Wife of Calgary banker who killed himself releases book detailing abusive marriage

Karen Gosbee, the widow of a prominent Calgary businessman who killed himself, has released a new book that details her experience with domestic abuse.

'I don't think that people understand all aspects of domestic abuse'

George and Karen Gosbee pose in an undated photo. Karen Gosbee has opened up in a new book about her experience with domestic abuse. (Karen Gosbee)

Three years ago Karen Gosbee's husband, George took his own life.

To the outside world, George Gosbee seemed to have it all. He had built up two investment banks from scratch, he had a wife and three kids, and even owned a piece of the Arizona Coyotes NHL hockey team.

The year after his suicide, Karen Gosbee spoke out about her late husband's struggles with mental health and dependence on alcohol and pills.

But in her new book, My Perfect Nightmare: My Glittering Marriage and How It Almost Cost Me My Life, which was released on Tuesday she details her abusive marriage.

"I don't think that people understand all aspects of domestic abuse," she told the Calgary Eyeopener.

She explains that people don't typically see it as an abusive marriage when there are three or four physical altercations, as well as when the abuse is mental or emotional.

"My identity was completely gone because it's so subtle and it's so hard to explain because typically it's not physical, it's psychological abuse. So it destroys your mind and not your body."

Gosbee says she started picking her life apart and realized the many red flags over the years and everything that she had ignored.

"I didn't think I was in an abusive situation even though that had happened."

She says she decided to come forward in order to build awareness.

"People find it very difficult and shameful to recognize the fact they might feel weak or they might be suffering from some panic, anxiety, depression, or have suicidal thoughts. And that was the first reason why I came forward," she said.

And since speaking up, Gosbee says she feels like she has been given purpose.

"As I became an advocate for inequities with mental health and addiction, it became apparent to me that the greatest inequity was the gender inequity with the domestic abuse that I was experiencing," she said.

She says she hopes in sharing her story, it can help both educate people about domestic abuse and reduce the shame and stigma attached to it. 

If you are thinking of suicide or know someone who is, help is available nationwide by calling toll-free 1-833-456-4566, texting 45645 or chatting online with Crisis Services Canada.

If you feel your mental health or the mental health of a loved one is at risk of an immediate crisis, call 911.