In light of the tragedy that happened to Christine at Adventures of a Thrifty Mama, a blogger I did not know personally, I feel like I have to open up and share the fact that I, too, was the victim of domestic violence. Why? Well, because if more women opened up and talked about this all too common subject, maybe more women will seek help when they feel the most helpless. If they know they're not alone, perhaps the lives of more women and children can be saved. When I heard about Christine and her son's murder, I immediately started crying and had a sinking feeling....And I knew this could have been me if I didn't get out, once and for all. It could have been ANY woman. And it needs to stop. Domestic Violence needs to end now, and women need to find the courage to speak up.
This is not something I talk about often....It's a chapter of my life that has long been closed. Almost like a hazy, distant nightmare that happened to someone else...A weak woman....A woman who was terrified every single day of her life...A woman with no voice. I like to refer to this period as "the life I never lived". The scared girl who was married to an abusive tyrant couldn't have been ME, after all. At least not the woman I am today. But while it is still taboo to talk about domestic violence, I have to admit, it DID happen to me. I DID live it. My life, for years, was spent in absolute terror.
Many years ago, when I was a mere child, I was in an abusive relationship. I married a man who was a bit older, and I thought I was "grown" enough to make good decisions for myself. I had a pretty rough childhood, and I would have done anything to escape living surrounded by the addiction in my home. So getting married, even though I had absolutely no business doing so, just made sense to my teenage mind.
Well, it didn't take long for my Happily Ever After to be shattered. The man who seemed like this "nice, charming guy" began showing his true colors. The abuse began as verbal and emotional abuse. (Which is just as damaging if not more so than the physical kind.) He told me daily how worthless I was...That I was ugly....That I couldn't do anything right...That I would never, ever amount to anything.
I wasn't allowed to have friends, male or female, because that HAD to mean I MUST be cheating. To talk to anyone at all, I had to sneak behind his back, which I hated. He made me constantly feel guilty for things I wasn't doing, and I would get "punished" for nothing more than being female. At least I think that's what it was...I cannot even begin to try and analyze his behavior, because looking back, none of it made any sense. It was almost like he wanted to invent reasons to treat me badly. I don't think I could have avoided it, no matter how "perfect" I was. I also had no control over the money I earned, as I had to surrender all paychecks to my ex. As a woman, I couldn't POSSIBLY be able to manage money, after all. (Note sarcasm there.) I had absolutely zero control over anything in my life.
It wasn't long before the abuse turned physical. I am not going to relive all of the horrifying details, but I have been beaten, choked almost to the point of unconsciousness and saved by the family dog biting him, held hostage at gunpoint, and even forced to do things sexually that I did not want to. Sadly, my oldest child still has memories of his mom being assaulted. He remembers so much, and he was only a toddler when he witnessed these things. And he remembers details that are shocking to me. This absolutely kills me, since no child should have to witness anything like this, ever.
Leaving was a process that, due to my defeated mindset, isolation and always being scared, was a process that took years. I was not strong enough to leave when the abuse first started. Soon after, I was pregnant with my oldest child. I felt trapped in a living Hell, and it took ultimately fearing for my son to finally rise above my own fear and end it for good. This took years. YEARS. And it was the scariest thing I had ever done. When you're basically brain-washed to believe an abuser's lies, you don't have a lot of confidence in the world or in yourself. They make you believe that without them, you are nothing.
Like I said, I am not going into much detail here. I am not here to bash my ex. He made his bed, and he has to live with that every day. I have moved on. I have been re-married to an amazing man who treats me like gold for almost 6 years. He treats my son like his own, and NEVER calls Kyle his step-son. Only his son. We have added 2 more beautiful children to our family. We're very happy, and life is good.
But still, even though I have moved on, I am still affected deeply by the years of abuse I endured. I have major social anxiety and find it hard to believe that anyone would ever like me. I suffered for years from an eating disorder, because I still heard HIS voice telling me I was worthless and would never be good enough. I am still afraid of the ex, too. I think I always will be, on some level. Being in a different state has lessened that some, but the fear is definitely still very present.
Why am I telling you this? I am not entirely sure, to be honest. This is ancient history in a lot of ways. But I know first-hand that when a woman is being abused, she often feels alone...Helpless....Leaving isn't an easy thing to do, but it is the BEST thing to do....If anyone out there is being abused, whether it be physically, emotionally, verbally, or sexually, there IS help available. You CAN escape, no matter what your abuser tells you. If you need to talk, even anonymously, please know I am here to listen or help you find resources. You don't have to go through this alone. There are people who want to help.
In the meantime, please pray for the family and remaining children of Christine Keith. This is another sad story of how domestic violence can escalate to the unthinkable. It's tragic and sad, and I would hate to see anything like this happen to any other woman or child. Please, if you're a victim of abuse, speak out. Find your voice. Be heard. People are listening. You're not alone. If I could get out, anyone can.
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud mama of two munchkins and a teen. You can read more about me HERE. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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