Dear Beautiful One,
I sit here and begin to wonder what’s actually going through her head at this very moment. Are you like I was? Are you feeling afraid, angry, depressed, heart-broken, in physical pain, embarrassed, lonely, confused, hopeless, or like giving up? Are you thinking of ways to get out of this situation and continuously running into a brick wall because you don’t have the support or finances to leave, I have to stay or die, no one is going to believe me, or I’m crazy? Are you saying he loves me, he’s going to change, my family is going to work, it’s not going to be like this always, besides he apologizes?
Are you looking in the mirror and noticing the black and blues where you have soreness, scars from deep scratches, swollen eye that’s closing and becoming discolored, or trying to find ways to hide the marks on your throat? Are you seeing yourself as this is what my life is, I’m ugly, I don’t care, no one can see me like this, or the kids is showing certain behaviors?
Are you hearing a tape recorder that keeps playing his words of you’re a whore, slut, bitch, no one wants you, I’m the only one that’s going to be here for you, you dumb as fuck, or the kids yelling & crying from the last altercation? Are you getting dress and getting ready to put on your mask to show the world that this is the best American family or go to church and pretend like you’re so happy after getting drag around your house & choke out the night before?
That was me when I was in an abusive relationship. I could only see that, everything evolved around it, and it consume me. I would try everything to make peace and whatever way I can. All the areas of my life were affected by this. I was isolated from loved ones and having a social life. My family wouldn’t come around because they didn’t like him and I wouldn’t hear what they had of abuse, I still married him.
I felt I couldn’t do better than this even though I had experience better. It was like I was coming to love the dysfunction. My normal was very abnormal and unhealthy. But this final time was so different. I really got tired of it. I became disgusted with where I was in life and I wanted better whether he was going to get better or not. I would say I want better for my children but I wasn’t showing them better. I knew I would go crazy if I stayed in it. I became more fearful of what I would do because of the numbness that started to take place then what he would do to me. So I voluntarily started to attend a victim’s support group.
My children went to counseling sessions. I wanted the knowledge to understand me and why was I back here in this circumstance. Attending those classes was my first time of hearing about the wheel of the cycle of abuse. I heard other women stories so similar to mines which helped me quiet the lies of it’s all in my head and the crazy things that I only think I’m experiencing.
There were so many levels of abuse listed in this booklet, which some I didn’t even realize I was in. I learned about how to protect myself, my children, and to develop a safety plan. Yes the safety plan works. In the class I heard about how domestic violence affects the children. It was very detailed and informative. Then we started to attend this church and I begin to see what a healthy relationship looks like between a husband and wife. I begin to seek God and ask for direction; meanwhile building up my self esteem by understanding who I am in Jesus Christ. I begin to become empowered by some awesome women in my life and hear stories of others that have survived and overcame some similar situations.
One day I finally had the courage to say “no more”. I stood firm and said, “I’m not going to take this anymore and you have to leave, I want a separation.” It was at this time I heard me, my voice mattered. From the lessons I learned in class, I knew I had to keep my distance as much as possible. I began to attend counseling sessions with Safe Harbor and I had an amazing counselor that held me accountable with my restraints, understanding my weakness, helping me gain a new perspective, and to go through my healing process. Also my counselor assisted in being my support at court hearings and able to discuss my divorce proceedings.
I was able to communicate and be real about my emotions and very transparent with her. At first, I didn’t see domestic violence as a traumatic experience. I just didn’t think it was all that bad. After all, I know him and his ways so I’ll be alright. I had low self esteem and low self worth.
In spite of that fact at the time, I now know the truth that there is hope. My sister, I don’t know your exact story or the depth of it but I want to let you know there is a better way to live. That you are not alone and it’s not just something you can do alone. You have genuine support, care, love, and encouragement. I know it’s not easy and the shame or guilt will continue to try to come to way you down. Doubt or depression will show up and try to be a part of your way of life. You can choose differently and you do not have to suffer in silence.
Even though I’m divorced, I had to learn to forgive him and myself. I had to build my trust in myself and love me correctly. I held on to every bit of hope for me and my children only, taking one step at a time every day. I understood that he had to deal with his own consequences for the decisions he made and I couldn’t change that. I can only change me. I begin to believe that I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. It’s His wisdom, strength, guidance, peace, and love that are getting me through every day of my new reality. Now that I’m single, it is no longer my environment that I have to deal with but it is me. To not make the same choices I made; I’m becoming healthy, whole, and my thoughts about myself are changing.
My mindset has shifted to desire greater for my life. I’m becoming secured in who I am and that I’m deserving of awesome things. My passions are awakened within me. Now I no longer see myself as a victim but a victor, an overcomer, and a survivor. This is going to be a journey, therefore celebrate your small accomplishments. Some days are going to be harder than others. It will be times you will experience all emotions, let your support group help you through it. Talk it out as many times as you need to. You will grow in it to grow from it. Embrace the process. Beauty, you can do this, you’re an amazing woman. No matter your age or how long you’ve been in this situation, you can experience a joyous and peaceful life.
You will survive, you will overcome, you will live, you will rise, you will thrive, you will win, and you will be successful. I believe in YOU!!!