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Disclaimer: This is my personal story intended to help and give hope to those in situations similar to mine. I am not a licensed therapist or Doctor. It is in no way an absolute fix or a solution for all. These are the things I personally dealt with and the lessons I have learned from my experience. If you need immediate help, please call 9-1-1. Please seek professional help if you are suffering from the ramifications of domestic abuse.
Why is it that our life story can be so hard to tell? I sat down to write this and realized it is very hard to tell this part of my story. I think I fear judgment and am shameful of this part of my past. I should not be ashamed, but instead I should embrace my past.
After all, my past has helped create, mold, and shape me. I am not ashamed of who I am today and I am proud of what I have been able to overcome. Also, sharing our story involves reliving those moments. When the story is not beautiful, reliving it can be hard. It is in ways therapeutic to share these experiences both for us and for others. I feel like I should share my story because it may help someone who is going through this to GET THROUGH IT.
With Domestic Violence Awareness month upon us, it is important that I share my abuse story in an effort to support others who have gone through or are going through abuse. The Oxford online dictionary defines abuse in several ways, but misuse of a person or thing resonated with me. Who are we and how did we become the person we see in the mirror every day?
Our experience, our story, has created that person staring back at us in the mirror. I have wanted to tell this part of my story for quite some time because sometimes when we share our struggles and hardships it can move others through theirs.
When I was a preteen, vulnerable for love and romance, and feeling a strong desire for someone to think I was beautiful, I started a volatile relationship with an older man. It was on-again off-again until I was 18 years old. It’s hard to admit that I wasted 6 years of my life and many opportunities on a man who, I now see, did everything but love me. In the end, I realized that I lied to myself and I lied to others so that he could continuously lie and hurt me.
When things were good, they were so good. When things were bad, I felt worthless and small. He was controlling in everything about my life, yet I had zero control in what he did with his life. The relationship was a secret from everyone. There was an entire world he lived in, where I did not even exist. This left him with the opportunity to see other women and do as he pleased in a world I had no access to. Meanwhile, I lived very little in the reality where I existed. He used my vulnerability against me.
He told me I did not love him or I did not love God when I wanted to go do things with other people (male or female, it did not matter), play sports, go to school, spend time with family. So, I tended to say no to things and limit myself socially, educationally and actively. When I finally came out about our relationship at 17, a very wise social worker told me that emotional abuse often turns to physical abuse.
I wish I had breathed those words in deeper in that moment. Allowed it to seep into my blood and deliver more oxygen to my brain so I could have made a different decision right then. I did not because I knew he was capable of many things, but I did not think he was capable of hitting me. I moved out of my parents’ home right before my senior year of high school, with a 3.8 GPA, and moved in with him. 7 months later, after years of emotional abuse, the final straw happened. He shoved me on the ground once and I remember how small and hurt I felt.
I remember crying and wondering how I had gotten to a place where I would let someone make me feel so small. I was scared, nervous, not eating, hardly sleeping. I lost twenty pounds and was withering away. Several weeks later, he was driving me in the car on a trip out of town and his cell phone, which I paid for, went off. I had an uneasy feeling that he had been being more dishonest than normal with me. I reached over and picked up his phone and read a message from his other girlfriend that I was unaware existed. He could not get the phone back from me; therefore, he punched me in the face. When we returned from the trip, I told him I was leaving.
It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. My entire life spiraled out of control over 6 years of abuse. He used every emotional abuse trick and lie in his book to get me to stay. I had never let people physically hurt me in my life; therefore, at 18 years old I was not going to start letting anyone. My family, the people I had probably hurt the most were there, waiting when I went back home to start over. I had zero opportunity to play sports and zero opportunity educationally because I had stopped going to school at his request for me to work a second job. I had isolated myself so entirely, that I did not have friends. I think this was God’s way of telling me I needed to focus on my family because those relationships needed a lot of Band-Aids.
After six years of letting someone tell me I was worthless, it was too late to fix the mistake of dropping out of school; therefore, I got a full time job, got my GED, and applied for a local community college. I started college at the same time I would have had I graduated high school, but it took me a really long time to complete my prerequisites for nursing school as I worked a full time job to pay for it.
I did graduate school, become nurse, build a beautiful family, and now lead a very blessed life. The pain of the abuse has given me strength to make it through so many things in life. It has also filled my heart with a desire to be honest, loving, kind, and giving.
If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
If you are being abused by your partner, know there is nothing you have done or are doing to cause the abuse. It is solely the choice of the abuser to abuse. It may seem impossible to escape your abuser, change your circumstances, or find the help you need, but it is possible. However, you know your abuser best, so think carefully through your situation and circumstances and do what is the best for you.
Baton Rouge Area
(225) 389-3001 or statewide toll free at 1-800-541-9706.
Their phones are 24hrs/day
The Butterfly Society (Local non-profit - Zachary)
Battered Women's Shelter (Ascension parish)
1068 E Worthey St,
Gonzales, LA 70737
EBRDA Domestic Violence Division
24/hr National Number(s): 1-800-799-7233 and 1-800-787-3224