DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: My insane normal.

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: My insane normal.

Those of you that know me believe me to be a courageous woman. I am. I am a survivor. For most of my adult life I felt weak though. I can only tell you a small part of my story on here. I’m very open but for some reason talking about this so openly now sends my heart racing. My purpose is not in the least for sympathy, I don’t need it. I am confident in who I am. My candidness is in an attempt to raise awareness as well as for the support of others now or in the past going through the same experience.

One in four women are victims of domestic violence. When I married at the age of 18 I became the one in that statistic. I had left my family and friends behind when I married my ex-husband. They did not like him and didn’t support my marriage to him. When he became abusive, both mentally and physically, I felt like I had no place to turn for help. I was humiliated and scared. I lived every day of my adult life in fear. Not only the fear of physical violence, but of everything. What was he going to do, was he going to get upset, what was he lying about today, what if I did something wrong, what if someone found out! There were, of course, the threats if I told anyone. He would take the kids and the money and I’d never see them again. As the kids got older he would remind me that no one would ever believe me. That he would turn it around on me and tell people that I was crazy. He knew I was scared of more humiliation. The threat that he would take the money and I would be homeless and there was no way the courts would give the kids to a homeless woman. I believed him. Every crazy word, every crazy time. I can’t explain why I believed him, he just had his way. Little things he did would prove to me that he was in control and would make sure he won.

There was the hitting, choking, shoving, holding me down or against a wall, twisting my wrists until I prayed that they would brake so that he would stop. The sad thing is that the emotional abuse was a hundred times more damaging and much more difficult to overcome.

So how did I get out? The last few years with him I slowly became a little bit stronger. I would argue back, pretending that I as strong and wouldn’t be bullied when all the while I was shaking and nauseous inside; but I did my best to not let him see. After an incident when his words slapped me in the face I finally came to the realization that he wasn’t going to ever change, even though he had promised me a hundred times that he would. I had always wanted to believe him and prayed that he would. I was faced with the reality that I had two choices, either live this way for the rest of my life without change or face my fear and leave. It was horrible to stay, but It was an insanity that I knew and understood how to live with. This insanity was my normal. Leaving was terrifying however. I somehow managed the incredible strength with God’s help and with the support of a few others.

It began after a well trained policeman came up to me, looked me in the face and asked the big question…”He’s abusing you, isn’t he?”. I can’t begin to tell you what those five words did you me. They changed my life. As soon as they left his mouth the tears streamed down my face. I don’t recall how long I sobbed. For the first time in almost two decades someone knew, and he believed me. He believed ME, not my ex. It’s as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Someone else knew, my husband was wrong. And I was no longer alone with this secret. After this I talked hesitantly to my friend, my mother, my sister and brother, my religious leader and finally an organization that helped me get away named Chainbreakers foundation. You see, abusers use isolation and fear as their main tactics in keeping their victims quite. I owe my life, freedom, happiness, peace and that of my children to those that stood by me.

In that moment I decided I would rather leave and have the hope of one day, although at the time it seemed only a very small chance, being happy. The alternative was knowing that if I stayed there was no chance of ever having peace or happiness. It was the hardest, most terrifying, most brave thing I have ever done. Most people will never understand how difficult it is for someone being abused and controlled to leave.

I went through a time during my marriage that I thought God hated me because he let me endure so much. I look back now and realize that it was all in God’s great plan for my life. I never could have learned what I have learned in any other way. I could not have become the woman I am without enduring so much. I could not appreciate love, peace and goodness in people without having walked through hell. I am grateful for my trials now; although I would never want to go through them again, nor would I wish them on anyone. I am grateful I survived and I am grateful I learned so much in my lifetime. And I am very grateful it is over.

I have healed so much. That girl that was terrified to leave is only a shadow of me now. I am not scared anymore. To live without fear is one of the greatest gifts there is, and sadly most people take it for granted. There is not one day that I regret leaving or going through what I went through to get out. I have an incredible peace now that I never thought possible. I have an amazing life with wonderful experiences and the best friends I ever could have prayed for and am so grateful for them. I have incredible kids that are strong, smart and brave. I have the best family in the world. I am blessed beyond belief. I have finally repaired my self-esteem and can smile sincerely every day.

So, you may ask if I think about it and if it still hurts? I’ll tell you what I told a friend of mine this morning. “Silly boy. It’s in the past and the past isn’t reality. It only lives in our minds and can only cause us the pain that we allow it. We have the power to control our thoughts. We control our happiness and our pain when we relive the past in our mind and I’m over the pain. I have learned from it and let go of the pain and kept the knowledge. I won’t allow the past to control my happiness now. I have the power now, not my ex.”

Having people there for me, holding my hand, is the only thing that kept me from falling back into the trap again. Isolation is the key, we have to break through it! This is why it is essential to educate yourself, your daughters and your friends on the signs of domestic violence and how to get away. If you think that someone you know might be in an abusive relationship please do not stand by watching. Step in, step up, save a life, and their children’s lives. You can make a difference. My life is proof of that.


 

By – anonymous

 

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