Private letters penned by the late Gabby Petito to her fiancé Brian Laundrie have shed light on the troubled dynamics of their relationship. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Ziv Cohen, who reviewed these documents, suggests they are indicative of Laundrie's manipulative behavior and the toxic nature of their relationship. The letters, released by the FBI alongside other evidence from the high-profile case, provide a poignant glimpse into Petito's emotional turmoil.

In one of the letters, Petito wrote, "Brian, You know how much I love you, so (and I'm writing this with love) just please stop crying and stop calling me names because we are a team and I'm here with you. I'm always going to have your back." She continued, "So just try to understand, yes, I can be a child sometimes, I know. But it's cause you give me this energy and I just love you too much. Like so much it hurts. So you in pain is killing me."

Another letter echoed these sentiments, with Petito expressing frustration over Laundrie's emotional outbursts. "I hope you understand that when I am upset it's cause I love you too much," she wrote. "Now stop crying!!!"

Dr. Cohen noted that while the letters do not provide a definitive "smoking gun" proving the relationship was abusive, they do offer insights into its toxic nature, People reported. "Obviously, we have much stronger evidence like when the police stopped them for a bonafide domestic violence incident," Cohen said, referring to a widely publicized encounter with Moab police. "But this seems like a confirmatory piece of evidence."

The relationship between Petito and Laundrie, who were documenting their travels to several national parks on social media, became the subject of intense public scrutiny following Petito's disappearance in August 2021. Her remains were discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in September 2021. Laundrie returned home without Petito and later went on the run, ultimately taking his own life. His confession to Petito's murder was found in a journal recovered by the FBI.

Cohen explained that the letters reveal Petito's struggle with expressing her feelings and concerns directly to Laundrie. "It's the kind of thing we encourage in therapy," he said. "Sometimes, when you can't put things into words directly to the person, we encourage them to write it down. Sadly, we'll never know exactly what was going on in this relationship."

Petito's letters and their content have been pivotal in understanding the dynamics of her relationship with Laundrie. The isolation during their travels likely exacerbated the conflicts, according to Cohen. "Being alone and isolated for an extended period can really exacerbate the conflict in the relationship," he said.

The letters were part of a trove of evidence compiled by the FBI during their investigation. Petito's emotional pleas in her letters highlight her deep love for Laundrie, juxtaposed with the distress she felt due to his behavior. This complexity underscores the challenges she faced in the relationship.

Dr. Cohen pointed out that while the letters show Petito grappling with her feelings, they also indicate signs of co-dependency. "The letters do also show signs of co-dependency, which is when people in an unhealthy relationship stay together because they find it difficult to cope without the other person," he explained.

Despite the tragic end to Petito's story, her letters offer a crucial piece of evidence in understanding the dynamics that led to her untimely death. The public release of these letters serves as a somber reminder of the importance of recognizing and addressing signs of toxic and abusive relationships.