Survivor Story: I Did Not Want My Daughters to Come from a Broken Home

Submitted by: Melissa, Survivor

As a survivor of domestic violence, coming forward to share one’s story is not always easy. Doing so is a personal decision that each of us must make when we feel we are ready to open ourselves up and be vulnerable. Melissa shares with us what motivated her to leave her abusive relationship and what she wants anyone who is going through abuse to know.

I am generally not one to put the details of my personal life on public display, mainly because I have come to expect looks of pity staring me in the face or criticisms and judgment that I was stupid for staying. However, if what I want to share helps just one woman, then it is all that matters. I decided to do this because I was silent and ashamed for too long, and it is time we all break the silence about domestic violence.

Of course, the first few months of most relationships are the honeymoon phase, and things are great. You think that you have finally found the one, and you look past all the flaws and flags. Your instinct tells you he or she has changed, and it easily dismissed by convincing yourself they would not do that to you because they love you.

Then, things start noticeably changing, and fights become more than just yelling. They become insults that cut like a knife and make you feel as though you are worthless. Holes are left behind in the walls, and things get broken. That is when you become the target of their anger. You are showered with promises as they say, “I’ll never do it again! I’m so sorry I love you, please give me another chance to show you it won’t happen again.” But it does.

I was so blinded by love and the need to keep my family together that I looked past all the bad things happening, and I stayed. I stayed because I came from a broken home and wanted nothing more than for at least one of my daughters to have a real family, with both a mom and dad living together. Despite trying to hold my family together, I needed to find a way to use the abuse I endured as an example of what not to accept for my oldest child.

When I was finally ready to leave, he made it abundantly clear that I wasn’t going anywhere – unless it was in a body bag. He told me that no one else was going to have me. I finally realized he did not love me, and he never really did. To him, I was just his property. I lived in fear every single day because I never knew if the next fight was going to be the one that finally did it, the one that finally – and permanently – took me away from the daughters that love me more than anything.

As I approach the one-year mark of a permanent restraining order, I finally realized how fortunate I truly am to still be here. Being surrounded for the last year by people who genuinely love me is probably the only reason I made it out alive.

Has it been easy? Absolutely not. It has been the hardest thing to bounce back from, but I’m still here. I am still fighting, still trying, and still ALIVE to be the best mother I can be for my girls.

For anyone going through this, always remember that you are loved by so many people. There is a better life out there for you and your children no matter what horrible, degrading things he or she may have told you.

**If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page.

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