October 15, 2018
My Voice Monday: Surviving Domestic Violence
In honor of it being domestic violence awareness month with this week being National Network to End Domestic Violence’s My Voice Monday, I decided this week to talk about domestic violence & how it has affected my life.
I am a survivor of domestic violence from my childhood into adulthood. Like most victims, cycle of abuse was a constant in my life for the majority of my life. Even those who have known me many years don’t know the extent of how, well lack of a better words, screwed up mentally & emotionally I was and am due to my past trauma. Let’s just say I have learned to put on a good act. But that’s not abnormal. Many victims of domestic violence hide, excuse or will even straight out deny the fact that they are being abused or were abused.
I grew up with domestic violence a big part of my life. It was a norm for me so as I got older and began dating as a teenager, I chose unconsciously partners that continued the cycle and the few that weren’t, I would self-destruct. What do I mean by that? The norm for me, even though I knew it was wrong, was an abusive relationship. When I came across one that wasn’t, I would find a reason, no matter if there was something there or not, to destroy the relationship. I honestly thought there was something wrong with THEM. I know right? How screwed up does that sound? It’s true though. I would go back & forth to being a super clingy afraid to lose them to someone who would shut down with a Great Wall of China defenses so I didn’t feel. After awhile, naturally, the relationship would end.
When I saw signs early on of an abusive relationship, instead of ending it, I would make excuses for him…
It was my fault because I did this or said that…
He didn’t mean it because he was just having a bad day…
It was an accident because he was a little drunk…
No matter what was said or done, I had an excuse that would take responsibility off of him. Why? I can sit here and say it’s because I had low self esteem, or that we loved one another or the ole teenage mentality of “I’ll show them they were wrong about him.” But the fact is abusers are very good at manipulating their victims and the longer a victim lives in the cycle of abuse, the harder it gets for him/her to leave.
During the “honeymoon period” abusers make their victim(s) feel loved and even have them feel like they’re put on this pedestal. But just as quickly as they raise their victim(s) up on a pedestal, they will just as quickly rip it out from under them for whatever excuse they have in the moment.
The cycle of abuse varies, sometimes the honeymoon period can last for months or even years. But there is always an explosion. From my experience, the explosion period gets worse & worse each time it comes around. I do have to say I am lucky to have ended my cycle of abuse before it reached the physical abuse. However, the emotional & psychological abuse I endured not only during my relationships but also as child has lasting effects that have an influence on who I am & the decisions I make today.
According to NCADV statistics:
- 7 out of 10 psychologically abused women display symptoms of PTSD and/or depression.
- Women experiencing psychological abuse are significantly more likely to report poor physical and mental
health and to have more than 5 physician visits in the last year.
- Psychological abuse is a stronger predictor of PTSD than physical abuse among women.
Thanks to the amazing support I received from my therapists and a few loved ones especially my kids, I have discovered my inner strength & who I am as a person. I am now at a point in my life that I actually have self love and know that I am worth love & respect. It took me a long time and a lot of personal growth but it is soooo worth it! I still have moments that I deal with PTSD, however, I am strong enough now where it does not control my life anymore.
I know when I was experiencing abuse, the hardest part to get over was getting over the feeling of loneliness and learning that I am not alone. I do have people in my life who love me & support me. Most importantly, I am not alone in my struggle of healing. Your abusers want you to feel alone… you have the power to take that away from them.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help & you don’t have to do this alone:
National Resources for Victims & Survivors of Domestic Violence
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Dating Abuse Helpline
National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp
National Sexual Assault Hotline
National Center for Victims of Crime
Futures Without Violence: The National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence
National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health
1-312-726-7020 ext. 2011
American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence
Battered Women’s Justice Project
National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women
1-800-903-0111 x 3
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