“Talk to those you trust, make a safe escape plan, and get out. “
Leaving abuse is not a matter of just packing a bag and walking out. It’s often a life threatening experience for abuse victims.
This week’s warrior found herself in a nearly inescapable place. Her abuser isolated her, belittled her, and even put cameras in their home to monitor her every move.
So how did she get out? You’ll have to read to find out.
The Abusive Situation
My situation reminded me of the movie Safe Haven. I was dating a police officer after leaving an abusive marriage and he was almost 20 years older than me. It started out great, but looking back, i realize it was simply him “love bombing” me to suck me in. He isolated me from friends and family, sexually abused me, lied constantly, and refused to acknowledge our relationship to most people. His social media looked as if he was single. He said he was doing it to “protect” me, but i know this wasn’t the case. He also had two cell phones when we first met. He was very skittish about marriage, but I was upfront that I wanted that commitment. He eventually proposed, but he lied about the ring. He said he got it for no one, that he was single when he bought it, but later I found out that he got it for his ex-girlfriend. He told her she could have it when she became more submissive. Funny thing is, she and I are now great friends!
I had two close girl friends come with me and we got my things when he was at work. I also have horses, and they were there too. He had cameras on me in the house though, and he flew home in a rage in his cop car. He tried to prevent me from leaving, but I refused. He never shed one tear. All I saw was anger. I ended up jumping on my horse bareback and running away.
Biggest Challenges After Getting Away
For a while, I doubted my worth. He had brainwashed me and told me no one would love me like he did. Also, I am adopted. I have a relationship with my birth mother, but my birth father completely rejected me, and that added another layer to the hurt in my life. But now, I know he was right about no one loving me like he did. Someone will love me better, the right way.
When and how did you start feeling in control of your life?
Honestly? As soon as I left! I am in my 30s now, and it gets better every day.
Any tips for dealing with flashbacks?
Pray! Go and do something relaxing or that you enjoy. Do something that feeds your soul. Also, be patient and gentle with yourself. It takes time to get over trauma. You will have good days and bad days. This is okay. Its normal.
What are some boundaries you’ve put up to protect yourself?
I learned how to say “no” with confidence. Also, if someone is disrespectful or inappropriate, I don’t feel guilty for cutting them off. We can’t exist to please others.
What are some techniques you use to bring positivity into your life?
I trust God with everything. It is a daily process of remembering He has a plan and purpose for me, and no one can stop that. I also try to help others. I have a passion for helping abused women and children, and also children with disabilities. Sometimes, our deepest scars can be our greatest ministry.
Do you have any advice for people in abusive situations?
My advice is to understand that it is not your fault. So often, we place the blame on ourselves and think that if we only did this or that better, they would love us the right way. Just know that it is not you, it is a sick and toxic person who does not have the capacity to love or change. Talk to those you trust, make a safe escape plan, and get out. They will not change.
What are some things that would have made it easier for you to leave?
It would have been much easier if I did not live there. It also would have been easier if he did not monitor my every move. These men can be very cunning, and very calculated, and he sensed that I was trying to leave, so he put cameras inside.
How can society help you more?
Society needs to stop blaming abuse victims. We did not do anything to deserve abuse.
What are some things you enjoy doing now?
I love using my animals to help other people who have been through any type of hurt. My horses especially are very therapeutic to those who have been through any type of trauma. That is my number one passion.
What helps you see the beauty in the world?
Seeing others show kindness is what helps me to see the beauty in this world. I believe that truly good people are very hard to find, but when you find them, hang on to them. Also, my animals help me see the beauty in this world. They love unconditionally, and we can learn so much from them.
What makes you feel confident?
I feel confident because of everything I have overcome. I have had four abusive relationships in my life. I have been judged harshly because of it, especially by people who claim to be Christians. It all goes back though, to God is our judge, not people.
What makes you feel beautiful?
Knowing I have a purpose in life, to love and support those who are hurting.
What makes you feel empowered?
Encouraging women who have been abused to make a change! It can be scary, yes, but I promise you, in the end, it’s worth it because you’re worth it!
*If you or someone you know might be experiencing abuse, please see my resource page
***If you survived abuse and would like to use the story to help encourage others, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org