Death of my former self

This is extremely difficult to write, but I think my experience may help others. This post is dedicated to my former self and to those that can relate to what I am writing. I hope this brings you strength and understanding.

I am an interpersonal violence/domestic violence survivor. Let me explain what goes on in the mind of a someone who is the victim of someone using physical force to stop another from doing/saying something.

The first thing you feel is shock. Shock that someone you love can do this to you. Once the initial shock settles in, then you start uncontrollably shaking because you are in disbelief. Then your mind starts to process what just happened. That’s where feeling returns. Was I so numb during the relationship that I missed the red flags? How did we get to this? What did I do to yield this level of behavior? This is not happening. This is not happening. How could this be? What did I do? Where did I go wrong? This is where you’re stuck for awhile. This is where you live for awhile. Then, an even crazier level kicks in: forgiving. I wanted to seek solace in the idea that I wasn’t in a relationship with a version of someone that I created. Because all you hear is that you attract what you put out. Right? Was I putting out a subversion of reality, a diseased version of love? I could’t accept that, so I did the opposite: I told myself that everyone deserves forgiveness & everyone has the ability to be remorseful and be a better from that experience. Now, I’ve went a level further and entered into a world of disillusionment. Not about forgiveness, but that people can change. That’s when I realized that physical violence is end stage. It was all that led up to it that where the signs and symptoms of dysfunction. The insecurity/fears, the lies, the fights that you only become aware of after violence occurs. That’s the beginning of where the abuse started. I wasn’t listening to what was being said I was too busy forgiving, discounting things, believing it was something that it wasn’t. The truth is I was discounting myself. All I wanted was a happy, healthy relationship. I got the opposite.

Now, I look back at who I was and know that people are what they are and not what you want to believe they are. Love is not just a feeling, it’s an ability. Love is complex and exciting. It begins with you.  If it’s not present, a person can’t create it for you. They can make you experience love, but you have to recognize it from within. Now, I look back at my former self and what I lacked and am grateful that I am able to recognize love. It radiates from me, it envelops me, it is me.

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48 comments

  1. I enjoyed reading this it was well written and poignant. Violence is the most brutal form of betrayal in any relationship. What’s worse is that many (and many) people never get to the place you’re in. So thanks for letting others know it is possible – and even though it was difficult to write, I hope it did help even more in your own healing process.

    1. Thank you rumourwriter! I do hope that it can be helpful to those who need it. I have been receiving several letters dealing with this very painful subject. Although it was difficult to publicly talk about it, I know how hard it is when you are going through the stages of dealing with it!

      Thank you for complimenting my writing and for your support! I truly appreciate it! You reaching out to me means alot to me!

  2. “Love is not just a feeling, it’s an ability. Love is complex and exciting. It begins with you. If it’s not present, a person can’t create it for you.” Wow! What a realization and I am so glad your soul and mind have been enlightened. Thank you so much for sharing, for being real. Rest assured you’re words will resonate with others who have been in your shoes. Light and love to you precious person.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I really appreciate it! I consider myself fortunate to find the courage to go beyond silence and shame. I hope that it does provide others with strength when the physical pain is gone! Tysm dear friend!!!!

  3. Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. You did what you think was right for you that time – you went through a grieving process. I’m happy that you surpass the ordeal. I learned something from my past experiences: Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s an experience. Let’s enjoy and seize our remaining life! Love Like Crazy! http://wanderlass007.wordpress.com/

  4. Aww this post hit a tender spot with me. Though not a sufferer of physical violence, I suffered and mourned a loss… the loss of a “mother” and “brother.” My mother worked long hours as I was growing up and she merely had no time for me. She didn’t offer her hugs, her love, or her time and my efforts were never good enough. My dad (who passed away a couple of years ago) was wonderful and the glue that held our family together. He spent most of those years attempting to clean up my hurts and pains. My brother grew up to be much like my mom. He too has told me he really doesn’t like me, doesn’t have anything in common with me, nor does he have the time for me. Understand, I have a beautiful family (husband, 2 grown children, and granddaughter)… all who adore me. I have numerous friendships… too many to count and a professional career in which I’m highly esteemed. And, yet I still carry around these ugly skeletons. They frequently show their ugly heads and remind me that “If your own mother and brother do not like you, how can you possibly have any worth?” I often, like you used to do, discount it for what it really is… perhaps in a denial of sorts, or wishful thinking that they could/would somehow change and really love me. Fortunately, I’m married to a very edifying man and he, with God’s help, has brought me to a place in my life where I’m working on enjoying my “sweet spot” (as wife, mother, teacher, friend, child of God) and letting go one by one of the impositions of my past. I’m so glad you are at a place where you are enveloped with and radiating love, for you are able to be an inspiration for others (like me) who need that little extra word of encouragement now and then… Thank-you!

    1. Thank you for sharing your powerful story! I, too, am so happy that you have found a place of unconditional love. You really never know what people have gone through and how that becomes part of them. It is the ones that can share the depth of their experience that are really inspirational! You are an amazing person for ending the cycle with your family! I aspire to have your ability & strength! We all deal with different “ugly skeletons”; it is how we overcome them that helps achieve real growth, honesty, and love. It’s a process that only some experience; others continue to live in disillusionment (from the survivors perspective). You would be amazed at how the batterer can walk away unscathed and thinking that they didn’t do anything wrong.

      Thank you dear friend! For the kind words, support, and inspiration!

      1. I’ve also found it interesting that they can even walk away the victim?! My mother was very hurtful to both my husband and me after my father died a couple of years ago and when I backed away some just for protection, she began to tell our extended family that I abandoned her at a time she needed me the most. Once again, the guilt & hurt was placed on my shoulders to rectify. Whew… it’s very wearing. We decided as a family to move and to create some distance between me and my mom and brother in hopes that this would create some peace and balance in our lives, as well as enhance my relationships with them (BEST decision we’ve ever made). We now live nearly 2000 miles away and they are all talking about coming to visit us at Christmas… it’s a good situation now for which we are very thankful. Thanks for letting me share and vent a little in a non-threatening environment! I guess I needed that more that I thought I did. Blessings to you, friend and may you have a restful, replenishing weekend :D

        1. Thank you for sharing your powerful story with us! Always feel free to express yourself fully and know that we are here to support one another. Release & vent away! (I moderate all comments :)) So glad that your relationships improved after you created distance. In most cases that’s the best answer to strained toxic relationships. So happy that you have gotten to a place of peace and that they are planning on visiting during Christmas! That’s a true testament to your ability to handle even the most difficult situations regally. You can teach us :)

          Thanks for the well wishes! A wonderful weekend to you & the family, as well!

  5. This is such a difficult subject matter. I was a “victim” in the sense that I was often caught in the middle watching my parents fight. One day I got so fed up that I gave one a machete and the other a knife and told them to kill each other. I can’t remember who got what I was no older than 5 or 6 . They looked at each other and laughed. I was crying. After that day they never fought again or at least not in front of me.To this day it still hunts to to think what if they had done what I had told them to? My daddy passsed 12 years ago not long after having a stroke. Not long before he passed, this topic of domestic violence came up in front of family. I was fuming and said some hurtful things which were the truth. When my dad had the stroke, my mummy flat out said I caused it. I was in disbelief and in a sense I believed her. Yet I couldn’t understand why she would stand up for him. As I got older i realised that in order to move on from bad experiences, we must learn to forgive. I have been doing a lot of forgiving lately. As a result, my broken wings have mended to a point that I am taking flight. I’m trying to go where eagles fly. Sometimes it’s dfficult. This is especially true when I hear the cries of a neighbor as she’s being abused by her children’s father in front of them. I want to intervene but I question myself. is it my place? Does she want help? Why doesn’t she answer when he yells “Do you want me to leave!” SiGH!

    1. Thank you LadyD for sharing your powerful story and for your support. I am sorry for the experiences you had and for the loss of your father. When impending death happens, people seek answers outside of God because they feel God has abandoned them. Your mother was probably dealing with many things that she couldn’t really resolve and erroneously blamed you. I am so glad that you are able to forgive (yourself & others) & reclassify bad experiences to liberate yourself. It becomes exponentially better.

      Your concerns about your neighbor are very difficult, too. You have to follow your heart. I have been the person that calls the cops and rushes out to someone’s aid. But, they continued to stay in the relationship.
      It’s such a complicated & individual process. The world would be a better place if we could express ourselves and be understood; enhance each other without expecting reciprocity; and forgive ourselves before we forgive others. (The list can go on & on ). Be well, dear friend!

    2. LadyD from the bottom of my heart I am 100% sure that yes, your neighbor wants help. Her husband’s abuse has no place among us and it therefore creates conflicted “not my place” feelings when we witness it. That’s natural. We don’t know what to do about it even though we hate it. Believe me, she herself doesn’t know what to do about it.

      As for why she doesn’t answer when he yells “Do you want me to leave?”, I can tell you why I myself remained silent when my husband was yelling the same thing at me: I knew the question was an absolute manipulation and to answer could endanger me physically. It was so obvious to me. He wanted to push me into saying “Yes, leave!” so that he could either destroy the place and take our child, blaming me for “wanting” the break-up, or so he could give himself an excuse (that I was breaking up our family) to beat or kill me. I knew it in my gut.

      For years I remained silent when he screamed this question at me. Sometimes he literally forced me to answer. On those occasions I said something generic that at least let me be true to myself in my own way, like “I wish we were a happy family and I think divorce is a family tragedy.” On many more other occasions he said he was leaving or that we were “over” or that he couldn’t wait to move out or that he had put money on a new apartment for himself. Each time, I remained silent then, too, and prayed in my heart that it was actually true. It never was, but my gut was correct:

      One day earlier this year, he again asked me if I wanted him to leave. Something in me broke. I was terrified because I felt like I was going through the rapids and knew I would go over the waterfall ahead. I simply said “yes.” For a few moments he laughed and shouted about how fuc-ing happy he was that it was finally over. And then he told me he was going to kill me. Then he attacked me, while screaming about what a lying, fuc-ing wh-re and cu-t I was to break up the family.

      Now he’s in jail and I’m still alive. Eventually he’ll get out and I know he may kill me then. But for now, I’m here, and I kind of want to tell anyone who will listen that they cannot imagine what goes on behind closed doors and if they think someone is being terrorized in their own home, they should try to do something to help. Maybe you could just say to this woman sometime when her husband is NOT THERE, and in a direct tone of voice while looking her in the eye: “Hi, I’m your neighbor so-and-so. Please come knock on my door anytime if you need anything, okay?” Do not judge her for staying, or even for allowing him back if he is eventually arrested. It’s overwhelming and complicated for the victim. Just letting her know that someone knows, believes, and reaches out can be HUGE for the victim, and could be the first step in her journey to freedom!

  6. I am glad you got out. Far too many women stay out of fear, and lack of self love. Speaking out is confirmation that you have forgiven yourself. Way to go!

  7. thank you for sharing your story with us. hopefully it will help a whole lot of other people find the courage to extricate themselves from similar situations.

    1. I have evolved and continue to evolve. My hopes are that whoever reads this will share it because we don’t ever really now the pain within another human being. You are so right, Sarah, it can be a cycle. From the perspective of a survivor, many of us don’t see the red flags because we are selecting based on some already skewed criteria. Being hurt in every way possible creates an insecurity that many couldn’t even imagine. Yet you hold onto the idea that there is goodness in people and the world. Thank you so much for your insightful comments and support!

  8. Reblogged this on United Nations Delegate and commented:
    Love this blog so much. In order to move forward, we do have to let part of that past “die” so-to-speak in order to begin to rejuvenate and live again.

    I also can relate to the shell shock and the floods of emotions that come along with all that. After being out of domestic violence (as a victim) for more than a decade and nearly 15 years, I have experienced quite a journey that makes up a part of the advocate that I am today.

    Kudos to you for telling your story… I sure wish you would rename your blog. I don’t think that it reflects truly who you are…..

  9. Hi, what you wrote was pretty deep. I really got to understand a mind of a victim of domestic abuse. I notice that a lot of self blame occurs and one automatically thinks it is there fault but that is not the case. I am interested to understand why it is so hard for someone to leave an abusive relationship.

    1. Thanks Sibon! I am glad that gained insight from this article. That makes me very happy! The reason’s people stay could take up a whole other post! From a survivor’s perspective: it has to do with the psychological abuse that occurs before, during and after physical violence occurs. Your self-worth diminishes and you are in disbelief that it is occurring. But, so many other reasons exist: financial dependence, children, love, feeling trapped, hoping it was a one-time occurrence, hoping the person will change, etc. I think that interventions should be designed around self-esteem & self-worth for both sides.

    2. All the author’s reasons are common. Another one that’s sadly common is that the abuser has promised to murder the victim if the victim leaves, and the victim feels it will be easier to stay alive in the relationship than outside of it, even though she deplores her circumstances.

      It’s a statistical reality that the single most dangerous period in an abusive relationship is when the victim leaves or attempts to leave. Abusive relationships are ultimately about control, and leaving the abuser represents the total loss of that control. More murders and attempted murders happen at this point than at any other point in an abusive relationship.

  10. I aslo was a survivor of domestic violence so I can completely comprehend what you are writing about. Thanks for Sharing your experience, it takes a lot of courage and it is also a great testimony. Thank you for liking my blog.

  11. So glad to find this post. I’ve written about my own experience with domestic violence, and I truly believe that when we bring our stories out of the darkness and into the light is when we heal and when we can help others to heal. Thank you.

  12. I’m a writer from St-Maurice, Switzerland just submitted this to a coworker who was conducting some sort of research on this. And she actually bought me lunch just because I stumbled upon it for her… lol. So allow me to paraphrase this…. Thanks for the food… But yeah, thanx for taking some time to talk about this subject here on your web site.

    1. Lol so glad that it was helpful in more ways than one! My work feeds the mind, body & soul! :) That’s very sweet of you to share my work & that it is helpful to your co-worker’s research. Please let me know what the research is about & where we can see your co-workers article/book/chapter.

      What kind of writing do you do?

  13. Thank you for your posts! Really encouraging. Hopefully the government will help one day the thousand silent sufferers.

    1. You are so welcome elena! So glad you found it helpful! It would be great if real comprehensive solutions could be created. In the meantime, I will lend my voice and story to all that will hear and feel inspired by it :) Thank you for your thoughtful comment! It helps to uplift many!

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