“Even though there are no visible bruises or scars we have suffered. We have been cut to the core- the pain and hurt and despair cannot be measured. We are no less victims, we are no less worthy of understanding and compassion.”
Abuse is more than just physical. This warrior woman experienced psychological, emotional and financial abuse and survived. She battled against all odds to free herself from the toxic relationship. Each day she fights to build a better world for herself and those she loves.
#Warrior Wednesday Interview
1. Briefly describe the abusive situation.
I suffered emotional and psychological abuse. Looking back now I see how it began early on, I saw so many signs, red flags but I chose to ignore them. I thought things will get better once he is more confident in my love for him he will see me for who I am. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He groomed me. Bit by bit. Day by Day. He slowly distanced me from friends and even family. I thought he loved me so much he just wanted what was best for me. He eroded who I was the strong confident woman became a self doubting, self conscious, stressed out woman who couldn’t do anything right.
“I did not feel safe enough to leave on my own.”
2. How did you get out?
I would say in the 6 years we had been together 2 years married I have tried a total of 4 times to leave him. I am a California girl born and raised. We moved to Arizona for an promotion opportunity for him. I left behind 3 grown kids and two grandchildren and my mom has been sick. I chose to come to start over, a fresh start for us. Each time I left it was due to escalating verbal abuse. This last time I just couldn’t take it anymore. Being in his presence was making me physically ill. I was walking on eggshells. Avoiding any confrontation possible I was depressed and full of anxiety and to top everything all off my Mom was just diagnosed with ALS-Lou Gherigs Disease. At first he was very supportive telling me he would get me home when ever I needed to go. That all changed and it always did we were fighting more and more. After a week of fighting and him belittling me I had had enough I told him things would never change and I couldnt take it anymore. I moved into the spare bedroom and when he got home that night he came in and would not leave started to yell at me and say mean horrible things I had just had enough I called the police because I did not feel safe enough to leave on my own. He was holding the car that I was driving hostage as well I had paid for it but it was soley in his name. The police clarified that since we were married I had right to drive the car and leave if I did not feel safe.
“I felt so alone.”
3. What were the biggest challenges you faced after you got away?
I was in a new state with no family I had work friends that were very supportive but I felt so alone. I was taken to a shelter that night. I work in healthcare and help my patients find help and resources it was very humbling to now need those resources I had been providing my patients. I was able to stay with friends this whole time I am saving money to get an apartment on my own. I have to remind myself daily that even though I am struggling now be gaining my confidence and my self back will be worth all the heartache that I have been going thru.
“I have to feel all the feelings that I am going thru.”
4. When and how did you start feeling in control of your life?
I think some days I feel in control just waking up and knowing I can do what I want to do. Watch what I want to watch on tv. He hated that I watched reality tv. He hated when I logged on to Facebook or Instagram to see what my kids, grandkids, family and friends were doing back home. But Im not going to lie some days are easier than others. I still have a lot of uncertainty I have to file for divorce and I am looking to get an apartment and be on my own. I think I just take one day at time some days one hour at a time.
5. Any tips for dealing with flashbacks?
My friends and my kids help me deal with them. I Have to remember that even though flashbacks are hard they are a very necessary part of my healing process. I have to feel all the feelings that I am going thru. I have limited the amount of alcohol I am drinking I do not want to numb myself and prolong this process of the many steps it takes to heal.
“For so long I was made to feel like I was crazy”
6. What are some boundaries you’ve put up to protect yourself?
I have blocked him from all of my social media and have delated and blocked his family and mutual friends. At first I thought it was extreme but then he would leave hints to what I was doing or send me criptive messages so I knew they were keeping him abreast of my new journey to piece my life together.
7. What are some techniques you use to bring positivity into your life?
I really engulfed myself in finding everything I could about narcissism, gas-lighting and emotional and psychological abuse. For so long I was made to feel like I was crazy I had to see through others eyes that I was not crazy I was manipulated into believing I was. I also journal a lot of it in the beginning was journaling to remind myself of what I had been through after all a lot of us can relate our memories can become very cloudy which causes us to self doubt ourselves even more. As my healing progress I hope to see that my journaling will be more of gratitude and a marker of how far I have come.
8. Do you have any advice for people in abusive situations?
Always remember that any abuse is not ok. No you did not make him treat you this way. You did not ask for it you did not deserve it. You deserve to be loved unconditionally to be loved because of your flaws not in spite of them. You are a queen or in some cases a king and deserve to be treated as such. I will not be easy it will be hard but you will come out so much stronger and it will be worth it I promise
9. What are some things that would have made it easier for you to leave?
This is a very hard questions I think if you are not ready to leave if you are still hopeful in the abuser changing nothing will make it easier to leave.
10. How can society help you more?
Society needs to realize that even though there are no visible bruises or scars we have suffered.We have been cut to the core, the pain and hurt and despair cannot be measured we are not less victims we are not less worthy of understanding and compassion.
11. What are some things you enjoy doing now?
I enjoy getting my life back piece by piece I gave up going to the gym because of his jealousy I look forward to getting back to a healthy state not just physically but mentally. I enjoy going to dinner with my girlfriends and know that it is not wrong to want time for myself.
12. What helps you see the beauty in the world?
I look into the faces of my children and my grandchildren and I see what matters most to me. They are my world and being healthy and happy and giving them a good example of how they should be treated is al that I strive for daily.
13. What makes you feel confident?
Slowly getting myself back. Seeing glimpses of the old me and knowing I may be a little bent right now but I am not broken.
14. What makes you feel beautiful?
Self care. Taking time for myself knowing that my beauty lies within It lies in the soul that I have and in the love that I have for others.
15. What makes you feel empowered?
Helping others weather it is in my daily work or helping other women become empowered and to help them see they are not alone.
*If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please see my resource page for support.
If you are an abuse survivor and would like to use your story to help encourage others, please email me at [email protected]