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A Domestic Violence Survivor’s Bruising

Seeing your bruises then feeling the subsequent mixture of anger, frustration, guilt, numbness, weakness, and self-blame. 

You might be getting no sleep or easily startled all the time. You feel alone or that people won’t understand. Bruising is one of the most common injuries among abused people. Victims will try to dismiss their bruising to protect their abuser. They may do this out of fear or reluctance. There are sadly so many stories of this and if this is currently your story, know that you are NEVER alone. 

This is one victim’s perspective after abuse and their bruising. 

The moment was such a blur….

We were laughing and chilling in the car when suddenly, he got angry again. I am not even sure for what reason, but usually it was because I said something he didn’t like. Before I knew it… a blow to my cheek bone. 

The thoughts going through my head were mostly of shock. I didn’t think much about it except that I was going to stand up for myself this time. I opened my hand and did a slap to his cheek and told him not to touch me like that. That was the first and last time I tried retaliation. 

He kept hitting my cheekbone and I thought it would never stop. His hand was heavy and hard, because he had no bones in his fist from previous fights. They had been replaced with metal by surgeries. Before I knew it, he was cursing at me and throwing me out the car and sped off. My cheek felt broken and swollen. 

My alarm went off the next morning, and I looked in the mirror… 

My cheek and under my eye were bruised. I couldn’t go into work like this! Everyone there knew I was with an angry guy. My family knew as well, but not to this extent. I had to hide this, but I was panicking. 

I got dressed fast and sat in front of the mirror with all my makeup. My thoughts were going crazy while starting to cover the bruising. 

Why did he do this to me and treat me this way all the time? He goes off so easily about anything–the way I dress to even making eye contact with anyone. I started beating myself up looking in the mirror. It was my fault, of course, and how could I be better so he would never do this again. 

I was nervous to see him, because of my retaliation and I would never live this down. How did I get here and how will I ever be happy again? I am sick of my body being sore every day from him throwing me around or the concussions. I was thinking about how I didn’t know what it was like not to be sore anymore. 

I saw my permanently broken finger in the mirror from the year before while almost done with my attempt to cover the bruise. I started crying uncontrollably at that point. What was holding me in this relationship? It was fear, striving for acceptance I think, and feelings that were never reciprocated. My thoughts stopped abruptly as I saw all my work with the makeup was ruined from my tears. I yelled in frustration with myself as I had to restart. 

I was nervous people would comment…

My heart was beating so fast heading to work. My anxiety was so high. The second I walked in, my coworkers noticed. I realized I couldn’t hide like I thought. 

As always, most people walked away, because they didn’t know how to be around abuse. It made me feel ignored and not important. I turned the corner and my friend looked up at me and immediately glared at me. I said good morning and they responded it’s my fault since I chose to be in a relationship with this guy. I felt shut out and that I couldn’t talk to anyone even though everyone knew. They made me feel even more alone and ashamed. I went to the bathroom and leaned over to cry so my tears would fall to the ground without ruining the makeup I worked so hard on. I came out with all the strength I could gather and drowned myself in music and worked the rest of the day alone with my thoughts

When I went home my family wasn’t around. I hid in my room most of the night. They knew about my relationship, but they didn’t do much about it. He just wasn’t allowed in the house.They wouldn’t do much but I just didn’t want them to judge me. 

The next morning my abuser called me and asked me to send him a photo of my face…  

I did with the bruise covered and he started yelling on the phone how I didn’t do a good enough job. He said people will think it was his fault when it was mine, because I never behave or act correctly. If I was a better person it never would have happened, and I was the first girl he hit. He hung up on me and blocked my number for the rest of the day as punishment. This was my day to day ‘till the bruising was healed… There would be many more bruises to come. 

Sometimes violence only lasts a matter of minutes, but the bruising left behind is a long visual reminder. The memory of that moment will usually keep replaying in a victim’s head,trying to make sense of the experience. Then the victim will think of ways they could have responded differently. 

You are stronger than you think, and there is hope for a better future. You deserve happiness and a life without violence. Never forget that you are not defined by your past or what you’ve experienced. Believe in your own worth and value. Take small steps towards healing. Each step, no matter how small, is a step forward on your journey to reclaiming your life. 

If you are in danger, please contact 911 or The National Domestic Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org/

Otherwise please reach out for resources and information. We at Break the Silence are always here for you and together we can end domestic violence: https://breakthesilencedv.org/support-line/ 

Articles Used 


https://www.healthline.com/health/victim-mentality https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/think-act-be/201609/21-common-reactions-trauma

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