Shanann Watts’ husband, Chris Watts, confessed to killing Shanann and their two daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, as part of a plea deal to avoid the death sentence. He also pled guilty to the unlawful termination of Shanann’s pregnancy; the death of their unborn son. Watts will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Chris Watts lied to law enforcement and placed the blame of the events that fateful night on Shanann, but investigators never believed Chris Watts’ story.
I truly expected Chris Watts to lie and place the blame on his wife. I hear countless abused women speak about how their husbands blame their abusive behaviors on the wife and/or children while denying any responsibility. I see this type of behavior play out over and over in court when domestic abuse is involved. I long for the day that the family court system understands abusers and their tactics; especially when cluster B personalities are involved. Cluster B’s are dramatic, emotional, and erratic. They include:
I bring up personality disorders because we need to understand there is more than one way to look at and understand a person. Usually no one other than the immediate family members knows something is not right with the person. Abusers can be kind, thoughtful, humorous, concerned and engaging in a setting such as work or church. When they are within the confines of their vehicle or home with family members they can turn to moody, mean-spirited, argumentative, demeaning and controlling individuals who enjoy picking a fight, or gas-lighting about any given subject.
I stick by my original statement; he didn’t just snap, he was an angry and controlling husband, was unfaithful, and viewed his wife as an object. It also proves my point that abusers aren’t scary, dirty looking men; they look like your neighbor, friend, or co-worker. Abusers are often charismatic, well spoken, with a charming smile to the outside world while they secretly despise their wife and/or children.
I’m yet to hear or read of such an abuser who didn’t have a hidden sexual addiction.
Chris Watts looks like a text book abuser.
It took me 9 years to start cluing in that I was married to such an abuser. The last two nights I lived with him I thought I might not wake up alive. I stayed too long, but thankfully I made it out alive. He’s now in prison where he belongs…for sex crimes against very young children.
My heart breaks that Shanann and her children didn’t make it out alive.
If you question the safety of your living arrangements (or work place) please take the free Mosaic threat assessment found in the margin of this website.
*Disclaimer: Abuse crosses all genders, socioeconomic statuses, nationalities, tones of skin, and religions. I minister to women and therefore I use the term woman in most of my writings.
Allow me to explain what it could have been like in Shanann Watt’s home based on my experience of domestic abuse.
Here are lessons I’ve learned from my own background as a survivor of domestic abuse, and from ministering to other survivors of domestic violence:
1.You NEVER know what goes on in someone else’s home. Sometimes a spouse doesn’t know what goes on in their home, or during the other person’s time away from home. Don’t assume you know better than them.
2.You can live with a person and not know if they suffer from mental illness or a personality disorder.
3.Many women don’t understand that the difficult marriage is actually a destructive marriage by an angry and controlling man. When a woman tries to talk through a problem the tables are turned on her and he insists the only problems are the ones she creates. He often shames, talks down, belittles, withholds, and throws temper tantrums while telling her, “It’s all you.” Or, “I never did or said that.” Lots of crazy making/gas lighting goes on in this type of relationship.
5.It can be nearly impossible to know if your loved one could kill you. (If you question your safety, please take the free MOSAIC threat assessment to determine if you are a candidate for violence or death).
7.Often times the system fails abuse survivors. Victims are statistically not believed in a court of law when they bring up domestic abuse.
8.Promoting an ideal marriage in social media posts may be an attempt to throw the abuser off the trail of an upcoming separation or divorce; especially if the victim fears for their life. It could also be an attempt to appease the abuser and ‘respect’ his orders to make him look good.
9.Talking well of the spouse is expected in most social circles. Truth telling about marital problems has caused many abused women to lose friends, or their children’s playmates.
10.Positive media posts can be a coping mechanism for surviving a traumatic marriage. Maybe it’s a snapshot of a good moment in the midst of many difficult circumstances. It encourages outsiders to believe they have a wonderful life. What person wants to admit to domestic abuse?
11.Sometimes the abuser controls the victim’s social media and electronics by posting for them; as them, going as far as to place spyware on the devices and GPS tracking on the vehicle. (The women I minister to all report having spyware placed on their electronics right before or during the separation or divorce).
12.Domestic violence doesn’t always equate to physical abuse. It can manifest as sexual, reproductive, verbal, emotional, spiritual, financial, and one I had not included in my list before today; digital abuse which would be secondary emotional abuse.
13.Domestic violence causes health care problems. The trauma caused by domestic abuse can cause immediate injuries, and contributes to a number of chronic health problems, including depression, alcohol and substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, heart problems, cancer, and auto-immune diseases.
14.Domestic violence is about control and power. It’s not about anything the wife or children are doing wrong.
15.Women are objectified and viewed as property. Property is disposable. (I haven’t seen a case yet that didn’t involve the use of pornography).
16.Victims need support from family, the church, and friends; friends like Nickole Utoft who knew enough to know Shanann and her children were missing and in danger. Be the friend a woman can safely confide in without passing judgement on her.
17.Most of the women I minister to report that friends, neighbors, and church family always looked at their family as normal, happy, and healthy. Very few outsiders would have guessed there was a toxic personality in their home.
18. Instances of domestic abuse are not limited to isolated cases and there isn’t just one type of person who feels entitled to abuse and/or kill their family. It’s becoming more rampant for men to abuse women. I have my opinion on why abuse is escalating, (Pornography mixed with hand-held electronics. Any woman at any time; instantly. The devaluing of life.), but that is an article for another time.
19. Family, friends, neighbors, and church family have a difficult time believing these men exist and are as bad as the wife knows he is. They aren’t the only people in doubt. Law enforcement and those who work in the court system also don’t believe the depth of the problem; leaving the victims unprotected.
20.Court cases requiring legal intervention are overwhelmingly domestic abuse cases, but the courts fail to recognize and act on this fact. This leads to retraumatizing the victims, continued abuse…and sometimes…death.
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Here are some possibilities of why Chris Watts may have finally went through with disposing of his family based on other domestic abuse cases.
·He could have suffered from severe, untreated mental illness or a personality disorder.
·He could have been having an affair.
·He could have taken out life insurance policies on his family members.
·He may have known she was leaving, and since angry and controlling abusers must maintain power and control; he may have decided to kill them rather than allow her to leave.
·Financial reasons: There is a legal obligation the court would have enacted on him for child support. If he wanted relational freedom to wine and dine a new romantic interest, paying money to an ex-wife and three children would greatly hinder his fun.
I don’t believe one thing could have caused Chris Watts (or any other abuser) to snap, but rather numerous issues building up over time led to it. This is why the MOSAIC threat assessment is important. MOSAIC takes all these issues in to account and determines if you are at risk.
There is NOTHING; not a thing…zero, zilch, zip that this momma or her daughters did that could have caused Chris Watts to murder them. Abusers and murderers do what they do because of evil in their hearts. In many cases, the abuser’s brain is wired wrong and there is no making sense of it.
If you believe you, or someone dear to you, may be in danger please check out the links in the margin for safety concerns and other help. If you wonder if you are in an emotionally destructive marriage there is a free relationship test for you to take.
His account of what happened doesn’t make sense to me. I would think if you saw one daughter blue from death, and the other being strangled by your wife, you would call 911 for immediate help; not go kill your wife and then hide the bodies. I don’t own a newer baby monitor, but would you be able to clearly see on a baby monitor if a child was blue? And who on earth could have a conversation, kill a person, decide how and where to dispose of the bodies, clean-up the crime scene, and load a truck with three deceased bodies & evidence in under 3 hours?