Growing up, (almost) every little girl’s dream is to marry the man of her dreams, have a lavish wedding, have children and a house with the white picket fence. That may not have been your dream, but dammit, it was mine. If you would have told me growing up that my life would be FAR from that reality, I never would have believed you. But here I sit today, reflecting on this life journey that I have been on.
When I met my husband, he swept me right off my damn feet! He was SO handsome! *insert googly eyes* He always had the perfect thing to say when I was having a bad day. He was very attentive to my every want AND need, so when he asked me to marry him, of course I said yes! Fast forward a bit to the lavish wedding of my dreams, except for one thing; there was no wedding of my dreams. We woke up one morning and went and got married. That should have been my first sign that things may not happen the way that I had always dreamed, but I loved him and he loved me. Here is the first day of the rest of my life!
One day while we were settling into our new home and life together, we had a disagreement. In my mind, this was normal; no one agrees with everything that someone says or does. However, this went far past normal because this was the first day that he put his hands on me. That moment took me completely by surprise. Yea, I had heard of people being in violent relationships, but it’ll never happen to me is what I always said to myself and yet here I was. Instead of reaching out for help like I knew that I should, I told myself that it was my fault and that if I didn’t do (whatever the hell I did) it again, it wouldn’t happen again. He apologized, promised he would never do it again, blah, blah, blah. I bought it hook, line and sinker. Why? Because I love my man and he loves me!
Each time was worse than the time before. More bruises; more pain; more creative ways to cover up handprints around my neck from him choking me until I passed out; concocting lies as to how I got the busted lip… You get the picture. The abuse didn’t stop at physical; there was the emotional abuse as well. Because why would you stop at beating her? Make sure those words cut deep, too. “I hate you!” “I wish I had never met/married you!” “No one will ever want your ___ ass!” I could go on and on, however, still I stayed.
Let me explain something to you. Domestic Violence doesn’t start the day that you meet the person. It is a process; you NEVER see it coming for you! You see, I saw myself as this strong woman. I will never take that from my man! I will kill him before I let him beat me! Once, the abuse started, I felt stuck. Honestly, I started believing all that crap that he was telling me! Yes, me, the strong willed woman!
I was helpless (so I thought), alone (thought that too), stuck in this cycle of abuse until one of two things happened; He kill me or I kill him; a sad existence to live if you ask me.
This entire cycle repeated itself for 11 years. That was when I decided that my children (yes, I slid 2 children out during that time span) deserved to have two parents that were living, two parents that love them and in turn teach them how to love. After I had my daughter, I would ask myself how I could teach my daughter that staying in an abusive relationship was not an option if I, her mother, stayed in an abusive relationship. I already have to try to explain to her at some point when she’s almost grown why I stayed for 10 years. Then I also have to teach my son that men don’t put their hands on a woman. I also didn’t want to put him in the position that he would have to protect me if his father decided to beat me one day in front of the children.
The transition is hard to go from letting someone control and abuse you to taking your life back! You have to rebuild relationships that you tore down when you were withdrawn or isolated. You have to figure out who YOU are again; your likes and dislikes; what you like to do for fun, etc. Lastly, you have to heal! That is the hardest part because you can’t heal on your own. You need to reach out for professional help so that they can help you process what you have been going through. This may be the most traumatic situation you EVER go through in life. If you try to keep all that bottled up inside of you, you are going to explode!
As I sit here now and reflect over the last decade of my life and the transitions that I have made in that time, I am now able to tell myself, “Girl! You thought you were weak, but honey you are a survivor! Own that! You survived!!”
Yes, yes you are Hun. SURVIVOR Indeed. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
I would like to note here that domestic violence goes both ways in terms of gender. We hear less about men being abused but it doesn't mean it isn't happening...often.
If you or someone you know is being abused please share this website: The National Domestic Hotline Their toll free number is: 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. Live chat is also available!
We live multiple lives through each other. If you or someone you know has a personal story (doesn't have to be about Domestic Violence) that would be a motivation to others, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Title the subject line, "Share with Shy." If you feel you may not be able to put your story into writing, then I'm here to help. We can set up a call and then I'll later write your story up for submission. Let's learn from each other and gain strength from each other.