Reblog: Five Things An Abused Woman (This Woman) Wants You to Know


I posted this two years ago. Funny how life has changed. And remained the same. So strikingly similar are the nightmares and fears, even if they aren’t as constant. There is hope in reading this (for me), because I know I will continue to grow and get stronger, if I continue to seek the help I need. I hope the women who need to see this will find their way to my blog tonight. If you’re here, gorgeous, this one is dedicated to you.

 

XOXO,

Fina

****

Five -

I’m not weak.

I , legitimately, walk the planet on a daily basis knowing that there is someone out there that wants to physically harm me. I live knowing that, at any minute, Scott could return. And I’m only able to do this because on a hot July afternoon I picked up my broken body from the concrete floor and limped out of the door, without looking backward. Nobody else did that for me. Nobody was there to protect me from the madness, nor did they hold me by the arm while I walked on a strained ankle and battered knee. I was in so much pain that I wanted to crawl. But I didn’t, knowing that if I took even a second longer than necessary he might kill me. Weakness wasn’t an option. Strength is what allowed me to survive. And it kept me alive every day before and every day after.

It wasn’t easy to come home to a house that didn’t have electricity or running water. It was heartbreaking to have my car repossessed two days after I made the decision to leave. Trying to find a job, without a car, was embarrassing and difficult. But I did it. And I lived in a home for the next several months knowing that, at any moment, he could walk back into my life (and my house) because he knew where I was and he knew that my back window was broken out (because he shattered it with his left fist).

Survivors of domestic abuse are strong. We fought our own disease. Don’t ever doubt that. It’s offensive. It’s appalling. It’s also the easiest way to find yourself outside of my circle of friends. I’m not asking you to understand what I’ve been through, but I am asking you to understand that my strength is there.

Four -

Abuse rearranged my beliefs. Yours are only yours. Don’t try to pawn them off on me.

Abuse changes everything. Before my abuse I searched for answers about religion. I wasn’t sure who made decisions or why they were made, but I wanted to find out. I looked for answers in churches and conversations. But when things began to become abusive and I seriously questioned whether or not I’d be given the opportunity to wake up the following morning, I became an evangelical Christian. I PRAYED and pleaded and THANKED god that he was there, looking over me and keeping me alive. I knew that he had a message for me…that I was there for a reason. I stayed, longer than I should have stayed, because my faith in the lord was strong enough that I ‘knew’ I would live.

Yet something changed inside of me during that time and now I say this almost every day: when you are slammed against a concrete wall and thrown down a flight of stairs…when YOU are YOUR ONLY HOPE for survival and no higher being is there to lift you out of an awful situation, your hope lies within your own heart. I knew I had to get out. I knew I was the only one PERSON who could save myself. And I still know that. My savior? Myself. When you tell me that god helped me get out of the situation, and to thank him for that, it takes away from the strength and courage that I had to conjure. No higher power got me out of that house. It was my feet, my heart, and my strength. It was me.

Three -

Dating isn’t the answer.

If dating were the answer, I would’ve started already. Yes, at some point, I have to start seeing other people again, but I deserve to (and will) give myself enough time to feel ready before I allow someone to buy me dinner. I already understand that I won’t ever feel fully ready to date, but respect me enough to let me make the choice for myself. When the day comes that I say, “Okay. I want to try this again,” your help will be appreciated. Until then, questioning my readiness only pushes me further away from the idea. I’m not ready because I don’t trust anyone that I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t trust a lot of people who I do know. I have to retrain my brain. I have to accept myself. I have to feel strong enough that I won’t second guess every move I make. I still do that with friends. How could I ever create a successful relationship from that? I couldn’t. So please stop trying to tell me that I should.

Two -

I won’t get over it…soon.

I can’t get over it because my life has been forever changed. Downplaying the severity isn’t helpful; it’s denial. Acknowledgement and acceptance are necessary.

Some days are easier than others; I know it’s getting better. Yet there are days that I’m crying before I get out of bed. I don’t want to leave my apartment. I’m angry and sad and scared. The world isn’t one that seems to hold opportunity on those days. It’s a place that swallows me whole. On those days I have to remind myself that I was in such a devastatingly bad place a year prior. I have to allow myself to cry in the shower, so that I can keep it together during the work day. I have to be angry on the way to work, and I have to remind myself that I wasn’t allowed to feel anything for two years of my life. I wasn’t allowed to be human, so how can I expect myself to act like I am human?

Every week I feel stronger, even though I’m digging into the issues further and further in therapy. I do feel better…but just because my recovery doesn’t fit your needs doesn’t make my small steps any less significant for me. I am moving forward. If you can’t handle the pace, then just don’t say anything at all.  I will get there. Your doubt and criticism prolong the recovery process.

One -

Never ask me why I stayed.

If an abuser was abusive from day one, there isn’t a woman in the world that would stay. Scott was charming, he was romantic and understanding. He took care of me, complimented me, and made me feel as if I was the only girl who had ever made him feel loved. He listened. Scott helped me heal a wound in my heart from my previous relationship. He was everything that was missing from every relationship I’d ever been in. What 26-year-old girl, looking for love, wouldn’t stay in a relationship like that?

I’d talked up his dedication and love to my friends and family. I’d beamed with pride when I thought about my relationship. We were in love and we were great together, so it wasn’t exactly easy to admit to anyone that things had changed.

When things began to turn, when the verbal manipulation began, I saw this as the man who I loved changing…and I needed to do whatever it took to fix the problem and make things go back to the way they once were. So I devoted my free time to ‘fixing’ the issues because then I wouldn’t have to eat my words. I bent over backwards to make sure he was happy. For awhile, it worked.

But anyone that has ever been in an abusive relationship will tell you that right when you think you’ve ‘fixed’ something, your attempts aren’t good enough anymore. More is expected of you. And, by the time you realize this is the cycle, you’ve already given up so many things in your own life that you feel like you’re trapped. If you try to leave, he’s going to come after you. If you stay, you’ll eventually get to the point where he’s happy. He can’t really expect the world from you…so you just have to reach his expectation.

Why did I stay?

I stayed because I loved him. I stayed because I thought that I could help him. I stayed because I have a heart that works the way a normal heart should work. It’s one that tries to love unconditionally and doesn’t assume others will meet their expectations. It’s one that assumed that a man who treated me so well was only suffering from something else. Maybe if his mother was nicer to him. Maybe if his dad didn’t expect so much of his time at the office. Maybe if his son’s mother wasn’t such a bitch. Maybe if he could find a medication that would actually help with his ADD. Maybe if he hadn’t taken steroids in college. Maybe.

I stayed because I was trying to solve a problem. My heart kept me there for a long time…

…and then he put a gun to my head.

He picked it up off of the top of the refrigerator and cackled his manipulative laugh. He turned around, put his hand on my shoulder, and I could feel the cold metal of the barrel on my temple. He said he loved me so much that he could kill me. He laughed again. And then the gun was placed back on top of the refrigerator, where it hung just out of reach. But it was close enough that he could grab it if he wanted. And it was close enough that I could see it while I was cleaning the kitchen. It was a constant reminder that he could kill me.

And I was never left alone anymore, so I couldn’t escape. I wasn’t allowed to be out of his eyesight. He got me a job at his office so that I could be there with him all day too. I was trapped in his life.

So I stayed because I didn’t want to die. Because somewhere inside of me I knew that if I tried to escape he’d pull down the gun again. And he’d load my head with bullets. But staying meant I’d have a chance at another day.

A list of 1,000 reasons why I stayed wouldn’t ever appease someone who’s never been in my shoes. And that’s fine. But the bottom line is that when you ask me why I stayed, it puts the blame on me. It alleviates Scott of any of the blame. Why did I stay? I stayed for a million reasons. Why don’t you ask why I left? Or why he was abusive? Or if I’m still scared?

Don’t ask me why I stayed. The answer is far too large and confusing. And I’ll never give you the answer that you want me to give, because no answer I give you will make you understand. I know that. And I think deep down you do too. So just let it rest. And let me rest too.

6 thoughts on “Reblog: Five Things An Abused Woman (This Woman) Wants You to Know

  1. I’ve learned that the truth provides comfort to so many. When it feels right to uncover that truth and show you- DO YOU! ;)

  2. Reblogged this on Sarafina Bianco and commented:

    Over the last week I have found this post reblogged in two places. Neither of which credited the work back to me. Both bloggers have agreed to change the information to reflect that I wrote this, but if you’re new here, you probably haven’t seen my old site. I wrote this two years ago. Everything I say is still so important. Please share with anyone who might need it.

  3. I know exactly what you mean. I was in a physical as well as mental abusive relationship. I married him 4 months after we met. He was so sweet and caring. Once I signed that little piece of paper I was his prisoner. He wouldn’t let me go anywhere while he was at work so I started sneaking out of the house for this reason or that reason. Then he wanted to make me give all of my attention to him. He got upset when I had anything to do with any of my children from my 1st marriage. I left in 2011 and have never looked back.
    I had friends and family that kept telling me they were scared for my life. In my mind I knew if he got mad enough he could possibly kill me. One day last year I was working at a Hotel and one of the retired police officers came in and asked if I was still married to “Whats his name”. When I said no I had gotten a divorce he smiled. I found out some of the officers from where I lived before were scared for my life but figured I had to learn for myself. Until you have been through the anguish of abuse you will never know what you go through.

  4. Hi. I’m a new visitor here. I must say, I find this article very inspiring. Especially this line
    “Weakness wasn’t an option. Strength is what allowed me to survive.”.
    It hit me big time.
    I have experienced the same situation before that I had a trauma and it ruined my life for three years. that I almost took my own life. If it wasn’t for the nun’s on the church near our apartment. I wouldn’t be here right now writing this comment.
    All women in the world should never give in with their weakness.

  5. Fina, your honesty and power enervate me. It is incredible how markedly similar are the stories of so many victimized women–abusers all seem drawn to guns, for example. Mine also beat me till I was immobilized for days (9 months pregnant) and held a gun to both our heads trying to force me to pull the trigger. The utter isolation and imprisonment, mind games, etcetera…people mistakenly believe that abusers are “out of control” when they explode and beat you. In reality, they are in total control: what you wear, what you eat, what meds you can take (mine took all my pain meds from surgery and gave them to his mom, would not allow me pain meds during pregnancy or labor, let me suffer eclampsia and several major organ infections with nothing). He is a diagnosed bipolar and borderline. I escaped 1000s of miles away and he hunted me down, locked me in his car, locked me in the bedroom, told me I would eat, shit, and have the baby in that room. On and on and on. He stole my child, all my belongings, to add insult to injury so many people either will not believe or will blame the victim for “going back.” We know what it is to feel powerless, to completely lose our self concept in abusers-imposed subjugation, to endure a hostage situation and be stuck in fight or take flight. Your lack of a self pitying victim mentality inspires, and your candor regarding gods incidental role in your escaping empowers. While I was suffering serious abuse, I lost my god. My abuser killed him. However now that I, like you, heal each day with therapy, building a support circle, journaling, getting back to work and reading literature on mental illness and abuse, I realize that this experience have me the unique empathy, strength, motivation, and sense of boundaries with other people I have. I’ve yet to heal, I hate my body from all the rapings and beatings during sex, but I can love my body for its remarkable resilience and endurance it has shown, for its miraculous ability I create life. I’ve rolled with the punches, and I’m still a’kickin’. Thank you for having bourn your soul so that in my weak moment of yearning for the old chaos that was my life, I had the conviction to say no. I hope I have neither patronized nor preached, but I am reading a book called Boundaries that shows how scripture illustrates our right to freedom from abuse. As I’ve really searched for the intuition I need to make a better life for my daughter and peace to heal, I have found again a concept of a loving supreme power who (or which) gave me this wrenching experience to overcome and mature into the hopeful, forward-looking and faithful woman I could be. Perhaps we needed this just for the experience of counseling? Several traumatic cents earlier in my life and disorders I was suffering from as a result would not have been addressed were it not for this catalyzing experience. I hope I have not come across preachy, when I hear your strong tone after such heartache I just want to hug you and cry with you and swap counsel! God bless.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s