I survived domestic abuse. My hope is that in sharing what went on behind the screen of the picture perfect life that people will recognize themselves, their friends or family, coworkers, or patients long before a crisis, and ultimately help save lives.
My name is Jo Fonda. My blog is a journal of the wake of a long voyage in my life.
I was born in 1962 in the Village of Scotia, a sleepy upstate New York bedroom community. My dad was a blue collar tool maker at General Electric, and my mom stayed home to care for my three older sisters and me. My parents were also professional magicians, known as “The Fondas”, and from a young age, I was part of their act. I dropped out of high school because after my dad retired from GE and I was the only kid still in the nest, we worked on cruise ships for months at a time. At age 16, I earned my GED, started community college, and met Lou Joy, who was five years my senior and studying for his BS at Union College in Schenectady. Two years later, I had my Associate’s degree and a wedding ring on my finger. After Lou got his MBA from Duke University, I returned to school for my BS in Computer Science. I worked for a few years in that field, and then went to Wharton for my MBA in Finance. Lou was a manufacturing operations consultant, and had a successful practice; we co-authored a book together entitled Frontline Teamwork. In 1993, after 12 years of marriage, our daughter, Anjelica was born. My career at Hewlett-Packard was going well, and we relocated for my promotion in 2000 to Amherst, New Hampshire, where we built an estate-like custom home in an upscale neighborhood. From the outside, our 20 year marriage appeared ideal. It wasn’t.
I'm sharing the intimate details of my life in an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship that ended very badly — with death and destruction splattered across the front pages, on national TV breaking news, and the international wires. I reflect on how I fed into and enabled my husband’s controlling behaviors with my own self-sabotaging bad habits, and how I finally woke up to recognize the reality of the situation, and saw the warning signs of a dangerous reaction to my exit from the relationship. Despite my depression, anxiety, and fear, I pulled myself out, and believe I saved both my daughter and myself.
My hope is that in sharing what went on behind the screen of the picture perfect life that people will recognize themselves, their friends or family, coworkers, or patients long before a crisis, and ultimately help save lives.