My name is Angelina Howard and I am currently living in my hometown of Fort Myers, Florida with my 6 month old son, James. A year ago I was happily married, living in Nashville Tennessee and just found out I was pregnant. My life seemed to be the picture perfect start to a beautiful family. However on November 16th, 2017 that picturesque life I saw infront of me came crashing down and ripped out infront of me. The life I thought I was going to have and the life I thought I had turned out to be just a huge lie.
On That dreaded night I will never forget, I was home alone with my cats, almost 5 months pregnant while My Husband Jon was bartending an event. He had just come back from NYC and I missed him so much. As I laid on the couch not feeling my best, he told me he would be late tonight and I should just get some rest. I remember after he left thinking how lucky I was to have such an amazing husband. How thankful I was to have someone that loved me so much. I remember saying, things could be a whole lot worse. Turns out, it could, and it did. I had to edit some photos from a photo shoot so I had our iPad Pro with me. Between watching terrible trash TV and editing photos and texting with Jon about how much we miss each other, the IPad wouldn’t stop making a messaging noises. I didn’t know why it was making that noise for we didn’t have any of our phones connected to it. But Jon did just have it in NYC so maybe it was connected to his there and he forgot to disconnect it. What I saw made my stomach drop to the floor. It was a text message from a girl that said, “meet me in the bathroom.” I dropped the iPad and walked around the apartment telling myself to calm down and stop being so jealous. For the rest of the evening I found more texts from multiple women and I watched in real time as he went over to that girls house and cheated on me. I called some friends and told them what happened. They told me to pack a bag. I left that night with only a duffle bag full of clothes, my pregnancy pills and my cameras. Oh, and the IPad to have proof. I called my parents, told them what happened and they flew me home. On November 18th I left nashville with 1 suitcase, my camera bag, my big ass pregnancy pillow (that I had to pay an extra $45 to travel with me....totally worth it!) and 5 months pregnant. Having a panic attack the entire plane ride home with women and the employees trying to calm me down. Since I have been down here I have found so many other terrible things about the man I married. I found out he got fired for sexual harassment from multiple jobs, and he was telling everyone we had an open relationship for months even previous to our marriage. I could go on and on about all of my discoveries. I found out who Jon really is, and instead of staying to pretend to have that life I thought I was getting, I left. I knew I had to. When I was home I luckily received some legal advice to establish residency here in Florida then file for divorce. So it took 6 hard months but then I was once again a Florida resident. The lies and manipulation and gaslighting Jon would do with me while I was pregnant was outstanding. He would blame me for his cheating, he would emotionally abuse me over and over again. My son was born 3 weeks early. There was too much amniotic fluid and so I was induced Monday morning February 19th. Jon drove down for the birth, but as I had told him before, I would not have him in the room with me while I was in labor. He caused a scene at the hospital and once again proved to me that I had made the right decision in leaving him. When he was allowed in the room right after my skin to skin time, he walked in that door and it was a man I never knew. I finally saw him as he really is. A liar, a cheater, and a huge narcissist. While pregnant I sought counseling and was part of a support group that changed my life. A support group for surviving emotional abuse from a narcissist. In these months leading up to James’ birth I read countless books and studied who people with personality disorders are and what a narcissist really is. In the group I worked through discovering the extent of my abuse and knowing I can survive. The group and my counselor gave me so much strength and power to have my son. I still see the women from my group on a weekly basis and I see my counselor every week dealing with my mental health. I am on Zoloft for depression and I more recently joined a church. I am struggling everyday to not only start over for me, but now my son as well. I know I have to be strong for him and for his future. I am currently trying to swim up to air with a giant weight around my ankle, but still I am trying to continue to swim knowing when I reach the top I will finally be able to breath. Through all of this heartbreak and stress a giant door has opened for me. I recently got my dream job as a elementary art school teacher and have been working on my photography once again. In June I filed for divorce as soon as I became a Florida resident and still only in the beginning phases of divorcing a narcissist. I finally got a lawyer and mediation is only a month away. I filed for sole parenting, which means I will have all the rights to decide everything for James. But knowing Jon is still James’ father he would get limited time sharing. This is a fight that potentially could last a long time and get extremely expensive. Not only am I asking for help for the cost of divorce lawyers and such, but also to help pay my debts to the multiple medical bills for James and I. I am asking for support on our future. A nest to raise my son in. I couldn’t be happier living back in my hometown and truly know this is where we are supposed to be. But starting over already in the negative makes it that much harder. I spent all of my savings on my lawyer so I am back to square one. I am currently living in my parents studio and I am so grateful for them taking me in and supporting me through the hardest time in my life. But James and I need our own space. I need my independence back and to start this life for the two of us on the best foot we can. Children are extremely expensive and at a teachers salary with massive debt it’s almost impossible to save. I am asking for help. Any bit to help pay my dues and get James and I on our own will help. I am currently $36,000 in debt and with James doctor bills and daycare expenses it’s bound to raise. I know I can give James the best life, I just need a little help financially to get that started. Something to know when this divorce gets tough I can afford to pay my lawyer for what I want to fight for. Already I have been so blessed to receive amazing gifts and support and I am so thankful. I am so lucky to have such an amazing group of friends and family. One day I hope you will read my book that I am currently writing, there you can view a more in-depth stories of my discovery and healing. I love you all and could never thank you enough.
Angelina and Baby James