wanted to take away from him a right that he should have as a father. I didn’t want anything from him besides him being involved in his daughter’s life.

To this day, he still attempts to control me through her. My daughter doesn’t like her dad at all. She says, “Mommy I love my dad because he is my dad, but I don’t like him at all. He is a very mean man and he needs to go to church to get God in his life.” I never say anything bad about him to her and I make her keep her relationship with him because I never want anyone to say that it was my fault that he had a bad relationship with his daughter. I don’t want to be a factor in how she chooses to associate with him later in life.

I believe the best thing I could have done for me and my daughter's future was to leave, ensuring that I continued to do the right thing in the eyes of God and no one else. It is because of my obedience that I was able to flee a bad relationship and allow God to shape my heart for the future. I am remarried and I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. It is because of this true happiness that I can be the person God has called me to be. I am blessed. I am loved. I am a survivor.