Where does one begin when it comes to telling their story? As I sit here and reminisce on the years of mental and physical abuse I endured, I still wonder how I ever made it into that situation. See that’s the biggest thing that people who haven’t been in a domestic violence situation don’t understand. By the time I realized what was going on, I had alienated my friends and lied to my family about what was really going on. It was so hard to walk away and start all over.
I still remember the day that I met him. It was the first day of a new school for both of us. We ran into each other days later. We became friends and ended up high school sweethearts. He was everything my parents wouldn’t want for me, which made him so appealing. Did I know that then? No. Eighteen years later with years of mental anguish and three kids, I realized that is what attracted me to him.
Our relationship started out just like any other. Spending so much time together getting to know each other. In that process, I started to lose who I was. Slowly we stopped hanging out with my friends and it became all about him and the life he was leading. People stopped calling me by my first name. I was replaced with being calling his girlfriend.
After our firstborn, things started to deteriorate in our relationship. He started to become mentally abusive to me. I was working, still attending high school and taking care of a newborn baby all at the age of 17. He became very bothered by my independence. A short while after our son was born, he was arrested for a crime unrelated to the domestic violence. He went away for several months, and when he was released was when things went to the next stage.
I sit here and remember all the sleepless nights of him calling me and threatening me. There were times I had to leave work for the fear he may do something to my own family. It was spiraling out of control. I was so lost and felt so alone. The biggest problem I had going against me was that I was still in denial of what was going on. I believed he could change. He hadn’t hit me, so how could I call this domestic violence? I didn’t have enough knowledge or support to know I was digging a deeper and deeper hole.
We fast forward to now having two kids and our own place. Any verbal fight at that point turned physical. I did start to see a therapist and she made me see what was going on but I didn’t have the courage to walk away. This was all I knew. I feared if I walked away how would I raise my kids? Who would I be? Where would I go?
It wasn’t until that hot July day that everything came to a head. Years later I for the life of me have no clue what we were arguing about, but I remember the punch that changed my life. I couldn’t believe how much it hurt. It was like my life was sucked out of me. I hurled over in pain. I figured I would be ok in a bit. There was no physical mark on me so how bad could it be, right. An hour later I wasn’t feeling any better. I remember calling my mom and asking her to pick up the kids I felt so sick. She came over and of course, I did what any other person in this situation would do. I lied. I said I must be coming down with something. I figured if I laid down I would feel better. But I didn’t. I tried to get up but when I did a couple hours later I began to pass out.
I remember the ambulance coming. Between my home and the hospital, some things became a blur. The doctors were looking for answers and they couldn’t tell what was going on. I was in pain and they needed an explanation. So, I did the next not so best thing. I told them that there was a knock at my door and some random person attacked me. I didn’t know who it was. Next thing I know I am in surgical ICU with a lacerated spleen. It was a day that changed my life.
Yes, I lied to the authorities and covered up for him, but I didn’t need to. My neighbors spoke up for me. It was then I knew I was too deep. I needed help and I needed it now. It was a long road after that, but I survived. I was able to walk away and regain my life back.
I am still here today to be able to tell my story. I am thankful for the many therapists that stuck by my side and guided me through the process of walking away. The shelters that are there to help us woman get back on our feet. And to survivors who never gave up and are here to tell their story.
It has taken me years to be able to get to this point. I needed to be able to move on and release all the pent of anger and regrets. I needed to admit to myself that this was not my fault and that I was not deserving of what had happened to me. The biggest game-changer in life for me was to forgive. Not for him but for me. And that led me to the life that I have now. Six wonderful kids and husband who I know will always stand by my side. I can say that I am a survivor.
At Providence Moms Blog, we are proud to partner with Sojourner House. If you or someone you know are experiencing abuse, there is help. If you are in the Rhode Island area call Sojourner House (401-658-4334) .They can answer your questions, help you create a safety plan, and provide you with additional resources. If you’re outside the RI area, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1−800−799−7233)and they will be able to help you anywhere in the country. Both numbers are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in immediate danger always call 911. Don’t let fear or shame keep you in an unsafe situation. No one deserves to be abused.