Domestic Violence with Ty Wilson

Trigger Warning: Today’s episode discusses domestic violence and suicidal threats. If you’re not in the headspace to listen to today’s show, please hit pause and come back to it when you’re ready.

It’s hard to confront or even admit when your relationship involves domestic violence. Experiencing a partner turn abusive is traumatizing, but it’s important to seek help. In today’s episode, Ty Wilson joins me as we both open up about our own experiences with domestic violence. Listen in as we share our stories, the initial signs of abuse, and how we removed ourselves from the situations.

This is Season 2 Episode 2 of Here’s the Tea with Akua

Here’s the Tea with Akua is a safe space to learn about hot topics, gain a new perspective and have a greater understanding of the people around us. You’ll hear amazing stories of everyday people like you and me. They’ll be spilling the tea and giving us an honest look into their lives. As we discuss topics such as race, relationships, mental health, and how to just figure out the thing called life, we’d love to have you subscribe on Apple PodcastSpotify, or your favorite podcast player!

Important Parts of the Conversation:

Get to Know Ty (2:26)

Growing Up & Life Before Meeting My Abuser (3:31)

Life When I Met My Abuser (6:30)

Initial Signs of Abuse with Money (8:06)

The First Physical Abuse (14:11)

When It Went to Far (20:29)

Knowing It Was Over (25:18)

Telling Others & Dealing with Retaliation (28:36)

Why We Stayed (41:15)

Retaliation from Partners (44:33)

Lack of Resources for the LGBTQ+ Community (48:43)

Hope After Abuse for Healthy Relationships (51:55)

Connect with Ty:

instagram.com/tyzwilson

Domestic Violence with Ty Wilson

Review the Transcript:

Akua Konadu
Welcome to here’s the tea with akua. That’s me. And this is a place where we have candid conversations about various hot topics. Each week, you’ll be hearing some amazing stories of everyday people like you and me, there’ll be spilling the tea and giving us an honest look into their lives. I believe that our stories are powerful, and when shared, they can change not only our perspectives, but also our lives. No topic is off limits. So have a seat and get ready because we are going to be making uncomfortable conversations comfortable.

Akua Konadu
Hey, everyone, welcome back to the latest episode of here is the tea with Akua. And before we dive in, I just wanted to give a trigger warning with this episode, it because we are going to be talking about certain things that may just be unsettling, or, you know, for people. So I just want to give everyone a heads up before we hop into this episode. But today we are going to be talking about domestic violence. And this is something that affects everybody. It doesn’t matter, your race, ethnicity, socio economic status, this is something that has heavily impacted my life. And I know so many others. So I’m hoping today with this episode that you just have a greater understanding about this topic. And then also to that if you know somebody in your life that is going through something that you just know how to support them. So I’m really looking forward today for today’s guest, which is a dear friend of mine, Ty Wilson. And we are both just going to be going through today just sharing our stories. And I’m really looking forward to it. So hello, Ty, how are you?

Ty Wilson
Hi, Akua. I’m doing really well. How about yourself.

Akua Konadu
So good. Happy to be happy to have you absolutely adore you. And y’all if y’all need to know Ty, because he is just so much fun. And he’s an amazing, amazing wedding photographer. And so I’m really just honored that he’s here today just to share something that’s really vulnerable. And, and it’s not an easy thing to share. So first and foremost, before you introduce yourself, I’m so happy and just thankful that you’re here. And so for our listeners, just share with us who you are what you do you know how you’re you’re making your mark in the world.

Ty Wilson
Yeah, thanks. Well, I’m glad to be here. Like I said, I’m a wedding photographer based in Seattle in New York. And I guess the impact I hope I’m making or you know, that I’m trying to make is just creating a safer world for marginalized communities, especially the LGBTQ and black communities, as well as other racial minorities. Since there’s so much intersectionality between all of these communities, and the most at risk people are usually those who are, you know, are also the most marginalized?

Akua Konadu
Yes, I love that. Like, I feel like that’s why we’ve just become such good friends because, you know, a you ally Ride or Die periods will ever have to question with tie. Okay. So yes, thank you. Thank you so much for sharing about who you are. So let’s kind of just dive in into the topic. And again, I just want to give it preface it one more time trigger warning here because we are going to get into the nitty gritty of some things in regards to domestic violence. So let’s talk about like before you met, like your abuser, right. So what was your view on what a healthy relationship should look like?

Ty Wilson
Oh, that’s a great question. Well, so I grew up in a very white, German conservative Christian household with parents were still married, middle income, all of his kids were in extracurriculars and like a bunch of different sports, and didn’t have any like real world hardships. And so that kind of crafted the foundation or the groundwork for what I thought healthy relationships look like. And I guess I would a sum sum it up in like a sentence or so what I thought a healthy relationship was is a relationship that didn’t walk away from flaws. Obviously, every relationship will have a flaw or you know, flaws. And if something is broken, you fix it. That was the mentality that we had. If you’re in a hard place, you pick yourself up by the bootstraps and carry on so really, it it well, I found a healthy relationship was is, you know, just mediocrity. And then when hardships arose, you didn’t walk away you face them head on and got through them.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, I think that’s super interesting because and I didn’t share this so if you’re a new listener, at beginning of the podcast, but I am a survivor of domestic violence as well. And what I find that super interesting is number one, you didn’t grow up with abuse. In the home you had what is known as a pretty normal childhood where obvious Usually if people are angry and this and that it never led to any type of like, type of abuse, and on my end, I grew up in an abusive home, my dad was physically abusive towards my mom, and me and my siblings. And so, a lot of times when people hear my story, they’re like, Okay, well, it makes sense. Because, you know, that’s where she grew up. That’s what she’s seen. And it’s true, like, you know what I mean, like, I absolutely ended up in an abusive relationship, because, for me, that was the norm. Like, that was my everyday life, that chaos. And so when I ended up in that similar situation, it still took me a while to grasp the severity of how bad it was because of the way that I grew up. And so, but again, I just wanted to just share that piece, because just those parallels of Ty and I how we are completely opposite. And a lot of, you know, when you look at things on paper, we are extremely opposite. And the fact that he has grown up in a much more healthier home and still ended in that situation. And I obviously grew up in a more toxic environment and still ended up in that situation just really shows again, that it really truly doesn’t matter where you come from how you grew up, like, you know, these things just happen. And it’s, and it’s hard, it’s a really hard thing to navigate. And so that’s something that I just wanted to, to share within that. And so, when you met your partner at the time, where was your life at at the time? Where like, what were you doing? How was your life during that period?

Ty Wilson
Oh, I mean, I thought my life was great. At the time, and I mean, it really was I had recently graduated college, a couple years before, I had a really good corporate job working in the tech industry was making, you know, six figures only a couple years out of college getting, you know, promotions and had a lot of really great friends. I was in a really great place. I’m naturally, you know, socio economically. And really there. I mean, I had a good life.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, and I think so when you first met him, so And he obviously too, I’m assuming was equally successful as you were

Ty Wilson
correct. Yeah, he was a corporate lawyer. So we both you know, we’re doing well for ourselves, especially for being so newly out of college. And, you know, when we moved in together, we moved to, from the Midwest to New York City, and, you know, had an apartment, a block away from Wall Street, I was kitty corner from the stock exchange. And so we, you know, we both had, what looked like really great lives.

Akua Konadu
Yeah. And then like, I’m sure, like, people would look at me like, oh, yeah, like, that’s a power couple right there. And all of that jazz. And so, which, like, for me, it’s kind of interesting, too, because when I met my abuser, we worked together, employed at the same place, and which was a really difficult thing to kind of navigate. And so So what were some of the worst, the first, like warning signs that you saw with your, your partner at the time,

Ty Wilson
some of the first things I saw, and I didn’t even think of them at the time, because it was so subtle, and realistically, like, not necessarily, a bad thing was I noticed some financial aspects that just like, tie this together, quicker than I would have thought, at one point, before we had even moved in together, I needed to get a new car. And for some reason, you wanted to have his name on the lease, or not the least the financing as well, at the time, I was like, oh, whatever, it’s kind of weird, but doesn’t really make that big of a difference, it got me a little bit better of a rate, just since he was making a little bit more money than I was at the time. And then, when we first moved in together, I was you know, looking for an apartment that either of us could afford on our own, just because we were moving to a new city, who knows, you know, what types of things can happen. And he rather, you know, wanted to find something that was beyond this, you know, something that we could afford together rather than one of us on our own. And so it just, it seemed like money, things that were, oh, we just have different priorities. It didn’t seem like a manipulative thing at start, but it laid the groundwork for, like financial dependence or codependence on each other, that could lead to further you know, manipulation, especially when, like the emotional bids came in and the physical bids came in.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, I remember for for myself, when like first signs that I experienced because, again, like I had grown up in a very abusive situation so like, I truly just like did not have any framework of what a healthy relationship would look like. And so for me, I he was very like the love bombing. Like, that’s the thing like it’s absolutely he made me feel very good about myself. Because number one I also like was, because I was still very young. And like, I was definitely like, not considered like, I didn’t think that I was very, like physically attractive or anything like that. So I just had really, really low self esteem. And I truly felt that I didn’t bring anything to the table. So the fact that he was just making it known, like made me feel like I was like, the only girl in the world for him that, you know, it was very pygmy vibes, which is so cringe. But that’s kind of how it was for me. Like, I just was like, Oh, my gosh, he sees me for who I am. And like, all of these things. He’s giving me attention, which is I’m not, I’ve never really gotten from a lot from like, the opposite sex and stuff in the way that I wanted, like I felt seen. And

Ty Wilson
that’s one of the reasons or one of the things that makes it so hard to leave to even you know, when there are instances because that love bombing happens. And you’re like, Oh, well, it was just a mistake.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, it is completely. And so that piece happened for you like, okay, we’re we’re financially well, obviously, it sounds to that the relationship like he was wanting the relationship to move at a much quicker pace than you were comfortable with, which is something that I also had noticed about on my end as well, like, I was kind of uncomfortable with how things were moving very quickly. Also to I’m going to be real here, y’all. I was really young gal, so don’t judge me, but I was already membership with somebody else. So there was like a whole bunch of other things that were happening. But things were moving very quickly, that I just like didn’t know how to navigate. And so like, Were there things even emotionally for you that you noticed as well, that was that was happening?

Ty Wilson
Yeah, it was, it’s really interesting. Because we moved to new cities, we moved to New York City together from the Midwest, I was I was born and raised in the Midwest, I was like a fish out of water in New York, especially living downtown Manhattan. And so I had nobody and he had lived in New York before. So he had friends already. But I noticed that as I would try to make new friends, friends that were outside of his already existing friends circles, it just became a very awkward situation, like he would get extremely jealous or upset by the fact that I was, you know, making new friends or giving people my contact information, because he thought that was extremely inappropriate, and was like, almost equivalent to me cheating on him, which was not the case at all, like these are, you know, friendships that I’m wanting to build. And so it just, it felt like, you know, there, there was this piece where he could do things, but I couldn’t. And it was like isolation techniques that I didn’t even recognize at the time. And then as things started to get worse and worse, a lot of the emotional manipulation was like, Oh, you’re not, you know, here to stand by me through my struggles. So one of the things that came up is he got really addicted to drug use. And I had tried for, you know, a long time to try to get him to go to rehab or like seek counseling and things like that. And so it just turned into Oh, you don’t stand by me even though I knew for a fact that wasn’t the case, because I had been trying to help him. And so there was just a lot of like, gaslighting, and that’s really how things started to escalate is once it becomes you know, these small things that you can brush off to like blatant gaslighting.

Akua Konadu
gaslighting is such a thing, and I feel like it’s it’s, I don’t know, I feel like it’s kind of surreal when those pieces like happen like it, just everything like everything from the gaslighting, the emotional abuse, and then when things turn physical, it’s, it’s super, super surreal. And so I guess, wanting to ask to like, do you when did things kind of start becoming physically abusive? Because obviously, there were things that were happening, like you mentioned, he was doing drugs, and there was a lot of gaslighting involved. I mean, and you were obviously still, like, in your mind, you definitely felt that you could fix him. I’m assuming. That’s how I felt.

Ty Wilson
Yeah, like, like I said, I grew up thinking, you know, when issues arise in relationship, you don’t walk away from it, you work through them. And so that’s what I was trying to do. And just being part of the queer community, there was already so much shame about like, being in, you know, a same sex relationship. And so I didn’t want like the relationship not working to just be another thing that people saw as like, oh, just that, you know, this person is doomed for failure because they’re not following the word of the Lord, you know, because I grew up in a Christian family and so, yeah, there was a there was a lot of that. The I guess the physical aspect when things first started to get physical or the first instance of being physical was Shortly before Thanksgiving, so things had been bad emotionally for a while. And we were kind of on a break, but had been working through some things. And we had had plans to visit my family during Thanksgiving. But just based on like everything that was happening in our lives at the time, I didn’t think it was appropriate. And I also just didn’t want to be, I didn’t want to be around family at the time, because I was facing so much shame. But I also didn’t want him around my family either. And so I had changed, I had, I had canceled his flight ticket. And then I had changed my flight, home to Denver, I had one of my friends who reached out but knew a little bit of what was going on and knew I just needed to get out of town was like, Hey, let’s go to go to Denver. He knew I had a bunch of friends in Denver, he knew that, like being in the outdoors, and being in nature was kind of my safe space. So we did that, plan that and then when I told my partner at the time, like, hey, just based on all of this, I don’t think it’s it’s, you know, the right choice for us to go see my family over Thanksgiving. And when I told him that that like completely flipped a switch, you know, triggered something in him. And I just remember there being a lot of yelling. The physical aspect wasn’t like, it wasn’t extremely violent in retrospect, it you know, but it was, but it did get physical. And that was kind of like that was the beginning of the end. It was I don’t even remember what the physical aspect of it was. I just remember not being okay with it. I remember wanting to get the police involved. But I also remember that it was realistically extremely minor. And like, I didn’t get injured by any means. So that all kind of played into where I was at mentally afterwards as well.

Akua Konadu
Yeah. And I feel like there’s so much to unpack there. Because, obviously, like you’re part of the LGBTQ plus community and a common misconception that I feel like a lot with domestic violence. Like when I was Miss Minnesota, and was speaking on my own straight with domestic violence. I remembered I was in a session just teaching about it. And I had asked like, what about same sex couples? Do you believe that domestic violence can happen, and a good chunk, which I was surprised by said that they didn’t believe that like, especially specifically men could experience domestic violence. And so wanting to kind of just backtrack a little bit because you said you had felt a lot of shame. So even just you coming out, there was obviously some linking with that, of like, why it was also made it more difficult for you to want to leave the relationship. So can you explain what of that because you said to that, you experienced some shame?

Ty Wilson
Yeah, just the fact that, you know, I came out as a homosexual male was not okay with my family, as well with my, with my parents. And that really damaged the relationship there. And so then, when, and well, at that one point, my mom had told me that she never wanted to hear about that part of my life. That part meaning the gay part, which can’t really come compartmentalised, but because of that, there was already a lot of, you know, asked a lot of aspects of my life, I was not looping my family in on or, you know, wanted to hide from them. And so then, when my relationship wasn’t going, well, one, there was shame from just the relationship not going well, but then also not wanting to, you know, kind of give my parents more ammunition to be like, well see, we told you, this isn’t the right path for your life. And then also them have been said, We don’t want to hear about this part of your life. So there’s a lot of shame there, and me wanting to kind of keep from them and keep up this facade of like, I’m doing well.

Akua Konadu
Yeah. And that’s, that’s such an interesting, like, it’s an important aspect to really talk about like, especially if you identify as gay or trans or bisexual or whatever, that that adds a whole nother layer to dealing with domestic violence. And so, like you already felt you didn’t have a great relationship. So it’s not like this is information you’re willingly going to share. But then I’m sure it made it even harder to want to try to ask for help and whatnot, just given the dynamics and so

Ty Wilson
quickly, and especially like it, especially when things started getting physical, it felt extremely humiliating and emasculating. Especially because I like I was physically the larger and stronger person in the relationship and so it just felt like this weird dynamic of nobody would believe me anyway. And also like, how can you you know, be getting physically abused? Just when you’re stronger than the person Yeah, just, you know, another stereotype that or, you know, myth that needs to be dispelled about domestic violence also

Akua Konadu
110% And so even so after the first time, I got violent, like, the first time I got physical, not violent, but just physical. Like she was like, okay, like, this is I’m not okay with this. But this is a small enough thing that you felt like that you can move past it. And so when it happened again, how was that whole experience for you?

Ty Wilson
That next experience was a lot different, because a lot different because the first time you know, like you said, it was a a minor physical altercation. After it came the love bombing. And so it was a lot easy, you know, it’s very easy to go back. The second time the violence happened. I remember we were on our way back from it was over Christmas, we were on our way back to Manhattan on the MTA, or the subway. And I just remember being pinned up against the side of a subway car with his forearm to my throat and not being able to escape anywhere, because we’re on the train, we’re between subway stops that it’s not even like I could get away from him. If I got Unpin from from the side of the car, and I saw I was there pinned as he was screaming and spitting in my face. And I remember, once we got to a subway station, I was able to get free from him and someone had stepped in a little bit and at least enough for me to run and take off from the subway station and call the police. And that was completely different. You know, I, he hadn’t up to the point he hadn’t tried, like, choking me or physically harming me. And so at that point, I was like, this is this is absolutely not okay, like, this is a situation that I need to get out of. But I still didn’t know how, because we were financially tied to each other, you know, we it’s one of those things where I knew what needed to happen. I just didn’t have a path to do. So I didn’t feel like I did.

Akua Konadu
It’s just so yeah, like, so many things that I can relate on. But even like I said, despite the fact that our stories are so different, because, for example, like with my abuser, he also grew up in a physically abusive home, his dad was physically abusive to him, his mom, very similar scenario. And I, so a lot of the times, like when the abuse was happening, like I wasn’t okay with it, either. But it also was just like, in a weird way, I was also, like, we’re gonna, we’re not going to be our parents, we’re gonna build a better life for ourselves. Like, we’re gonna be like this amazing couple and just kind of like, show people like that we’re fine. And we’re great in all of these types of things, which, in some, a little bit of a similarity, but obviously, still not like, there’s still such a big difference. Like even you would be like, I’m still going to show people that this relationship is going to work that I’m still going to show people like, wear Gucci were great. Like, it’s us against the world type of mentality, which is like, I feel like I had and like, did you kind of have similar? Like, I’m assuming you have similar to like that shoe? If not, please tell me that.

Ty Wilson
I definitely did. Especially at the beginning, and then as things got physically worse if it became a Okay, no, this isn’t good. But I don’t know how to get out. And I’m sure so you mentioned that, you know, you guys work you and your abuser worked at the same place. Was there some part of that with you? Where you’re like, you know, I, I can’t really escape them even if you wanted to?

Akua Konadu
Yeah, no, that was a whole weird dynamic too. And like, it’s true. Like, that’s how it was like, it was really difficult to escape because we were together all the time. So it’s not like, but we work different shifts. So that was also nice. But there were times to that we work together. So one coworker knew. And also similar to like your situation, he was also on drugs at the time, which in my mind, I thought I blamed it on the drugs, like when I was making excuses. salutely I was like, you know, like, he’s on drugs. Like, I’m trying to get them off. I’m trying to fix him, you know what I mean? Like I can I can do this type of a thing. And so we kept it professional, but I did eventually, like, share it with a co worker in the evening. Who, because, obviously, like I’m much darker, so like, I don’t bruise as easily. So, you know, I wasn’t showing any major symptoms, but she could tell like my my personality was changing. And I find I felt like she was a much more safer place because she had also walked through a violent situation as well. So yeah, it was a super hard thing to really navigate. But I did eventually, like tell my job what was happening because things had to come clean because he did eventually go to rehab, but I’ll definitely touch base on that. But I’m really curious to hear from you, though. When did you decide that enough was enough? Like you said Okay, this happened on the subway, like, you knew, like, alright, this is this is insane. Like, I can’t I can’t do this anymore. And like I’m fearing for my life and my safety. And so, but were you still with him after that? And like, when did you decide finally that enough was enough? And when did you start really trying to escape the relationship?

Ty Wilson
Yeah, and that’s, that’s where things get complicated. And I think a lot of domestic violence, you know, stories are extremely complicated, because in that moment, I knew, like, things were were done, they needed to be done, and the relationship was over at that time. Now, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t see this person ever, it didn’t mean doesn’t mean that that’s when the abuse stopped. Because keep in mind, we were living living on Wall Street, we had an apartment together, that neither of us could afford on our own. And so it became a conversation of okay, how do we come up with it was going to be over $10,000 Just in break our lease money that neither of us had, you know, just sitting in the bank at the time, and neither of us could afford the apartment on our own either. And so, we tried to be like, Okay, well, the relationships not Okay, is there a way that we can just like, make it through the next few months, you know, living together, but not being together, I was fine, you know, sleeping on the couch, giving him the bedroom or whatever needed to happen. And so it became hard to escape, because I had nowhere else to go in the city, I didn’t have any family that lives there. All of the majority of the friends that I had made were connections that I made through him, and his family was there. So like, however bad things got, I always knew that, like, he had a fallback, whereas I didn’t. And so it made it a lot harder for me to be the one to escape, because if I were to escape, I’d have to, you know, start over completely on my own. And didn’t really have any resources, of where I could go on short notice, these are things that I needed to plan for. But the what finally kicked me into gear of actually starting to escape the relationship was I had, so I had changed jobs during this time. And one of my new co workers on my team, he was gay also. And I think he was excited to have someone else who is family on the team. And so he took me under his wing and, you know, we we got, we do a friendship outside of work. And we’re hanging out a lot. And at one point, we were out in public with it was me and him and some of his friends. And we ran into my ex and things became like, he tried to start a physical altercation. And they all protected me. And I knew at that time, like now things have crossed over just into professional life. Because I was there with a co worker, I wasn’t able to keep that separation of what’s happening behind closed doors versus you know, what’s happening in my career. And so, the very next day, I walked into family court and filed for a temporary restraining order. Because like, I, I need to make a plan I need to get out of here now. But we’re both on this apartment lease. And so I walked into family court to get that restraining order so that I could have him legally excluded from the apartment, at least while I tried to figure out what was going on and what my next plans

Akua Konadu
were. I wanted to ask you, so did you eventually, like share with your family and stuff? What was going on during that time?

Ty Wilson
Yeah, I think it was around that same incident where, you know, he tried to start a fight when I was out with my co workers. They let my family in on it, because he had threatened to share some like salacious photos of me with people who I knew family being assaulted them. And I also once I did file for that restraining order, things really blew up, because there was a lot of anger on his part in retaliation that wanted to happen. And so I actually needed to hire a lawyer. And I had because I had kicked him out of the apartment. I was paying for this apartment on my own blowing through the modest savings that I did have. And so I didn’t have any money to hire a lawyer. And so I had to reach out to my family, let them know what was happening and ask like, Hey, can I you know, can you guys help me which is extremely humiliating to have to go to, you know, your younger sister and ask her for money? Because of the situation that you’re in?

Akua Konadu
Yeah, I think that’s that’s a really tough piece is I realized, with my experience, the hardest part for me was was talking to my mom because, you know, she had been through the same thing and she busted her ass and, you know, did what she could to get herself out of that situation. And that was really hard. I had to kind of tell her that I’m now in in a similar situation. And she was devastated. I think that’s the part that like, really hurt me a lot. Because we definitely I mean, you know, like typical like mother daughter type, you know what I mean that relationship where like, we love each other, but then we’re butting heads shortly after. But I think for me, it just seeing how like emotional she was, because she’s not a very emotional person. And just seeing how emotional she was, I was kind of like, oh, shit, like, I’m really in deep. And I guess for me, like I said, because I had lived a very chaotic life, like I just did not. It took me a while to fully feel the severity of it, like I understood the severity of what was happening, but to actually feel the severity of what has happened to you, or what is what is happening to you are two very different things. And in my mind, I’m like, okay, yeah, this is crazy. This is insane what you’re telling me, but I couldn’t, I couldn’t feel that I was just like, you know, I know this man. So I know, he’s not going to take it too far. You know what I mean? Like, y’all just don’t know, good parts of him. I knew that good parts of him that people weren’t seeing. And again, like for me, I think, because the fact that we both came from the same background, I felt like in some weird and twisted way that I was, I needed to have grace for him, like, we just needed to work it out. And then again, because he was on drugs at the time, I was just like, alright, it’s the drugs that’s doing this. And now he’s finally going to therapy, so he’s gonna get clean, and he’s not going to be abusive anymore. And so but that was a really hard piece to finally tell people. And I just remembered, well, I guess for you to like, when you were finally telling people and starting to keep record of everything, like how was that for you? Because I remember you like mentioned, like you had remember some scene from a show or something like that. And so, like how, yeah,

Ty Wilson
I was actually just going to ask you like, what was it that made you start to let people in? And no,

Akua Konadu
I think for me, because, again, like, I understood the severity, but I couldn’t physically feel it. So I just was like, I should probably just start letting people know, because this is extreme. But I’m still gonna stick it out with this man. Like, you know what I mean, I’m still gonna make it work with him. Because I still believe that we can create this, like, this family that we never had in this life that we never had. It was, you know, and so I did eventually, like, tell my my friends first and the way that a lot of them handled it like your I know, it’s because they deeply cared for me at the time, like they cared. And so it’s, it’s freaking out, like, you know, like, a lot of time with your friends. Like, girl, you need to get the fuck out. Like, you know what I mean? All these girl You better leave

Ty Wilson
him like, for them also,

Akua Konadu
emotionally draining for them. It’s a really, again, it’s, it’s really, like I said, it affects everybody, because you have people that care for you that love you and that see you. And when they know that somebody is blatantly hurting, hurting you, disrespecting you, like it’s really hard to truly digest. And I’m sure it can be triggering for other people. So I started telling them, of course, when you’re just like expressing to your girlfriends, but I’m trying to minimize it as well. I’m trying to rationalize it. I’m trying to minimize it to make it seem like it’s not a big deal. But of course, like you can’t minimize and rationalize away abuse, abuse is abuse at the end of the day. So they were looking at me like Akua that is absolutely not normal, like, no, absolutely not. So then that’s kind of where it kind of led because things were escalating a lot more. And I finally had decided to call the police on him. We had gotten into a fight the day before, because they were just backtracking a little bit. There were a lot of things that were extreme, like there was it was a lot of him threatening to kill himself a lot that he would do that, like we would get into a physical altercation. I’d be like, I’m done. And he’s like, Okay, well, I’m gonna kill myself. And I’d be like, No, don’t do that. And then there was also one instance as well, where like, we got into a physical altercation. He says the same thing, and I kinda was just like, Alright, go ahead and do it. Like, because I was just, I was so exhausted. And I don’t remember what was said, but he took a step towards me, like, like, he was going to do something to me, but then instead, he grabbed a mirror and smashed his head. Oh. And so then it was we had to end up going to like, the hospital and we had to make up this whole big lie and, you know, to make it seem like, you know, that we were wrestling and it just happened and again, because I’m darker, I don’t bruise very easily so they didn’t see anything. They believed it. The hospital staff had everybody they absolutely believed the story. And he got stitched up and we went home as if nothing had happened, but I knew deep down I was like okay, even though I don’t feel it emotionally I know rationally like this is insane. And this is not normal, like at all like we are really going through through this and I need we need to figure this out. So that’s kind of when I started like talking to my mom and stuff like that. And I don’t remember specifically like what happens before I finally went to the police But I did, and he was arrested. And then it was really interesting when he told me the story, and I just, again want to preface this because it’s a little bit disturbing. But he’s sitting in a holding cell and people are all talking about, like, you know what they’re in for kind of a thing. And he was like, you know, like, I’m in here because I was abusive to my girlfriend. And the men in there literally said to him, oh, like, that’s why you’re in there, like, not duty, like you don’t want to punch you want to slap because it doesn’t leave marks. So like, they were literally telling him how to avert from, you know, two, were able to turn more so into a He Said, She Said type of a thing, which was extremely disturbing, where they were literally giving him tips on how to hurt me, which is when he told me when he got out. And so which was again, I was just like, This is scary. And then he went to rehab. And so then in my mind, I’m like, okay, like, right, like he’s making it. He’s gonna make it work. Like we’re gonna make it work. It’s he’s sober now. Absolutely not. He was so physically abusive, even after the after he sobered up, which to me made me realize like, it has nothing to do with the drugs. This person just does not respect me does not value me does not love me. Like he loves me. Like we love each other. But this is not love, like we think in our mind and it but it’s just, it’s not, which was a really hard pill to swallow. And that’s when I kind of like emotionally really started to like, feel like everything I think to was a lot of dissociation as well, like, you just detach because you’re trying to survive. And when I finally officially started allowing myself to feel everything it was it was it was really heavy. And people my family was sick of me. Everybody was like, they were just like, they were exhausted. You know what I mean? I’m not saying that in a mean way. Like they were still there trying to show up and support but it was just a constant battle, because I just wouldn’t accept things for the way that they were. And so

Ty Wilson
the outside they see the back and forth where when you’re in it, you’re like, oh, no, they’re truly getting better. And they’re like, okay, but they’ve been getting better the last 17 times.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, exactly. And so it’s just insane. So, yeah, so just with you, like I just when you’re telling everybody, you’re documenting, like how are you feeling? Because it’s a hard thing. And it’s scary.

Ty Wilson
It’s extremely hard. And you I think you said it perfectly when you were like, you know, there’s there’s a difference. And you can just kind of dissociate between logically what you know is happening and what you know, is right, versus how you’re feeling about the situation. I was in the complete same place. But what really kind of flipped a switch in my mind and allowed me to start telling people not because I felt like I needed to, or that things weren’t going to you know, I didn’t think that things were going to get worse. But there was the scene in a show called Big Little Lies where, yeah, Nicole Kidman character is, you know, she’s also a victim of domestic violence in her relationship. And she was a corporate lawyer in this in this show. And her and her husband had gone to therapy, they had gone to couples counseling and everything. And I remember there was one scene where she went and saw their therapist by herself. And the therapist sat her down and said, you know, you need to let people know what’s happening. She’s like, because when things get worse, not if but when things get worse, none of your friends are going to believe you, because you’re hiding all of this from them. And that really struck a chord with me, because I felt the same way. Like I was minimizing what was happening, I was hiding it from my friends. And the guy I was dating at the time was a corporate lawyer. He knew the legal system. He knew, like, what he would be to say what you know how to navigate the situation. And so it became very apparent to me that I at least needed to have a paper trail for if things got worse, you know, I still didn’t think that they would. And I just remember I started, you know, telling a couple of my close friends and I say close friends as in, they were relationship wise, they were very close. But geographically, they were not. So they weren’t friends that I had in New York. So I still was able to have that like, spatial distance where I didn’t feel like I had to face them every day, which was some of the shame playing into it. And I would start telling them, like, I remember one night where, you know, there was a physical altercation and the my abuser literally told me to my face that he was going to kill me and tried smashing a, you know, a glass jar over my head. And remember, I barricaded myself in the bedroom that evening and texted my friends. I said, Hey, this just happened. I’m safe right now. I’m barricaded, then blah, blah, blah, check on me in the morning. And so I started, you know, to tell people what was going on and to check, check on me in the mornings, you know, so that way you if things got out of hand that night, they knew. But also, with that you had talked about, like, your friends were probably sick of you. And I felt the same way. Like it had to be a large, you know, emotional burden on them just like this back and forth and back and forth like tight. This is not okay. Like, you know, this isn’t okay. But now we need to take it to the next step and get you out of there. And it’s just really hard to take that step.

Akua Konadu
It is. And I think, because the fact that you do feel like a burden, and I want to just preface that as well is that my friends, and people kept telling me I wasn’t one, right. Like, you might feel like you are one, but you are not one. Because we, during that situation, you need help, and you need resources, and you need people that love you to fight for you, even in a moment when you’re not fighting for yourself, and you can’t and you don’t see it. And so, you know, it’s just right. And I still struggle with that, right sometimes still feel like a burden, just and even with just my relationships in everyday life. You know, even though I’m not in that situation anymore, I still feel like a burden coming to my friends with my emotions and what I’m going through and whatnot, and still working through that till this day, because you’re not a burden, right? Like, people are here to help you and support you, because they love you, and they value you. And so but it is it’s a hard thing, it is super hard to tell somebody what’s happening. It’s embarrassing, especially when like, you know, when people the way that people see you sometimes not the way that you see yourself. So for me, everyone’s like, well, you’re super strong. And, you know, you’re very outspoken, and, you know, like, it’s just very shocking that, you know, you’re allowing the situation to happen. And so it was like I’m not allowing anything, I you know what I mean? I’m trying to, to make something work here with somebody that I truly care about. And so it’s just it’s like, it’s it’s just it’s not, it’s a very complicated, complex thing. And so it’s not an easy thing. It’s not black and white. And so, and one thing too, is that when you do start going to police like that getting out is is generally the hardest thing, right? They’re dangerous, and the most dangerous, because there are so many people like, we always get asked the question, why did you stay? And again, that answer is not straightforward. And it’s not black and white. Because of course, like naturally, like if you are married, you know, and you guys have kids and or there’s finances or whatever. And for me, the reason why I stayed is truly because like we weren’t attached, like our finances weren’t blended together, I could have easily moved out like all of these different things. For me personally, it was truly because I felt I couldn’t do any better. Yeah, it was because like, I felt like what I had seen, like, that’s what I had also deserved. Like, I felt like I had no value no self esteem. I I just didn’t know myself, I didn’t know who I was. And so for me, I thought this is this is this is the only person that could ever love me like nobody’s ever gonna accept my brokenness, my flaws, like the way I grew up all those types of things, but he will because he’s also been through it. So we are both equally as messed up. So that’s why I stayed and so for you, number one, like how was it with you trying to get out? And then to why, like, what were some of the reasons for you as to why you stayed?

Ty Wilson
Yeah, when I when I first when I tried to get out it was it really came down to a financial aspect of it, you know, and like I said, I was in a great socio economical class, I was making money we both were. But with that, you know, Mo Money Mo Problems, and I’m not lying, I’m just keeping it real. No, I didn’t, you know, at the time, I was blowing through my savings, trying to afford this, you know, $4,500 apartment, by myself every single month and just barely scraping by, I then have $10,000 to drop to break the lease. And then you know, an additional, who knows how many dollars to pay like first last and a security deposit on the new apartment, all while also having to pay to get my stuff moved to whether I needed a U haul or whatever, because I’m you know, I’m not walking up the street in Manhattan with all of my things. That’s just physically not possible. And so it was, that was a large part of why I stayed I could not financially afford to leave. And also legally like we were tied to each other with our lease and, you know, a couple of different things. And so it made it extremely, extremely difficult.

Akua Konadu
So also too, though, so like you did that because you said that you filed a temporary restraining order. So did he try to retaliate?

Ty Wilson
Yeah, so the day he got served the temporary restraining order. He actually went to the police and tried to file multiple domestic incident reports which essentially for people who don’t know a domestic incident report is basically what you file with the police after a situation happens with you know, especially in a domestic violence situation. You let them know what happened and dates, times names whatever. I had a few of these filed previously, because I, you know, that’s even Big Little Lies, I knew I needed to start keeping a paper trail. In case things got worse, especially given the fact that he was a lawyer and had told me flat out, like, if I ever tried to do anything, he knew the legal world better than I did, and would flip it on its head. So the day that he walked into that police station, he basically took all of the domestic incident reports that I have already filed, and copy pasted everything I said, but tried to flip the roles to make it look like I was the abuser and worded it in a way where, you know, the, the police had to do something about it. And so I had been trying to just, you know, be polite, let’s go on their own ways, while still protecting myself. And he was trying to make things as malicious as possible. And so when he did this, he tried to, you know, also get a temporary restraining order against me. And to do so you have to let the court know where they can serve these papers to you. And so he tried having the police serve me at my workplace rather than that my home to try to ruin my career. Also, I was, you know, luckily extremely privileged, where I worked in a secure building where we had building security we had building reception, and then we also have my workplace reception. And so my workplace never even knew, because there were already two other layers of security in place before this. And so that was one aspect I was very thankful for is just the privilege I did have, and being able to block myself from some things that a lot of other people can’t, because a lot of domestic abusers do become violent or retaliatory when they realize like, oh, this person might be getting away.

Akua Konadu
And I think that’s, again, to really highlight just, it’s not an easy thing for people to leave. And I know, for me, resources was a domestic violence shelter, which I think a lot of the times to, a lot of people have misconceptions when they hear shelter, like, I’m not gonna live in a shelter, that’s, you know what I mean? Like they think they, that’s all that a lot of people will hear. But a lot of them provide so many resources outside of the shelter, like you can get an advocate who can help you file an OFP, who can The shelter is just like, the safest place, but also to if you have no other choice, at this point, if you are fearing for your life, and your safety, and your kids lives, whatever, like, that’s what it’s there for, but they also have things and they also have resources for you. If you’re not even at that point, I mean, abuse is still abuse, it doesn’t have to be this very extreme thing that needs to happen. You know, it could be verbal abuse, you know, you know, manipulation, financial abuse, like they a lot of shelters will provide a lot of resources and have an advocate for you that can help you, you know, whether it is to like, keep your home or you know what I mean, and you know, custody stuff with your children, like they have resources to help you figure it out, no matter what stages you are in your abusive situation. And that was something that I was super thankful for. And I didn’t eventually end up staying in the shelter like I did, but I was already working with them even before then to that let me know, like helped advocate for me, like they were the reasons why I was able to get OFP. So you know what I mean? Like, it’s just stuff like that, where they were able to provide accurate resources to help me know what the next step is. And so at the time for you, like, were you able to find any similar resources like that, especially since a lot of shelters and whatnot, like a lot of those spaces are mainly for like women and children. So how was that for you in, in a relationship in an LGBTQ plus relationship? Like, how was that for you?

Ty Wilson
That was honestly probably one of the most difficult things for me, because here I was, you know, a white male living in New York City there, there weren’t a lot of resources in like, the realm of domestic violence resources for me, because a lot of those resources were geared towards either communities of color, or women and children. And rightfully so those aren’t, you know, that’s a huge need. But that just contributed to me not knowing how to escape, because I didn’t have a shelter I could go to to live because they don’t want you know, a lot of times to have men and women in the same shelters or, you know, men with children. And so there wasn’t a place for me to physically go to escape the home. But one thing that I did really appreciate is because my abuser had, you know, was a lawyer and was connected in the legal sphere there. I had made some friends. One of my really good friends was the director of the LGBT Bar Association in New York, and they actually ran free legal clinics on Thursdays for people in the queer community. And so that was something I was extremely thankful for living in a large metropole. It’s an area as I was able to go and find free legal advice, not guidance, they couldn’t do anything for me, but they could advise me on how to deal with the situation and how to make sure that, you know, when my abuser retaliated, I was protected. And I was making sure to, you know, dot all of my eyes, Cross my T’s and not leave anything open for him to be able to have like a gotcha moment and make my life even more miserable than it was. But that was really the only resource that was available to me. And I say that with extreme privilege, you know, I was lucky enough to have a family I could go to when I was in need of financial assistance, but it there, there were very, very few resources, public resources that were available to me.

Akua Konadu
Yeah. Oh, that’s so yeah, I feel like there’s still so much work with that, again, because we really do have a lot of misconceptions around this topic. And I still, I still think till this day that there is and like, many people still get very uncomfortable when hearing these things. But these are people’s stories, like, this is my story. This is Ty story. You know, there’s so many other people in your life that have probably walked through something similar. And that was just an experience that I learned as Miss Minnesota when I was like sharing my story and stuff like that, that people from all walks of life like people that I would have never guessed. Like they walk into a room and they are like, they have like this amazing presence. And you know what I mean? And then all of a sudden, they tell me that it’s like, oh, like it really never would know. Yeah, I never would know. And that’s the thing, you never know what’s happening in people’s lives. And so, first of all, I didn’t remember that I didn’t even realize that we are literally at 53 minutes. Holy smokes, y’all. And so let’s go up close it out quick with this question. You have obviously, like, very first of all, there’s hope after the relationship, right? Like, you were in a loving relationship, shout out to Jordan, because we love the aid. But you were in our loving relationship. And so I wanted to ask with you like, now that you’ve walked through that experience, what is your view on relationships on what a healthy relationship looks like?

Ty Wilson
Now, I would say my view of a healthy relationship is still you know, I still lean towards, you don’t walk away for for small things. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t walk away for things that you know, are bringing you peace are things that are making your life more difficult there, as long as there is respect, and there is love and there’s communication, then you can work through things, if if there aren’t those things, then you can’t. And so you need to know when to you know, cut the rope and walk away. But I think the biggest thing that I learned and how to, you know, build a healthy relationship from the ground up is having open and honest communication. So Jordan knows my complete story with domestic violence. And there have been times where we’ll get into a situation where he’s, you know, maybe hasn’t done anything wrong, but it’s been extremely difficult for me just given the past and like the, how it’s mimicked things that my abuser would do. And so I’ve had to like, step back and be like, Hey, I know that you didn’t do anything wrong. And I know, this isn’t what you meant by this. This is how it made me feel. And this is why and pointed to like, directly to an incident from my abusive relationship where it tied in so he can not only see like, oh, Ty has an issue with this, but see why or like what led to me thinking that way. So that he can not that he needs not that he needs to like change how he acts, but he can adapt, you know, his approach to some things to make sure that it doesn’t trigger a response from me. And so yeah, that’s, that’s, I guess the thing that I’ve really found is like being completely open with background and being able to be like, Hey, I know this isn’t your intention. This is how it felt. This is why and just laying out some of that logic.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, I love that and I think also to just this just popped into my mind but healing from these types of situations are not easy. I think now the fact that we’re able to talk about it now you know, without getting overly emotional and all of that jazz but I mean, there’s still times like little moments where you know, you feel the pain of of what’s happened but we are true like you get to see what it’s like on the other side. If you are you know, somebody that is in currently in that situation, and yeah, no, this has this has been wonderful and I love that you are in such an amazing space now and whatnot like that just makes like I love that like I know you so this fantastic, y’all So Ty, thank you, thank you so much for being on the show today and just sharing something that is, like a part of you like what you’ve been through. And I hope that if you’re listening to this, that you have gained a new and better understanding as well. And I just like, this just popped into my head, like, I want to close it out by just saying that you are worthy, you are enough, and you deserve to be loved in a way that is respectful. And you You deserve to be seen for who you are, and loved for that, like, you know, don’t. It’s like it’s it just the fact that we’ve made it through it’s not worth it. It’s not worth being with somebody who just doesn’t see you and doesn’t respect you and doesn’t value you. And so no matter what situation you’re in, you know, it doesn’t have to be abusive, like any you don’t, if you’re in a space where you are tolerated and not celebrated. Leave and you know, find your peace and find your happiness. So, yeah, I mean, thank you all so much for listening. Thank you so much for Ty being here. And until next time, everybody. Thank you. Thank you so much for tuning into here’s the tea with Akua. If you are loving the podcast, I’d be so honored if you go ahead and hit that subscribe button on your favorite podcast player and leave me a review. This helps grow the podcast so more people can be impacted by the story shared by powerful guests like in today’s episode. Until next time, go make uncomfortable conversations a little more comfortable.

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