Things like that don't happen to people like me! -A Domestic Abuse Survivor's Tale.
"Let's strengthen a woman's heart, by empowering their strengths." ~Ceci~
I used to say "Things like that don't happen to people like me!" when I would hear the horrors of abuse. I used to say that when I would see something on the television or watch a movie about abuse. I was a critic, I was close-minded, and naïve. I would often spout things that I had no understanding of. I would climb up on my soapbox and rant and rave about the subject of abuse, and state the most obvious in those rants, “Why doesn’t she leave him? Why doesn’t she just get out? Why does she refuse to leave?”
Yes, I was one of THOSE people. I was one of those people who had no clue, who had no understanding, nor empathy. Don’t get me wrong, I hated seeing the injustice of this world, and I hated seeing people hurting, but I did not understand why they stayed! I did not understand why they would put up with being beaten, why they would put up with such degrading abuse, physical, emotional, spiritual. Why in the world would they lower themselves to be a doormat of pain?
And one day I became one of THOSE people.
I had been married almost a year, I was eight months pregnant with our first child. His first child, I had three from a previous marriage. He was elated, exited; he would talk for hours and hours about having his first child. He would tenderly take care of me, and I was on top of the world. I was cleaning one day, my every week chore, in our bedroom dusting and humming away, in he came from the garage. He had been working on the car and he came in to ask me an ordinary question, nothing major, just something simple. And he wanted me to come out and help him. I told him I would be right there as soon as I finished the last piece. I was almost done. His voice rose a bit, as he demanded that I get out there at that very moment. I looked at him wide eyed and told him I would be out there as soon as I was done.
The next thing I knew is I was slammed into the bookcase with a brutal force, scraping my side on the wood, tearing my shirt. I was shocked that he would have done such a thing, I started to sob and he tried to console. He begged and pleaded to forgive him. I ran from him, that man that was my husband, that man whose child I was going to bear, that man that professed his undying love for me. I locked myself in the bathroom, slunk to the floor with tears filling my emerald eyes, mascara trailing down my flushed cheeks. Hurt beyond belief. He shoved me! He hurt me! He had slammed his pregnant wife into a bookcase with no care that I might have lost the baby! How could he do such a thing?!
I heard the door slam and after two hours of being locked in that bathroom, I finally decided it was safe to come out. I heard no stirring in the house. I went to change shirts, hiding my wound from the world, from him, from myself. I went to rest on the couch and turned the television on to drown out the sounds raging through my head.
Later that evening when he returned, he brought me roses. He proclaimed that he loved me and that it would never happen again. I looked into his blue eyes and forgave him. After all he gave me roses, he cried real tears, and told me it would never happen again. It happened again, and again and again and again. It started with a shove, and eight years later it ended with him head butting me. Many bouquets of roses, countless times he would tell me he loved me, he would never do it again, no matter what. He would swear on his children’s lives, he would get down on his knees and beg, plead, and implore to forgive him.
I hid it from my family, my children, and my friends. I was not going to be an abused woman; I was not going to be a victim. I did not want to talk about that taboo subject; I did not want to discuss this with anyone! There would be times I would find domestic violence groups and sneak off to one, to listen to the other women talk about their pain, their suffering, their emotional turmoil, and I would sit there silently crying, blinking back tears, protesting to my inner soul I was not like that. I was not abused, for if I had to admit it out loud, it was true. And it couldn’t be! Things like that don't happen to people like me!
Until that last almost fatal day, that day I was allowed by God to keep my life, and those of my children. That day I became a survivor, instead of a victim. He was charged with abuse; he was charged with bodily harm, he was charged with two counts of physical injury. And I became a survivor. Can I tell you my story had a happy ending, can I tell you that my story is done, can I tell you that my story is a thing of the past? No. I wish I could.
As a result of years and years of violence, I have:
· PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
· Panic disorder. (Panic attacks), with this I have different kinds of panic attacks.
· Cued Panic Attacks. There are specific situations or places that trigger these attacks.
· Situational Predisposed Panic Attacks. Certain situations or places could make someone with panic disorder or another anxiety disorder more likely to have a panic attack.
· Spontaneous Panic Attacks. This type of panic attack can happen anywhere, anytime, and without any warning.
This was not meant to be a hub about panic disorder. This was meant to be a hub about domestic violence. I will keep the panic disorder and PTSD for another time. This is about how I thought I was not one of THOSE people; this is to pay it forward and to show people that it can happen to any of us at any given time. To never be close-minded and think it cannot happen to you, or to someone you love. This is to show people that there is help out there. There is hope, there are people that care. There are shelters; there are emergency numbers to reach out in your own darkness. There are agencies that aid in helping domestic survivors.
Things like that do happen to people like me! And I pray every day they never do again.
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