My son & I are domestic abuse survivors.  I’d love to say that it was my first abusive relationship, but it wasn’t & I suspect I’m not alone here as a woman that has been through this kind of a situation more than once.

I have a big heart and there are a lot of times that my head & my heart just aren’t aligned no matter how much I wish they were.

The police failed me so many times.  Too many to count. In fact, my husband violated his restraining order over 200 times before they even arrested him the first time.  Once they finally arrested him, the assistant D.A. called me for an interview.  She assured me that they take these situations very seriously and that he wouldn’t be let out of jail anytime soon.  She even had me sign up for a service that would send me a text message once he was let out.  I received that text…2 days later!!!  The court system failed me too. 

So, now the police failed me time and time again as well as the justice system.  I felt absolutely hopeless.  So hopeless that I got on my knees night after night BEGGING God to please take me now to free me from this situation.

It’s humiliating to tell your family & friends that you are even in this situation much less the details of that situation.  You feel somewhat responsible because after all you made the choice to be with this person in the first place.  This side of the abuser doesn’t usually show even the slightest hint of the ugliness inside of them until you are already in pretty deep.  You’re scared to tell anyone or to leave after the threats they make to you about what they’ll do to you if you report them or leave.  You want to believe their apologies and promises that it will never happen again, but inevitably it does.  Time & time again.

The first situation I was in happened before I was a mother, but the second situation I was in happened after I was a mom.  So, it wasn’t only me receiving the abuse this time.  The abuse happened to me and to my son.  I lived every day in a perfect mixture of fear and guilt.  My main job as a mom is to protect my child and at this point, I couldn’t even protect myself much less my son. 

There are so many different forms of abuse, but in most cases the only form of abuse that is recognized is physical abuse.  This is the form that you can physically see.  The form that leaves cuts, bruises and scars, but physical abuse is in no way the ONLY form of abuse.  Of course, physical abuse is horrible, but the scars of mental, emotional and even financial abuse are deep as well.  Financial abuse is so real that banks wouldn’t even let me open a bank account much less give me credit once I left my abuser.  How sad is your situation when a financial institution won’t even let you deposit your money into it?

Support groups are wonderful and a real eye opener.  When you get into the support group you feel so alone and embarrassed of your current situation, but once you are in these groups you hear stories & text messages that are so familiar to your own story that they are practically interchangeable.  Their tactics are the same.  You are the problem.  No one else would or could ever love you because of all YOUR faults.  You can’t survive without them.  None of the things you say ever happened at all.  They’ll even go as far as to switch the narrative of reality that they will tell this version to your friends and family, to their friends and family, to mutual friends and family or to anyone that will listen to them.  You will begin to question your own sanity.  The gaslighting, manipulation, and outright lies are very real.  You’ll then spend part of your life at home waiting for the other shoe to drop and the other part of your life trying to defend yourself.  This whole tactic distracts everyone from the focus of the abuser to the focus of the victim. 

You didn’t cause this.  You can only be responsible for your own words and actions.  The resources that Metropolitan Women’s Center has given me, and my son have quite honestly saved our lives.  My faith in God, my church family, as well as a team of friends and family members that literally did everything and anything to free us from the situation also saved our lives. 

It’s not an easy road to freedom but staying strong and remembering my worth has led me from a life of fear into a life full of joy and peace.

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