Trigger Warning: This podcast episode and accompanying article deal with the recent murders in Colorado and Utah, perpetrated by abusive men against their wives and families.
Were you triggered by the recent murders in Utah and Colorado?
Did you, like many women, evaluate your safety and wonder – could this happen to me?
Anne is shedding light on the murders of Angela Craig and Tausha Haight – and imploring YOU to consider that if something feels off, it probably is off. Listen to your sacred internal warning system and seek safety. Listen to the BTR.ORG Podcast for more.
Your Triggers Can Be Warnings (And Often Are)
Don’t let clergy or therapists or your husband or anybody else tell you that the uneasy feeling that you were feeling is due to something that happened two years ago.
Anne Blythe, Founder of BTR.ORG
Too often, women are conditioned to dismiss feelings of uneasiness, fear, and concern. They’re told:
- You’re holding on to the past.
- You’re just triggered.
- You’re not forgiving.
- You’re holding it over [your husband’s] head.
- You need to move on.
- You’re letting your anxiety get the better of you.
- You aren’t allowing the atonement/grace/Christ/healing to work.
- You’re imagining things.
- You’re crazy.
Instead of Dismissing Your Triggers, Consider:
Rather than shunning, ignoring, minimizing, dismissing, or denying your triggers, consider inviting them in and sitting with the emotions, feelings, and thoughts that accompany them.
Too many women are severely abused, even murdered, by abusers who control the narrative and force them to ignore their own gut feelings.
How Can I “Honor” My Triggers When I’m Supposed to Hate Them?
You can honor your triggers by:
- Journaling your feelings.
- Talking to a close friend about what you’re concerned about.
- If talking to someone else feels like too much, try speaking out loud when you’re alone.
- Calling a domestic violence or emotional health hotline anonymously.
BTR.ORG Is Here For You
Tragically, at BTR we’ve learned that emotional and psychological abuse can be a precursor to homicide – even without any documented physical violence. Please be safe. If you feel unsafe in your relationships, please take steps, even small steps, toward safety.
Our resources are here to help you. Consider attending a BTR.ORG Group Session today.
Welcome to btr.org. This is Anne. I’m going to be talking today about two different murders that occurred. Men who murdered their wives. One of the men was a known pornography user and I’m not sure about the other one, but I bet that he was. If anyone is listening and knows that he was, please let me know and we can confirm. The first one I’m going to talk about is the murder that happened in Colorado. The perpetrator was named James Craig. He murdered his wife Angela. The reason why I want to talk about this is because of the gaslighting, deceitful messages that he sent before she actually died.
She was poisoned previously by him. Now he was a known porn user. He was active in his church. He was in pornography addiction recovery, and he said that the first time he poisoned her was because he was going to commit suicide and he didn’t want her to wake up and find it. He wanted her to be able to be asleep through the whole thing (this is what he said). None of this is true. He lied when he got caught poisoning her and had to come up with a “plausible” reason for doing it.
So she knew that he had poisoned her before and in her mind she thought that it was because he was going to commit suicide and he loved her and he didn’t want her to find out. No! He had attempted to murder her. So she’s still living in this home, they’re going to therapy, and then he actually did murder her through poisoning.
“She’s still feeling like something is not right”
We’ve got a link to all of the documents. They’ve been poorly redacted, so you can totally tell what’s going on with the police report. Now, this police report is amazing because it includes all of his texts to his congregation members and also to his wife that day. The reason why I want to read these to you, the reason why I’m feeling very concerned is because this is what is happening to so many of our listeners. They have an event, like they find out their husband is having an affair or that he’s using porn or that he solicited prostitutes and it is upsetting and he gives this reason, “Oh, I’m a sex addict.” Then he starts going to therapy or 12 step and acting like he’s not doing it anymore and she’s still feeling uneasy. She’s still feeling like something is not right.
Deceived, Manipulated, Emotionally & Psychologically Abused
Rather than acknowledge that that feeling might be about current things that are happening, both the perpetrator and maybe a therapist or other people might be saying, ‘Oh, this is a trigger from what happened before, but it’s not currently happening, because I was doing that before and now I’m a changed person’, when really they are still doing it now.
I think the number-one reason why women feel uneasy, “get triggered,” they’re not getting triggered about the past, they’re still currently being deceived on purpose, manipulated, emotionally and psychologically abused. Alright?
A friend in their congregation says, “Which hospital is Angela at? Do you need anything?” to the man who murdered her- her husband. And he says, “Parker Adventist. Thanks for offering, but for now I think we’ve got more support than we can handle. Got to love the church.” And then the friend from the ward (this is a congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) says, “Do they have a diagnosis yet?”
And he says, “No diagnosis.” And she’s like, “I’m so sorry. We’re all praying for her.” And then he says, “Thank you”, and then she says, “Any news?” “Nothing yet. They just admitted her to the hospital for overnight observation.” Now, he has poisoned her so he knows exactly why she’s in the hospital. He knows exactly what’s wrong. He knows exactly everything. He could have said, “Hey, I poisoned my wife. This is how I did it. This is what’s going on with her”, and maybe they could have saved her life. But he didn’t. He’s acting like he has no idea.
“If it wasn’t my wife, this would be kind of a fun puzzle to try and work out.”
The neighbor texts the next day, “How did Ange do overnight?” The murderer says, “Low blood pressure all night, vomiting in the morning, still trying to figure this out.” The neighbor says, “I’m so sorry. Tell her we love her.” And he says, “I sure will. Thank you again.” The neighbor asks later, “How’s she doing? Do you need anything?” The murderer says, “Thanks Michelle. It’s been pretty rough not having any answers. I’m getting pretty nervous. They did so many tests. They have done four or five different blood draws. The regular blood panels all came back, okay, and she is negative for autoimmune disorders, negative for diabetes, her A1c…” blah, blah, blah. “They seem to be concerned right now about blood pressure”, and then he goes on. He keeps going on and on about how he doesn’t know and ‘I don’t understand’. And later he says, “If it wasn’t my wife, this would be kind of a fun puzzle to try and work out.” He says that to the neighbor, “If it wasn’t my wife, this would be kind of a fun puzzle to try to work out.” And then he says, “I’m surprised they haven’t figured it out yet.”
“He sounds like a caring, loving husband”
So he is gaslighting the neighbor. He sounds like a caring, loving husband. Then she dies and he sends an extremely long message to another dentist. He gets upset with the guy. He says, “Good morning. Thank you for taking my patient load today. I want to make an urgent plea to you. If we were ever friends, please do this favor for me. Please don’t talk to anyone about what we talked about last night, including any law enforcement officers. You are under no obligation to answer their questions unless you are served a subpoena and you will do more damage than good to my family by continuing to insert yourself into this. Angela is gone and I am devastated…” Yeah, right. I mean, he killed her. “There is nothing that can bring her back, and I want desperately to tell you of the details so you can better understand what’s gone on behind the scenes with her…”, as if it’s her fault; she’s been such a problem.
“There is so much that you don’t know that I wish you did. If you knew everything, this would make so much sense to you, but there’s no use in telling you right now.” He then basically blames this guy for trouble that the kids had with seeing their mom pass away, which is insane. And then he says, I understand why you did what you did. I do. I get it. But if you had come to me personally, man to man, instead of talking to everyone else about what you thought you knew, I might have let you in on some details that would have made you less likely to cause this horrible storm. If you had only put me higher on your list of priorities instead of putting everyone else’s opinions and gossip ahead of me…” Anyway, this message is super, super long.
“It’s most likely that the danger is still current”
The reason why I want to bring this up is, this sounds like your current husband. The psychological and emotional abuse is intense and it’s awful. One of the most trigger-y messages of this entire police report is one that he actually sent to his wife. She’s texting him and saying that she feels terrible and she’s going to go to the hospital. Now, she knows she’s been poisoned by him before. I think she probably believed his story. It’s a longer text message, but in one of the parts she says, “I feel drugged.” She texts him this and then this is what he writes back. This is the main message that I wanted to share with everybody, so everybody listen, because this might sound like what your husband or your ex is saying right now currently. And if he’s saying something like this but you feel unsafe, you feel like something’s not right. Emotionally and psychologically you feel like something is off, I do not want you to discount it thinking it’s just trauma that you haven’t healed from yet, and the danger was in the past. It’s most likely that the danger is still current.
“You need to listen to your sacred internal warning system”
The emotional and psychological danger is still current. So she says, “I feel drugged”, and he says, “Given our history, I know that must be triggering. Just for the record, I didn’t drug you. I’m super worried though. You really looked pale before you left.”
So if you are feeling uneasy, if you’re thinking, I think my husband’s using porn again, and you say, “Hey, are you using porn?” And he says, “No, but given our history, I understand why you might feel triggered.” I want you to consider that he’s just saying that and that he is currently using porn, that he is lying. The likelihood of him poisoning you…I don’t know. He could be poisoning you, but I’m not saying everyone’s husband is poisoning them. That’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying is you need to listen to your sacred internal warning system. Don’t let clergy or therapists or your husband or anybody else tell you that the uneasy feeling that you are feeling is due to something that happened two years ago when you found out about his porn.
And as you approach him and say, “Hey, are you using porn again?” And he’s saying,” No, but I bet you feel triggered because of what happened in the past.” If your internal warning system is going off, if the spirit is talking to you, if you’re not religious, really get quiet with yourself and trust your gut. If you are a prayer, pray. Ask God to reveal to you the truth of what is currently happening. Please, please, please do not think it must just be left over from a year ago. I think that one thing of being gaslit by therapists, clergy and by your husband, “Oh, this is just the trauma that you’re still feeling, and I hope that you can heal and I’ve been praying for you and I’m worried about you and maybe you need therapy because I’m awesome. I’m doing great and there’s nothing wrong with me, but you are still healing from when you found out that I lied to you two years ago, but I’m telling you the truth now.”
“If he lied to you two years ago and you’re feeling uneasy, the likelihood that he’s lying to you now is off the charts”
No! No, no. If he lied to you two years ago and you’re feeling uneasy, the likelihood that he’s lying to you now is off the charts. So please, please listen to that. And get to emotional and psychological safety, whatever that means for you.
Now, with that guy who the murderer was saying to, ‘Hey, I just wish you knew all the facts and you’d really understand this…’, I don’t know if he ever talked to him and I don’t know what went down, but my guess is, if he did, he’d say, “Oh, my wife is crazy, and she’s had all these emotional problems”, and stuff like that. That’s probably what he would have told him.
Now I want to talk about the murder in Enoch, Utah. [The first] one was in Colorado. Both of these murders were people who share my faith, so they go to my church. Both of these were really shocking for my community.
“The police did nothing”
This one, he killed his wife and his five children and also his mother-in-law. It was horrific and awful, and this has been a really hard one because so many people in that small community have described this guy as “a good guy.” He went to church.
So, you know that this woman was trying to get help, that she most likely went to her bishop, that she was really trying to get help. Finally decided that she was going to file for divorce. Her daughter had, previously to this, gone to the police and told the police that he had strangled her and the police did nothing. Then later posted his obituary and said, ‘He was such a great guy and a loving father’, and they got so much outcry about that, that they took the obituary down. It was like, this is ridiculous.
“He called himself an honorable, good man – and then he blamed his wife for their family troubles”
This is an abuser who was abusive the whole time and he really cared about his image. An article entitled Enoch Man Who Murdered Family, Worried About Portraying “Perfect Life”, Report Says, is a report about what happened later. I’m sad that they’re not holding more people accountable for this, like the police officers who did nothing about the abuse that was reported. Tausha, his wife who was murdered, most likely was going to get help. So here’s an unjust judge situation. You’ve heard me talk about the unjust judge recently. When they found his suicide note that explained apparently his reasoning for why he murdered his wife and five kids and his mother-in-law, he called himself a “honorable, good man”, and then he blamed his wife for their family troubles. And he said, and this is absolute bull, this is not true.
He murders his wife and then he is going to commit suicide, and he decides, I am going to write a note to explain to everyone that I’m a good guy and that she was terrible, and that’s going to be the last word on this. And he probably thinks that people are going to believe it, and maybe some people did. That’s the thing that’s so shocking to me. If anybody reads this article and they think, Oh, maybe he’s right, no! He is lying. So he says, “I’m an honorable, good man. I would rather rot in hell than put up with another day of this manipulation and control over me.” That’s what he thinks is happening. He said, “This is nonsense and I can’t handle it for one more day. I will not be a burden on society. I kept asking for help and you wouldn’t listen.”
To abusive men, equality is oppression
So with abusive men, they think they’re being oppressed. They literally think they’re being oppressed when the person that they perceive (their wife) as supposed to do the things they want them to do- they think their wife owes them sex, they think their wife owes them to get the laundry done, all the things, they think, She owes me this, and if she’s not going to do that, if she’s not going to give me sex, if she’s not going to be kind to me, even if I yell and scream at her and lie to her or if she’s going to call me out, even though I’m completely doing wrong things, I’m being oppressed. That is how they feel on the inside. They might not show that on the outside. Equality to them feels like oppression. They only feel equal when they are oppressing their victims. So this is how he felt, and it’s how most abusers feel.
In this case, he decided that he was going to murder her, and that’s why they do, because they think, I’m going to be oppressed my whole life.
Now, victims on the other hand, really are being oppressed and we’re trying to get to safety. So if you hear that kind of messaging from your abuser (your current husband or ex-husband), know that that mindset is happening where he’s feeling like having to be accountable or responsible or equal to you feels like oppression. Having to tell the truth, having you call him out on the truth, feels like oppression. And that is why most abusers tell other people that they feel like they’re being abused and they’re not. Understanding the way that these guys’ minds work is really important.
“He was being fired for being dishonest about the financial situation”
One other part of this case that is relevant to you is that reputation was really important to him, so he wanted to make sure that everybody thought he was “a good guy.” Tausha Haight told her attorney that her husband had sold his Allstate company, so I’m not sure if he lied to her and told her, and so that’s what she thought had happened. But conversely, several other friends and neighbors said Michael Haight was recently fired from Allstate and that he was going to start his own insurance company. Either his wife did not know, or she felt like it was safer to say that. I’m not sure. A friend of the murderer said that the murderer had asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement about the fact that he had been fired from Allstate because of impropriety in his books. So he was also fired for being dishonest about the financial situation.
And the police report reads, “The suspect was very worried about his appearance in every way.” And then I’m paraphrasing this because in the report they used a double negative and it makes it not make sense. But in the report, it basically says he would do anything to portray a perfect life, both personally and professionally. It also said one neighbor who frequently spent time with Tausha Haight said she had confided in her that Michael Haight was very concerned about keeping up appearances, had been mean to her for a long time (meaning that he was abusive), and that the abuse extended to the children. No known physical abuse to Tausha herself that I have seen. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but the daughter had definitely been physically abused.
So this keeping up appearances and wanting people to think that they have some inside scoop as to why they’re doing it is also a concern.
Trust your gut
So if you’re seeing that, that type of emotional and psychological abuse is also very dangerous to you. Even when I say, even without the physical abuse, seriously. These women were murdered, but even had they not been murdered (let’s pretend it wasn’t ever physical), that type of emotional and psychological abuse is extremely dangerous to your heart and your soul and your psyche and your mind, and your brain and your personhood. It is emotionally and psychologically violent. So please, as you’re listening to this, think about some of those cues saying, ‘Oh, you’re triggered? I’m so sorry. What can I do to help?’ That kind of stuff. When you really are thinking something’s wrong, trust your gut.
Also, if you hear your abuser talking about how you are abusing him due to your desire for truth, justice, equality, and he’s feeling “oppressed”? No, no, no, no. He’s feeling oppressed because you expect him to do equal childcare or equal household tasks?
“He’s not oppressed – he wants to exploit you.”
No, he’s not oppressed. He wants to exploit you. One of the things I’ve learned through this is physical abuse does not just happen out of nowhere. These women, before they were murdered, were emotionally and psychologically abused. I mean, Tausha Haight in the end did know that she was physically unsafe. And Angela knew she’d been poisoned and she still stayed with her husband because she was being severely emotionally and psychologically abused, not because she’s stupid, not because of any other reason. She really, really didn’t understand what was happening. So to you, please think about emotional and psychological abuse as a serious, serious safety concern.
We have our workshop that helps women understand how to start making their way to safety, our BTR Group Sessions and individual sessions, because your safety is the most important thing, your emotional and psychological safety.
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