My name is Linda and I’m a survivor of domestic violence. I was inspired to contribute to this month’s blog by something I received in the mail.
It is from the Human Rights Committee. A big, beautiful poster that said….
YOU ARE "SMART. BRAVE. BOLD. FIERCE. INSPIRING. COURAGEOUS. DETERMINED AND LOVED."
I think that says it all. We all need to be reminded of our greatness especially during difficult times.
This made me think of many things, first, Human rights are Women’s rights and each and every survivor shares these very qualities. After being marginalized by an abuser, it is difficult to muster this self-confidence and belief in ourselves. If you’re reading this, I’m here to remind you and myself!
I was in an abusive relationship for 3 years. When I met this man, I was newly divorced, from a nice man I must say, was young and quite naïve. I grew up in a close family of hard-working people. I was a trusted and respected member of my family. We always talked everything over, and while there is no perfect family, I have no complaints. There was no hitting, no drinking, no drugs. Here I was, an open-minded, friendly person who saw the best in people. I wouldn’t recognize a bad guy unless he had a sign on his forehead! Well, he didn’t.
I realized the honeymoon was over when he woke me up at 3:00am, after a night of drinking, and asked me to iron his shirt. I said, are you crazy? And he proceeded to hit me. It was the first time in my entire life that I had been struck. From then on, it was a classic case of apologies, remorse, making up and having it happen over and over again. It escalated to the point that I didn’t know who I would find when I came home from work. Would it be Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? It was a horrible time in my life. I was feeling so badly about myself. My self-confidence destroyed. I was terrified of him, and in disbelief that this was my life. I thought it only happened to other people.
What was instrumental in helping me to leave was group therapy. This was the only place I felt safe enough to talk about what I was going through. I never shared it with any friends or family. I was in this alone, I’m sure you know how that feels. None of these folks shared this issue, but everyone has something they need to work on. We cared for and supported each other. After several months of talking about this, one of the members of the group said, “that’s it, you’re leaving tonight." With the support of 4 members of my group, they drove me to my apartment, we waited to see if anyone was home. I was a nervous wreck for myself and my friends. He wasn’t home, they went with me to the apartment and literally helped me carry my personal belongings out. Fortunately, I had a dear friend who housed me for a bit.
This long story to say, support can make all the difference in your life. If it is available to you take it. You deserve it.
For quite a while I was worried that he would find me, I was always looking over my shoulder. That finally passed, and I am happy to say that I have a wonderful partner and a great life today.
YOU ARE: SMART, BRAVE, BOLD, FIERCE, INSPIRING COURAGEOUS, DETERMINED AND LOVED!!!
Thank you for reading this long story.
Sending you my very best wishes,