October is Domestic Abuse Month. I wanted to share something before the end of the month because the subject matter is personal and important to me, and extends to the topics of my blog. I am a survivor of domestic abuse and I want you to know that not only can you survive, but you can thrive and be happy in ways you never thought you would while you were in the relationship.
My relationship began when I was 18. I became pregnant and got married by 19. As most beginnings tend to be, things were good. But as the relationship evolved our “honeymoon” ended and our true temperaments were unveiled. I was still a child and he was avoiding being an adult at four years, my senior. He couldn’t keep a job and I was working 60 hours a week while pregnant. I was also trying to go to school. Our fights about money were epic. The abuse didn’t start until our second year.
I honestly didn’t know I was being abused. Much of the abuse was verbal and emotional. He humiliated me. He threatened me. I dealt with mental illness and he used it against me, telling me I was a bad mother. Threatened to take the baby away from me if I tried to leave. When I got pregnant the second time, my mental health unravelled pretty badly. She was born prematurely at 28 weeks and I tried to kill myself after one of our fights where he threatened to take them both away. There was physical abuse too, but in all honesty, the worst of the harm he did, even to this day, was the harm he did to my psyche. That is the point I am wanting to make here.
I didn’t believe I was in an abusive relationship. It took me four years to leave him because I didn’t see he was hurting me. He wasn’t beating me every day. Did I get left with bruises? Sometimes. Mostly if he drank. Was I threatened? Yes. Did I look down the barrel of a shotgun and think that was going to be it? Yes. Did I not think that was abuse? No. Because for the most part life was quiet. Life was walking on eggshells, making sure I didn’t do anything wrong to piss him off because he mostly hurt me with words. I was degraded. I was humiliated. I was made to feel worthless. I believed it. How could I not see it beforehand? How could I get myself into this situation? How could I be such a terrible mother?
It’s important that women/men know that abuse can take many forms. It’s not always bruises and a person can hurt you in a number of ways that leave you scarred for a long time. But once you face that you are being abused, you can get help. You can turn to someone that you trust and get out of that situation. If there’s no one that you trust, there are numbers to call that I will leave at the bottom of this blog. You have a chance at a better life. A chance for a more positive future.
Abuse leaves its scars. There’s a number of evidence that links domestic violence with many chronic illnesses, not limited to but including arthritis and hormonal disorders, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain, severe headaches and irritable bowel syndrome and mental illness. We really don’t know the scope or depth of how domestic violence affects the human body or brain. Hidden Cause of Chronic IllnessWe don’t know how the trauma can change the human body or brain, and how this event may predispose someone to any one of these chronic illnesses. But we do know how resilient the human body and brain can be and how adaptable they are. You can overcome this trauma, and even if this trauma triggers chronic pain in some form like me, you can live a fulfilling life beyond what happened to you.
National Domestic Abuse Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233.