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How to Regain Respect, Self-Esteem and Confidence after Abuse and Domestic Violence

Updated on September 19, 2015
Sue Adams profile image

Having suffered domestic abuse for 7 years narrowly escaping fatalities, Juliette Kando shares her experiences and strategies for survival.

He was the best looking man she knew and she was proud to be his girlfriend.
He was the best looking man she knew and she was proud to be his girlfriend. | Source

How to regain self esteem and confidence after suffering domestic violence is not easy. It cannot be achieved without support from friends and family in the immediate proximity of the victim. When a victim is living in a foreign country, isolated from a support group, escape from domestic violence may take a very long time.

Before András lost his job Julika was outgoing, exuberant, cheerful and always full of positive energy. After seven years of domestic abuse, violence and put down, she became withdrawn, introvert, shy, bad tempered and had lost all self confidence. Luckily Julika had the help of British Immigration and her newly found colleagues who inadvertently helped her find her old self again.

That Night

Julika was used to spending her evenings alone while András was out drinking with his low-life friends. That night the door suddenly slammed open and András burst into the room swaying a bottle of cheap red wine.


Even now that he was not looking his best she still loved him very, very much. These days András often didn’t even bother to shave or brush his teeth. His hair was too long and he was beginning to look like a tramp. When she had made a remark about it a few weeks ago he had shouted at her:
‘Who the f... do you think you are, always talking down at me like that, with your snobby intellectual family background, always thinking they are all better than me, just because I don’t have a father who is a university professor hey? Who the f... do you think you are? You stupid bitch! And why don’t you mind your own business, you don’t know anything, you are so stupid. I do what I like!’

Charming Prince Turns Into Monster

Since then Julika had stopped trying to interfere with his life. She remembered how, long ago, when they had been at art school together, she had been so proud that of all the girls who fancied him, he had picked her. Then at nineteen she hadn’t known much about human psychology. She did not know then that a guy, however good looking and kind he was, could become so mixed up that he could make life hell for those around him. Neither did she know at that age that alcohol could turn the charming prince into a hideous monster. That night was the first time she was about to find out.

She got up from the sofa, had a tall stretch, and slowly paced towards the bathroom to brush her teeth, when she suddenly felt a strong pull, a jerk on her right arm. It hurt. András was shouting, pulling her back towards the sofa, his eyes wild and furious.
‘How many lovers did you have before you knew me, come on, you can tell me, I won’t mind, just tell me, how many?’
‘Hey, you are hurting my arm; stop it, what’s wrong with you?’
‘Well, tell me, how many guys did you fuck, I want to know, how many?’ And he pushed her down, squeezing her arm even harder.


Leave me Alone!

‘I don’t know; it’s got nothing to do with you. I didn’t know you then, did I?’ He bent down closer towards her head. She could smell his breath, like the smell of gasoline. His eyes became smaller and blurred as he continued to shout:
‘I want to know their names, what they looked like, how big their dicks were, were they bigger than mine? Well, are you going to tell me?’ He jerked at her arm again. ‘How many?’
Julika was traumatized with incomprehension. She had never experienced anything like this; she had never seen it in the movies, never read about it in a book. This was a totally new and shocking experience. None of it made any sense.

Where was the András she Knew?

Where was the person she had fallen in love with, the man of her dreams who had been so kind and romantic, who would sing love songs to her and dream about a future as a famous painter? She had always encouraged him, had even taken him to the Louvres in Paris, and she had taken many pictures of his paintings to show art galleries all around town to show him how much she believed in his talent.

They had been having such a good time together until recently. Julika could not understand this sudden transformation in András. Neither did she know how to deal with it. She tried to reason with him, be rational the only way she could, the only way she knew.

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Stop it!

‘Come on, stop behaving like this. You’ve had too much to drink, now let go of me!’ This irritated him and made him even more furious.
‘Well, are you going to tell me? How many guys did you fuck before you knew me?’ And he pushed his knee into her leg to stop her getting up.
‘I don’t know, one or two...’
‘Well, was it one, or was it two? Or did you only suck the second one’s dick or what? Maybe it was two and a half?’ He shouted even louder than before, laughing at his own joke.
‘Let me go, you are crazy, be quiet, you are going to wake up the neighbours,’ she hushed while trying to wriggle her way out of his strong grip. He pushed her down even harder and suddenly slapped her across the face. Now she was crying in terror.

Hiding in a Corner


He Yelled and Punched

'TELL ME!’ He yelled and gave her another punch, on the head this time. She managed to free one of her legs and kicked against his chest to try to get him off her but he grabbed her big toe and twisted it so hard that she had to stop kicking. She rolled off the sofa crying loudly.

‘OK! I slept with Ferenc who was my boyfriend for six months, and then I was with Laszlo for six months before I met you and you know all this already, so what? It’s got nothing to do with us now.’

Wham, another blow, this time to the back of her head and Julika was thrown against the table leg. She rolled over, crawled under the table, quickly got up, and hurried into the kitchen locking the door behind her. Now he could not get to her. He carried on banging on the door and shouting abuse behind the glass-paneled door, less and less loudly until all went quiet.

Julika was sitting on the floor in the corner with her knees drawn up close to her chin; she was trembling, crying her eyes out. She could hear herself weeping, ‘mummy...mummy…,’ like she had done when she was a little girl.



After that she learned to recognize the signals of oncoming attacks but never managed to avoid them all.

When András was sober he sometimes talked about it apologetically saying how much he loved her and that he promised never to lay a hand on her ever again.

But It took six more years of coping with a violent husband that she was in love with to free her from his abuse.

Let us hope that all those suffering abuse can get out of domestic violence and regain their respect, self esteem and confidence for a normal happy life in the future.

Speak your heart out. You can make a contribution helping others in similar situations by sharing your experiences and solutions in the comments discussion below.

Further Reading

It's My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence, 2nd Edition
It's My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence, 2nd Edition

Those who have never experienced an abusive or violent relationship often believe that upon finding a way out, victims’ difficulties are solved. But survivors know that leaving is not the end of the nightmare - it is only the beginning of a difficult and challenging journey toward healing and happiness. "It’s My Life Now" offers victims the practical guidance they need to heal and reclaim their lives.


A Lucky Escape

Julika was offered a job in England and András followed as he was financially dependent on her. But when his three months tourist visa and all her savings had run out he had to leave the country. For once British Customs proved useful. She was free. Oh she was not free of emotional pain. She missed him terribly for the good moments they had had and still cried herself to sleep for the first few weeks in this new, foreign country.

During the day at least her work took up most of her thinking time. At work the boss, Mr. Benesh, put her in charge of the advanced syllabus which was still at a research stage. She had to teach her findings to the students to test out the lesson plans and devise a permanent curriculum. Julika was surprised at being given so much responsibility right from the start. Her CV and recommendations must have made a good impression on her boss, she thought. Being so used to denigration, it never occurred to her that perhaps her personality had something to do with it. Her frequent meetings with Mr. Benesh proved challenging, interesting and full of positive surprises. They got on so well, like two partners on the same intellectual wavelength.

Slowly but surely Julika began to discover that she was not as stupid and ugly and all the other names under the sun András had been calling her, as she had been made to believe she was. She liked her colleagues and was popular with the students who were fascinated by her new findings in the subject matter. Many of them stayed on after class to ask questions which she keenly answered, being so deeply focused on her topic.

The Return of Self Respect

One event turned everything around, once and for all, for Julika. She was sitting in the staff room correcting some papers when two colleagues came in, chatting:
‘Oh absolutely, but then Julika is a very intelligent woman you know!’
They had not seen her sitting there with her back towards the door immersed in her work. Are they really talking about me? Could it really be true that I am not a stupid ugly bitch?
From then on Julika’s career took off. She soon met her second husband, a good man who gave her three beautiful children. She feels confident now, has regained self respect and, partly through her suffering domestic violence, she is feeling stronger than ever. As for poor András, she could probably beat him up now if she so wished. But feeling good within herself Julika can only feel empathy and hopes he has not perished from alcohol.


© SUE ADAMS 2015 - You may link to this article but you may Not copy it. Copied content will automatically be found by Google Alerts and may result in your entire blog/website being closed down.



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    • ljsmarketing profile image

      Linda J Smith 16 months ago from Google

      I have been with Joey for 10 long years. Joey had a bad skiing accident which broke his back, he suffered from severe chronic pain. And those were the times he lashed out at me. Very emotionally abusing and occasional physical abuse. I always told myself and made excuses for him blaming in on his severe pain. I eventually learnt by the sound of his voice when I should stay away..Luckily we didnt live together and he didn't have a key. I never left my door unlocked.Nice Relationship. Huh! Well our big demise came when I had achilles tendon surgery, non weightbearing for 2 months and I had to count on him to walk my dog, my mistake. And by the way I am seeing a councelor at this time. Well I could tell walking lizzie was wearing on him. He was more and more agitates. Well there was one morning when he called complaining of pain and I said I would take her out, I had a knee scooter and elevators,he got furious,so just in case he came anyway I put my phone on record by advice by my counselor, sure enough he burst in my house, I was defenseless and at his mercy.He preceded to scream and yell at me and as begged him to leave,he picked up my kneescooter and threw it st me. Just missing as I was screaming from sheer terror. He preceded to strangle me. The police were called. He left before they came, my friends came, my mom and after calming down I remembered I recorded it all. Well it was enough to hold over his head. Its been 3 months. He texts occasionally, begs me to be sex buddies, but I feel in power. And its going to be along before I trust love again. I need to find out why I attract these men. Lots of therapy. And building my confidence again. Long journey ahead but I am finally starting to breath easy.

    • profile image

      rillieth88 4 years ago

      I think the jerk who did this story must be found guilty of rape cause he need to be like in jail with the bunch of jerk who help him do such abominable crime.

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 4 years ago from Andalusia

      I know Heather, it's like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. They change suddenly from being charming princes to turn into pure devils. Was your boyfriend drunk when it happened?

    • profile image

      Heather 4 years ago

      I drove home 5 hours alone today to get away from my bf for 2 years..We had just moved together and it got much worse when we were by ourselves. I was drug across the floor by my hair then choked and told "I should kill you right here, I want you to die." His eyes were so evil looking when he was doing that...And he kept stopping like he felt bad, but then continued like he got angry all over again. It's like a totally different person...

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 5 years ago from Andalusia

      Hello Dee,

      Before you can begin trusting others you need to learn to trust yourself, i.e. believe all the positive things that people are telling you about yourself. Forget and forgive the past. I think that people who harm us are to be pitied, not blamed. They are how they are because of their own emotional baggage and unfortunately, you cannot change that. But you can learn to trust yourself again and get rid of the fear. People with a history of abuse from an early age tend to seek the company of abusers out of sheer habit. Snap out of it, you are no longer the victim, you are who you are now, strong, independent, good looking, successful, ready to give your love to the right person, seeking the same goals as you. Of course you must know their background and history before throwing yourself into a relationship, but that's easy enough to find out. Be pragmatic with your emotions. I know that sounds like a paradox, but in these days of the break-up of families, one has to figure things out for oneself with the help of friends and family, the people who care most about you.

      Yoga and meditation are a good way to recognise your true inner self, learn to live in the present, and give you a more centred, trusting, and positive attitude.

      I wrote a Hub on what to watch out for when meeting a new date:

      I hope this helps,good luck Dee,

      Sue Adams

    • profile image

      Dee 5 years ago

      My life has been fraught with abuse, of various kinds. Years and years of it. At this point in my life I find it hard to sustain a relationship past a few days, for fear of being hurt in some way. How do I overcome this debilitating problem ? Or will I ever?

      A couselor said I have PTSD. And my self image is now so convoluted I don't know where to begin . I am a fairly attractive woman, successful in my field, but truly just can't see it though others tell me I am.

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 5 years ago from Andalusia

      Hello Penny,

      How right you are. We need positive feedback most at the worst of times.

    • pennyofheaven profile image

      pennyofheaven 5 years ago from New Zealand

      This is very sad but inspiring for victims. Enduring the dark nights of soul is never an easy thing. The light of others can often bring us back into the light. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 5 years ago from Andalusia

      Hi Alaska mom,

      I hope you are away from the nasty situation you found yourself in. Sacrifices always have to be made but safety comes first, especially when children are involved.

    • profile image

      Alaska mom 5 years ago

      It's good to know i was not alone,Still remember sat and cry and think how to get away and hope he'll not hurt me anymore,i glad i get out alive and thank for the great story.

    • profile image

      rain 5 years ago

      very good

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 5 years ago from Andalusia

      It seems to me Cara that it's high time for your adult son to move out and get a life of his own. Can't you just change the locks? Sometimes you are not helping someone by being too leanient. Let them bite the bullet of independence, then much later a reonciliation, all for the better.

    • profile image

      cara 5 years ago

      I've just been abused by my adult son and my confidence is at an all time low. If I think positive I will be able to get my confidence back

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 6 years ago from Andalusia

      Oh, how moving your message is Hazel. Staying with an abusive partner is like an addiction - very difficult to quit. I was lucky that life's circumstances forced a separation.

      You will get back to where you need to be and grow beyond that. Your self respect returns as soon as you have achieved a self-set goal for which you will get praised and respected by a third party.

      Now please don't get angry with me...

      It could be a very simple goal to begin with, like take the trouble to use the spell-checker in the Google toolbar before publishing any Hubs or messages. Just doing that will gain you respect from your readers.

      But I see that you haven't joined HubPages yet, so that could be your second goal. I do hope you join

      , then we can carry on the conversation.

      Bye for now Hazel, and take care.

    • profile image

      hazel 6 years ago

      I love Julika's story, it is very uplfting. I'm coming out of a similar situation and it gives me hope to know that it's possiable to overcome. It's been hard, because who I was and who I am at the moment r 2 different people, I've felt so lost but this story gives me hope that as long as I stay strong and think positive, I'll be ok and get back to where I need to be.

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 6 years ago from Andalusia

      Lisa you MUST end the relationship. It is never going to get any better, only worse. There must be some friend or family member who can help you get out of this impossible situation.

    • profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago

      I thank you so much for this story and the comments here. It's nice to know I'm not alone!! It starts out slow a slap across the face then years later or sooner turns into beatings with bruises for weeks. I wish there was a support system here where I live to get me out, but there is none. I am that girl that was vibrant, outgoing, larger than life. Now I coward in my house afraid to walk out the door. Between the abuse and the cheating I have lost myself. Maybe forever.

    • profile image

      Jacob 6 years ago

      I met a girl once who had suffered from domestic violence. It took a year for her to get her confidence back and I hope I helped her getting there.

    • profile image

      Antonia 7 years ago

      Thank you for so honestly sharing your experiences Sue. It will certainly help others in similar situations.

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 7 years ago from Andalusia

      Thank you all for reading this. Unfortunately there must be millions of similar stories but it helps to share.

      I just published another:

    • advoco profile image

      advoco 7 years ago from cadiz

      Very good idea to discuss a very serious problem in the form of a story people can relate to. Scary how often alcohol is at the root of so many problems.

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

      Thank you for sharing this, we're never knew what's going on behind the closed doors. Wonderful!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks for keeping this issue at the forefront. It just pains me how women are brutalized in this culture. And it includes physically, emotionally and financially!

      Thank you!

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 7 years ago from Andalusia

      You're welcome creativeone I'm wondering how many hubbers have been there.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank for a hub I can relate too, I know about abuse, but I got out of it. thanks for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59

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