• Nicole Brazzale

My story... part 2

Well hello again,

First off, I want to start with gratitude. Gratitude towards my husband, who stood by my side throughout all of this; all of my friends who checked in on me, my parents, and my little man, who kept me fighting every single day. I couldn't have survived this without the amazing people in my life.

My ex broke up with me and headed back out of town for work. I felt like a weight had lifted off my shoulders, it was finally over and I could move on with my life.

I had the day off of work and daycare already set up for my son, so I decided to call a friend from work. This friend was a guy I had referred to (only to myself and closest friends) as my “work crush”. He was one of the nicest (and handsomest) guys I had ever met and we had become good friends while working together. He drove 45 minutes to pick me up and take me to *drum roll please* Taco Bell at the mall foodcourt. I wasn’t that hungry, so spent most of the meal sneaking tater tots off his plate. We went for a walk and he dropped me off in time to pick up my son.

Over the next week we talked and hung out outside of work, finally admitting our feelings to each other. Little did we know that this would lead to us finally getting married 7 years later. I knew I didn’t want a relationship right away; my son was my top priority and I wasn’t about to bring random people into his life. We kept things friendly and used the time to get to know each other.

Little did I know, my ex was planning on coming home to get back together. He showed up one day while I was at work, made a (somewhat sad) attempt to clean the house, woo me with flowers, and apologize profusely. I had already made up my mind, the relationship was over; I was done going back and forth, as I told him when he broke up with me.

I tried hard to end things on good terms, for the sake of our son. We attempted counselling and discussing our issues, but when he found out that I had feelings for someone else, something snapped inside him.

You know the stages of grief?






Yeah, I watched him go through each of those stages, except when he got to anger, things escalated. As you can imagine, if you read part one, he had trouble managing his anger, and the situation turned ugly, quickly.

It started with him saying nasty things to me in front of our son. It got to the point that I couldn’t spend an extended period of time at the house we lived in. I would pick our son up after work, take him home, feed him dinner and hang out until bedtime; once he was asleep I would leave to spend the night at various friends houses, coming back to the house between 4-5am so that my ex could go to work, and I could get my son and I ready for the day.

Looking back, I didn’t sleep much during that time. I’m forever grateful for the friends that allowed me to crash on their couch during this time.

One morning I came home and my ex was waiting for me. He was sitting in the dark living room when I walked in the front door. I can’t remember what was said, only that something felt different, something was off. I sat down on the opposite end of the couch and waited for him to leave for work.

Except he didn’t leave; instead, he grabbed my car keys off the hook and threatened to drive my car into the river. I tried to get my keys back, but he was considerably bigger and stronger than me; he shoved me into the door trying to open it, I pushed him back in defence. He finally got around me and out the door, where he threw my keys onto the front yard. I walked down the stairs to find them and he tried to push me down, thankfully I was holding onto the railing, because he would have sent me flying down the concrete steps to the sidewalk below.

I didn't realize until the next day, when someone at work pointed out the huge bruises on my arms, how hard he had pushed me.

He reached the keys before me and bolted to my car, where he got in and jostled things around, I’m not even sure what he did, but the car was shaking like crazy, and ended up dying on me a couple weeks later. At this point I called 911; I thought he was going to steal my car and didn’t know what else to do. He got out and ran while I called them, slamming my door so hard that it wouldn’t open, I had to crawl in through the passenger side to turn the ignition off.

The police showed up shortly after and I explained what happened. They called my ex, telling him to come back and discuss the situation; during this conversation one of the officers told me that I could lose my son for pushing my ex in self defence. Those words stuck with me for the next 5 years; I lived in constant fear of doing something wrong and losing my son.

To this day I am thankful that my son slept through this entire ordeal. I woke him up and followed the officers to the police station, where they set me up with Victim Services until it was an appropriate time to call my parents and head to their house.

I wish I could say that this was an isolated incident, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

I moved out of the house that day, taking only what I needed in the moment, and moved in with my parents. My dad and I went back a couple days later to pick up the remainder of my things, only to find the house destroyed.

It was like a tornado went through the house. There was a machete hanging on one of the walls, beer bottles scattered all throughout the living room, knives on the living room table, and any of the furniture that was mine had been smashed to pieces. My clothes were scattered all over the bedroom floor; I later found that he had cut up every single piece of clothing I had left there, cutting out the breasts of the shirts and crotches of the pants. He had dumped my grandmothers jewelry (the only thing I have left of her), into a box and shattered glass over it.

My dad and I didn’t know what to do, we were in complete shock, we packed up what we could and left the rest. We called the police, just to have record of what had happened, but were told there was nothing that they could do.

A common theme I was soon to realize.

A couple days later my ex called wanting to stop by and say goodnight to our son and I allowed him to come over. My son was in the bath, and I didn’t want to be around my ex, so left him to say goodnight, forgetting my phone. When he left I realized he had stolen it and taken off.

Again, the police were called, and again we were told there was nothing they could do.

He used my phone to harass the guy from work. He used my phone to rack up $900 in text messages after I had attempted to disable it. He used it to hack into my email and send a resignation letter to my regional manager.

Over the next couple weeks I attempted to lead a normal life, but he continued to text me threats and nasty messages. I lived in a constant state of fear. Fear that he would show up and hurt me, fear that I couldn’t defend myself if things became physical because a police officer told me I could lose my son, fear that this was my new normal.

I finally moved out of my parents house and into my own apartment. I didn’t tell anyone, except for my closest friends and family, where I lived. I was afraid he would find me, and at that point, I didn’t know what he was capable of. He was texting me daily; threatening to blow up my building, to harm me and the guy from work, to take my son from me. I looked over my shoulder anytime I went out into the world.

One morning, the day that I had decided to officially introduce my son to my new partner, I received a text from my ex. It was my car parked outside of my apartment building. I gasped and felt my stomach drop, and then “BANG BANG BANG”.

He was there. He had found me. My partner was just getting ready to leave (he would come over after my son went to bed and leave before he woke up), and we froze, staring at each other.

I have never been so afraid in my life, my heart was racing, I was sweating, and my stomach felt like it was in my throat. I walked over to my sliding glass door, opened the curtains, and there he was. My ex was standing outside of my apartment demanding to see our son. I asked him to leave, told him he wasn’t allowed in and that I was calling the police.

The police showed up shortly after and talked to my ex before coming in to talk with me. I explained the situation to them and they left, not saying much except that I needed to obtain sole custody of my son, because without that, my ex could take him and I wouldn’t be able to do anything.

We went about our day, but it was severely dampened by the constant stream of calls, voicemails, and text messages from my ex demanding to see our son, calling me terrible names, and other nasty things that I’ve blocked from memory.

We stopped at my parents on the way home and I was in tears. I was exhausted and terrified to go home. My dad finally put his foot down and told me to go to the police station to file a report. My parents watched my son while my partner and I went to speak to the police.

As luck would have it, the officer we had dealt with earlier that day was just getting off her shift when she saw us. She let us know that they had given specific instructions to my ex to not contact me for 24 hours, and thankfully, I had proof that he went against those instructions.

The next couple hours were spent writing out everything that had happened in the months leading up to that day, printing off text messages, and pulling voicemail recordings.

He was arrested a couple days later and a year long peace-bond (the police equivalent of a restraining order) put in place. He couldn’t come near me or attempt to contact me.

I could finally breathe again.

I wish I could say that my life went back to normal, but it didn't. I had developed severe anxiety and depression throughout all of this. I lost close to 20lbs in a matter of months, living in a state of fear and survival. It's taken me years to get a handle on my anxiety, and I still struggle with it to this day. It took years for me to realize that I wasn't going to lose my son and learn how to coparent with my ex.

My son turns 10 this year, it's been almost 8 years since all of this happened, and I'm happy to say that his father and I are finally in a place where we coparent respectfully. It took years to figure it out and get to the point where we're at. I'm grateful that I held to my values and put my son first throughout all that went on, that I was able to shield him from all of this; I never once wanted him to be in the middle of our shit, and I'm happy to say that he is one lucky kid who has numerous people who love him.

That guy from work turned into the amazing husband I have today; he stood by me throughout all of this, he stepped into being a dad to someone else's kid without batting an eye, and he is one of the best things that has come into my life. I always say, my life began the moment I met my husband; he was the light that got me through the darkness and I love him with all my heart.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, please seek help. I know how terrifying and lonely it is, but I promise you you are not alone and there is help for you. You can get out of this situation and be happy- I'm proof of that.

If you live in BC you can find more information here.

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