Here it is: "
Today I want to share the real story of my abusive relationship with Daniel Vitalis.
He and I were in a long-term, “monogamous” relationship for a little over 5 years.
Perhaps some of you even know of me as a result of his work, as our relationship was very public online and I worked for him in varying capacities over the year as his assistant, overseer of his social media, staff at some of his events and speaking engagements, as well moved through several roles within his company, SurThrival.
For those of you who don’t know who he is, he’s a fairly well known “educator” in the modern, alternative health and wellness fields.
Daniel and I were first intimate when I was 19 and he was 30 years old, before entering into a relationship several months later and dating until I was 25 and he was 36.
We moved in together after about nine months of dating and it wasn’t long after that, that the episodes of explosive rage began.
In the beginning stages of the relationship, they were roughly a monthly occurrence — with each passing year the frequency of them increasing, until toward the end of the relationship, it seemed as though they took place every few days.
These generally manifested as fits of “uncontrollable” anger, where he would enter into what appeared to be a blinding rage, usually initiated by something as minuscule as a dish not being washed to his standards — and would evolve into his screaming and yelling directly at me, showering me in debilitatingly harmful statements, and systematically reducing me down into a state of brokenness.
Not once in all the years we were together, did he seek out any professional or personal help for dealing with this rage and how it was harming others.
As a naïve, young woman, I was deeply affected and traumatized by these experiences.
When the fits of explosive rage were at their worst, he’d break glass, punch holes in walls, and damage all kinds of things around the house.
He once spit in my face from just a couple of feet away. Another time he pushed me down the few back steps of our house as I was exiting while he was in the midst of one of his blinding rages, because I was genuinely concerned for my safety.
Beyond the blinding anger and rage, physical violence — these episodes would devolve into accounts of verbal assault and emotional abuse almost every single time.
Daniel is a master manipulator and highly skilled in debate or arguing a point, having studied varying forms of NLP and coercion techniques for decades, so during the verbal assaults and emotional abuse, he would very intentionally choose the most vulnerable parts of me or my greatest insecurities to attack and break down.
Most often, the verbal assault and emotional abuse would center around my sexuality. He would tell me how worthless I was as a woman in this way, compare me to the multitudes of other women he’d slept with, telling me all the things that he did with them and all of the things they let him do to them, that he deemed me incapable of providing to the degree to which they apparently performed, and so much more.
I was frequently blamed for withholding sex and shamed for my lack of sexual openness, when what was really going on, was that I was an inexperienced, young woman and didn’t feel safe in the relationship.
He read my private journals behind my back, constantly belittled me, encouraged me to weed out and distance myself from long-time friends and my family members, regularly blame me of being in the relationship to “use him” for travel and notoriety (his audience was not all that large while we were together), all the while having us live in a very rural area of Southern Maine in a town of 2,000 people, where I had no friends within 3 hours of driving distance and I put in insane hours for his company each day, for little compensation.
The relationship was rich with not only verbal and emotional abuse, but also financial abuse, where he would insist on taking us out to extravagant dinners and pay for portions of our travels, and then shame me during the next fit of rage for “using him” for those things I never asked for to begin with.
Before our relationship ended for good in 2015, we’d broken up once before just two months after my little brother had died in a traumatic accident and I was coping with immense grief, because Daniel was frustrated with how things were going and how little sex I was able to provide during that time.
He would say things like, “Don’t worry if you get over his death more quickly than the average person would, you’re more emotionally intelligent than most people are.”
We got back together a few months later to make another attempt at the relationship, but we wound up ending it again about a year later, after he again, repeatedly violated our relationship boundaries in various ways and said deeply harmful things, including having bragged to me about getting one of his lovers pregnant while we were apart for those months, in an attempt to intentionally hurt me.
About three years into our relationship, while we were both high on MDMA, he admitted that he’d cheated on me roughly 4 times with both men and women, since we’d begun our relationship back in 2010.
Of the women he cheated on me with while we were together monogamously, 2-3 of them were students of his or participants at the retreats he was teaching at. I also know that sleeping with students from his workshops, retreats or events was a trend before we even got together.
After our relationship ended but were still in touch and he was already with his new partner, he bragged to me about having had a threesome with two of his students at a retreat he hosted at the Omega Institute, where he’d had sex with them on the stage of the event space while an evening dance party was taking place, with some people even watching the spectacle take place.
Throughout the duration of our relationship, I witnessed Daniel rage at, verbally assault, and emotionally abuse dozens of people, aside from myself. He did it to friends, family members, business associates, friends of mine, and random people he barely knew.
While there were times I tried to intervene and stop it, there were times where I was complicit and didn’t get involved, because I lived in fear for my own safety.
To those people, you probably know who you are — and I’m sorry for not doing more at the time. I was caught deeply in the cycle of abuse, and I apologize for not having more inner strength and courage to stand with you and stand up to him in those moments.
While I was with Daniel, he thought his “uncontrollable” rage was transformative. He knew it could be harmful and that it’d harmed people, but he would openly speak of how he felt it incited positive change in people and that he valued it for those reasons, because it would “wake them up”.
I saw him only one more time in person after our relationship finally ended for good, having yet to understand just how incredibly wrong what he did to me in our relationship was. I had written it off as simply an “anger problem”, rather than deep seated psychological manipulation, verbal assault and emotional abuse.
I even tried to go back to the relationship six months after it’d ended, because the gravity of what I’d been through hadn’t set in until the relationship had been over for a full year, and I was sat down by someone highly trained in working with victims of all forms of abuse, and was given context for what I’d gone through.
The life inside of that relationship with Daniel felt like a dark cloud of oppression, never knowing which version of Daniel I would wake up to.
I woke up each morning in fight or flight, my nervous system unsure of whether I’d be experiencing the sweet and loving version of him, or if it’d be the drill sergeant version of him, walking around with ammunition at the ready, prepared to aim and fire with just the right trigger.
These split sides of him were extremely disorienting, troubling, and challenging to understand because the charismatic version of him was fun and intoxicating, whereas the enraged side of him was so incomprehensibly harmful, so I constantly struggled to assimilate what was going on.
It’s been three years since our relationship ended, and I’m still coming to terms with how deeply entrenched in the cycle of abuse I was with him, as I did so much justifying and minimizing of my experiences in that relationship, until I had completely adjusted and adapted to that being my reality and it “not being a big deal”.
But abuse is abuse. Assault is assault.
I left the relationship a fragmented, broken version of myself and I continue to pick up the pieces, as I come to know myself again.
It’s impossible for me to truly communicate the depth of psychological manipulation that took place in this relationship with him, with the constant gas-lighting, the false stories I was told about myself, and the multifaceted ways he took advantage of my youth and naïveté.
And this is what I watched Daniel do in all of his relationships while we were together, as well as in his dynamics with his students and colleagues, in order to maintain a position of power with whomever was relating to him.
Daniel has abused his position of power as a so called “educator” for as long as I’ve known him, to get what he wants and used his influence to keep those he’s harmed in silence.
I’m no longer choosing to hold silence on this story because I’m no longer willing to pay the price of protecting him. Victims carry the debt that is the abusers to pay.
I know that people will take whatever they want from me writing this, making their own assumptions and projections around my intent in sharing, and I’m at peace with that.
Part of why I want to share this story publicly, is because those who know me personally or read my writings, I believe this will give some important context for my lived experience and why I care and am passionate about the things I am.
There are also probably a lot of people from my personal life that have wondered where I went or what was going on with me during those 5 years I was almost exclusively off the map, and this is that story.
But above all else, sharing this story is my healing, my catharsis, and my reclamation of myself from his oppression, once and for all.
I don’t want or need anyone’s pity or for anyone to feel sorry for me. I’ve spent thousands of hours unraveling this story with therapists, friends, family members and random strangers but more than anyone else — within myself, to come to terms with the loss of innocence I experienced due to this person.
What I’ve learned from the harm I experienced at his hands, is that Daniel is a product of the greater systems of oppression that infiltrate the world we live in and is one of thousands and thousands of men who are perpetuating great harm in the world from not taking responsibility for their part in those systemic issues.
I don’t know how to solve the greater systems of oppression that men like Daniel are a part of, but I do know that women breaking their silence in how they’ve been harmed by men like him and the greater systemic issues we face is one step toward dismantling that oppression.
Women of all kinds are kept small and in control by holding silence around the abuse and harm we face, but we are freed from this oppression by sharing our stories — and this story is no longer mine to carry.
I’m incredibly privileged to be in a position of safety now to share this story and to have a platform from which to share, a community, friends, and family members supporting me in this process — but what about women who don’t have those privileges?
What about the fact that I’m a white woman, and experiences much worse than mine, are more likely to happen to women of color, non-binary and transgender women?
I was able to extricate myself from the relationship safely, but not every woman has that ability.
How can we make it safer and offer more concrete solidarity for every woman to get away from her abuser?
How can we dismantle the systems that are producing the men who take advantage of their positions of power in the world to harm women?
Speaking to my experience, there were and are many who were close to both Daniel and I at the time, who were complicit in the abuse I went through with him because they did nothing to try and help me and have remained invested in their relationship with him, even after knowing the full story.
If you are aware of Daniel or knew of us when we were in a relationship, whomever you imagine to be close to him currently or to have been close to us together at the time, were probably the ones most complicit in the abuse, knowing that something was wrong or that he was harming people — but doing nothing about it.
Because people who are complicit in abuse need to be held accountable, too.
It’s sickening to me the ways that as humans, we’d prioritize our public image or a relationship that gives us clout or financial advantage, rather than standing in solidarity with a victim of abuse or oppressed minority group.
Humanity… we need to do better — we need to quit being indifferent, we need to take sides, exercise solidarity and take a fucking stand for something.
I’m breaking silence and sharing my story because I’m taking a stand against violence that myself and other women experience every single day and because I refuse to continue protecting men like Daniel and the systems of oppression that keep them safe, and women in constant harm.
I was afraid for a very long time, but I’m not afraid anymore.
Thank you for reading <3"