Abuse is something that we just don’t talk enough about for fear of judgment or the fear of someone else seeing us as susceptible; at least, that’s been true in my world. I went silent for years. There is beauty in sharing your story. When you do, you remind people that they aren’t alone and have a tribe of people surrounding them. Abuse can be anything from physical abuse to manipulation and control.
When I was a teenager, I felt so hopeless and voiceless. I told no one what I was dealing with for fear of receiving no help and getting beaten more. I wore jackets in the summer to cover my bruises, and I had broken bones that had no reason to be broken, yet I lied to ER staff and told them it was a basketball accident or I jumped and fell pretty hard. I wasn’t in any sports, and I definitely wasn’t jumping from anything. I was just a terrified girl abused by her own family. It’s a pain that has taken me years to deal with.
As a young pregnant mom, I left that abuse I was given at home and never looked back. I wanted to give my daughter no part of that world. The first guy I fell hard for after she was born abused me, too. For years I had every example showing me abuse as how life was supposed to be. So, when I met him, it felt normal. I just knew I could change this man. Yet, he controlled who my friends were, who I hung out with when I left his home, and who I was texting. My young, naïve self thought that was love. Oh, how wrong I was! One summer day, this man I had been dating on and off was now dating my best friend, and even though I should have cared, I didn’t. I was deep in alcohol addiction, too. We showed up at his home for a swimming party with our kids, ready to have fun, but he wasn’t having any of it. He was angry at me for something I didn’t do. He was what every red flag should have told me he was. That night right in front of my daughter, he held me hostage and tried to kill me. I begged for my life that night, and by the grace of God, the police department got there before I was dead. I was scared after that night. I bolted my doors. I put dressers in front of all the windows. I never left my home. A piece of me died that night. I was never the same.
My daughter watched that very abusive relationship unfold, and I’m still very much angry at myself today for it. I’m mad at every single relationship I’ve ever tolerated, yet it took me having my own child watching to truly understand that I deserved more. She deserved to see me happy. My child deserves to see a man who’s not only going to show out in my life but hers too. After that last relationship and watching my daughter talk to the police and go through counseling, I vowed to never let anyone control, beat, manipulate or tear me down ever again. I also vowed that my daughter would only see me in happy, loving relationships that fed not only my happiness but hers, too. I feel for every human going through abuse. Here are five tips to hopefully help any reader who finds themselves in this situation.
Be aware. I mean of any and everything. If there are red flags, run. If you can’t, record and document things until you can get away safely. Be your own advocate but know your audience. Some people are not rooting you on, and those people do not deserve to know the happenings of your life as they may tell your abuser.
Realize you can’t change them. The saying of ‘if he wanted to, he would have’ is so true. If someone loves you, they will show up and show out wholeheartedly full-stop. Abuse is control and manipulation. Don’t give them that power.
Remind yourself what’s important. For me, it was my daughter. I told myself time and time again that Kaylee deserved better, but what I should have been saying was that Kaylee AND I deserve better. No one deserves abuse. Tell yourself truths. I am worthy. I am beautiful. I am important. If you tell yourself enough, you’ll start believing them.
Get out and get help. Plan to leave. Plan to make an exit and get out of there. Maybe there is a time frame when they are at work. Pack up your stuff and go to someone you trust. Make sure your location is turned off on everything and get any money out of the ATM beforehand if you share a checking account that you will need. You do not want a paper trail. If you don’t have a trusted friend or relative, Google (when it’s safe to do so) the abuse shelters in your area or call the national abuse hotline at 800.799.SAFE (7233) for more assistance and help finding you a safe place.
Breathe, live & don’t rush a thing. This has been so hard for me to honestly do every single day. I now have PTSD from my abuse and really horrible anxiety. Some days are great. Others I can be at a park with my child, and the crippling fear of being followed or watched washes all over me. I have to remind myself that I’m safe and free from abuse every now and again, which is so freeing. I think it’s also important to understand that you need time for a while. Learn who you are all over again and fall in love with yourself. Do not rush another relationship. When the time is right, the perfect person will find you. Don’t rush it!
Abuse has been something I have had to work through for so long during all aspects of my life. What I can tell you is that there is a life after abuse. It consists of lots of counseling, recovery, and doing life solo, but it is incredibly worth it. Everyone deserves to get up every day without being hit, manipulated, controlled, yelled at, and cussed at. You’re worthy, and you deserve the most beautiful life possible.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amanda Hatley of Abilene, Texas. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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