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The Crying of Gabby Petito

Hi Chump Lady,

I don’t have a specific question and the Gabby Petito murder may or may not have anything to do with infidelity but……

Have you seen the video of the police interview of her and her fiancé? The one where several white male police officers determined she was having a “mental health crisis” and gave Brian a hotel room and let her sleep in the van and worry about having to drive it alone? Because she was crying a little after he LOCKED HER OUT of her home and only ride out of the wilderness?

I’m so mad! She was having a mental health crisis? Or was she reacting to his stonewalling (at best) and gaslighting (probable)? This is the patriarchal narrative bs that allows women to get murdered by their partners, causes chumps to get blamed for cheating and causes society to look the other way and mutter in secret “who knows, she may be a lot harder to live with than anyone knows.”

Every police department in this country needs to review that video tape with a Domestic Violence expert to discuss and learn from it. Gabby was white and cute and little, so she captures the attention of the patriarchy and the part of America that chooses to not see (I’m being generous and not saying despise or hate) brown and black, big, ugly, and gender nonconforming people. Let’s start a national dialogue and prevent more tragedies like this one by educating the assholes while we’ve got their attention.

Thanks for listening,

Gettingthereslowly

Dear Gettingthereslowly,

Yes, let’s have a conversation about the Hysterical Woman. See also Bitch Be Crazy.

Why, if you thought someone was having a “mental health crisis”, would you allow them to sleep in a van and not a hotel? It sure looks like further punishment to me. Like (if you were a shitty parent) you might treat a toddler having a meltdown. You go sit in the car until you can calm down while the adults carry on….

Honestly, I can’t read too much about Gabby Petito. As I’m sure it is for a lot of women, in another life I lived a version of that nightmare. (One with a much happier ending. I’m here running a blog, with a life, and a good partner who’s not a blazing misogynist.) Two “triggers” (and I loathe that word) — being dumped on the side of a highway as the angry guy drives away. And the way Brian gets smiley with the cops. Does he look like a man in crisis?

It’s gaslighting in action. And clearly it worked. Nothing To Be Hysterical About Here. Only one of us is losing our shit! And it’s not me! We didn’t see the rage channel, but the charm channel flips right on.

Shouldn’t it strike the police as odd that this guy is weirdly chill as his girlfriend is so visibly upset?

I’ve told my DV story here elsewhere, but I remember being a hyperventilating, terrified woman. As the cops took a chatty, charming, cajoling him out of the house. And his guns. I told them to look in his car, in the wheel hub. Where they found an unregistered handgun. Which is illegal. And he was a member of the bar. And I asked that officer, “Why aren’t you writing that down? Are you going to report this?” And he said brightly:

“I think he’s in enough trouble for one day.”

Who got him in trouble? Me. By calling 911.

Who was hysterical? Who was a smiling white man?

This shit has to change.

 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • There are dozens of YouTube comments from men yelling about HER being a domestic abuser because she grabbed his arm, caused the vehicle to swerve, and scratched his face trying to get her phone.

    I wonder why she was so desperate to get her phone?

    • Yep. So much of this doesn’t just touch a nerve, it detonates like grenade. My EX tried to tell people I was a abusing him–shoving him. The part where he was blockading me in a bathroom and refusing to let me out was omitted. The part where I just tried to shoulder past him (not a shove by any measure) was left out.

      Ironically, my EX disabled the phones in the house and left a note telling me that he had done so to punish me and prevent me from using them, and this was the evidence the police took seriously when I called them from a neighbor’s phone after being locked out of the house. I wish they had done the same for Gabby.

      • And it’s not that I disagree that grabbing someone’s arm while they are driving is poor behavior. It’s not that I disagree that lunging at someone, grabbing aggressively for a phone, and scratching someone else is something that should just be dismissed or excused.

        It’s just so frustrating to watch men in comment sections try to insist that these two things are somehow proof positive of a campaign of violent behavior on the woman’s part.

        It was not lost on me that Gabby repeatedly apologized and took ownership for her own behaviors – explaining that she was anxious, exhibiting behaviors that were consistent with OCD, and was being reactive with her fiance. That behavior makes her seem less likely to be abusive to me .

        I realized that Gabby might have routinely hauled off and hit him, scratched him, berated him – and that these are abuse .

        But that body can footage demonstrated something different than that to me .

        Infidelity in my family has shown that cheaters, and liars in general, are people who tend to externalize any inconvenience or misfortune. They rarely take responsibility for their own choices and behavior.

        That’s why I found insistence that Gabby was an abuser to be frustrating.

          • ^^^^^ THIS. Thank you, LaJ.

            We are chumps. We can tie ourselves in knots worrying about what is “reasonable” behavior. I imagine most of us acted very “reasonably” despite our abuse and trauma. But, if EVER there were a time to be “unreasonable,” I imagine that the times when we feel unsafe around our intimate partners would be *exactly* that time. And if they don’t like our totally understandable “unreasonableness,” they can set healthy boundaries for themselves. Funny how Petito’s abuser was not making any move to set a boundary or to protect himself in the video. He was not afraid for his life; he acted like a man who is in control, and only temporarily inconvenienced by the police.

            • It’s also been reported that the reason the police were called to the “disturbance” between the pair was a 911 call of a person who actually saw Gabby being physically “slapped” by the fiance in the street. So her actions need to be seen in the context that he was actually hitting her and it was witnessed and immediately reported to police. That changes the narrative…. but it doesn’t change the tragic outcome.

          • Exactly. In addition, can’t we just go by the math? Women are murdered, beaten, raped, and abused by their partners at a much higher rate than men.

            Police are the wrong force. There should be a mental health service that should have been called to provide anyone who is suffering in a relationship an out if they need it.

            • I don’t know if I agree with that. The first mediator in my divorce case was a major chauvinist and didn’t see any red flags. He was a social worker. The second one saw all of them- God bless him. Also a social worker. But the fact is, my kids remained in danger for an entire year because of the first one. Then the second wrote a scathing report on my ex that our chauvinist judge decided to disregard. He recommended supervised visits immediately- our judge decided, “Let’s wait until the trial before we change anything.” In the 3 months that followed, my children suffered terrible abuse and neglect. Finally, the judge got “sufficient” evidence that the second mediator’s recommendations should be honored, but it was too late.
              The problem is male chauvinists. In every field.

      • Eilonwy, it makes me so sad to hear stories like this. It just is so unbelievable how these abusive monsters twist the story to make us look the the crazy, abusive ones. Im sorry this happened to you….its really scary what lengths they go to turn themselves into the victim.
        Mine brought his AP to our home after a date within days of DDay…in full view of our children. While I had always been timid and always backed down from him, this made my mama bear come out. For the first and only time in our whole 20+ year marriage, I yelled. I ran outside to the AP’ s car and yelled at her to leave my home. She smirked and turned her head away from me, so I banged on the hood of her car to demand her attention. I told her she could fuck my husband, but she would never do it in my home in front of my children. She left; i went back in the house and locked myself in my room to avoid my husband’s reaction. Later that night he texted her that he was afraid to go to bed because he thought I was going to kill him by bashing his head in with a baseball bat. Im not and have never been a violent person. He knew that i was a faithful, god-fearing wife and this text really opened my eyes to how he was portraying me the others. That in itself is so abusive. It’s gaslighting, except they are gaslighting others against you. Its very traumatizing.

    • I don’t usually comment but those hysterical men have a movement. MGTOW. Look it up ladies. It’s important information to understand and where this shit comes from.

    • This bastard (and his G-D- enabling family) have caused me to question my opposition to the death penalty.

      I think I’ll wait until his trial is over and he’s gone, before actively opposing it…just to be safe.

      I guess I hope he’s actually in the swamp, but I fear he’s already overseas partying (but telling his parents he’s sadz and to send more money.)

  • Reminds me of the one night, after finding out my husband had been fucking prostitutes for years, he lied to me one last time. I punched him in the face. Not my proudest moment, but little me wasn’t going to inflict much damage, unfortunately. He was just fine.

    He called 911, though. . The cops showed up. He told them that I punched him. I responded with, I just found out he’s been using prostitutes for years. Isn’t that illegal?

    The cops told me that they weren’t there because of the prostitution issues, they were there for domestic violence and if I touched him again I would go to jail.

    Yeah, I was the guilty party. Thanks. Such fond memories.

    • As much as I hate to say this, the most egregious example of serial infidelity in my own family was perpetrated by a cop. It was severe enough that he was allowed to resign from the police force.

      This cop cheater used his badge to get an inconvenient boyfriend incarcerated so that he could carry on an affair with the man’s girlfriend. Meanwhile, his wife and children were holding down the fort at home.

      Not only did he not serve time for violating a man’s civil rights in the commission of an adulterous affair, the court dropped a million dollar penalty against him.

      The only consequence the cop cheater suffered was a divorce and the loss of his daughter’s respect.

      I won’t go into the years my mother disparaged his ex-wife.

      • Amber Guyger was cheating with a fellow married officer the night she shot Botham Jean in his own apartment. She was upset because her married lover was trying to break it off with her that night. It was part of the reason she wasn’t thinking clearly and stumbled into the wrong apartment.

        IIRC, she called her lover before she called 9-1-1 to try and get help for Jean.

        • Wow I had no idea about the affair. I felt a little sorry for her during the trial, as it was a tragic accident, but now not so much.

  • “Shouldn’t it strike the police as odd that this guy is weirdly chill as his girlfriend is so visibly upset?” YES. so much this. I remember in couples therapy, breaking down sobbing my heart out. Ex-hole did nothing, and neither did the therapist. I excuse myself and went to the bathroom. No one commented when I re-entered the room. But in my mind, that was the moment of truth. Nobody cared. And I am a stoic by nature (and Catholicism) so there was really no where to go after that. (Hurray for Chump Lady/Nation).
    Thanks for posting about this, yet another tragedy

    • chumpedchange,

      Same… in a couples therapy session, I broke down over his admission of having successfully groomed yet another affair partner. I was so upset, I literally clamped both of my hands tightly over my mouth, trying to stifled the sobs and screams of anger, disgust and frustration. I was doubled over at the waist, in absolute emotional distress. Serial cheater XH of 40 years was in his usual spot at the farthest possible end of the counselor’s long sofa, starting straight ahead, looking positively bored, and devoid of any care or concern. He never moved, never said a word, never even looked in my direction.

      • Same for me in couple’s counseling. I was the only one who seemed to care.

        And it’s been 11 years (9 years post-decree) of abuse like frivolous litigation, withholding expense reimbursements, charging me multiple times for the same expense, lying to me, lying to the kids, letting himself into my house without my permission, mixing it up with my mother in front of my neighbors, not picking up the kids on time, not picking up the kids at all, and so on. I shut down one bad behavior and another new one starts up. He showed me who he was that day in counseling. I should’ve believed him and shut him out of my life from day 1 instead of trying to get along “for the sake of the children.”

        8.5 more months until my youngest emancipates and I’m free of this HR-veneered monster and his c%$# of a ho-wife.

        • Rock on Sunrise! Five years to disentangle from the FW- 2 lawyers ( he had 3) and about $60,000 i didnt have. AND YET- IT WAS WORTH IT. I got a new life. All our retirement fund. The blessings of 2 judges. A great job. And strong relationships with kids and geandkids.
          He got a new partner who wont live with him ( she is literally the Nurse with the Purse) … a heart attack… months in a coma… revived but why?

        • Sunrise,

          Oy veh. The clusterfuck that keeps on giving. I pray that the next 8.5 months flies by for you.

          Before I ever heard of Chump Lady, I chose to zero contact with XH very early on in our separation, simply because the thought of speaking with him, being around him, having to breathe the same air, repulsed me. I’ve now included his Married Howorker in the silence (she was the latest conquest referred to in my OP; she’s now Wife Appliance #2).

    • Chumpedchange; I also went to a therapist with my then husband and I was describing emotional abuse and was met with silence. This male therapist thought it was all ok & took his side. Even regarding six weeks of silent treatment when my hair started falling out.
      Then when we got home, my husband said “You never like the therapist when he understands me!!” We then got a female and she was drawn in by him even though I had seen her by myself for 6-7 months before he joined us. He was Mr. Charming and wonderful there. No laughs at home, that is for sure!

      • When the new partner is a therapist (!! Nurse with a Purse) ex-hole has appropriated the perfect “beard”… oh yes he is a perfect charming (greasy) professional manipulator, and with heart problems as well. Great cover… now no one can ask any hard questions, and I still can be made out to be the crazy one. Oh well, who cares. I am pretty sure they are both living in a hell of lies and ambiguity.

    • My ex would laugh. He’d say look who’s yelling? “See how calm I am, I’m not even raising my voice”. I’d say you aren’t the one being called a stupid cunt, so of course you are calm. He’d smirk and laugh if I got upset.

    • Chumpedchange, I relate. I had been in therapy, laid it all out on the table. Eventually after a few sessions, she suggested we meet with my husband. I thought she made it clear it was his chance to come clean. I had built up trust in her. So we meet up, three of us in the room, I ended up having to defend myself. She abandoned me. She tricked me into feeling safe, then just took his side.
      I confronted her about it, after he left, on the way out. She admitted she struggled with her husband of 20 odd years befriending 20 something yr olds etc. I got the impression he had cheated. They had separated once.
      It was like once she got in the room with my husband she was intimidated. I don’t know, all I know is it added to my trauma. It felt like I kept bouncing off walls spinning with the thought ‘Who can I trust?!’ for help to be safe.
      In the end, it was me. Only me and God.
      I have other experiences, but too long to go into. We could all write books about our experiences. Maybe we could collate them into a book. The reality of coercive abuse.
      Who would buy it? 🤷‍♀️ We could re-enact scenes of our lives with lying 🤥 cheating partners on YouTube. This is what gaslighting looks like. This is what it looks like when a seasoned therapist is charmed by your lying spouse, and verbally expressed their shock at how they never would have expected him to be so impressive (for example).

    • I reported domestic violence once and stayed calm in the hopes the cops would believe me. I knew the “hysterical woman” narrative and was trying to avoid it.

      The cop called me a liar BECAUSE I was “too calm”! He said I was obviously just trying to ruin an innocent man.

      I also left an abusive ex in college. To this day, I’m sure his entire social circle thinks I’m a crazy bitch – even though ex has left a trail of traumatized women in his wake. Many people even witnessed his abuse and still think all us exes are the crazy ones.

      Misogynists will find any reason to disbelieve women. No matter how many hoops you go through to get heard, it’s never enough.

    • My abusive Narc was weirdly calm in high stress situations, it’s a sign of a personality disorder. They lack empathy so your distress means nothing’s on them.

      • Lady B- yes- it was disconcerting how good exhole was in a crisis “weirdly calm” describes it well- like tire busting on the highway. He got to be the competent hero. And in one instance, afterwards had absolutely NO comprehension why I was distraught- was because our grand daughter had been in the car. He thought I should be more thankful. He was so inflated by the whole thing, and no understanding of how close we came to disaster as we swerved off the highway. Or if he did, he didn’t care. He just loved disasters- worked in theatre (and they are alwasy close to disaster) so wherever he went he got heroics (except at home).

      • Ex was also strangely calm in high stress situations. He eerily reminded me of Ted Bundy. The stone cold look, blank emotionless eyes.

        Never showed empathy or compassion for anyone.

  • Hi Gettingthereslowly and welcome to CN.
    That poor woman and her family.
    As a father of two daughters I just hope I taught them enough about men at this point to help them if this is part of their future. That dude is no man. Period. Ugh.
    But, we men try to do better we try to teach our sons respect, and honor and loving kindness. Patience. Non violence. Fidelity. Sincerity. And yeah, heart break sucks but it’s ok to feel hurt and it’s ok to let go.
    Some people are just evil regardless of chromosome.
    Blessings to that family.
    Xioba Xioba

    • This is so very important. Teaching sons “respect, and honor and loving kindness. Patience. Non violence. Fidelity. Sincerity.” Yes!!

  • My heart goes out to Gabby. When my daughter was around 15 or 16. She was putting a desk together. My ex kept telling her she was doing it wrong and was calling her names. She got lippy with him. He threw her into the closet door. This was the first time he ever physically touched her. However, looking back he often called her and I names. Was a great gaslighter. I called 911 that day. Two white police officers came to the house. She was crying and explained what happen. I also explained what happened and told them he has a history of calling her/us names. They stood there stone face. I touched one of the officers arms because I wanted to ask him a question. I was told if I assault him one more time I will be arrested. The police officers did arrest my ex. One of the officers had me follow him to a judge that was on weekend duty for a PFA. As my daughter and myself were explaining what happened. I became tearful and stated that I am sick of being treated like this. The judge looked at me and said “I do not think it is your husband who has the problem. By the way you are acting.” My ex verbally abused me for decades. Only to cheat on me with my cousin. Slander my name and play the victim.
    Gabby did not deserve to be treated like that by those police officers. She deserved to be treated with kindness and not be punished for her boyfriends actions.

    • Cuz, that is ENRAGING. To be treated as though you are the problem by the very judge whose job it was to remain impartial and help you. Ugggg!!!!! So sorry for that added layer of trauma on top of what your ex-husband did. Makes me ill.

      It should remind us all that demonstrably horrible and unqualified people often get into positions of authority and power. When those horrible people happen to become marriage counselors or part of the judicial system, they can do the most damage because we are often at our most vulnerable when we need them. We unconsciously approach them with an attitude of automatic trust, and that trust can be horrifically abused.

    • That is so wrong! Why do so many people associate being emotional with being out of control? There was a female officer from the arches park tgat spoke to her. I think everyone misread the situation and gave Brian the benefit of the doubt. The lady officer said she told Gabby that her relationship looked toxic and she wished she had told her to leave, but I think Brian was already dangerous and threatening leaving was what tipped him over the edge (sorry but I’ve already drawn a lot of conclusions here. Gabby could have fallen over a cliff during a fight tgat went wrong, but I don’t think so. Since the story broke, so many women (and men to be fair) are like, oh shit she’s already gone. His behaviour is so guilty. Chump nation has been such an education. Brian schmoozing the cops with some kind of bro code and gabby apologising. If she’s being abusive she would have tried to pin it on him it was his fault etc. this wasn’t their first run in. Also Brian is as entitled as fuck. How do I know? Because if the way his parents covered for him and gave him a head start. I hopeBrian doesn’t get to coward his way out and is caught alive. Poor Gabby and her family. Abusers suck.

  • Not being in the US I’ve only just learned of Gaby’s story (and now they’ve found her body and he’s disappeared right)! It just about broke my heart. I’m tough, had a good job and support from all and sundry but my ex-FW bastard had me beaten down so bad there were times I thought I wouldn’t make it! In the end I wasn’t afraid of the violence. Oh I knew it would hurt the next day, but in the here and now, it didn’t scare me, to be honest. But the night he pinned me to the bed with a broken whiskey bottle to my throat I knew I had to throw all my energy into one last burst and get that asshole away from me and my kids forever. And I did. Oh I already hated his guts so losing him was always going to be the best thing that ever happened to me, but I was so beaten down by physical abuse and lack of sleep over years and years (maybe four hours non-consecutive sleep a night) that I didn’t know how I could physically keep it together to get everything lined up and get him away. So I looked at that video of poor Gaby almost apologizing for her “mental health difficulties” and my heart breaks. And that creepy asshole with her playing the “hail fellow well met” good guy! Damn, it makes me so angry!

  • My X did this early on in the relationship. He would do things to get me upset in public, then act innocent. There were many times the cops threatened me, which scared me enough to know better than to call the cops as he could talk his way out of anything. He was abusive to me, then later on, the kids and always it was our fault. I was too scared to ever dial 911, but finally, when he was stalking me after I filed for divorce, my therapist and my boss encouraged me to call the cops every time he showed up did something stupid. He became too arrogant and his behavior started backfiring on him. My heart brakes for this family, but there are so many young girls out there that are going through the same thing and feel no one can help them.

  • Yes we need a national dialogue about this, so that everyone, cops included, will start to recognize the signs before it’s too late for another victim.

  • The video of her blaming her anxiety and ocd for their “domestic dispute” broke my heart. I remember being a young 20 something and going on antidepressants after moving in with the abusive cheater. I never saw the connection. The physical violence didn’t happen until much later. I wish emotional abuse and personal relationship red flags were taught in high school. It should be part of a required health class. Thank you for writing about Gabby’s story, CL.

  • Never go to a man for help, I tell young women. Never. You don’t know whether he is an abuser, too, and if he is, he will side with your abuser. There are women who will side with an abuser, but fewer of them.

    She was caught in an escalating pattern of abuse, and she wasn’t ready to name it yet when he killed her. It’s not her fault, but we need to teach girls how to be wise around men, be wary, call things by their right names. We need to teach girls what abuse is, and to name it and get away at the first sign. No “But I love him.” No “We can work it out.” Just go.

    • “Never go to a man for help, I tell young women. Never. You don’t know whether he is an abuser, too, and if he is, he will side with your abuser.” wow it took me years to understand how men club together. The whole damsel in distress thing -where men come to your aid? Whitewash. The truth is that men cover for each other, almost always. Its very sad to discover this.

    • And even if he isn’t an abuser, the odds are VERY high that he will empathize with the man simply because they’re both men.

    • This makes me think of the interview with Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter about his tirade at her on the set of “Arrested Development.”

      Except it wasn’t an interview with Tambor. Jason Batement closed ranks around the senior actor on the show while Walter recalled crying after Tambor tore into her on the set.

      If memory serves, no one on the production crew intervened. They just let Tambor attack her.

  • The van was registered to Gaby. That’s why the police sent him to a hotel, and let her keep the van. She owned it.

    As soon as he proceeded in the van without her it was at a minimum Grand Theft Auto. Now that she has been found we know more about why he left in the van; he had killed her.

  • Saw this posted on Facebook. As a survivor myself, it hit a lot of still-sensitive nerves. It’s spot on!

    RIP, Gabby. 💜

    “Important lessons to learn from Gabby’s tragic life and death.

    1. Based on the body camera video posted by the officers who pulled Gabby and her fiancé over for suspicious driving, some viewers assumed Gabby was suffering from mental illness and Brian was the stable one.

    2. Some people may have assumed both partners were equally abusive and equally at fault. The old “it takes two” myth that doesn’t really apply to most abusive situations.

    3. Some people may have even assumed Gabby was the abuser and Brian was the victim.

    4. These assumptions are classic. Why? Because, in many cases, the target manages to keep things together until her breaking point, at which time others may see her crying or hear her yelling or see her breaking, and then they assume she’s “crazy.”

    5. Meanwhile, the abuser plays the part of the poor, patient partner who has to deal with this crazy person. But all the while, he’s been acting very differently behind closed doors, pushing her to this point intentionally and feeding on her emotional break. He LOVES to see evidence that he has hurt her. He LOVES to see her pain.

    6. For this reason, “breaking her” has been his goal from the start. It may take him hours or weeks or months or even years to break her, but he won’t stop until he gets that reaction, and then he’ll point the finger and say, “See? She’s crazy. I’m just trying to keep her calm.” And then he’ll do it again. And again. And again.

    7. As a result, some people will buy into that false narrative. Even the target. Which brings me to my next point.

    8. In the video, we see Gabby making many excuses for Brian’s behavior, and she takes all the blame for everything he does.

    9. We also see Brian blaming Gabby and saying he was just trying to keep her calm.

    10. This is also the norm for victims of long-standing abuse. A target becomes conditioned to believe everything the abuser does is her fault.

    11. Also, she clearly doesn’t want Brian to be in trouble. She’d rather pay the price and protect the man she loves. Also, remember she truly believes he only acted this way because of her, so she doesn’t want him to be blamed. This is also the norm.

    12. Smart officers see right through this. Others buy the cover-up story. (And because some officers are also abusers, they all too frequently side with the abuser even when they know exactly what’s going on.)

    13. I actually credit the police in Gabby’s situation. They were calm, they separated the couple, they interviewed them individually, they split them up for the night, they did everything right. I’m sure the officer has tremendous guilt about the end result and wonders if he could have prevented it, but I don’t blame the officers in this case. I was actually pretty surprised and impressed with how well they treated both Brian and Gabby (and, sadly, I was thinking how rare it is to see that.)

    14. Many people have been shocked by Brian’s family’s refusal to cooperate with police. I’m not shocked at all. Let’s look at that a little more closely.

    15. I’m also not surprised to learn that Gabby lived with the Laundrie family for a year. We all see this family will do anything to protect their son, even at the cost of an innocent young woman who was a real part of their family and soon to be their daughter in law. While most of us can certainly understand them wanting to protect their child, they crossed a moral line when Gabby went missing.

    16. But I think it goes deeper than that. I think it shows them as a system of enablers who not only allowed Brian to abuse Gabby over a long term (which probably led to her intense anxiety) but also a system of gaslighters who were probably always shifting the truth to keep Gabby confused and make her believe she’s the problem. She was caught in an entire system of abuse. And once you’re in that web, it’s very very very difficult to see a way out.

    17. I imagine they probably contributed to her abuse from the start and encouraged their son’s abusive behaviors by rewarding him, making excuses for him, blaming Gabby, flipping the script, and keeping her in the fog that breaks down a person’s psyche and spirit over time.

    18. Gabby and Brian had been together since their teens. This is also common. These immature relationships work beautifully when both partners grow together and mature emotionally. But when one wants to keep the other down, naive, and under his control…and the other is growing, learning, and maturing, it doesn’t work.

    19. We hear Gabby tell the officer that Brain didn’t think she could do her travel blog. It seems clear that he didn’t believe in her and was trying to make her not believe in herself.

    20. She also says he didn’t like her working and that he locked her out of the van because she wouldn’t calm down. But when you listen to the full video, it sounds like he was upset because they’d spent too much time at the coffee shop with her working on her website when he wanted to go hiking. She wasn’t in her seat when he was ready to leave. Control issues?! He squeezed her face with his hand in anger. He cut her down and criticized her, verbally abusing her until she was a wreck of tears. He was breaking her spirit, intentionally.

    21. Why? Because her focus wasn’t 100% on him. And because she had found a job she enjoyed and was good at and that allowed her to connect with other people, when he wanted her all to himself.

    22. She now had this one little piece of her life that he couldn’t completely control, so he wanted fo get rid of that. It angered him. He punished her for it. See the pattern?

    23. The overall takeaway? When you see someone crying like this, don’t assume she’s crazy. Don’t buy into the false narrative given by the abuser. Don’t believe the cover-up story by the target who has been conditioned to carry all the blame and shame. And don’t assume she’s going to be okay. She just may end up your next recovered body.

    24. If you or someone you love are in an unhealthy relationship, please don’t assume it will get better in time. I haven’t heard one single story where it got better. Not one. Not with therapy. Not with church. Not with prayer or forgiveness or complete surrender. Nothing works when the abuser is determined to destroy that target. He will not stop until she is erased from this world or from her life. And in many cases, he’ll walk away without any consequences.

    Please don’t let the next Gabby be you or someone you love.

    Domestic violence hotline: 1-800-799-7233“

    • Do you have the link to that on FB, I would like to try to share it. I rarely share on FB, but in this case with a 20 something granddaughter I would like to.

    • And note that in comments to that article – on the 911 call the callers stated that they had seen him hitting and slapping her. Apparently that information was not passed along to the police officers who arrived to handle the situation.

      • And if the dispatcher(s) who got the call didn’t pass that info to the POs, then it is on them and they should be at the very least disciplined; maybe fired.

        In the case of fw’s whore, she was placed in a position of dispatcher when he and she were outed as fuck buddies. (she was his direct report)

        She didn’t last long in that job as she dispatched a couple police officers to a local restaurant where there was a disturbance. What she didn’t tell them was that the caller told her there was a gun involved. She got fired.

        Luckily no one was injured, as the Police Officers handled it; but she still got fired. And she should have. She had been to training and she knew she was supposed to give that info.

    • I had to leave the Chump Lady Facebook group because of the victim blaming going on in the comments on this post there, and how triggering it was for me. The admins did nothing.

  • That’s the tightrope people in the position of less power walk on; especially if your partner is able to switch on the charm. It doesn’t matter to the outside world what you say you’re living through when the FW in your life is just so charismatic. I think that may be part of why I don’t speak out or talk much publicly about my relationship and marriage to FW. In the real world, I talk about him as much as Nicole Kidman talks about Tom Cruise, which is to say, hardly ever, only if I’m pressed to and can’t get out of not answering, and I choose my words very, very carefully.

    I had a friend once tell me that my unwillingness to talk about him was very telling.

    My FW never hurt me physically but there was other damage done. At the time of our relationship, I trusted him completely. During the last D-Day, I started listening to my gut and, while I kept telling myself that he would never do anything to me, I started to not feel comfortable around him. I began to make sure all our business was conducted in public spheres (like food courts at the mall, which was humiliating) because while my heart said “He’s never laid a finger on you; you are fine,” my brain said “He has shown you repeatedly that he doesn’t have your best interests in mind. Do not be alone in a private space with this man.” There were many decisions–over the course of many years!–of me slowly (too slowly) beginning to make choices with my head instead of my heart.

    I watched a lot of true crime documentaries in those days. The number of murder stories where a cheating FW killed their spouse, even in a marriage with no record of abuse, to clear the path for their affair partner were sobering. Never trust a FW who views you as an obstacle to their happiness.

    He’s never done anything to me, just to be clear. But, as I started listening to my brain instead of my stupid heart, I gave him less chances to do anything to me. Like never being alone with him in a private space and never letting him into my home. I also never objectively stood in the way of any of his girlfriends. I used to think that it was me refusing to be a part of a romantic triangle. By blocking his path to “true love,” he would have started to not think of me as an obstacle but, instead, an enemy. Even when I was going through the trauma and hard work of falling out of love with him (and it is hard work), I started to feel less like I was dumped and more like I escaped.

    Poor Gabby. She never had the time to figure all that out. My story isn’t hers but I remember crying my heart out, looking like an unstable wreck, while my husband calmly charmed any interested third party that was wondering what was going on. Naturally (sadly), he was listened to; I wasn’t.

    • “Never trust a FW who views you as an obstacle to their happiness.”… “less like I was dumped, and more like I escaped” so well said, and describes the fear underlying the confusion spead by the cheater/liar/FW. Cognitive dissonance= fear at a base level.

    • Fourleaf,

      So well said. Thank you!

      They don’t like it when stand up for yourself and once their emotional abuse stops working they can escalate. In my situation, FW did become physical, an “incident” before I filed and another after I filed. I reported the second but ended up not pressing charges which was a big mistake.

  • Heartbreaking.

    I thought of CL right away, the way this lost woman-child trivialized and took the blame on herself in front of the police, while they used zero critical thinking, but typed her (five feet five, skinny) as the abuser of this tall muscular guy.

    Definition of spackle. And I thought too how Instagram and TikTok and social media in general can turn spackle into a competitive sport and even a vocation. How she must have felt even more coerced to keep up the appearance of perfection.

    I also immediately thought, “discard phase.”

    And what can it have been like, the two of them living with his parents before the trip. Surely they must have known SOMETHING was “off”?

    Wished you would write about this, thought not, thank you for doing it.

    If only this tragedy can teach others and prevent more deaths and disappearances.

  • I believe Brian is an abuser and now a murderer. I also believe his parents are dysfunctional and created the monster. While I’m sure their lawyer instructed them not to say anything, and Brian is their son, I still can’t fathom how these people could totally ignore the agonizing, desperate pleas from Gabby’s parents. It’s beyond despicable. They didn’t even respond with a “we are so sorry but we have no idea where Gabby is and what happened to her”. Nothing. They were completely indifferent to Gabby’s parent’s torment of trying to locate their child.

    • Oh and as for the police. They should be made aware that any domestic situation where one person is extremely upset and the other is calm, cool, collected and jovial, is a major red flag that more than likely the latter person is the problem. Who stays calm and makes jokes with the police during a domestic disturbance situation?

    • “I still can’t fathom how these people could totally ignore the agonizing, desperate pleas from Gabby’s parents. It’s beyond despicable.”

      100% agree.

      But here again is another example of “why we can’t fathom” certain behavior. We aren’t sociopaths. We feel. We have empathy.

      • I know, sometimes I have to catch myself. When someone says to me so & so will feel so bad or guilty about whatever infraction they may have committed, I always respond “more than likely they won’t feel bad or guilty”. They just aren’t wired like the rest of us. Or when you find yourself bending over backwards trying to make someone understand that wrongdoing has been committed…they know, they just don’t care. When we find ourselves (I’m excluding those that play the perpetual victim) explaining to a spouse, partner, friend or even family member how they hurt us, a bell should go off and we should walkaway. A normal, caring person will (without explanation) recognize they hurt us and will try to make amends.

    • It’s not that they were indifferent it’s that they knew Brian was guilty and had locked that shit down legally already and given Brian a head start. What kind of parent enables to that extent? One that already knew there were problems and are not really shocked by what’s happened but just one more thing to handle. When you act like the Sopranos or a character in breaking bad there’s definitely something up. The most shocking thing for me is that Brian has felt ZM comfortable enough to tell his parents what’s happened (perhaps not all the details) and know they’ll back him no matter what. Dysfunction up the wazoo.

  • My ex tells people that I’m “psycho” and “dangerous.”

    I’ve got two degrees, a certificate, and am working on a PhD.

    He flunked out of college and once made me throw out a stuffed cat because he said it had a demon in it.

    But sure, I’m the crazy one.

    The gaslighting is real, y’all.

    • Ex said as much about the ex girlfriend (not AP) on whom he cheated with now-wife. It was the reason why our daughter could not go to *their* house for his half of her spring break (he was shacked up with now-wife in the middle of COVID, for fuck’s sake). He claimed the environment was not safe, the girlfriend was unstable/dangerous. (Oh really?) Texted her after the fact to apologize for the dissolution and thanked her for being kind to my daughter (didn’t know her well, but I knew that much). We ended up getting together and sharing some very disturbing information about this man. He try to lie to me about wanting to protect his daughter from the “instability” of this woman so he could essentially erase her after she was a part of our child’s life for nearly two years. I saw it for what it was and called him out on his bullshit, even when he copied the poor ex girlfriend on the accusatory/attempted intimidation email. He also had the gall to copy the now-wife on this shit (she, a counselor!) so everyone could behold his “truth”. None of this kind of action is an accident or could be explained in any other way other than they are trying to control the reality in which they are ever the villain…only so they can continue their villainous behavior! These are sick and manipulative people. They do not value others beyond what they can sap from them and will never stop doing what they want at the expense of others.

    • Your educational level of attainment has zero bearing on whether you’d be “psycho” or not, it is elitist to believe otherwise. Having mental health issues does not automatically mean you must be uneducated or unintelligent and vice versa.

    • I haven’t posted in several years, but this video has me struggling – as with many of us – it is far too close to our lived reality. YES to so much of what has been said – the calm, charming abuser almost mocking his sobbing hysterical victim – what kind, healthy man DOES that? This sweet, broken girl blaming herself – so trembling and afraid – I knew CL and CN would be able to share in how I am feeling today.

      I remember during my decade with the exH – all the same behaviors – his public charm, my tears; feeling “crazy” after being abused and gaslighted; the complete fascination my exH had with the Chandra Levy case. He LOVED that case, because every day he would be rooting for the KILLER! He would make comments every morning over breakfast, “Have they found her body yet? I’ll be they never will! Wonder how he did it? You know he’ll get away with it?”…Yeah, I so don’t miss that shit.

      The message was clear. Someday, that would be me. And he would get away with it. And laugh. He did eventually leave us (I had two toddlers when he did); but here at CN, there is often talk of what the next woman or OW “inherits”. I almost feel sorry for the new wife, I’m guessing he’s having fun at breakfast with her this week… “I heard they found her body. Wonder how he did it? You know he’ll get away with it.” And he’ll be sadistically enjoying her terror. Nope, nothing to miss at all.

      Don’t look back folks. Celebrate being free. Find and revel in your “Meh.” My oldest just left for college, and despite some wounds and scars, she is strong and kind and brave. She will see through bullshit and help others. My son is in high school. He also bears a few scars (he was only 2 when exH left), but is an sweet, huge-hearted kid, funny kid. There are benefits to a total discard, and our ability to move forward has been a blessing.

      So grateful for CN and CL for being a safe place when the ghosts pop up – much rarer these days, but this story is a tough one. May God bless this sweet girl and her family – and may change continue to rise. Hugs to all.

  • I couldn’t even watch that video. So triggering. My ex did exactly that for years and years–made everyone think I was crazy. He even made me think I was crazy. I found an email recently that I wrote to my pastor after I found out about my ex’s cheating and he finally admitted it. I said, “He had me thinking I must be mentally ill and that’s why I didn’t trust him. He even got me put on meds for depression because of it! And then it turns out I was right the whole time. He got me MEDICATED because I suspected he was cheating–and he was cheating!”

    Sadly, the pastor responded very much like the police seem to in this video, “You need to calm down. He’s not that bad, blah blah blah.” And soon it became all about how my PTSD was preventing me from forgiving him and moving on.

    It’s funny how much saner I feel now that I’m away from my ex and that pastor!

    • I keep thinking, imagine a world in which, instead of being told to “calm down,” women in states of panic like Gabby are instead told “We want to hear your story and make sure you’re safe. When you’re able to tell us your story, please let us know and we can see how to best help.”

      • I haven’t watched the entire video but I did catch a segment of it today where Laundrie and the Officer are bumping fists, smiling, in a “manly” bonding moment.

        The Officers were told by dispatch that Laundrie had been hitting Gabby before they pulled them over.

        I hope these Officers lose their jobs.

  • Yes, I’m not seeing my therapist at this point, but I’m sure that she would have some interesting insights.

    She did tell me when I was “staying well” to take myself to the ER or call a friend to help if he ever beat me up because the police might or might not grasp that he was the abuser. If there were injuries, the ER would document that, and it could be used in court. If the police came, they might blame me.

    He also told his family that I was crazy and dangerous. I had lunch with one of the SIL’s over a year after he left, and her husband (his brother) hovered nearby in case I went off. Really? I actually had a mutual friend come as well so I’d have a witness because I knew that they had been given all kinds of false information. Well, they didn’t believe me in the end, but I knew that they’d side with him regardless. I did relate my side of it.

    I do hope there are people out there who will think this tragic story through and apply it to their own situation.

    • Your therapist is/was very smart:
      “She did tell me when I was ‘staying well’ to take myself to the ER or call a friend to help if he ever beat me up because the police might or might not grasp that he was the abuser. If there were injuries, the ER would document that, and it could be used in court. If the police came, they might blame me.”

      That advice has a world of history in it. We don’t need to defund the police. We need to re-educate them on so many aspects of human behavior.

      • >We don’t need to defund the police.

        Agreed. It’s a pity that idea got so much focus, when many who want reform wouldn’t go that far. But I agree that police unions aren’t a good influence, and maybe we should go back to the days when they weren’t allowed. It’s often the union behind some cop getting a light sentence for shock brutality.

  • Excuse if this is duplicative; my prior comment was “unapproved” for some reason.

    Thank you, CL for the education that enabled this reader to at least recognize “discard phase” and “spackle” instantly.

    Poor kid; trying to make everything look perfect on social media while being emotionally abused. Social media and spackle…partners made in hell.

    For sure, dude’s parents HAD to know something was “off.” LONG before this.

    May this tragedy at least educate many, many others.

  • An analysis of this video should be required viewing for everyone, but especially LEOs, therapists, health providers, etc. In just the first few minutes, we see her taking the blame for just about everything (internalizing his gas lighting and emotional abuse) — and even more telling, he takes NO accountability for anything (in addition to making her seem unstable, he says, “I’m sorry IF I was speeding…”).

    This is how abusers work. They destabilize their victims, and then calmly sit back and say “see how she is overreacting….” and the narrative shifts to our reactions rather than their actions. The enablers buy this BS, further traumatizing the victims and also making it less likely they will ask for help next time.

  • I too have been captivated by this story. I think it is because I have a 21 year old daughter the same age who looks similar and lives a long way away so we communicate via Facetime. She doesn’t have a boyfriend but she does have a creepy boyfriend wanabe/stalker (lives in another city and doesn’t have her address, thankfully). I get concerned when I don’t hear from her for a few days.

    Anyway, one thing I noticed in the bodycam footage was the fact that Gabby herself was self-blaming. Asshole had her convinced that she was the problem for being so unreasonable as to ask him to wipe his feet before he got in the van and make him stop when the cops pulled them over. I remember well what it was like to try and call ex out on anything only to end up apologizing to him in the end. Meanwhile the cops thought they were kind for not arresting Gabby for assaulting him even though the original 911 call clearly indicated that it was the male assaulting the female. Maybe he had a few scratches, but you know who else leaves scratches, women being raped and murdered.

    Despite my own captivation, I also can’t help but notice that when it’s a young, white, good looking young lady the whole country pays attention. There are thousands of people who to missing every year and nobody cares. If Gabby had been black would this story have gotten so much attention? Possibly, there are aspects of this case that make it particularly captivating beyond the attractiveness of the girl, but then again, maybe not. What about that couple murdered in the vicinity of the traffic stop a few days later? Nobody cared until it was speculated that there may have been a connection to the missing Gabby case. Once it was put out there that the cases were unlikely to be related, everybody forgot about them again. Don’t they deserve justice too? Don’t their family members also deserve answers? Shouldn’t that one also be all over the news in case somebody somewhere might have seen something or have taken a photo that might help solve the case? There was also a guy who went missing in the Teton’s about the same time Gabby went missing. Does anyone care?

    That being said, I am glad they found Gabby. I am sorry they didn’t find her alive. I hope the alligators got Brian.

    • I have a brother that has been missing since 05. He’s a white male that had a record of drugs and rehab so it was completely swept away. They didn’t pursue anything but did tell me a person they were monitoring was in the area the day one time he disappeared. They were scared of this group of people.
      Both my parents have passed away without knowing what happened to him. Every time there are reports of finding remains, I contact them to see if it is him. He has three daughters without a dad with one getting married in a few weeks and I heard it’s affecting her to where she wants therapy.
      He lived with my dad who came home with the door open and his ID left behind. He kept telling me that the computer was still on and what I realized he meant was that it hadn’t gone into sleep mode so he wasn’t gone long before my dad got home. I think this haunted him. Did he pass him on his way in? He lived on a lot of property with ponds and my brother would walk a lot through that and we searched the best we could always looking for birds circling just in case he had gotten hurt or bitten and couldn’t get back.
      Anyway, there are a lot of missing persons unaccounted for with law enforcement sometimes not giving a damn due to preconceived notions.

    • I think your comment about Gabby reminding you of your daughter resonates with many of us. I had younger sisters. They were both in need of protection, in my opinion, when I left home. I told them to call me if they needed me, and I would come. I don’t know how I could have kept a promise like that, since I had no money, but when they called in their late teens, I somehow arranged to get both of them out of harms way. By that time, even my mother had to acknowledge that Dad was getting progressively worse (she was a great spackler), and fortunately mom was working, so she got the older one accepted into college and paid for it. That sister stayed with me until college started that fall. The youngest came to me after her junior year, and lived with me to finish high school and start college on an early admission program. Mother paid for her college as well. Finally, when both girls graduated, mother started planning her own escape.

      I know now my mother was an enabler, who never sought assistance to fix her core problems, but did have enough gumption to rebel in a French Underground way, pretending to comply while conducting underground rescue missions. I was raised to be an enabler, but sought help. My sisters were confused. No surprise, I know. It took them several young years of life to experiment and learn that all boys are not safe, not dependable, and some will hurt you. These were hard years for us all, because I was a caring sister, but they didn’t want me to be “like a mother.” They didn’t want to believe the hard lessons life was teaching them, because they had been taught to believe in a dream which didn’t actually exist. That time of life is so difficult and dangerous to negotiate if you come from a dysfunctional FOO background.

      We cannot control the stories the media promotes. There are so many cases of wrongful death and domestic violence that it must be overwhelming to news outlets. As more people of diverse backgrounds get into the media, and as more white people get educated by reality instead of the sanitized history we were taught as children, perhaps this will change.

      I watched a news segment about people taking trips to “Mayberry” to see the sights of a small southern town represented on the Andy Griffith show. They were all seeking a way of life that did not exist, except on a television set. There were almost no people of color in the show. These visitors said they missed the values and lessons learned with that show. It was a pleasant but completely unrealistic representation of a time in the past. If you read southern literature, even the white authors present a much different reality in their stories. The lesson here is not to believe what you want to be true, believe what is actually true.

  • I don’t know this story but I will look it up.

    My ex was a master at winding me up , making me cry or get angry and he would sit calm as a clam and say look at the state of you , you need help.

    His motto was he was SO laid back everything just had to be my fault as look who was the angry /upset one .

    I did even while dating go to therapy for my anger issues to be told by a qualified therapist I don’t have anger issues but I could express my emotions better . I told him and he laughed and said “yeah she doesn’t live with you I do and I know you’ve got anger issues it’s because you were brought up by scum (my dad) then put in care”

    That shit mucks up your head .

    • Shakespeare said, in Hamlet, “One can smile, and smile, and be a villain.” Laundrie seems like that kind of villain. At the very least, his abandoning her in the wilderness alone and taking away the only shelter she had by stealing her van, should be prosecuted as manslaughter, even if they can’t find any more incriminating evidence on her body or in the van.

      I had a controlling boyfriend who actually worked as a therapist (!!), who I broke up with for repeatedly trying to gas-light me. We both met in our forties. I loved him and his kids, and our friends all liked eachother. His behavior with others was so smooth, so measured, so positive, that only his other exes understood or would believe what he was like in private. He was very influential in my community, very respected and liked.
      Almost from the beginning of our relationship, he would frequently mis-report things that he or I had said earlier, and always in a way that tended to give him control over me in some way. If I spoke up, he would then imply that it was my memory at fault! It became so disorienting and frightening, but part of me was not fooled, smelled a rat. I began to insist that, at the first sign of conflict about anything important, we would switch to e-mail–no more in-person or telephone arguments, I would just walk away or change the subject. That flummoxed him! He was so used being able to create a fog of confusion in the mind of his girlfriends by making them doubt their senses and memories, and suddenly he was being prevented from doing that. And amazing how switching to email miraculously cleared up my supposed “memory problems”!
      I was also afraid of what he might do when I began to make up my mind to break up with him–he had a lot of influence, and was strong and angry. Eventually I turned his gas-lighting on it’s head. Every criticism of me that he had made, I lined up in an email, saying that I knew he needed and deserved a woman who had all the X,Y, and Z qualities he had found lacking in me, and that the only unselfish and truly loving thing for me to do was to set him free to find a woman who was worthy of him.

      It was a masterpiece of bullshit but it got me free. His return email was hilarious–he tried to backtrack on all his gas-lighting criticisms, by saying that I didn’t lack those qualities in any other area of my life, only with him, so he was willing to work with it!

      But seriously, his gas-lighting would have turned me into a basket case if I had met him as young as Gabby Petito. I was hoping that she would be found alive, and would be able to testify against Laundrie.

      • <<THIS!!

        I moved to phone calls and emails especially after D-Day and during the "pick me" phase. If we were arguing in person many times I ended up just leaving the house; I would get so hopping mad and/or breakdown in tears from his circular arguments, gaslighting and the endless interruptions. Then when I returned, I would be reprimanded for running away and told I was a sore loser. The communication methods I learned in therapy years before never worked; It's useless to use "I feel" statements with someone who has zero empathy.

        Gabby Petito may be alive today if the officers who "determined" she had a mental health issue took her into custody and admitted her to a hospital for a pysch hold. Instead it was used as an excuse to alleviate them of responsibility. Moving money to other services where they are educated and trained for domestic abuse is not de-funding, it's reallocating resources to where they are needed.

  • As a now Health Education teacher to HS students I teach a unit on unhealthy relationships and use this website and link: https://www.joinonelove.org/signs-unhealthy-relationship/ As I go over the signs of an unhealthy relationship I am triggered when I teach because EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE was in my marriage to the narcissitic sociopath! I never knew! Now I am trying to get a bunch of already at risk students (poor students in bad neighborhoods) to understand what is a healthy relationship. I feel like a hypocrite. I am profoundly saddened that this young woman did not have this information. I am sad that I didn’t and all the people on this website who didn’t. Gabby Petito didn’t need to die. Yeardley Love didn’t need to die, and all the others out there who, if they had only known. Spread the word to your daughters (and sons too) Chump Nation!

    • Thank you for this resources! I work on teaching these concepts to my daughter but this list is a great tool to consolidate all of these red flags.

  • In 1988, when my live-in boyfriend, who had moved out (cheating) came back and beat the crap out of me, the officers who responded to my call asked me if I wanted to have him arrested. I said no, that I just wanted my stuff back that he took and I never wanted to see him again. Later that evening I drove myself to the hospital. My car was a stick shift. My left foot, the clutch foot, was broken. I remember using my heel to depress the clutch and screaming every time I had to shift gears.

    The law in California was changed so that officers automatically arrest and the decision to arrest no longer involves the parties of a DV call.

    That law was changed because of Nicole Brown Simpson.

    And I am struck by the fact that jillions of women, all over the world, of all colors, from all economic circumstances, since the dawn of time, before and since this viral video, have been in Gabby’s position and I am wondering why none of them have garnered this kind of attention…..

    • On Dr. Phil yesterday, the guest was Gabby’s father. During the extensive interview, he told Dr. Phil that in order to assert his dominance over her boyfriends, he assigned them a feminized version of their names as a nickname. His nickname for Brian Laundrie was “Briana”.

      The hair stood up on the back of my necks listening to this man. This is power and control. I heard the Male Role Belief System alive and well in his interview. I’m sorry to say listening to him, with my my own education about domestic violence as a victim interested in breaking the cycle, it seemed to
      me that, like many of us, she partnered with a man like her father……

      • Oh no!!! That makes my heart hurt!! Unfortunately so many of us were ‘groomed’ at home from a very early age. So sad.

  • I always think that a person smiling in the middle of chaos is a sociopath. If you look at bad criminals when they are arrested they smile. This gave me the creeps. I hope the family sues the hell out of those cops. I know we are way too much of a litigious society but there’s a dead girl and I hold those cops responsible along with that idiot that was with her.

  • My ex did this shit too. I looked crazy while he was calm ( like a snake). The police weren’t involved until he stalked me which was short lived. I agree with the statement this shit needs to change. My sister who we believe has an undiagnosed mental illness was arrested on suspicion of DUI. In a town about 2 hours from her home and she knew no one there, at night. What did they do—impounded her vehicle and kicked her onto the street. I heard about it from my other sister and had to convince her by phone to go to a hotel for the night. Thanks pigs. By the way my sister rarely drinks anything so it was more likely a mental health crisis and she was on the streets with no vehicle and no place to stay. Cops putting women at risk—ALL THE TIME!!!

  • I’ve had neighbors come ring our doorbell when I ended up screaming at him at night, because he would literally stonewall me. Put his earphones in and refused to acknowledge my presence.

    Years later, same neighbor (whom I’d never actually seen) is the electrician at my house and tells me all about the previous inhabitants of my apartment who used to yell in the middle of the night. He didn’t realize or fathom it was me.

    I used to think at the time, as well, “here are these people concerned about noise and not the safey of a woman potentially being in danger”. I wasn’t in immediate danger, but I could have been. They surely didn’t think I was, just based on the fact they could only hear me.

  • Yesterday I happened on social media to accidentally stumble across some pictures of a party held an by ex-friend. In the picture, which was my ex-best friend’s small child’s birthday, her and her family were happily surrounded by 1) a guy she knows raped me, 2) two men who we know are actively cheating on their spouses 3) another man who’s partner left him after she found out he slept with prostitutes. Somehow, in this circle of people, I was the one whose morality was so questionable she needed to be ostracised from the circle. I needed to get over things, move on, not bring up the past and most importantly shield these men from consequences. The men get to swan about abusing people and being guests of honor at children’s birthday parties. I get to stay home and think about what I’ve done. It boggles my mind how this woman I knew since we were teenagers seemingly happily upholds her ‘perfect’ life by concealing the lies and crimes of the men around her — meanwhile I am painted as a lunatic and morally bankrupt person because I told her that she could no longer rely on me to keep their secrets. Feeling pretty angry today. I know that the best medicine is to ignore these folk, but sometimes I want to reach out and blow up their sham-perfect families.

    • I’m angry too and even a bit angrier on your behalf AngryChump. That just sucks. Part of me thinks it is so unfair to be left out but a bigger part of me knows you are far better off alone than with these nightmare people. At least alone you are open to a world of potential, the way forward is not cluttered with FWs. This is a great example of how no-contact is the way to a peaceful mind. Get back on that NC wagon if you can.

      Sending you hugs, this shit is hard.

    • Yes, your morality is “questionable” to rapists, cheaters, and abusers. You have moral standards. That’s a danger to their way of life.

      This is why we should not mourn losing Switzerland friends and Cheater Relatives. They are not our tribe. They are not like us.

    • Wow, that is horrifying! It has to be painful to remember who your friend was and then see what she has become. She is the morally bankrupt one, and her children’s party sounds like a Mafia reunion in the movies.

    • Ugh yes. I cut ties with my oldest friend because she wanted to stay friends with my sister’s extremely abusive ex.

      You see, he is So Madly Charming! and such an asset at dinner parties!

      This is after my friend had been given details about the abuse (of some 14 years’ duration) from myself and another eyewitness.

      The backstory makes it more interesting. My friend and I met when I was 19. By the time I was 20, I was in a physically abusive relationship with a male friend of hers who she admired (and wanted for herself).

      She knew about the abuse, and enabled it, because no one wanted to face that shit (me included).

      I can forgive all of that, because we were kids back then.

      But we’re not kids any more.

  • The 911 call was just released yesterday – that witness said HE was hitting HER.
    Police put her as suspect/aggressor and him as victim. Said “no one reported” he hit her.
    You can see her face break when they tell her they’re not charging her that day. She knows there is no help.

      • From the Washington Post: “A 911 recording recently released by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office in Utah included a caller reporting a fight between a couple with a white van that had a Florida license plate, according to audio obtained by The Washington Post.
        “We drove by them, and the gentleman was slapping the girl,” the caller said. “Then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car, and they drove off.”

  • In the tape, she said something to the effect of ‘I can’t please him. I can’t do anything right’. And she was blaming herself for being nervous and ocd.

    Classic victim of a narcissist’s ‘pick me dance’ and accepting the blameshift of being a broken fiancé appliance. Happens to all races, income levels, and nationalities. I can’t fix what happened in the Middle East, a city, or even Gabby. But together, we can make a difference. Put on our Bitch Boots.

  • I dared to complain about his girlfriend, and therefore I was taken for a ride by my ex. First he took my cell phone then he punched me in the head several times and told me only one of us was going to come back. I jumped out of the car at a stop sign, ran across several lanes of traffic to a truck stop. I tried to call the police but I couldn’t get their phone to work, I was so upset. I went to the bathroom to wash my face. He came strolling into the bathroom calm as could be, smiling, placed the car keys on the sink and walked away like I was the crazy one. He walked 3 miles home. Took his car and slept somewhere else because I wouldn’t let him in the house.
    Next day I let him back in.
    I saw that same smiling face when Brian was talking to the police officers and I guarantee you that Gabby went back for more. We need to have a conversation about how abuse can change your brain chemistry. You can’t think rationally. It’s like an addiction and the only way out is total detox. I don’t know what the answer is but we need to start moving in a different direction or more tragedies like this will happen.

    • I’m so sorry that happened to you Wormfree. What a POS.

      Before I was in my shoes, I always thought I would leave. I never understood or had any empathy to anyone who “let” themselves be mistreated.

      Now I know better. You are like a frightened animal that freezes. You stop functioning, you can only survive. You can’t see past your own nose. There is no money to survive on your own, or take care of kids on your own.

      My best advice to young women is: always have a job, always have your own separate money. File taxes separately. Never have a joint checking account. Have an emergency fund. Otherwise when push comes to shove you’ll have no options to free yourself.

      • They really need to get people who have been abused and have escaped together with people who are being abused.
        I believe only they understand that it’s like an addiction.

  • Followed this story all weekend. I was arrested after my x chased me and my son to my car, tried to get my keys through an open window, tried to brake the window; I hit him in the nose to make him release my window.
    (Side note his finger prints where on the window a week later, the experts I took the car too said that never happens especially in a dry climate, finger prints oils evaporate sooner; he was grabbing the open window that hard.). ( This after firing a gun in our house, in way that the bullet could of struck me, “by accident” which led me to actually file for divorce originally.)

    I was considered the abuser, arrested and having never had a restraining order before, tried to contact my sick 5 year old son, by phone and was arrested again as I broke the restraining order. Arrested two more time due to the same.
    The only witness was my 5 year old son, whom was going to have to testify in court……after being deemed competent to testify.
    The cops never even questioned the narrative my x gave, “explain it to the judge”. IT BROKE ME! Opened up an avenue for x to gain custody after a two year custody battle; cause ya know I was an abuser!

    I recognized with Gabby’s police stop instantly what was going on and I just knew this asshole was the abuser. I think that’s why I followed so closely….I pray everyday police get the paper training they need, the narrative MUST change! In addition young people MUST be better educated about what is abuse and what is not.
    RIP G.

  • This is timely for me since I just finished reading Tarana Burke’s memoir, Unbound. I’m sure a lot of CN is familiar with Tarana Burke. She is the founder of the “me too” movement, a survivor of childhood sexual violence and also (which I didn’t realize prior to reading the book) a chump and a survivor of relationship violence.
    The OP brings up how attractive white women when they are victims often get centered in media coverage and public discourse, while Black, brown, and LGBTQ folks are marginalized.
    I’m a white, straight woman. I speak English with no accent. I enjoy white privilege every day. I’ve gotten pulled over by cops and let off with a warning. It’s always assumed I belong in whatever place I find myself. I’m given an amount of goodwill that’s rarely, if ever, extended to minorities.
    And yet.
    I’m an immigrant. I have three grown children, two sons and a daughter, who are half Black (and thus seen as, and largely identify as, Black). If my sons were to get into a dispute with their white girlfriends and the police were called, guess who would go to jail? If my beautiful daughter went missing, would her disappearance get as much traction in media, her being a person of color?
    Thank you, CL, for running this letter. I’m hoping Black, brown and LGBTQ members of CN will weigh in. It’s important for us white folks to listen better.

    • I read this, and the ranger was regretful that she didn’t tell Gabby to leave him. The trouble is people give advice but no support or what to do if they do decide to do that. I do think that Gabby did tell Brian she was leaving him, and that’s why she ended up where she did. It’s always the most dangerous time when people leave a partner with predisposition towards controlling coercive narratives and behaviour, when the person feels they are losing control of the person or situation they have been controlling and their behaviour escalates to try and keep that person in their ‘place’. I saw an article where someone mentioned Brian had talked about hearing voices and not being able to sleep, which is troubling in itself, but her friends also talked about his manipulating, controlling side. I think she’d had enough and said it was over, but she didn’t count on him being that dangerous. That video is heart-breaking, whether the self-blame was the result of gaslighting or self-preservation, she was in the classic toxic relationship. I just wish she had taken the van that night and gone home to her parents, but she would never abandon him like that. Or perhaps she knew there was nowhere to go, once he made it back home the optics would have made it look like she was the bad guy and Brian would sad sausage the narrative to the hilt and perhaps the outcome would have been the same, just in an urban setting. I can only imagine what his parents are like, either so myopically entitled that they thought they could lawyer their way out of consequences, or ineffectual people who have enabled his long-standing dominating and abusive behaviour to keep the peace. I just wish the ranger had told her, we can keep you safe, what do you need right now to make this better for you, but I also think she was so gaslighted and trauma bonded that it might not have helped. We need police protocols in place, female cops sent to these situations and text lines where the person can text an innocuous coded comment to a number that automatically sends emergency services or starts tracing their phone, until help is reached, adn extensive training in high and middle schools around toxic and abusive relationships. If you are getting beaten you know you are in a bad relationship, but there are so many more insidious types of abuse that are as if not more psychologically damaging, although death is the ultimate bad outcome. I hope this guy and his family are brought to justice, and this conversation (although it is, as people say, in the context of the murder of a pretty white middle-class woman and we need more interesectional discourse on why different groups are viewed, treated differently when the same thing happens to them) starts looking at ways changes can be made to recognise and support victims of intimate partner violence.

      • I live in a uni town where I requested a social worker to accompany the police on a call. A mentally ill woman tried to assault me as I exited the subway station. According to the cab drivers, she had been rushing people from behind for a couple of hours.

        • That’s great that you responded to the wider picture. Shameful that others were observing her distressing and distressed behaviour and doing nothing.

  • I was in the crazy making whirlpool for years. He remained inhumanity calm while I dared to express emotion, frustration. I was burning the candle at both ends with work and pretty much raising the kids on my own, and it was showing physically. He became more removed and added on hobbies and trips and fancy watches and tight clothes to fit his in shape body that he had time to work on.

    Looking back, I can see now that he got a certain thrill when he could wind me up and sit back and be the “sane one”, which spun me more. I did grab his arms a couple of times, desperate to get through to him, and he used that to justify his cheating and told anyone who would listen what I’d done.

    It was my brother who pointed out this patern to me 2 years after DDay. How the guy had me spinning to free himself up to add more to his life while I was preoccupied. Now the ex is doing the same thing with me and the kids, skipping out on parenting time and paying expenses. He was $4k in arrears and hadn’t bothered to see his oldest for a year, but he was the sane one while I emotionally tried to get him engage as I saw her heart ripping out on a weekly basis and descending into severe depression and self harm.

    I’m seeing the pattern now. I’m accepting that I’m not the crazy one with bad behavior because I care about my kids but have been throwing myself against a brick wall for far too many years.

    Thank you Chump Nation for that!

  • I wondered about this video. The officers do seem sensitive and caring in it, but I’m no expert on assessing domestic violence and I’m sure they feel horrible about the outcome.

    A recent local article mentioned that Petito was not given the Lethality Assessment Protocol and that local departments should make this more standard.

    I wonder if this incident empowered him. Look what I can get away with.

    I wonder if this incident enraged him because he was humiliated in front of a bunch of men and his behavior a little exposed while she was out of his control.

    I wonder how much deeper this sent her in trying to protect him from getting in trouble instead of focusing on her own well being.

  • I guarantee he was seething after this encounter with police. He was embarrassed and humiliated (in his eyes) in front of these other men and by her, no less. He sees her beneath him so for her to have any control at all is unacceptable for him. I’m sure things escalated from here because he was not getting past the anger and rage. That poor girl. She’s in God’s hands now and he will never hurt her again. I hope he gets what he deserves.

    • That’s exactly what I thought too. He probably spent the night in the hotel planning her demise. I feel the ex would have done the same had I called any attention to his abuse before leaving. No way was I going to get PO and piss him off by smearing his front. The shelter really pushed that but I refused. He’s a felon with a nice gun collection and if those were removed he’d find another and use it or have someone else do it more than likely since he’s also extremely wealthy. Totally without a conscience just like the book.
      I also first suggested he left for self harm but may have changed my mind after thinking that some people think highly of themselves and would spend that time coming up with an excuse for the deed rather than harming themselves. I think some feel entitled rationalization for evil things as well. It’s all really sad.

      • I’m so sorry you were in such a terrible situation, but glad you followed your instincts about your own ex-partner’s mind-set.

        Yep, I think he’ll try to hide out, I don’t think he’s the sort to suicide. He’ll have justified it in his mind to himself and his parents, that she drove him to it by disrespecting him so much that he snapped.

  • Good God, this brings back memories. Not good ones.

    Cheater #1 pulled this crap, too. I distinctly remember the night I returned to our jointly owned house to pick up some of my possessions, having moved out three weeks before. He taunted me repeatedly, trying to get me to react. I tried ignoring him. He finally escalated and grabbed my arm to turn me toward him to “get me to listen”. I shouted “Don’t ever touch me!” and pushed him away. Just the reaction he wanted – he proceeded to lock himself in the bathroom and call the cops on the crazy STBX (me).
    I went out to the driveway to meet them. Two officers arrived and one talked to me and the other to Cheater #1, all out of ear shot of each other. (Gee, kinda sounds familiar, like the video…..) I told the officer we were separated, I had C#1’s permission to get some things and he was provoking me. I did admit that physical force had taken place, but C#1 had initiated it. Officer nodded and took notes.

    Partner came out from talking with C#1 and exchanged notes with the officer I talked to. Both came back (C#1 was also in the driveway at this point) and said to us it was “he said, she said” situation and they really couldn’t do anything. At that point, I rolled up my sleeve to show the officers the perfect hand print on my upper arm where C#1 had grabbed me. Short story, he ended up in the back of the patrol car. Charges: domestic abuse and public drunkeness. They were dropped later. (insert eye roll here)

    Footnote: C#1 did eventually end up in the county lock up after his third (!!!) DUI. To date, he’s had five that I know of. Yep, but I’m the crazy ex-wife. /sarcasm

  • I agree with everything you said, CL. However, training to recognize the signs of domestic violence will only go fo far because as many as 40% of police forces are documented domestic abusers themselves. The police exist to uphold the existing white male power structure. This is another example of why many are calling to defund the police. It’s not that the police don’t understand or recognize domestic violence. They do. They choose to look away because they identify with the male abuser more than the female victim. If we want to end domestic violence, men need to step up and call out their friends when they are being jerks (or worse) to women. Men in positions of power need to give a shit when a woman is mistreated by a man. They need to stop uttering phrases such as “boys will be boys” to excuse shit behavior. They need to not leap up to scream “not all men” when a woman shares her truth about abuse or rape. Of course it’s “not all men” but even one man is too much, and one man is all it takes to snuff out a woman’s life.

  • I am not certain, in a scientific way, that my gut instinct about this is correct. However, I believe this seemingly never ending story is about power. This power disparity produces an very inconvenient truth.

    When one gender, and color, has all the power — they create and write the laws, and decide what is socially acceptable — then all other colors of people, and the opposite gender will always be on the losing end because they have no power.

    If I had not been educated and able to work to support myself, and allowed to work, I would not have been able to escape living life at a FW’s discretion. My father tried to control me with force and economic starvation. My children’s dad tried to control me with his income superiority. The love bomber tried to convince me to fully mingle my home, cars, bank accounts, and money with him — he had nothing to contribute, and nothing to lose. He used emotional blackmail.

    In every single relationship, my refusal to accept my “place” as a subordinate in the relationship is where the relationship fell apart. If they had power over me, they could control me. If I had my own source of power, I could resist.

    Unfortunately, there are many white males , and smug white females, in the world who do not want to believe in the inequity of power dynamic. I have two white sons who often could not see why I did things I did, until much later in their lives. They wanted Dad to be happy, so that we could have fun, and they did not see what sacrifices I would have to make for their dad to be “happy”. After we were divorced, and they started to experience their dad putting his “happiness” over promises to them, and expecting them to make sacrifices so that he could be “happy” did my sons start to understand. Their white male privilege did not extend if it stood in their father’s way, because he had power and they did not. My son’s started viewing my struggle much differently, because they finally felt what it was like not to be believed, and not to have the economic wherewithal to do what you need to do.

    When I was a child, my mother handled most of the discipline, but sometimes my father was called in to correct some childhood misdemeanor in a more memorable way. I was spanked until I cried, and then shaken until I was able to “dry it up.” My mother would stand by and say “That’s enough” until the punishment would stop. I do not dispute that some form of discipline is needed to set boundaries for children, and most of the time my mother’s disciplinary action was fair and reasonable. But when she felt overwhelmed, she reverted to the discipline of her childhood, and accepted this form of terror and control as reasonable. I never believed it was necessary or reasonable, and I did not use it with my children. I am not perfect, sometimes I lost my temper with my children. The difference is I apologized, and resolved to do better, My parents never apologized for discipline. They thought an apology indicated weakness.

    Power, and control. Until the viewpoint changes, and the laws change, and until the enforcers of the law change, those without power and control will always be cast as “crazy” and “out of control” and requiring “disciplinary action.” Young women who grow up with the expectation that the men in their life will protect them and care for them, and support them and be good to them are bound to be disappointed. Some of them are bound to die for non-compliance, for being out of control.

    If you stand up for yourself, and if you are goaded into emotional response (tears, anger) you appear to be the trouble maker and “crazy” or irrational. Other people who believe the “man” should be in charge, and believe the calm, charming act will support his version of reality. For instance, everyone knows how “hysterical” women get during their menstrual cycle or menopause. The word hysteria originates from the Greek word for uterus, so women are considered crazy because they are women. How Very Convenient.

    • This ‘bitches be crazy’ approach was used on me when I had just had our child and he was gaslighting me about his cheating while complaining to the mother’s helpers that I was acting irrationally about the baby, being ‘so mean’ and that he had to leave me because I was totally unreasonable. I ended up going into a care home (terified there was something really wrong with me that I just couldn’t see, and that I would be commited and/or lose my baby) for a while with the baby as I couldn’t work out what the fuck was going o. The counsellers were telling me my anxiety was making me overly controlling and rigid when I was standing up for myself against his undermining, and he sat there all smug and smiley at the diversionary tactics that he’d employed to take the attention off what he had been doing. When it came out about the other woman in the background, those counsellors noped out of there like their lives depended on it. If I’d been in the mind to, I probably could have put in a complaint, but it was my taste of how disempowering it was to be stigmatized as the ‘crazy one’ in situations like this, and how quickly things can take a trip into the weeds when someone has malicious intent but can look totally sane with it.

  • The police are not our friends. When they showed up at my house when called by a terrified child, they were worse than useless and FW was emboldened.

    I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them.

  • Until therapy, I had no name, no reference for these behaviors. I knew I felt bad, sad, upset etc. but it was no different than how my FOO treated me. Now it’s so obvious to me, I’m shocked I missed it, was “it”. The crazy crybaby. The more I know the luckier I feel, to have survived. Literally to still be alive. Abusers only have to murder you once, don’t count on lack of prior violence, to feel safe.

  • And somebody called 911, reporting Brian SLAPPING her which precipitated the cops pulling over their van to do a welfare check. So they knew he hit her but let him go and suggested he get a hotel room, not her ?! 😡🤬 Cuffs should have been put on him and a phone call to her parents and stepparents.
    Dr. Phil did a previously recorded show before Gabby’s body was found and her father said she didn’t have any mental health problems. I bet Brian is the one that planted the OCD seed in Gabby’s mind. Dr. Todd Grande on YouTube mentioned that one of Gabby’s female friends said Brian had a history of hearing voices so he’s the one with dangerous mental health problems. Schizophrenia or paranoid personality disorder ?

    • And Grande addressed Brian’s control issues.
      Her body was exposed to the elements (weather and wildlife) for a few weeks so cause of death will be hard to determine.

      • I agree,
        I found the video of Gabby upsetting and painful to watch, as it triggered memories I hadn’t thought of in years. I remember pleading for ex to go to therapy with me. Ex said he was afraid for me and concerned for my mental well being, that I should know, if we’d go to therapy the therapist would see that I was crazy and have me put away.
        I believed him and was afraid to seek help.
        Ex had me convinced I was crazy. Then I found Chump Nation.

  • Thank you for this discussion. All of us that have been through this recognize the truth – that Gabby is the victim of a narcissist, that she’s been gaslighted, emotionally and probably physically abused. She’s desperate, she’s frustrated, she’s scared, and she’s young. She doesn’t know how to ask for help, he has her so confused and so beaten down.

    I wasn’t physically abused over the 26 year marriage (well, a few shoves and arm twists) but I do recall trying to get him to flat out hit me. I wanted that physical representation of everything he did to me emotionally. I understand why people cut. I never did it myself but I see the benefit of using physical pain to free one from emotional pain. But I digress.

    I’m grateful that there is this community that understands this, and maybe somehow we can make a difference in the policing community so that as first responders they aren’t also abusing the actual victim, like in this case. When she is crying, and the cop asks “Why are you crying, there’s no reason to cry, is there?” I wanted to scream. She was never going to be able to tell the reality. She knew that he had no understanding and that the cops weren’t able to protect her. What a lonely feeling.

    It was her van, so I understand why she was left with the van. It was also her transportation. If only there was some intervention from someone who could tell her to block him and drive far away.

    All the comments on social media point to 2 realities: Those that recognize abuse and those that don’t.

    • “I wasn’t physically abused over the 26 year marriage (well, a few shoves and arm twists) ”

      Sounds to me like you were physically abused. I’m so sorry this happened to you.

      You don’t have to reach a particular critical mass of incidents, or be hit in a particular way, to be able to say you were physically abused.

      If there’s been unwanted physical contact designed to intimidate, coerce or control you, that’s physical abuse.

      It’s really common for survivors to internalise our attacker’s world view: “I never physically abused you!” “It was just a shove!” “So I twisted your arm a couple of times – so what?”

      It’s one of the many elements that helps to keep us trapped.

      Stand tall. You are a survivor.

  • “Officers in Utah pulled over their van on Aug. 12 after it was observed speeding and hit a curb. Inside was a hyper Laundrie and hysterical Petito. Petito was crying uncontrollably as an officer approached the van.

    ‘At no point in my investigation did Gabrielle stop crying, breathing heavily, or compose a sentence without needing to wipe away tears, wipe her nose, or rub her knees with her hands,’ officer Daniel Robbins wrote. ” –https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/news/local/2021/09/17/footage-offers-insight-into-mental-health-gabby-petito-brian-laundrie/8376802002/

    The question, of course, is what happened to make her so “uncontrollably” upset. And why Laundrie is both “hyper” and so smiley with the cops.

    I give huge props to the man who called 9-1-1 to report Laundrie slapping Gabby. He saw the real Laundrie. Too bad the cops didn’t send both to a hotel and take the van to the police department and get Gabby to call her folks. Now that Gabby’s dead and Laundrie is on the run, it’s finally clear to the cops who the bad guy was. Way too little. Way too late.

  • Thank you for creating a space to discuss this case here. For anyone who has been in abusive relationships and had their abuse minimized as our safety and mental health further deteriorated, this case is extremely triggering, maddening and just sad. Especially after the 911 call released yesterday confirmed that the witness who called 911 on them in Moab clearly stated that he was hitting her. Those cops really did some mental gymnastics to make her the “aggressor.” I went down the rabbithole far enough that I watched the full hour of the bodycam and a good chunk of it is the cops laughing with Laundrie about how “crazy” women are. You know how they get — AMIRITE. I truly hope this sad tragedy creates space for more people to understand the signs that someone is stuck in an abusive relationship. Emotional abuse is horrible enough on its own, but it’s also usually the precursor to major tragedy like murder. Seeing her in that video, I just wanted to rescue her. A lot of us see prior selves in her. I’ve many times thought that my ex seriously considered killing me … he “joked” about it a lot …

    • My Dad “joked” about that to our Mom also. (I only learned of this decades later; at the time she choked back the pain, minimized, and spackled to try and protect us kids.)

      What I do remember was when Mom accidentally took a drink that she thought was water from a glass on the dining table but it was a solvent that Dad had poured into the glass, while doing some work on the tabletop.

      Mom swallowed the stuff before realizing and was understandably terrified of what the effects might be.

      Dad’s reaction was flat, passive icy. “Uh huh.” No ation.

      I, the kid, was the one who called the poison control center and got the info on what to do. The more I recall that incident the sicker it makes me feel.

      • Ugh, I’m so sorry. These memories are so icky. I’m glad at least Chump Lady creates a space where we don’t have people telling us again “Oh I’m sure you’re exaggerating, oh I’m sure it wasn’t that bad, oh I’m sure it was just an accident.” When you’re healing from an abusive relationship in therapy, you often have to look at why you thought that behavior was so normal and then you have admit it’s because of my parents. I’ve had to admit my dad was similar not just with my mom, but with me in very clear ways. It was threatening and any time I brought it up I was gaslighted into thinking I was being crazy, imagining things, etc. I now have enough faith in my own reality that I know what was up. When I visit my parents from now on, I stay in a hotel because that behavior continued into my adulthood as recently as three Christmases ago. YEP. I’m so tired of women having to look the other way, cover up and do PR for these assholes who needed to be in therapy weekly at minimum a long time ago.

  • I’ve always had a very “cool head” when faced with any adversity— it’s partially why I’ve been a very successful attorney. However, when my XH escalated his abuse through lying and blameshifting and gaslighting, I reacted by becoming someone I didn’t recognize: shaking and crying and insecure—clinging to my abuser of all people! It was totally irrational but apparently a sign that I WAS being abused. My XH used my symptoms of his abuse to further abuse me! It was a terrible spiral to hell. I’d say the actual genitals on genitals wasn’t the most insidious part of XH’s abuse— it was the psychological terrorism I suffered at his hands. . . .

    Thank you CL for helping me get away from that monsterous sociopath. I’m certain he would have killed me if he could have.

    • This. 100%.
      I didn’t even look myself in the mirror anymore.
      I found a video he took about 3 months after Affair #2. He was engaged in EVERYTHING above. Making me look crazy. Calling me unhinged. I called him on it—and said “I know what you’re doing. I just don’t know why”. That was 10 years ago. My fucking heart is beating so fast right now. He would corral me with his body, he would say such vitriolic things to me (e.g. be more like AP’s. If you’d been more like AP#2, I wouldn’t have cheated again, etc.). Then, when I was at my breaking point, he’d get out his phone and record me losing my fucking mind. I am so ashamed I stayed. Then, I remember the little reasons I tolerated that treatment; they call me “mom”. I know–in the soul of my bones, I KNOW–if I had left, he would have started on them. So I spackled. I deflected. I intercepted. I took the literal and figurative hits.
      Then he hit one of them.
      #gameovermotherfucker

      This woman did not deserve it. Any person in this situation does.not.deserve.this.
      We need to do better.
      Period.
      I need to go wash my brain again.

  • I was the most straight laced person you could ever meet. Never got in trouble. Had straight As. But managed to get myself a real douche of a boyfriend in my 20s. And we moved in together. And I was codependent. And he started really acting like an ass.

    We decided to take a fun trip together and he told me to go ahead and book it and he’d pay me back. Then a day before we were leaving he kept picking fights with me. We ended up arguing and he laughed at me and said he wouldn’t go on the trip and I was stuck paying for it all. I lost it. But then decided to just go to bed and worry about it in the morning.

    Because he didn’t get a rise enough out of me, he tried to get in bed with me. We fought and I slapped his chest out of frustration. He was a former football player… it didn’t bother him at all. But he called 911. I had never had the police called on me in my life. The police showed (it was maybe 1am) and he proceeded to tell them how I hit him. One cop walked him out of the apartment and they talked — ex boyfriend was smiling the whole time. Cop#2 stood next to me and just said “you ok?” I said “yes. I just realized that I need to get out of this and break up with him.” And he said “please get away from that guy.”

    Somehow these police officers knew. It should be obvious the power difference and BEHAVIOR. There needs to be more training on this — for everyone. If the person who called 911 is grinning … that should be a red flag!

  • This case reminded me of when I left my ex after 28 years. He had been going on and on about how he thought I was poisoning him all weekend. I found out later he was saying stuff like this to my kids for MONTHS. That is when I knew he did not have my bet interest at heart. (for some reason the cheating was not enough) I wasn’t a young trusting 22 year old I was in my 50’s. When that gut feeling kicked in I secured the money to move and I left THAT DAY. Not the day after. I didn’t say a word and for months he didn’t get to know where I lived. I knew in my heart I was in real danger. No he never hit me and said that all the time. But he did pound his fists on counters, steering wheels and the rest of it.

    But I had YEARS of life. I started reading about Narcs before I left. I realized him telling other people I was going to kill him he was actually thinking of hurting me. I have been in abusive after abusive relationship. I could have been her at 22. It was ALWAYS my fault due to my family or origin drilling that into my head.

    I also have to join the chorus of voices. If she were not white, blond, and young would this be in the national news? If it had been a woman of color this would be no news item. That is just not ok. I hope this tragedy helps more woman get away from their abusers!

  • I feel for this woman. I am so sad this happened to her. I can understand her taking the blame and “protecting” him. When you’re repeatedly told you’re the reason he behaves that way and he keeps putting all responsibility for his behaviour on you…you know something really bad is going to happen to you if he has to accept any responsibility for anything you “caused” him to do.

    My abusive ex hit me with his car, smacked me in the head with metal pipe and then threw me in the back of the car, picking me up by my hair after ripping my dress off. Multiple people called the police on him…he drove for hours with me in the back before taking me back to his place. Eventually he let me go home. The police talked to him. He was charming and spun stories of how it was a lovers tiff and we’d made up…we’d been broken up for 18 months at the time. The police visited him at work and my God…his rage. They wanted me to press charges. I didn’t. It was pure fear on my part. I knew if I pressed charges I was a dead woman. I’d be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my short life. If he went to gaol he’d blame me for ruining his life and he’d kill me. I knew it in my bones. My only chance was telling him “No Contact” as per police direction. He still texted me…he still occasionally finds a way to text me now. Always about the two dogs of ours that he kept…solely to try to keep hooks in me.

    This lady was trying to save herself. I am so sad that she couldn’t.

    • I am so sorry you experienced this, and I hope you can find a domestic abuse center to help you strategize about how to keep yourself safe. My EX’s rage escalated 5 years after I ended things. We were as NC as possible for me to be with kids. We had not been arguing or experiencing any conflict, but an external factor enraged him, and he drove to my home to take it out on me.

      Your comment that your EX still tries to reach you frightens me. Now that you are further away from him, maybe you could explore resources? I understand your decision not to press charges. I did not press charges or get a restraining order either until the very violent flare-up 5 years later because I feared doing so would make things worse, but I did get good advice from a domestic abuse center that supported me in my choices.

      And I did press charges when the last violent flare-up occurred because I decided that if he wouldn’t leave me alone after 5 years, there was no reason to think he ever would, and I wanted a legal trail.

  • What will inevitably come out…and what we’ve already seen snippets of…is that this guy was controlling, insecure, manipulative, and emotionally/verbally/physically abusive. All in an effort to keep Gabby as a possession, not a partner. I’ve dated this guy, several times. I married some version of this guy. I’ll never again enter a relationship with someone who wants to own me. When you’re young, it’s easy to mistake a desire for ownership as romantic passion. It can be flattering to an inexperienced person that another human wants to dote on you and devote themselves to you, so it’s easy to overlook the signs of possession. This can happen with women too, but in my experience it’s more often men who behave this way and it’s also often the guys who appear “soft and gentle” on the surface but in reality are covert and aggressive possessors.

    I definitely warn my daughter about this and am always articulating the difference between someone who wants to be with you versus someone who wants to own you. Sometimes the differences are subtle, but they’re there and they increase over time.

  • I appreciate everyone who has pointed out how race amplifies these dynamics. I couldn’t watch the video or dive into the story; as soon as I saw the pix I knew I was hearing about it because Gabby was white, cute, blonde. It’s not that I don’t feel for Gabby and her family; it’s just that I hate being reminded who is deemed worthy of media coverage, while at the same time being hella triggered by memories of my own similar experiences. I was about seven or eight when I realized that my country/city/community would not care if I was murdered, would not put a picture in the paper, because of my skin colour. In my classes, we look at studies on the severe underreporting of missing and murdered Indigenous people.

    All these discussions about power and crying and the destabilized person being taken for “crazy” “unreliable” etc remind me of the white women at work who don’t like to be told, however gently, that they’ve just crossed a line that they don’t see because of their privilege. They will punish me for it. My Dean actually smiled as she threatened my job for the manner in which I’d advocated for myself last summer during the protests, and told me that there used to be another Black woman prof at my university (before my time; I’m the only one at my institution), but she left because it was “too hard.” She’s a hardcore labour feminist who likes to cry, as a point of pride/power, over labour issues in meetings she chairs, but will shut down and shame women of colour (not me in the example I’m thinking of) in those same meetings for crying at her insensitivity around racial privilege.

    I certainly have been looking for my protector in romantic relationships. My father is white and so I’ve thought it reasonable to look for that protection and care from white men, and from white female friends. Yet for the longest time I just took it that whoever I was with wasn’t really willing to hear my tears about day-to-day injustice and tell me much more than that I’m overreacting, that so and so didn’t mean it, am I sure that was what I thought it was?, etc. That was just standard for being a racialized person in predominantly white spaces; not mentioning my experiences was how I was taught to survive. It has made real care very difficult to find. Now that I don’t accept that in my relationships, and expect my allergy to racism to be as welcome and fricking celebrated in my personal relationships as my allergy to sexism, I have much fewer friends.

    I come here to CL in part to recognize what power abuse looks like no matter what the scenario. The tactics cheaters/abusers/power-seekers use feels applicable in many situations, and I get a lot of support from people’s stories of how insidiously abusers want to “make friends.” I find a lot of good content on TikTok and Instagram from creators who push back on racial power dynamics in therapy, on the feminizing/racializing of emotion and crying, and who help people identify control tactics.

    I’m tired of apologizing for all the “drama” I bring to a relationship because I actually need to talk about the microaggressions or privilege issues that are a feature of life-as-a-brown-person; I’m tired of wondering where comfort and support really live; I’m tired of my relationships working only as long as I’m a grateful minority to be “helped” rather than a human who expects partnerships led by genuinely valuing fairer power distribution and justice work.

    For anyone who would like a bit of soul repair with art that gives attention and love to brown women who experience abuse, I recommend a movie called The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open. You’ll notice they don’t go to the cops.

  • You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I van personally vouch personally dealing with asswhole men blaming the woman when she justifiably gets upset and “hysterical”, after being abused. And I can also personally attest that if a woman stops crying and beats the hell out of her abuser in self defense, she still gets blamed. Sometimes we just can’t win. God, my heart breaks for this poor girl and for her family. I hope he rots in hell along with every other abuser out there.

    • Ain’t this the truth. I hope this next generation of women grows up with fairer metrics. To be sure, sex and gender aside, everyone should receive support when leaving an abusive relationship.

  • My ex husband enjoyed working me up into “hysterics”. I used to get absolutely out of control and raging. Why? I was gaslighted so bad I ended up like a wild trapped animal. I never punched him, but I broke things a few times. He chided me and said that I had “crazy retard strength” when I got mad. He thought it was “cute”. He said repeatedly over the years that I needed anger management classes and he was disappointed that I didn’t ever take care of my anger issues. He even went so far as to say he didn’t feel “safe” because I was so out of control. Fast forward post DDay, he and the OW tried to get me into a private mental health facility because they decided I was suicidal. Long, long story short after I got an abuse specialist I learned about all these tactics and how it served my husband to make me out to be insane. Once he was gone I was a completely different person. These people are very scary in how they can manipulate.

    • Oh and to add to this. Now during our property separation process, the biggest thing he’s been worried about is getting back his firearms that are locked away at my parent’s house in another country. He’s not worried about child support or family photos or our furniture, just getting the guns back. Luckily there is no way in hell to get them into this country.

  • This situation makes me remember what happened with my cheater XH. He had for 2 months gaslit me when he left due to “midlife crisis” and only loving me “like a family member”, but denied an affair.

    H had me served with divorce papers the day before my birthday as I was leaving to go out of the country on a 15 hour flight with my best friend (I thought the process server was the airport driver). I was so devastated as I had just handed my then H a waiver of service that he insisted I get notarized before I left on my trip. I was absolutely livid. I flung the two pieces of paper that I was served at my H (not even waded up) and proceeded to scream at him to go back to his “f’ing whore” (I knew at that moment he had one) and some other choice expletives. I sobbed and shook at the airport, on the plane and during the entire trip. Strangers were so kind to me in the airport and on the flight before I met up with my friend. Wouldn’t you know, guess who listed that incident on the restraining order he filed against me? And the judge signed it! And my female attorney (a judge pro-tem) told me NOT to fight it as they are difficult to over-turn. She recommended that I hire a criminal attorney that defended capital murder cases if I was unwise enough to fight.

    Ultimately, I did not fight it in court and 8 years later regret not challenging it.

  • My ex broke into my house with a baseball bat and smashed up my bedroom. Thank god I wasn’t there. So he texted me and asked what all the noise and breaking sounds were (we were living in two halves of a duplex at the time to be close for the kids). Then he accused me of smashing my own bedroom. He literally tried to create a text record to prove I had smashed up the house. He tried to take the cost of repairs out of my equity, too.

    After I got a restraining order and went to get my stuff from the duplex, he called the cops on me and told the cop that the restraining order was against ME. I literally had to show the cop the location of names on the paper to demonstrate it was an order against HIM.

    The level of pure bullshitting bravado and the lengths they’ll go to to lie are just unreal.

  • Wow. As a man I am appalled about what I read in some of the comments here.
    What happened to her was tragic and unquestionably horrible.
    There is also a hindsight bias in this case here plus people are projecting their own trauma on the situation here.
    That however does not give people a free pass to express their general hatred for men that i read in some comments. What about us chump men who were made to look like the bad guys by evil women and their perfected acting out of the damsel in distress.
    We have all been thru trauma. Men and women. Have some respect

    • Hun, reread these stories and get some self awareness. Yes, maybe you are one of the Good Men. Instead of going all “not all men” think how you can be part of the solution. Be like the kind (male) bystander who called 911 when he witnessed violence against a woman. Be like my amazing husband who in his earlier days physically intervened (breaking his knee in the process) when he saw a man hitting a woman in a bar. Or just sit back and comment on the internet that women who have been subjected to unspeakable abuse are just lashing out because they “hate men”. We don’t hate men. We just hate abusers and their apologists.

    • I think this comment mischaracterizes.

      Pointing out stuctural sexism (as with structural racism), and describing one’s personal experience with it, is not hate.

      And if you familiarize yourself with the site as a whole, you’ll find that people of any gender who have dealt with infidelity (and related abuse of any kind) are respected here.

    • Interesting that what you find appalling isn’t the dozens of stories of mental and physical abuse commenters have bravely shared. This is not the post to bringing Not All Men energy. But I guess a hit dog will holler.

      • I am a man and I have read all the stories here shared . I am saddened by the murder which is the initial topic of this discussion .
        I feel horrified by what has happened to other members of the chumplady community.
        I am father of a daughter and a son and bring them up the best way I can so that neither of them will be victim or perpetrator.

        I was in a relationship with a narcissist who manipulated me for 14 years , with the mental health damage resulting in PTSD.
        In all my 3 long term relationships prior to my marriage did the women cheat on me.
        I would never generalise that all women are cheaters.
        I’m not a man’s right advocate – these groups are very often occupied by perpetrators themselves who blame their own violence on the women and blame women for their lack of access to their own children.
        I’m very familiar with their manipulative techniques – I’m speaking from an Australian perspective: we had some horrendous domestic violence and murders here in the last 12 months and I am always appalled when those nutters try to take over the conversation.
        But if men get called “ hun “ on this page and get talked down to, then I struggle to see how this is a safe place for men to share their stories of being victims of infidelity.
        I am hoping that this is still chump nation and not woman’s only chump nation .

        • I’ve read back through all the (over 100) comments here and only found one comment with 3/4 replies that could be described as man-hating. Everyone else is sharing stories of abusers and their apologists, and I would hope we can all agree that such people deserve nothing but our contempt.

          Violence against women is a worldwide epidemic perpetrated mostly by men. That said, it doesn’t mean that the majority of men are abusers, or that women never abuse.

          But in a post about yet another woman very likely killed by an intimate partner – who happens to be a man – I found GuideDog’s comment to be frustrating and in poor taste. Focusing in on the tiny percentage of comments that could be construed as man-hating in the face of commenters bravely discussing their abuse seems insensitive to me.
          If there were scores of comments indiscriminately man bashing I would understand the comment, but after rereading the entire thread I’m just not seeing it.

          • I have a well documented what I think about all the replies .
            And I have specifically written that the “ hun “ reply is what made me write my comment, not the awful stories other members shared.
            If you don’t see it, then we just have a different perspective.

            • I see that too AFS. In some contexts, “hun” can be a deadly insult. In other contexts, it’s a friend or colleague trying to get you to wake up. It’s something which doesn’t translate well online. However Guide Dog threw the first punch, so to speak. He should have realized that “man hating” is something said by legions of hostile men online (wehuntedthemammoth blog as reference). How many web site have become unsafe troll havens by allowing that sort of commenting? This site is a bad place to sound like an incel or MRA. It could have been a lot worse.

            • You’re not wrong. The use of “hun” and the scare capitals (if that’s a term?) in “Good Man” were dismissive and insulting.

              However, this is a highly emotional topic and obviously it’s brought out traumatic memories from a large swath of CN. This isn’t the time and place to focus on some relatively minor name-calling.

              Gender is a core part of our identities, and it’s very hard to read story after story here of women being abused by men and not feel (as men) some kind of implied personal accusation, but I think that’s largely in our own heads. I’ve been around here for quite some time, and CN as a whole – and CL in particular – does an admirable job of judging people as individuals based on their own actions, rather than based on their gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.

              Honestly, given the gender imbalance on this site I’m surprised there isn’t more “all men are shit” in the comments. If the rest of the internet were as unprejudiced as CN the world would be a better place.

              • Thanks, good answer. Don’t agree with everything, but then again who does?
                CL is very much my safe place ; maybe that’s why I got so annoyed even by the minor name calling.

    • I don’t see any generalised hatred for men. I see over 170 comments with very specific examples of women being sexually, physically and emotionally assaulted by men in their life (notice how it is often more than one), and many stories of how other men (and sometimes women) minimise and overlook this to the point that the abused woman has to break. Many of us are still processing the fact we could have been killed by the men who we trusted. While this litany of stories may look like man hatred, it is actually just evidence of the widespread and pernicious nature of male violence against women.

      Does this mean men don’t also suffer pain? Does it mean women can’t be abusers? Does it mean the women writing this have no respect for men? Does it mean we don’t think there are good men? No. It does not mean any of these things. However, if you are a man who is not an abuser the onus is on you to realise and call out male violence when you see it, as you will. This (by a man) is one of the best things I’ve read on the subject:

      https://whiteribbonblog.com/2014/04/17/the-danger-of-the-monster-myth/

    • You are right, GuideDog, that some women lose all trust in men after traumatic experiences.

      But please understand how much of this loss of trust has to do with living in a system in which men hold more power than women.

      We hope you will not feel hurt by our distrust but, instead, share it. We hope that you are invested in being a good man, that you are invested in teaching your sons or any young men you mentor to be good men, that you are determined to support young women in building safe relationships and always feeling empowered to leave a relationship that threatens them. And we hope you support young men in threatening relationships the same way. We want allies–in fact, we know change will not happen without them.

      We don’t deny that bad things happen to men too or that women do bad things too. We do ask that you avoid drawing false equivalencies (men are not killed by domestic or romantic partners at rates anything like those that women experience).

      Are there things you’ve learned from your experiences with a manipulative or violent woman that could help change the status quo for everyone? If so, please share them.

  • That was me 4 years ago
    but
    I was 45 years older than Gabby.
    The part that was me = ‘It is my fault. I was wrong. I am too emotional. It is all me. I will fix me and that will fix ‘it’.’

    Enter LACGAL and CL/CN

    I had no clue 4 years ago that I was in deep denial. I truly believed it was me. I recall a phone conversation – he had moved out – wherein I was crying and, as per usual, taking all of the blame and believing myself!’ (RIC days too which did nothing to crack into my denial)

    He was Mr. X

    Cool, charming, in control. I believed that too. Totally. His act was that good.

    Still shocks me to this day.

    I recall sitting in an Al-Anon meeting 40+ years ago and an AA man was in attendance. He told a story about his drinking days when his wife called 911. He was bragging about the fact that they took ‘her’ away. He was that pleased with himself.

    As I recall and reflect back on that I am shocked that NONE of the women in that room stood up to him.
    They all laughed.

    He had no remorse about the incident even when sober. I didn’t blink an eye then but now….HOLY SHIT there it was and he was playing the room and eating it up.

    2 years RIC and now 2 years NC.

    I was blind and now I see.

    Thank you all for who have ripped open my eyes and saved my life!

    • Good good comment.
      Let me just say for all the people in that room and all the people in this crowd hearing the story for the first time, I am standing up right now looking that guy in the face and saying go fuck yourself, you asshole.

  • I am horrified by today’s column. It is horrific that this young girl was murdered by a man she loved and trusted. Everyone who is a Chump understands misplaced trust…

    It is also horrific that this has somehow become a referendum on white men and their sins. How is race relevant at all in this case? I’ve seen several commenters villifying white men and men in general. Where am I? Isn’t this where the people whose very lives speak to the desire to live in integrity in life and relationships hang out and try to learn how to escape evil people and recognize them sooner? What the fuck happened?

    Apparently this is my Dday. Won’t be complicit in race and gender hatred. I’m out.

    • I’m sorry you feel that way.

      Only a few contributions today mentioned ethnicity as a factor in this story. And it’s sadly true that this type of violence is really common in non white communities, but that the police tend to respond differently.

      I haven’t found any man-hating in the posts either. Just frank acknowledgement that again, the police tend to respond differently.

      In fact, this set of comments isn’t all that different from any day in Chump Nation. It’s a pretty broad church.

      I don’t expect to agree with everything I read here. And people can and do disagree with my take on things.

      This is a really uncomfortable story. Perhaps that’s why it’s so important that we talk really honestly about it.

    • As I wrote above – this thread is people giving SPECIFIC examples of assaults on them by men in their lives. Unfortunately, male violence against women is real and pernicious. That doesn’t mean ‘all men’ or ‘all white men’ are perpetrators. Nor does it mean men in general are evil. Nor does it mean men don’t suffer the consequences of narcissistic partners (though they are MUCH less likely to be killed or seriously harmed by a female partner or relative than a woman is likely to be harmed or killed by a male partner or relative). Again, I post this excellent post (by a white man) for reference:

      https://whiteribbonblog.com/2014/04/17/the-danger-of-the-monster-myth/

    • “It is also horrific that this has somehow become a referendum on white men and their sins. How is race relevant at all in this case?” Well this is dramatic. There’s been no “referendum”…a handful of the many comments on this threat brought up race as it pertains to their experience with abuse and media coverage of abusers. This is relevant and certainly not “horrific.” I suggest you look up what that word means.

      To answer your question, race is incredibly relevant here. For one, the entitlement that Laundrie likely felt as a White male with a world of options and a sense of superiority over this woman. This sense of entitlement was on full display when he was talking to officers in his casual manner, as if they were all at a BBQ together. There was no fear of arrest, not fear of police violence. This is in large part because he is a White guy. This is not a referendum of Whiteness but a commentary on the way our society works, BTW. There’s a difference.

      For another, that he is White and that she is White is one predominant reason why this case has received so much media coverage so that we even know about it. There are other reasons, but you get the point.

      I have been abused by domineering partners and assaulted by strangers on a few occasions. Those partners and assailants have all been White men. I have the right to talk about that fact, in this thread and wherever I please. Your efforts to squelch that portion of this conversation are noted and not appreciated. They are, however, sadly predictable.

  • Don’t come up in here acting like structural racism and sexism isn’t still very much a thing in every facet of this culture … please look beyond yourselves and your need to be thought of as a perfect person with nothing to work on even if you’re a chump. I’m white. When I hear of continued racism in policing, etc., I don’t cry “NOOO BUT NOT MEEE I’M GOOD LITTLE WHITE PERSON how dare you! I don’t have ANY racial bias conditioned into me at ALLL. By generalizing about white people, you are attacking MEEE individually.” That is a sort of narcissism we should all be trying avoid, especially since we’re victims of extreme narcissism. The majority of violent crime comes from who? The number one killer of women is who? The number one killer of pregnant women is who? Who commits the majority of mass shootings? Yes, men are in general more likely to kill than women — more likely to be violent. How is that even a debate? Even when men are emotionally and psychologically abused, the odds they will be murdered are far far lower than the chances a woman will be murdered and physically harmed by a male partner. Please, SMH.

  • When it comes to domestic violence that ends in murder, it is usually always a male killing the female partner. Hence the rage that women feel. It is extremely rare for a woman to do something like this, but all too common for them to be the victim. The race issue comes into play because unfortunately, Native American, brown and black women go missing all the time and rarely receive national news coverage. Its ok for women and people of color to be angry about these issues, and they should be allowed to express their anger without being labeled man haters or racists.

    It breaks my heart that Gabby was murdered. Let’s try to raise awareness so that hopefully, others won’t experience the same thing.

  • Saddens me to see chump nation divided and so off the topic of what we all came here for. Ethnicity? Gender? Religion? Nay I say. This place is sacred for pain to be shared and learning from others about trauma and pain in our lives and how to move on and be better. This story is tragic to say the least but I fail to see what we’re trying to accomplish here. By guessing in the dark about what we perceive their relationship to be and projecting it into our own circumstances serves no one. We’ll never know the real truth of this story because she isn’t alive to tell it. But we can know each other’s. I’m all in for that.

    • I am white, and female. Most of the trauma in my life comes from dealing with the white men in my life. However, I have had to endure some doozies of mean white women, too. This is all because I was raised in a predominately white environment. I cannot speak to the experience of any other person, male or female, regardless of color. I only know what I know. I do not believe all men or all women are good or bad. Some of each gender are bad.

      I know I did not have an accurate education, particularly in elementary school. I know, because as I advanced in education, I started finding out facts and histories that I had never heard before, and that were undeniably true. Ignorance is not bliss.

      My sons are white males. They walk a difficult path because if they disagree with the morals or values of others, both sexes, they are attacked for their “white privilege”. They do not have life experience of being poor, or fearing for their life, or much experience with peers of color. They have a few gay friends, so do I. Their friends are more open, my friends are more closeted. They grew up in different times and circumstances so they are different.

      These were not choices we made. This was just our environment. The clear political majority of the community I live in believes in the exact opposite of my beliefs. It doesn’t mean it is a bad community. In many ways I live in a great place. I choose not to discuss politics and religion with most people. I hope for change, but realize it will not happen overnight.

      I do not aim my comments to diminish the experience of any member of Chump Nation. I tell my story, as accurately as I can, and base my conclusions based on my experience. My truth does not make your truth any less true.

      I, too, am saddened if any of my comments are interpreted to be anti-gender, or anti-religion, or anti-race. I believe we should all stand together and base our opinions on the facts. I do not intend to hurt anyone, but I do intend to expose the truth as I know it.

  • Yesterday an event was reported in the UK. A 35 year old woman, said to be pregnant, was murdered at home. As were her two early teenage children, and an early teenage child of another family who was on a sleepover. The two little girls murdered had been raising money for charity during the day before the event. Doing what little girls do. The woman’s male partner, not the father of any of the children, has been arrested, aged 31, and the police are not seeking anyone else in relation to the killings. Shocking, devastating, heart-breaking. There are insufficient adjectives to describe what the close relatives of all involved are going through. I don’t have any answers. I’m a white, straight, female lawyer in my early 60s. I’ve sat in cells with people, men and women, accused and convicted of terrible crimes. Most of them appeared incapable of doing what they had done, even though the evidence, including psychiatric evidence, told a different story. We now have the added complication of ‘consented to rough sex which unfortunately resulted in death’ defence. That’s an issue here, resulting in prison sentences shorter than might have been expected. The causes of violence are rarely investigated thoroughly and the results of those investigations are rarely taken seriously. We stick dressings on the wounds, lay flowers at the scene, and move on. Small tragedies played out every day without end.

    • Well the dead can’t affirm they were into rough sex now then can they ? Same problem here in the US with the “she was into it” defense. Is it time for sex contracts ? How ridiculous is that ?

  • My first marriage (many moons ago) was to an inherently mean, physically abusive, raging alcoholic – later diagnosed and involuntarily hospitalized (multiple times) paranoid schizophrenic. He was so unstable between all the issues that it was hard to know at any moment what was really the issue. I was a cool cucumber (even in my twenties) in that relationship because I HAD to be. My daily survival relied on my ability to keep a clear head at all times. All I did was navigate landmines on a daily basis. I stayed in that relationship for the sake of my children. Sounds crazy on the surface – but send those babies every other weekend into the front lines alone? NO WAY. This was 20 years ago (hoping some things may have changed) and the courts helped me very little when it came to proactively protecting the children. To get their support I needed him to have actually done something harmful to the children (beyond just threatening to kill them if I left) – and more specifically it really needed to have been something sexual. The only thing that really kept me sane was that I absolutely knew his treatment was abusive. I knew I was being abused.
    My second (20 year) marriage was to the calmest, most stable, altruistic man. The serial cheater and very likely covert, high functioning narcissist. The man was a federal agent – not only NPD but also highly trained in government psychological tactics. I was a stark raving lunatic throughout much of those years. *I* felt crazy. And GD it…he was always so together, so calm (cue more of my lunacy). It took me years to even begin to understand I was being abused. It took me a divorce and NC to begin to grasp the EXTENT to which I was abused. (My prior experience with paranoia also played a nice accomplice to the whole scenario. Was I now the paranoid one? Had I been so trained in placating paranoia that I was now paranoid??)
    It’s why I now scream from rooftops that infidelity is ABUSE – and one of the worst kinds because it is both so covert and so unrecognized. I have ZERO tolerance for any kind of manipulation – even the most benign, unconscious kind. (I feel it now in my bones.) Infidelity is birthed in manipulation. Without it, it doesn’t exist. It is the conscious and deliberate effort to manipulate another’s reality – and a distorted reality is the basis for insane behavior. Nothing makes me madder than to suggest insane behavior somehow caused infidelity.
    It’s time that this factor of infidelity be recognized on a more global scale. It’s time that we call it out for what it really is. The actual cheating is so secondary to the larger issue. I can’t believe I actually ever cared how great an accomplice’s boobs were. But that also really speaks to the level of mindfuck involved.

    • Hi Jammie- just want you to know that I too had a first youthful marriage to a sort of beautiful alcoholic. Of course it took me about 5 years to realize this thing called alcoholism- and call a spade a spade. Ended when I was 26 with two small daughters. And yes at that time it was all about “don’t alienate the father”- even if he is a raging alcoholic. There was no help from the courts and I was too young to know. Al-Anon saved me and the kids, but I also learned strategies of how to cope with unacceptable relationships. The young alcoholic eventually did get sober, but has no contact with children.
      In my 30’s and much therapy later, I met an oh so charming man who was successful (outwardly) and- not alcoholic! Hurray! It took me 12 years to understand that something was seriously wrong. So much so, that I thought it must be “codependent” me and started going back to Al-Anon. Plus more counselling… (if only I’d listened- “run, like your house is on fire” was his advice).
      Early 2000’s was pre- Web 2.0. All the N behaviours mimiced addiction strategies, but without the substance abuse. By 2010 there were resources online [https://n-continuum.blogspot.com/2010/03/narcissistic-traits-and-npi.html] and I could tick all the boxes on the narcissitic spectrum checklist. What a revelation!

      Now the question was how to leave an extremely cunning narcissist with all his diabolical lying cheating ways after 20 years of it. My daughters had left home, finding decent partners, but my son with the N was still in highschool and very much suffering in the pressure cooker at home “I felt like I was living with two ghosts”. By that time I was locking myself in a separate room at nights. I aso felt I couldn’t leave until my son was strong enough to take on his father, physically.
      This is all now 9 years ago, so yeah I did get out, cops called, psychiatric intervention with ex-hole. No changes except that I could get out with son after finding an aprtment that had unbeleivably- a doorman! Anyhow, we all know what trauma is on this site. and Thanks to Chump Lady there are many many resources so that those who are young do not have to suffer as long as we did. Thanks, Jammie for sharing.
      I may be a two time loser- but I feel now as though I am one of the most liberated women who ever lived on this earth.

    • This post speaks volumes as to why abused partners do not leave. The courts will, under most circumstances, give visitation and or part time custody to the abuser. Psychological/emotional abuse, insane values, indifference, etc. can be brought to court but rarely is it a custody deal breaker. The caring partner will stay and “take the hits” rather than pass their babies off every other weekend or week to a dysfunctional parent.

  • Chumpedchange – yep, I hear you. All the way down to the Al-Anon and codependency in the first relationship and the return to CODA while in the second relationship.
    I didn’t read my first NPD book until the second X completely ghosted the 20 year relationship. I had to stop numerous times to go vomit. Everything, all the utter craziness for years, was simply explained right there in black and white. Like it was just so obvious…and I had been so oblivious. It was all just one more layers to the whole alter reality.
    I’m so sorry about your son. I have two grown sons from my first marriage who were out of the house at the time of separation. Thankfully and by the grace of God, I didn’t have any children with the narc. Both boys cut off all contact with their step-dad (who had been the only father they ever really knew) the day he left. But they still bear the scars from his influence. I totally understand the “two ghosts” phenomenon. It’s been almost five years and all three of us are still healing – individually and as a family. Wounds are much more challenging when you don’t understand at the time you are being wounded. I think that goes both with childhood and dealing with an NPD. For our kids, it’s a double whammy.
    I’m so glad you got out. I also really relate to feeling like “the most liberated woman”. It’s not just freedom…but it’s also wisdom. Wisdom that now serves me so well that it also gives me further freedom – in all aspects of my life. I don’t put up with any kind of shit in any of my life. Not as in a “kick-ass” sort of way…I no longer even try to break down walls. I just walk away from people, situations, the moment that I see through them. Which is much quicker now. I guess it’s the kind of freedom and wisdom combination that results in peace – no matter what is going on around me.
    Thanks for sharing, too. Here’s to us! 😊

  • Watching the dashcam video makes me sick. IMO totally mishandled by police. Guy is driving 20 mph over the limit. Can’t maintain a lane. Hits the curb with the rear tire and knocks down a bunch of construction cones. Where’s the field sobriety test? Then they let him rummage around the back of the van with his back to them. Later we find out he may have a a loaded gun the entire time. He could have easily turned around and shot at least two of them before they could react. And the way they acted like his best buddy while she’s clearly distraught. I’m late to the game so of course by now we know he ended his own life the way a coward would. Then again that’s no surprise seeing how he had no trouble abusing a 5’6” 110 pound woman but couldn’t deal with being possibly in general prison population with a bunch of grown men. To all the women on here who have gotten away from their abusers I admire you and for all those who haven’t , hopefully you get the courage to do so. And btw I’m a man writing this for what it’s worth.

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