Domestic Violence How to Survive and overcome the Pain

He didn't mean to do it. It was my fault I made him so angry. If only I were a better person he wouldn't have to hit me. He's only jealous because he loves me. How many times did I make excuses for him? How many times did I say "I'm sorry" for something I didn't do while swallowing my tears. Sure there were always the flowers, the cards and the promise to never do it again if I would just stay. I always believed him and I always stayed. It always happened again.

I would hide the black eyes with dark makeup, the bruises with clothing that would cover them, and always pretend that everything was alright, even to myself. But it wasn't alright, I could only lie to myself. If someone did notice I would always say "I ran into a wall or I fell down," then I would lower my head in shame and scurry away. It wasn't until years later that I realized that the shame I was carrying wasn't mine to own but his, that time would be a long time coming. 

I lived my life in isolation, him the captor, me the captured. I tread on eggshells. Always looking around, always expecting the next blow. frightened like a hunted endangered species. Often wishing my life would end, but too afraid to end it myself. No family or friends to help me through, no one wants to get involved. The neighbors turn up the T.V. at the sound of the screams and pretend not to notice. There is no way out.

Many wonder why I don't leave. Where could I go? Family and friends tell you to just work it out. It can't be that bad they say. There are supposed to be laws to protect you but if you do call the police, even if they take him away, he can bond out within hours.Then what?? Get a restraining order they tell you. It's only a piece of paper. You could be dead before help could show up. So I stayed and tried to change thinking that if I could be what he wanted me to be it would stop. I didn't realize it wasn't me that needed changing. I tried and tried, it was never enough. The house was never clean enough, the food was never right, the sex was never frequent enough, Nothing was ever ENOUGH!!!

Since I spent my time alone I spent most of it reading. I couldn't leave to go anywhere because my cell would always ring...him. Where are you and What are you doing? Who's there with you? It's like being imprisoned in your own home.

Then one day I read a book called "When love turns violent". With tears streaming down my face I saw myself in every page. I knew that if I didn't leave the violence would only keep escalating. Most women are killed by their husbands, lovers, or boyfriends. Most are killed when they decide to leave and the abuser feels like he is losing control. Still. I knew it was time to go. I made my plans carefully and quietly. Packing my clothes away little by little. Putting personal things with friends and family. Then one day while I was alone, it was now or never. I ran, ran for my life never looking back. I made it to freedom. I thought it was alright . I was wrong.

I would still awake at night with nightmares of the abuse, I still stayed inside for fear of encountering him somewhere. I startled at the slightest movement or sound, and I didn't trust anyone. I was still captive to the fear and memories inside my head.

She came as a God-send. I suffer from manic-depressive illness so I already saw a counselor twice a week. I finally broke down and told her what had been happening to me. She was both shocked and surprised, I had worn the mask of nomalacy so well. She referred me to a Domestic Violence Counselor. For 5 long years, through cognitive therapy, hypnosis, and relaxation techniques I learned the how and why of my attachment to abusive relationships.

Having come from an abusive and broken family, I now know I sought out what was familiar to me . I had a long journey before I could learn to love myself. With each session and year that passed I became stronger. My confidence grew, my belief in myself and my self worth increased. I could finally look in the mirror and not be ashamed of the person looking back at me. Then one day I was truly free.....I had wings, Iwas ready to fly.

That has been over 20 years ago and today I am a strong and self assured woman. I can stand on my on and am finally watching my dreams come true. I now know that i am capable of anything I want to do. But most important I know how to avoid falling back into the same cycle of abuse again.

If you find yourself in this situation, male or female, yes there are abused men out there too... don't walk, RUN. Seek help, counseling and guidance. Break the cycle. It all starts with you. Reach out for a hand that is always there.

God Bless And Protect Us All.

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