Words. They have such power. To elevate, to empower, to assure, to comfort... or to belittle, to undermine, to destroy. I recently met three amazing women who are survivors of domestic abuse. This series illustrates their individual journeys to erase the words that were used to try to control them, to squelch them, to destroy them, and to redefine themselves with words that celebrate their beauty and strength. This is not my story, it is theirs. They have granted me the gift of sharing it, with hope that it will help others.
My story begins when I became a teenager. I was raised in an amazing loving Christian home. We went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. I grew up in church. I always thought it’s the safest place to be but sadly for me it wasn’t. When I became a teen, people decided to start saying things behind my back. Such words as crazy slut whore just to name a few. Fast forward to when I was 16 we had to leave this church which was my home it was so hard! Then when I turned 18 I went off the deep end. I met a guy who I thought was great. I already had a great man but I left him because all I wanted to do was run from God and anyone who truly loved me. I turned to alcohol and for this guy I turned my back on everyone and God. Things seemed fine but they turned bad quickly. I became his word punching bag. Whore, lazy, crazy, stupid bitch, fucking idiot. I was told if I cried it meant weakness and I was to emotional. Not only did he harm me with words but as well with sexual abuse. He told me many times if I ever left he’d kill me and my family. So on July 12th 2007 I tried to end my life with pills but thankfully for my family who heard God I survived!!! I have been happily married for 12 years now with beautiful twin girls!! I’m not those words anymore. I am stronger and a survivor! God stepped in and saved me, along with my family and my amazing husband! Everyone has a story and we all can overcome it!
Back in 2013, I was in a relationship with a boy I thought loved and cared for me. After a short while, I became homeless with him and cut off from my family and friends, relying on him and his family. The verbal abuse started small but quickly became an everyday, all day experience. The name calling, the belittling, the constant questioning even when I wasn’t doing anything wrong, took its toll. Knowing how bad I burned bridges to be with said boy, I had nowhere to go, so I stayed. Each day I stayed, I started to believe him. I also didn’t think it was that bad because he wasn’t physically abusing me, right? Until, I got pregnant. At that time, I got help and got back on my feet. Fast forward to today, I am happily married to a man who truly loves me and respects me. He has shown me what true love looks like. I can’t deny that I don’t still struggle with not believing those hurtful words but every day I am better and stronger.
My story starts out with me meeting a man I fell absolutely, 100%, head over heels, in love with. He was amazing, he treated me so good, he was a great father, a great provider, and we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We ended up getting pregnant and getting married during the pregnancy so our baby was born in wedlock. I had our beautiful son but like most women I went through postpartum depression. My husband was overwhelmed with work and dealing with me, no sleep, and trying to find time for us and his new job as a truck driver. So, he turned to using meth to stay awake. I had no idea and he started acting weird. He became very suspicious, started calling me names that he's never called me before, and eventually led to physical abuse. I didn't find out about the drugs until about three months of going through this. I had him put in jail and I stay by his side. He started using again and the beating started to get worse. And he started hitting me in front of the kids. I figured out that there was nothing I could do in the only way to keep me and my kids safe was to leave. I still live with the emotional scars and some physical scars as well, but I have overcome my situation. And I am so thankful that I have an amazing support system with my friends and family.
Bonds that Heal....
I just want to say thank you so much to these three brave women. I am honored to be able to help you tell your stories.