This is a story of survival by:
Breaking the Chains
It was very hard to write this post because my story is not miraculous or unique.
I survived many things; Sexual Assault, A Bi-Polar parent, and Physical Abuse. I think all of us who get through each day are survivors.
The hardest thing I’ve survived and overcome was emotional warfare. Nothing is harder to rise above than having your spirit broken. I really don’t know when it started. My mother is Bi-Polar and un-medicated, so our life was riddled with highs and lows that I didn’t know the name for. I should have learned love and self-respect but I learned the opposite. From childhood, I lived with constant criticism and witnessed dysfunctional romantic relationships. I only knew chaos, so this was natural to me. Men came in and out of our lives and usually treated my mother badly. I didn’t really have a relationship with my father so I don’t really have any examples of what a man should be like. I could never do anything that was good enough, and, eventually, I believed that. I made myself small, invisible. I spent years and doing the same thing. Repeating the same mistakes.
My past led me to an abusive marriage that nearly destroyed me. There was physical abuse. And the constant belittling and criticism chipped away at me day by day. There was a point in which I believed I was worthless. That I couldn’t survive without him.
We see these stories every day, and we say, as a bystander “we wouldn’t stay, no way.” I’ve said the same thing, yet stayed way to long. I never understood that love didn’t hurt. I didn’t understand that I wasn’t doing my children any favors by staying. He would come and yell about things as soon as he came in the door. The rants could go on forever. I kept all of this a secret for years under the guise of protecting my children when all I was teaching them was to cower and be afraid. As soon as he came home, they would go to their rooms. He had total control. I could do nothing for myself, so I believed I couldn’t make it on my own. I stayed for 13 years.
At one point I just felt dead inside, that is the only way to describe it. I was barely existing. On the outside, I appeared normal, but I felt nothing. Not happy, not sad, nothing. The final incident is what caused me to break the chains because I believe there is a moment when you just snap. He was trying to drag me into the bedroom and I knew he was going to hurt me. The kids were screaming and crying. My middle son ran to a neighbor’s house who called the cops. My son, in my opinion, saved my life.
He was seven years old.
I knew at that point that my son was braver than I, which motivated me to break the chains for all of us.
I stood up to him..
For the first time and he never touched me physically again. He got treatment but by that point, I realised I needed to stand for myself.
People have told me I was brave but I never felt that way. I just got through each day. I didn’t learn what love truly was until I was almost forty. I wanted love so badly that I let myself be mistreated.
It took years to find my worth.
To change my thinking.
I was worth it.
Thanks for reading: Breaking the Chains.