I had great men in my life growing up. I had no reason to sleep around to prove I was worthy because every day I had men validating my self-worth as a strong, confident woman. I did not marry my father like many women supposedly do. My father never insulted my mother. He never hit her and he never devalued her. To this day, they are divorced, he openly can and will tell you the good things about my mother.
About ten years after I got married, my life became a big, dark secret. For a while, I had support systems in place that would help me through what I thought was immaturity on his part but eventually I started keeping things to myself. I was great at acting. I could put a smile on my face, especially at my children’s schools, where I volunteered until that day I had to file my first restraining order. Then I had to let the schools in. I had to protect my children. I did, however, keep my correspondence with the schools a secret from my then husband. This correspondence would continue to this day where they are brutally and honestly aware of our lives. They have to be. They are with my child more than I am during the day. I need them to help him through should things get tough. He’s 17 now but there are times he does not want to go with his Dad and he has a right to say no. I have to be honest, now that he is old enough there are very little, if no issues, with his father pushing him to get in the car.
Statistically, more than one in three women will be murdered by their husband or boyfriend. I must say, there were days when he was beating down a door or punching a hole in the refrigerator, or holding a hatchet up to our son during a camping trip and whispering to me “I’m gonna kill him.”, that I was worried I would be one. I knew he would never kill the kids, he loved them but I feared in anger he could kill me. Anyone who has lived with an abuser knows how their eyes change and their posture changes. It’s a dark and scary visual. They become almost non-existent as the violence takes over.
My life became a constant battle ground. A world of much darkness and yet, I always had hope. I always kept a glimmer of who I was deep inside of me and I continued to shine much to his dismay. As a stay at home mom, I was able to surround myself with strong women during the day and people who uplifted me so that I could handle when he came home. I joined Jazzercise and taught Vacation Bible School. I volunteered at the boy’s schools and filled my days with things I loved to do so that when the doom and gloom returned to the house, I could handle the darkness because I had seen the light that day.
You need to do that for yourself. You need to get out and see the light of day so that you can keep your hope. You need your wits about you so that you can plan your move.
Go walk in the park. Have coffee with a girlfriend and sit outside. Join a dance class or art class. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you need that hope to keep you moving toward the light. You need to surround yourself with people who treat you simply as the amazing human you are so you once again know your self-worth. Once you start to break from the abuser’s brainwashing, you can start to see yourself without them and you can step into the light of day.