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A Memoir Of Domestic Violence And 'Crazy Love'

Former Washington Post executive Leslie Morgan Steiner is a best-selling author with degrees from two Ivy League schools, three adorable children and a loving and successful husband. If you met her on the street you might never guess her secret: that she was once married to a man who beat her with abandon on a regular basis — an experience she recounts in the memoir Crazy Love.

Steiner says when she first met her ex-husband, whom she calls "Conor," on the New York City subway, she had no inkling that he was capable of such abuse.

"He was really clean-cut, dressed in a business suit," she tells Michele Norris.

But early in the relationship, there were certain warning signals that indicated Conor's violent nature. For instance, he referred to her as "retard," which, Stainer says, was "a term of endearment, as sad as that sounds."

Then, five days before their wedding, Steiner was working at her home office and couldn't get the computer to work. Conor burst into the office and put his hands around her neck and shoved her against the wall repeatedly.

"I should have left then, I suppose, but I think that the power of love just overwhelmed my intelligence and logic and rationality," says Steiner.

Eventually, after years of emotional and physical abuse, Steiner did leave Conor. She moved on to marry a loving man, with whom she has three children. But she still keeps a small box of mementos from her first marriage in her basement — including the last note that Conor ever wrote her, which reads "Goodbye Retard."

"In some ways, keeping those mementos is a reminder of how far I've come," says Steiner.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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