I Took Back My Power By Giving My Daughter A Better Life

By: Angie Mozilo

On a summer day in 1989 I found myself sitting in a police integration room with my ex-husband. I was twenty years old, newly married and 7 months pregnant and listening to my husband admit to coordinating the murder of his own father. In that moment, my life broke. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t see straight. 

Everything I fantasized about my life was suddenly broken and gone. I felt powerless. My life and my existence was invested in my relationship with this man. And in that room listening to him tell me something so evil and despicable, and so far removed from whom I thought I was connected to, destroyed me. 

The next couple of months were dark. I felt the weight of the world and a lonely, uncertain future crushing me every day. But another moment brought a realization. As I was laboring and ready to give birth to my child, without the man I thought I’d raise my child with, the reality of choice hit me. The reality that I had choice of the life I would give my child. Instead of a life of being defined and limited by who he was, what he did, and what we experienced, I chose to give her a different life. I chose to do all I could to bring her stability through how I would live out our future. As I labored and delivered with the support and help of my sister, I realized I was not alone. I saw I had to support to do this. For the first time in months, my world didn’t feel like an eternal night.  

The moment my beautiful 7lb 12 oz beautiful daughter was born, I declared I didn’t want my daughter to believe that the way her biological father lead his life was an acceptable way of living. I vowed to not let her think that she had to settle for a life that a circumstance could dictate. I knew then and there that I had power – power to give her a better life by choosing different. 

On the day she was born, I chose to divorce my ex-husband.  Because of the intricacy of the justice system and the legal process I took my time and created a strategy for me and my daughter.  As desperately as I wanted to be free from the nightmare he had created, I didn’t let my emotions run my actions. I felt everything through my emotions but when I made decisions I leaned on logic, and created an action plan based on what would allow me and my daughter become free of the situation. I wanted my action plan to protect me and my daughter. I decided to become a single mother logically. It is said to follow your heart, but in this process, I had to follow my head.

From the day of my decision to the day of my divorce was just about two years. Those months were brutal and intense. News stories and opinion pieces were a weekly occurrence.  Everyone in my life had opinions about my how I should act, and how I should proceed with life and raising my daughter. Many judged me once they found out my husband at the time was being accused of planning out my father-in-law’s murder. Others judged me because I was breaking the bond of marriage. Still others judged me for being a young single mother. But, I chose to move forward, following my instinct and desire to have a better life. 

I made the choice to testify in the murder trial enduring the stares of defendants, attorneys, and court watchers. Friends and acquaintances wondered why I would choose to when as a spouse I could not be forced to. The reality was that my decisions were based on how to best protect my daughter and myself from the consequences of his actions. This was one way that I could minimize the potential fallout from him for not testifying, and the judgment and assumptions of others if I chose not to. 

There is a book for just about everything, but there wasn’t a book that offered support or guidance on how to be married to a murderer or divorce a murderer. I had to choose my own path. 

After his trial and our divorce, for years, I played life in defense.  I expected, and almost dared life to throw its best shot at me. I thought of myself as a badass for going through what I lived through. I had armor that I saw as tough to pierce. But instead of my armor growing outward, my armor grew inward and it crushed my heart. 

I chose to rediscover who I was. I lost a lot of friends during this experience and I became very isolated.  I chose new boundaries with friends, family members, colleagues, and myself.  I made conscious choices about the things I would let impact my opinions of me and my journey. I did it for me. Because what I let in my life, my heart, and my mind would directly impact my daughter, I did it for her. 

Once I redefined and chose my boundaries, I wasn’t the woman who settled on relationships based on what my esteem felt I deserved, but chose them by what my head knew we needed. I wasn’t the woman who always agreed or accommodated to avoid conflict, but as a woman who would choose standing up for our needs. I wasn’t a victim of my circumstances, but as a victor over them. I wasn’t the woman who let life happen to her, but chose how to happen to life, and how to teach my child the same. 

When my daughter was in college, she decided she wanted to explore a relationship with her father, who has been in prison for 27 years – something I always knew she would have to choose for herself. I believe my choices taught her that she has choice in the things and people she wants in her life. Whatever becomes of that in her life, she is equipped to choose what is best for her. 

Today, I have been married in to an amazing man for 25 years, have two more daughters, have graduated from college, run a business, and am traveling the world. But most importantly, I believe I have taught my daughter - all my daughters how to live from their place of power through choice.  And, even though I received the upsetting news of his impending release I’ve empowered her and myself to get through whatever steps we have to take to remain victorious over our lives – not a victim of his actions. 


{About This Story}

Angie Mozilo is the owner and founder of Woman UP Coaching and Speaking Services and Author of Minutes Forward, Reaching Your Goals, 5 Minutes at a Time. She is a certified life coach, award winning speaker, workshop author and facilitator. Since 2008, Angie has been empowering women with tips and coaching for better living, navigating life transitions, and for finding clarity and choice of life paths. She has reached countless women (and men) through her popular blogs, TV segments, Radio guesting and hosting, featured speaking engagements and monthly workshops with Fresh Start Women’s Foundation. 



Contact: Angie Mozilo, angiemozilo@gmail.com