Lingua Ignota Details Abuse by Daughters’ Alexis Marshall
Content warning: the following post includes descriptions of rape, emotional and physical abuse, self harm, suicide attempts and eating disorders.
Kristin Hayter, better known as the multi-instrumentalist and performer Lingua Ignota, has accused Daughters frontman Alexis Marshall of emotional and physical abuse, rape, gaslighting, and causing her to attempt suicide, among other allegations in a lengthy statement she published earlier today.
Hayter publicly called out Marshall as an abuser in October, but didn’t go into detail on his behavior until today. In a nearly 7,000-word typed statement on Google Docs (shared through her Twitter account), Hayter accuses Marshall of repeatedly forcing sex on her while sleeping, and reveals that a violent sexual act caused a back injury so bad she was in danger of losing bladder and bowel function and required immediate surgery.
During the two-year relationship, which lasted from July 2019 through June 2021, Hayter says that she was often blamed for the couple’s problems, that Marshall cheated on her with several other sexual partners, that he manipulated her into staying and/or getting back together by threatening suicide, that he entered treatment for sex addiction but misled his counselors about his life, and that he failed to show up for his young children, among other allegations. After the relationship, she says she became aware of past partners of Alexis’s that described similar behavior.
Marshall denied the accusations. In a statement sent to MetalSucks by the band’s publicist, he said, “I absolutely did not engage in any form of abusive behavior towards Kristin. Kristin is a person that I loved and cared deeply for, however, our relationship was unhealthy for both of us. I can assure anyone reading this that I absolutely did not abuse her, mentally or physically. I am investigating legal options.”
Hayter’s entire 6,500+ word post is below, structured as follows: a brief overview of the relationship arc and summary of her accusations at the top, and then a detailed, chronological account of events, including descriptions of his abuse.
*** Content warning: rape, sexual assault, suicide, self-harm, eating disorders, emotional abuse***
I have included here a short statement summarizing the abuse I endured followed by a longer statement meticulously outlining my experience to the best of my ability. Receipts are available upon request.
I was in an abusive relationship with Alexis Marshall from July 2019 through June 2021. I endured mental and emotional abuse and sexual abuse resulting in bodily harm. Alexis’ addiction to one-sided sex effected me in extreme ways. I was subjected to multiple sexual assaults/rapes where I was fully penetrated while sleeping without my consent, after I explicitly stated this was *not ok with me.* Alexis obtained consent through deception, manipulation, and coercion. Alexis used me for sexual gratification in situations where I was deeply uncomfortable but consented because I was terrified he would cheat on me or get upset if I didn’t do what he wanted. In one incident of objectifying, violent sex, Alexis caused a severe injury to my spine and did not stop when I told him I was hurt. This injury resulted in debilitating pain and physical incapacitation for months. I needed surgery to treat this injury, a massive lumbar disc herniation that created an emergency condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome, which threatened permanent loss of bladder and bowel function. Alexis continued to require constant sexual attention even though I was severely injured. I needed his support for the surgery but Alexis abandoned me 24 hours before my procedure. Alexis cheated on me emotionally and physically throughout our relationship and triangulated me with other sexual partners as a way to confuse, humiliate, and destabilize me. He always denied his behavior, and gaslit me when confronted with irrefutable proof.
Alexis sustained patterns of lying and manipulation to excuse his behavior; he blame-shifted, minimized, denied, and provoked me so that he could call me aggressive and crazy. He used my past of domestic violence against me to claim what he was doing wasn’t that bad because it was not physical battering. He was jealous and resentful of my professional relationships and isolated me from friends. He took advantage of me financially. He blamed me for everything that was wrong in his life.
His abusive behavior continued and in some ways worsened after he completed rehab for sex addiction and started working a twelve-step program. He lied about the terms of his recovery. He weaponized his recovery against me and blamed me for not being able to get well.
As a result of his ongoing abuse I attempted suicide in December 2020 in the basement of our home. Alexis’ response to my suicide attempt was cold and unfeeling. Meanwhile, Alexis used threats of suicide and self-harm to manipulate me often, such as when I told him I needed to cut contact with him for my own well-being, or when I confronted him about lying.
After our breakup, I learned about Alexis’ long history of predatory and abusive/exploitative behavior towards women, for which he is well-known in certain areas, and which has been corroborated by multiple people including a long-term ex-partner. These incidents range from sexual misconduct and sexual relationships with subordinates at work, sexual harassment, ultimatums, and sexual assault. Multiple peers and women performers have spoken to me about uncomfortable experiences with him. Alexis establishes trust with vulnerable women and then exploits them sexually. I learned that this behavior continued throughout our relationship and after he entered recovery.
As a result of this relationship my quality of life decreased significantly. I suffered enormous psychological and physical damage. I continue to do physical therapy to treat ongoing issues with my spine and am in intensive therapy.
For the past several months I have been grappling with how to constructively handle this situation. I have dealt with confusion and self-doubt, fear of retaliation, and a brain reconfigured by the trauma I have endured. I have grappled with my own responsibility as an imperfect human and as an artist who stands for something, and I felt I was betraying myself and others by staying silent.
During my almost-two year relationship with Alexis Marshall, he psychologically, emotionally, and sexually abused me. Bodily harm was done to me, and he took advantage of me in every conceivable way while blaming me for his own behavior. I also discovered his long history of sexually predatory behavior. It is my hope that in speaking out I can begin to heal and save even one other woman from what I have had to go through. I will detail this behavior as comprehensively as I can below.
I met Alexis for the first time on tour, opening for Daughters in the Fall of 2018. He watched me perform and immediately seemed interested in me, focusing on me backstage and after our shows. I tour alone, or with a driver who does merch during the shows, so touring for me is often solitary and lonely and I was flattered by and enjoyed the company, I found him charismatic, handsome, and astute; sensitive. But there was something about him that made me uneasy, a gut feeling. I wrote to a good friend in Providence who knew him and asked if I could be misconstruing his energy: “you are likely not misreading that…tread extremely lightly.” So I friend-zoned him. After tour he started writing to me in the DMs, calling me ‘heroic’ and lavishing praise on my work. He seemed to admire me very much. We talked often, but I tried to be mindful of the fact he had a partner and young children, and was strictly platonic, and didn’t think much of it. He began to write that he was very unhappy in his relationship and in his life. I tried to offer support without seeming invasive. He told me he had issues with sex and intimacy, but greatly distorted what they were and used this to elicit sympathy from me.
In March 2019 he said he was in an open relationship. Although we did not have any physical contact until October 2019, at that point he began to flirt with me more overtly, told me he had ‘indescribable’ feelings for me, that he got anxious if he went longer than an hour without speaking to me. I began to fall for him. His attention was constant, like an IV drip. It felt intoxicating but also deeply destabilizing. This was later described to me in therapy as grooming and love-bombing.
Alexis would contact me at any hour of day or night with extremely intense emotions. He told me he had never felt this way before, that he wanted to be with me and for us to have a beautiful life together, he spoke of marriage. He won my trust and I told him of my history of trauma, he said that he would love and protect me and keep me safe. He told me his previous life had been full of irresponsibility and I was the clean slate, the redeemer. He told me his relationship was over and he was talking with his ex about how to separate and successfully coparent. I believed him. We talked so frequently and at such great length throughout the day I thought there was no way his partner didn’t know about me, and thought he was being honest with her about our interactions. Yet she began to contact me, calling me a cunt, a slut, I was ruining everybody’s lives, and she called herself his wife. Wife? He had told me he wasn’t actually married. He maintained that he was not married through the two years I knew him, to this day I don’t know if he is or not. Alexis demanded I block and ignore her. I was very confused and told him I was really uncomfortable and needed to back off, but he amplified the adoration and told me he couldn’t live without me. He said she was crazy and that he was physically afraid of her. He sent me texts in which she threatened to keep the kids from him. He told me she said he would rather he die than be with someone else and that he worried she might kill him. Because of the way she was reaching out to me in anger — I believed him. I was being manipulated. He would later say similar things about me to basically everyone, including and especially women he was sexually interested in. Alexis has a pattern of mistreating women, provoking anger in them, and then blaming them for acting ‘crazy.’ He also has a pattern of keeping dozens of women in his orbit who are confused about exactly where they stand. I deeply regret that I fell for this, and I apologize to Lex’s partner for the pain I caused her. I take responsibility for and own my part in this; I am the primary reason their relationship ended, and this caused considerable disruption in her life, and I am so incredibly sorry for that.
In the fall of 2019 I made plans to move across the country to Philadelphia to live with him, because he said he said he could coparent from there, which turned out to be a lie. We chose an apartment together near the park that he thought would be nice for his kids. I put my name on the lease, bought furniture and paid the deposit alone. En route to Philly, I found a notebook Alexis had left in my car during tour that I thought was mine. It was inscribed with an emotionally intimate note from someone who worked for his band. I had a bad feeling about it. I asked him what it meant and he admitted to having a sexual relationship with her over the summer while he had been professing his undying love for me. I was shocked. He said, “I’m not even attracted to her. I just wanted her attention.” I asked him how many other people he had been having sexual relationships with while telling me I was the only one he wanted. He said about 10 people, but that this was all over since we had become ‘official’ and chosen our apartment, only one month previous. I was shocked and heart-broken. “I love you so much” he said, “you probably don’t believe me now but I only want you. That’s my old life, you’re my forever, and I’m going to marry you.” I felt like I was having an out of body experience as I boarded my plane to Philadelphia.
Within a few days of living together, Alexis began to scare me. I came home from downloading shows at a café to find him having gotten out of the bath with his stomach covered in scratch marks. He was upset over a small dispute with a mutual friend’s band. I had to spend the rest of the night restraining him and holding him down in our bed to prevent him from hitting, slapping, and scratching himself. He was saying, “My life is shit. Everyone just uses me.” Having a currently dormant history of self-harm behavior myself, I wanted to be sympathetic and supportive and not shame him for this behavior. But Alexis used self-harm and threats of suicide throughout our relationship to manipulate me. Alexis was showing me that he could be violent and extremely emotionally reactive to small events, and I immediately stopped feeling safe in our home. This instability was often accompanied by what I saw as dissociative events and I began to strongly suspect that Alexis might be struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder, which was later confirmed while he was in rehab. I gently encouraged him to get therapy and sent him a list of therapists and resources for sex addiction and trauma. I held his hand while he made the calls. He found his current therapist through this list.
This was very different from how Alexis responded to my own mental illness. I have C-PTSD from years of domestic violence. Before we lived together, I had one re-living experience that was triggered by Alexis physically preventing me from leaving our hotel room when I was upset and forcefully sitting me down on the bed while holding me by the shoulders. I had a simple panic attack. Alexis later shamed me for my behavior and said that it was ‘the scariest shit he had ever seen.’ When I struggled with my mental health, he showed no compassion. Whenever I intimated that our relationship felt abusive, or that I felt I was being hurt in ways similar to my past, Alexis was offended I would compare him to someone who physically battered me, and blamed my C-PTSD to exonerate himself from all wrongdoing – I was “making it up.” Or seeking better treatment from him was “my issue.”
Alexis was very territorial with me and was jealous of other men. I was never unfaithful to him and had completely committed to him long before we lived together. His unfounded jealous and possessive behavior effected my ability to work with collaborators. He attacked my behavior on social media, digging into me for simply liking posts promoting bands with men he was jealous of in them. I had to go to great lengths to reassure him and even stopped speaking to certain people, who were absolutely no threat to him, to make him happy. He started subtly cutting down my friends and isolating me, discouraging me from talking to them. Meanwhile, Alexis was continuing to have sexual relationships with others and denying it. He also seemed to take pleasure in humiliating me, blatantly flirting with women in front of me and introducing me to sexual acting out partners without my knowledge. He triangulated me with other women and told me things to intentionally make me insecure, and then called me crazy and unreasonable when I seemed uncomfortable with these relationships. Alexis did nothing to reassure me or make me feel safe in these situations. He continued to do whatever he wanted and acted exclusively out of self-interest. When we had an argument, he would turn to sexual partners and tell them how terrible I was being to him and then use them for attention or sex. Sex became the only way I was affirmed in the relationship, the only value I seemed to have. However, later in the relationship when I tried to establish that I wanted healthier intimacy, he started withholding all intimacy and affection. I learned to take what I could get, even when I didn’t want it, because I was so starved for love.
Other forms of humiliation and devaluing included subtle insults about my appearance, weight, and what I would eat despite knowing that this is a very sensitive area for me, as I struggle with body dysmorphia and am in recovery for an eating disorder. He also made me feel bad about my intelligence and education, making nasty remarks when I wanted to read or do something intellectual I enjoyed. He claimed that me doing these things made him feel dumb, so I stopped doing the things I loved; reading books, going to museums, watching films, and listening to music. Despite his earlier admiration, he was resentful of my professional success and critical attention, and instead of supporting me, he would make good things that happened to me about how he had been slighted or overlooked.
Lex was resentful that I paid for everything while also — making me pay for everything. He told me he was flat broke, and I paid for rent and furniture and every meal and every car rental when we needed to travel. Of course, he was lying again. He had thousands of dollars in the bank and intentionally withheld this information from me, and offered me a small sum of money a single time, which I felt too guilty to take, because — he was broke, remember? I did not at all expect Alexis to pay for half of everything, or buy me expensive gifts, but I wanted him to contribute to our life together. He did nothing. When I brought this up, he said I was using money against him to make him feel bad.
Alexis used this excuse of being broke to not see his children in central PA. We moved in together in January 2020 and he went to see them once in January and once in March. He facetimed with them often, or almost every day. I offered to help him rent cars to travel to see them, or to talk to Airbnb hosts about long-term arrangements where they lived, and he refused. For the month of April 2020 I offered to rent a place for us near his children. He refused. For his eldest son’s birthday in May 2020, I researched and rented an Airbnb for the week. We went, and Alexis did not go see them once. I was furious and confused, and I knew I would be blamed somehow. I was. Despite my consistent attempts to get Alexis to go see his children, he blamed everything but himself, telling me he couldn’t afford a car to travel, our tiny apartment (that he had chosen) would make them miserable, that it seemed like I had ‘an issue’ with his connection with his children and was jealous. He told others I did not want him to go see them or talk to them. This major distortion enraged me, and my wish for basic respect and transparency was disregarded and I was blamed for his bad parenting – something that was ultimately completely out of my jurisdiction.
I felt like I was in a constant double bind, fucked if I do and fucked if I don’t. I made my needs very small, but they were never small enough. Asking for crumbs of love and affection and respect and decency, it seemed like as soon as Alexis figured out what I needed he started to actively withhold it.
Alexis’ sexual issues impacted me in extreme ways. Within a few weeks of living together, he sexually assaulted me while I was sleeping. I woke to being fully penetrated. I panicked and told him this was not ok with me, a previous partner had raped me in the middle of the night while I was heavily sedated on sleep meds. Alexis became very upset and I ended up having to comfort him. Regardless, this behavior continued throughout our relationship and probably happened over a dozen times. He would go back to sleep and I would lie awake shaking. I felt that because I could not get it to stop, I had to accept that being violated was just part of our relationship and went along with it. My most common traumatic response is to freeze/fawn – if I am in a situation I feel is truly unsafe, I am most likely to be compliant, with the belief that if I am submissive and non-confrontational I am less likely to make my abuser mad and incur further injury.
Otherwise, sex with Alexis was extremely objectifying and often humiliating and violent, without the strong boundaries of BDSM. I was just a body. If I did not have sex when he wanted, there was the looming threat that he would cheat on me. Ultimately it didn’t matter what I did, he cheated on me repeatedly, emotionally and physically. In early February 2020, just over a month of living together, Alexis caused a massive injury to my spine during objectifying, violent sex. I felt a pop in my back and immediate, intense pain and cried out, “my back!” and he did not stop. I lived in daily, constant, excruciating pain for months, pain that was so severe it significantly impacted my ability to walk and be mobile. I developed numbness and tingling in both legs and feet, a sign of severe nerve compression. I also developed severe muscular scoliosis/a pelvic tilt as my body automatically bent away from the pain. I couldn’t stand up straight, and felt defective and unattractive in the eyes of my partner, who commented condescendingly on my ‘lean.’ Alexis did not feel any responsibility for this injury and I was too ashamed to tell anyone else. He continued to expect me to have violent sex with him despite the fact that I was seriously injured. In March 2020 I had an MRI that revealed a massive lumbar disc herniation crushing 80-85% of the nerves going to my lower body, and I was told I needed surgery. All of my money had been spent on moving to Philadelphia and trying to start a life with Alexis, and I was close to broke at this time, and COVID had removed all my opportunities for income. I was terrified. I began to have what seemed like a persistent urinary tract infection, and saw another top rated surgeon in Philadelphia who said I had Cauda Equina Syndrome, and that I needed emergency surgery to halt irreversible loss of bladder and bowel function. I was told this loss could happen at any moment. I was petrified.
In the middle of this was the horrific murder of George Floyd and the city of Philadelphia was site of many protests. Buildings burned within a block of our apartment. The pharmacy I would have used to get my meds post-surgery was closed and boarded up. I did not have a car. I did not feel safe staying in Philadelphia where Alexis would have to be my primary caregiver recovering from surgery, and I asked him to accompany me to San Diego so that I could have my surgery there. I needed his help traveling (I was not supposed to carry anything) and wanted his support. He threw a fit, saying that being in San Diego for 10 days was too far away from his children, who he had not gone to see for months. After an argument he finally agreed to come. He texted multiple people that he didn’t want to be there with me. In San Diego he was rude to my family and shut himself away in a room for days. I had to feed him nutrition bars by hand. It was fucking ridiculous. I was having a medical emergency and he couldn’t stand that the attention was on me. I discovered another betrayal on his phone, and particularly that he was telling others he didn’t want to be there to support me, and when I confronted him about it he told me he needed a break from the relationship. He left me the day before my surgery, I drove him to the airport exactly 24 hours before my operation, and he said, “I know this is bad timing, I love you the most.” I was completely devastated, and I steeled myself for what would be a very traumatic procedure. He texted me from the east coast the morning of, “Good luck today. You’re going to do well and be well.” He later claimed, when I told him how much his abandonment hurt me, that he had ‘made sure I was going to be taken care of’ and had not known the actual date of my surgery (regardless of the fact he had sent me that text) and thought it was the following week and therefore was not responsible for leaving me when I was at my most vulnerable. I did not respond to his text right away and he moved all of his things out of our apartment, and then went to Massachusetts and slept with someone else – I did not discover this until months later. Did he go to see his children, which had been his chief complaint about being ‘forced to support me’ during my surgery for an injury he caused? No, he did not. In the early days of my recovery, while I was essentially immobile, he called me to complain about being alone and uncomfortable in his mother’s home and told me he was so very in love with me and that he did not want to live without me. “You’re the only person I’ve ever loved,” he cried.
Two weeks later he returned to our apartment in Philadelphia so he could enter an inpatient program for sex addiction in the area. I supported him every day until he went inside. The night before he went in, he used me for sexual gratification in a situation that made me feel extremely taken advantage of and confused about consent and where our relationship actually was. I was uncomfortable and unsure, and I did not know if this was a healthy thing for him to do before going to rehab. I cried afterwards. I knew if I didn’t do what he wanted he would just call someone else, and I was afraid of doing anything to jeopardize his emotional state before going to rehab.
The last thing he wrote to me before entering the program was about what he should post on Instagram before going in. There was no I Love You or Goodbye.
I did not speak to Alexis for the first couple weeks of his inpatient program and focused on my own recovery. I was determined to get myself to a place of mental and physical wellness so that I could make strong decisions. I started working Al-Anon and CODA programs, investigating my own toxic patterns, and did physical therapy. Alexis eventually called me and told me he was deeply in love with me and wanted us to be together, he spoke about his recovery and the things he was learning about his addiction that made me feel very hopeful. He seemed honest. He called me twice a week until the end of his program, and contacted me immediately when he got out. I was under the impression that we were back together, but something about him felt really off. He used me for sexual gratification again almost immediately, multiple times. These incidents were extremely confusing to me. I asked him about the terms of his recovery and he said: “I make the rules of my recovery.” He talked about what kind of post he wanted to make on social media about his sobriety, and I asked him to please be careful with what he said so soon out of the program, I was *very* concerned that he would use a post about sex addiction to act out sexually, and I was right. He made a post on social media about his new sobriety (not mentioning the nature of his addiction) and that he wanted to be of service to other addicts and help people, and I had an uncomfortable feeling, and discovered that he used this post to garner attention from vulnerable fans and sexual acting out partners and ‘relapsed’ multiple times. When he admitted this I stated that I needed to go no-contact with him, that I was finished with this abusive relationship. He was indignant. Then he started threatening to kill himself, and I got sucked back in.
I sensed that Alexis needed more support for his recovery and tried to help. I got in touch with a good friend who is a long-term recovery guy and put them in touch. He got Alexis into a meeting with fellow musicians that he seemed to really respond to and enjoy, and also helped Alexis find a sponsor. I was immensely relieved; I had been living daily with the fear he would kill himself, which felt entirely on my shoulders. Once again, I was hopeful things would change for the better.
I had plans to record in Providence in September 2020, and Alexis came to stay with me. Those days were blissful and full of love. We both did 12-step meetings daily. Alexis seemed to be in a really positive headspace. He told me he needed to live close to his children and asked me to come live with him. I had previously stated I would not move to State College because it was too remote but I felt so positively about this new turn of events that I agreed, for the sake of his recovery and being a good father. We moved in October 2020.
But I was being lied to again. I discovered in Alexis’ rehab materials that he had lied to me while in the program. He had told the program, upon leaving, that he was single and was open to meeting someone new, and that in ‘future relationships’ he planned to be honest about his addiction. He did not mention me or our relationship at all. I thought about all the calls he’d made telling me how much he loved me and wanted our life together forever. I also later found out the program had told him he should not be in a relationship for several years, which had not been disclosed to me and absolutely would have changed my decision to move. I only wanted to support him, but without accurate information it was difficult to know what he actually needed.
I had significant difficulty adjusting to the move after this discovery. I felt extremely isolated. Alexis was the only person I knew in this area, and at this point I had contact with very few friends. I came to really care about his children but I struggled with trying to be a stepmom with no support from him. Everything I did regarding the children seemed to be not enough, any time I tried to establish boundaries no matter how reasonable, I was painted as cruel and selfish.
In recovery Alexis developed a sense of moral superiority. I watched him preach the virtues of honesty and accountability in his meetings while lying to me daily and refusing to acknowledge any wrong-doing. And an interesting thing started happening: he started to weaponize the program and his therapy against me: I was the problem. He was the victim, just trying to get better, and I was preventing him from doing it. How I was preventing him from doing it was very unclear to me. I was supportive – nobody had greater incentive to want Alexis to recover than I did. I encouraged him to make calls and reminded him to go to meetings. But I suffered more abuse under the vestiges of Alexis’ recovery. Anything I asked him to do for the sake of our relationship, he did the opposite. He became extremely withholding and a little sadistic. He hurt my back *again* in the same way in December 2020, immobilizing me for weeks, and blamed it on me “slacking off on my physical therapy.”
I became so despondent over Alexis’ constant emotional abuse and devaluing, and felt so alone, that I attempted suicide in the basement of our home shortly after Christmas 2020, following a terrible PTSD episode. I just didn’t want to live anymore. I wanted it to end. I could not remove myself from the toxicity of the relationship and felt trapped with a man who did not love me and betrayed me constantly. In response to my attempt, Alexis said, “I’m forty-one years old and I don’t need to deal with this shit.” I wanted to die all over again. I felt so ashamed. I asked Alexis if he wanted to remain together and he said he did. I told Alexis I was extremely sorry, I would change my medication and seek intensive therapy and that this would never happen again. And that is exactly what I did, and it did not happen again. I actually entered therapy under the auspices of — “how can I be nicer to Alexis,” I was so unsure of my own reality. My therapist, who was previously our couples counselor who Alexis didn’t like, looked at me and said, “I don’t think being nicer to Alexis is the issue, but we can try.” I worked on accepting my situation. I would never be a priority, I could not expect the man I lived with and loved to be faithful to me or respond to any of my needs, or be accountable for any of his behavior. I had to accept that I was alone. These were my options. Acceptance, or to leave. I was not yet strong enough to leave.
In therapy I worked on approaching Alexis differently. I worked on softer less critical approaches, non-violent language, and letting small things go. I worked on trying to be compassionate while also detaching and establishing boundaries. Alexis did not respond well to me trying to protect or stand up for myself. And changing my style of communication did not work or change the relationship in any way. Alexis made no changes to his behavior towards me, and he stopped going to meetings for sex addiction and instead only worked AA. He spoke to his therapist maybe every other month. Alexis’ recovery is not under my jurisdiction but it is plain to see that sex is the issue ruining his life and ability to live in a healthy way, he hasn’t had a drink in a decade. I did everything in my power to try to change the relationship for the better, adapted and looked at myself critically, and after several months of trying my therapist finally said to me, “You have tried everything. As long as you blame yourself and allow him to blame you, you will believe it is your fault, you will believe you can fix it. You can’t fix it.”
Alexis continued to tell everyone and anything that would listen that I was terrible and was preventing him from being a father and getting better and living a happy life. Yet he always told me he loved me and wanted us to be together when I asked if he wanted to break up, and in arguments he refused to tell me what I could do to improve or be better, or what was actually wrong with my behavior. In sex addiction recovery, there is a lot of partner work, and Alexis refused to do any of this and refused to disclose information about his recovery to me. He claimed me he was untrustworthy because I didn’t trust him. He told me his sponsor and therapist said I was destroying him. When confronted him with evidence of cheating or sexual acting out, he denied it, or hurt himself, or flipped the situation to blame me. He responded by telling me being with me made him want to drink himself to death, smoke crack in a hotel room for 4 days, kill himself, etc. After uttering such relationship-ending statements, he asked cheerfully if I wanted dinner and to watch Game of Thrones. I slept in a different room because I found his behavior so confusing and he was offended, “what, you’re not going to sleep next to me now??” I was constantly subjected to crazy-making behavior and double binds, where there was no possible move but to accept lies and abuse or leave. At this point, I was done. I felt completely unhinged and questioned my own reality. I didn’t recognize myself. I kicked him out of the house in June of 2021.
Seeking support from friends, I began to learn about Alexis’ history of predatory behavior, which was very different from the ‘sleeping around and getting used by everyone’ sob stories I had been given throughout our relationship. I discovered he had been fired from a previous job due to sexual misconduct. I discovered he regularly sent photos or videos of himself masturbating to people who hadn’t asked for them. I discovered he had a reputation for taking advantage of vulnerable women, and that a lot of people felt taken advantage of or used by him, and that nobody was off limits – fans, friends, co-workers, subordinates, wives of good friends, etc. There were claims of harassment, ultimatums, and assault. I confronted him about what I had learned and he didn’t deny a single thing but had a different angle – victim blaming. “she was wearing a mini skirt and literally shoving her pussy in my face,” he said about one woman 15 years younger than him at the time of their relationship. “suddenly she wasn’t ok with it, and I got fired.” As a survivor of violent sexual assault, all of this was extremely upsetting to hear.
I told Alexis in no uncertain terms that I thought he should take a break from his public platform and really work on himself. I told him that all this behavior puts everyone around him in a really terrible position, and that he needs to be accountable to the people who feel harmed by him. I had text evidence of a member of his band saying that Alexis’ behavior would destroy his career. I spoke to several peers and women performers who had bad experiences with him over the years. I spoke to a long-term ex who corroborated his abusive behavior. I discovered he had been called out in a providence Facebook group the previous year, and during his AMA on reddit in July he was called out for abuse by two different people anonymously. He complained that everyone wanted to ruin his career and there was nothing he could do: “what about what they did to me??” he said — and most of all, I couldn’t possibly understand. A survivor of severe domestic violence and rape. I couldn’t possibly understand how terrible it must be to be a man potentially outed for perpetrating such abuse.
I wrote to Alexis several times about the abuse I felt I had endured. He did not respond. I reached out to a member of his band and wrote to him about my experience in detail. He did not respond. What I have written here is the truth. While I do not claim to be a saint and have absolutely done things that are wrong, I am not the abuser, and whatever I have done does not excuse what Alexis did to me and his predatory behavior that predates me by decades. Like I told Alexis, threats dissolve when you are willing to be accountable, and I will own what I have done if it is true. I have tried to own much of it here.
I believe the most prescient question people will have for me is: why did I stay through this mistreatment? There are a thousand reasons. Shame, fear, self-doubt, embarrassment, love. My own traumatic history dictates that I am susceptible to more predatory and abusive behavior – chaos is familiar to me. I believed it was my fault, and that I could fix it. I was *told* it was my fault, that I was toxic and the bad guy. I had invested so much, emotionally, physically, financially. I received intermittent rewards and crumbs of hope. There were many beautiful, mundane moments and times where we really enjoyed each other and I felt happy, and they were always taken away from me. I believed if I just worked harder I could get him to love me and treat me well consistently. I believed I did not deserve better, because I was the Other Woman, because I had already endured abuse, because it wasn’t as bad as physical battering, even though this relationship did more physical harm to me than any of my previous ones.
I will not keep damaging secrets about exploitation or abuse in service of another’s addiction or recovery. I will not endure abuse in service of another’s addiction or recovery. I will not cover for him. I want Alexis’ behavior to no longer live in the shadows. I want him to stop rewriting the narrative with self-victimizing fiction. I want him to get well, and he won’t get well if he’s lying and manipulating his recovery environments. I want him to be a good, present father to his children. I want him to heal. I want him to be accountable to those he has harmed. But my healing is not contingent on what Alexis does or does not do, and I cannot expect personal accountability from him – I never got it in the relationship and it would come as a great shock to me if I received a true apology now. Part of my healing is speaking out about what I have experienced. I want to fix what is so broken inside me that believes I deserve this, again and again, for years. I want to help others. I want to help survivors, and to help people who do not understand the insidious nature of emotional abuse. I want a life free from violence.