I am a domestic violence survivor

It is a strange feeling that you are happy when the bruise can be covered by clothes or think why can't he punch me somewhere other than my jaw so I can eat?

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As I walk this journey that I never thought I would, I am reminded of what I am thankful for. My kids, parents, sisters, brothers-in-law, nephews, nieces, and true friends. The way these people have held me up when I have fallen has been incredible.

I use to be worried about what people thought of me, mostly the lies that have been said. Everyone told me, people who truly know you, know that none of it is true. They are right. Why would I want anyone in my life that could believe it anyway? I guess it hurts to think people who said they were family and friends believe it. But I have to remind myself, they also believe he is a good person so their judgment is way off.
I am a domestic violence survivor.

I will say it louder for the people in the back… I AM A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR.

For almost 20 years I was beaten off and on. No, he didn’t beat me every day, and yes he would go months without raising a hand. I probably had a least 3 concussions, too many black eyes to count, I couldn’t even begin to count how many times I have been punched in the head and face, and my jaw has been broken (not medical confirmed but when you can’t bite down for weeks, your jaw doesn’t line up and your teeth were separating and now crooked, it is broken), and dislocated once, a knee injury that lasted months, burned, spat on, head split open twice where I lost some much blood I am almost passed out, broken/bruised ribs, too many bruises on arms and legs to count. When he was in an episode, the fear I felt was like no other. I have to say going to sleep at night was the worst, not knowing if I would wake up in the morning by being beaten to wake. It is a strange feeling that you are happy when the bruise can be covered by clothes or think why can’t he punch me somewhere other than my jaw so I can eat?

But, I have to say the mental and verbal abuse was just as bad. I have been accused of everything under the sun. I have been called every name in the book. I have been accused of stalking him, tapping into his phone, bugging our wifi, and putting cameras in our home to communicate with “my boyfriend”. When I picked clothes to wear, he was always in the back of my brain of what he thought. I didn’t wear a skirt or dress to work for almost 20 years because one night he told me it was easy to access as he pushed me into the tub and beat me.

The color and style of my underwear .. l did wear anything lacy during the week. I got nervous any time my phone rang or a text. I blew off my former supervisor every administrator day for lunch because I didn’t want to have to tell him I went out to lunch with a man. I stopped eating lunch with my friends in the break room because of his accusation that I was sleeping with my co-worker. I have been accused of having an affair at every job I have had. Why, because I never went anywhere during the evenings or weekends. I have taken 2 lie detector tests at the beginning of my marriage. I passed both but he would tell you now I didn’t. He is good at rewriting history.

The ironic part, he is the one who cheated. He was in love with an affair and continued for months. And confessed to sleeping with two other women he worked with. They say their accusations are the closest thing you will get to a confession. I guess that I why I was accused of sleeping with coworkers. And I forgave him. But I now know the main reason I did was that I was afraid. Afraid to do all on my own. Afraid to go back to my parents who had been right about him all along. Afraid of the unknown and what my life would look like. And I now know I had nothing to be afraid of. My family embraces me and helped heal me.
Those fears don’t go away the minute you are safe. I realize this when I walked into the parking lot of our son’s soccer game when he was arguing with me. We both walked between two SUVs where no one could see us with him behind me and my first thought “he is going to hit me”. But this time my second thought was “if he does, I am calling the police”. He has stalked me to the point my brother-in-law made me get pepper spray.

After a year and a half of therapy, I realize he started grooming as soon as our relationship started. Telling me he loved me 3 weeks into our relationship should have been the first red flag but at 20, I just didn’t see it. I realized I never was in love with him, I was in love with the lie of who he wanted me to believe he was. He is really good at projecting himself as a good person, he has fooled many many people. But more people saw him for who he really was and now aren’t afraid to tell me.

See what people who are not in an abusive relationship don’t understand is there is a trauma bond that forms. Trauma bonding makes you psychologically addicted to your abuser. This explains why trying to stop contact feels like you are coming off a drug . … Trauma bonding involves cycles of abuse – following an abusive incident or series of incidents, perpetrators will often offer a kind gesture to try to recover the situation. When he came out of an abusive episode, he was the sweetest man. It was all a lie. It is hard to know that your life was one big lie for 20 plus years.

I feel like it isn’t a new chapter I am entering into, it is a completely new book. I am not the person I was for 20 plus years. I am fearless, strong, independent, and a better person. I am happier now than I have ever been in my life. I can breathe for the first time. I have my power back. I know I will make mistakes but it is a freeing feeling to know that it is ok. No one is going to scream at me or put me down. To know I can grow and thrive without someone trying to stop me.

This new book is going to be an amazing ride and I can wait to read it.

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