My Survivor Story; Danielle Tyra

abuse, trauma, domestic violence, anxiety, PTSD

How does one go from confident, successful, and living her best life to
being homeless, unemployed, ashamed, and wondering how did this happen? Let me
start with saying this is just a snippet of what I endured over 3 years of
marriage. 

In 2016, I met the man of my dreams. He was caring, selfless, financially
stable, a business owner, educated, charismatic and the stars aligned…or so I
thought. Shortly after meeting him, I started to see red flags that at the time
I ignored. He had a few different names he went by, he always blamed everyone
else for what has happened to him, he didn’t have any friends and had an
extremely volatile relationship with his ex-wife even after 7 years of divorce.

I knew he had been to prison for violating a protection order (and lying about
it) with his first wife but he made sure I knew that he was “wrongly convicted.”
That it was all “her” fault. I believed him. I mean he told me in advance, he
didn’t try to hide that he went to prison, and he had a successful business and
appeared to be back on his feet and doing well. The signs kept coming and I
kept ignoring them. The mental, emotional, and intellectual abuse began and
then lead to physical and financial abuse. He “supported” me leaving
my 15-year career to pursue my own dreams as well as working within his
business. What I did not know is that this was the control he would later have
over me.

He would accuse me of hiding things and stealing from him. I recall one
event where he yelled at me for hiding the stapler and when I said I did not he
started banging on the kitchen table telling me I did. I walked into the room
he was in, and the stapler was sitting in front of him. If I ever question him
or he thought I was against him, he will become very angry and yell, cuss, or
slam/throw things. He would get up in the middle of the night and turn lights
on and do things that were loud or disrupt those sleeping. Originally, I
thought it was just him not being able to sleep until I question it. It then
would turn into a fight, and he would keep me up all night yelling and trying
to keep me awake. I later learned this was a form of abuse. Sleep deprivation to
wear me down mentally. The lies continued and became so ridiculous that he had
me question if he was lying or not, because why would someone lie about that.

For example, he said he was at the store getting milk and he would be right
home. A few hours later he came home and did not have milk. When I asked about
the milk, he would dismiss me and tell me to get it. I learned not to ask where
he was. The ending was never good. He would lie about anything and everything
and for no reason. Even his name. He went as far as telling me about his
current name on his driver’s license was what he was born with, and his birth
certificate was wrong.

Again, one would think why lie about this? And did I really care what his
name was exactly, no I did not but the act of him lying was what was so
disturbing? One day while I was working from home, I started to clean up the
living room and went to find the tv remote to put it where it belonged and
texted him asking where it was and he said, “I caught you.” He purposely hid
the remote so I would not watch tv. What I did not realize then that I do now,
is that he was hard at work to break me down. Attempting to distort my reality to
make me believe I was crazy. Break me down to make me feel worthless. I
couldn’t tell you how many times he called me a whore, cunt, bitch, and other
words I cannot bring myself to even repeat. Early on I would argue back, try to
disprove his lies, and question him. This eventually led to physical abuse.

He already mentally wore me down so that when he physically hurt me, I would
be less likely to fight back. He would tell me that if I called the police, he
would just tell them I hit him first and they will believe him. In fact, he
even threatened to call the police and let them know I went crazy again and he
was defending himself. I was so broken, that I let him spit in my face, punch
me in the face, kick me while I was on the ground, slam my head into the
console of our car, put a pillow over my face, and throw the kitchen garbage on
me. I was ashamed, worn out, tired, and feared what he would do next. It became
so bad that I could not function daily – I was mentally and physically paralyzed.

I stayed home so no one would see the black eye, swollen lip, the gash in my
forehead, and the trouble I had sitting because he kicked me in my tailbone so
hard. I started trying to figure out what was wrong with me. How did I go from
confident, successful, and happy to being depressed, tired, exhausted, and
crazy! How can the outside world think I am still that confident person but at
home, I am not?? I did a great job of hiding it and no one knew except for the
neighbors who would have heard his yells and thrown stuff out the windows and
doors. I lied to him to hide the abuse. I would tell people how great of a
business owner he was. How honest and caring he was. It was all a lie. I was
afraid of how he would turn the truth and what he could do if I didn’t support
him. Once I started trying to figure out why I was crazy is when I started to
see what was really going on. I started opening about little things and doing
research on my own. It led me to read stories like the one you are reading
now. 

On 11/13/2019 I left my husband for the first and last time. It wasn’t easy
and still isn’t, but I know that I am safe and so are my doggies. Since leaving
I have continued to endure abuse. He has broken into my car, abused my dogs,
not followed court orders, and continues shaming me to others. I was able to
obtain a protection order, however as any domestic violence survivor knows,
that while this might deter them or slow them down, this does not stop them. He
has continued to violate the orders and make attempts to shame me by speaking
out against him.

Through the help of local domestic violence organizations and amazing
friends/family, I have been able to continue to have a voice, stand up for
myself and not be afraid to speak up no matter how big or small it is. The
worst abuse that I endured was mental abuse. I still struggle with what is real
or not real. I still check the back of my car each time I get in to see if he
is hiding in there. I still cringe when someone raises their voice, or I hear
loud noises and struggle to sleep at night. I still struggle to believe
anything anyone says. I still wonder what he will do next. The journey to
healing will be just if the abuse or longer but what I do know is that I am not
crazy and that I will recover.