Brett Gyllenskog, Utah

Brett Gyllenskog is very dangerous. Brett seemed very charming at first and passed himself off as being very wealthy. I quickly moved in with him. One morning I awoke to hear him in the bathroom, snarling into the telephone. “You’ll never forget you messed with me,” he muttered angrily. “I’m a loose cannon. Throats could get slit.” Eventually his threats to his old employer landed him in jail. Now, here is a sentence I never thought I’d ever have lived, much less be recounting aloud: After he got out of jail, we moved into a house in Logan together. It was a cute house that quickly became a den of trash, used needles and old shoes, fuel for his “work.” When the police showed up at our door, he had been arrested so many times before that he recognized the cop’s voice outside. He mocked them and made them wait outside the door for almost 30 minutes while I consoled him. The cops said, through the door, that they’d arrest me for getting in the way of their investigation. My boyfriend called me a loser and said that all losers should have their throats slit. I’ve lost track/blocked out the exact number of times he was arrested and all the details of when and why he went to jail. When he wasn’t in jail, he was out of it and trying to destroy me. He belittled me in front of friends, he constantly reminded me that I would be nothing without him; then he was gone for months at a time to his new home, Now, with my head more clear, I realize that I was knee-deep in a serious case of Stockholm syndrome. I finally got a protection order against him, hoping that would discourage him, but it did not. He broke the protection order several times, for which I had him arrested. He wrote, “The protection order will end — don’t forget,” in an email to me. I started carrying mace and a knife with me at all times. I started therapy and worked on finding a new apartment so he wouldn’t know where I lived. Now, he is in jail and he may be there for a while. I fear the day he gets out of jail, and I am signed up with VINE, a free service that tells abuse victims when their exes are free. He’s unlike anyone else I’ve ever met — in a bad way. I didn’t even know that people like him existed when I moved to Utah from Kansas. I thought the bad man would be visibly obvious, but I was so very wrong.