How I Gained the Strength to Leave an Abusive Relationship
Unfortunately, he did it again.
I remember lying there on the floor, hurt and in pain. It played over and over in my head. The tears rolled down my face.
The name calling…
His hands around my neck….
His fist against my face….
I had a broken spirit. I wondered how he could do this to me.
I wore sunglasses at night and long sleeves during the day. I didn’t want anyone to see the marks and find out what was going on. The bruises exposed the truth.
He promised the last time was the last time. But yet, I found myself in this place again.
I loved him so much and I treated him so good. I couldn’t understand why he would want to see me suffer like that.
I wondered when it would stop, or if it would stop at all. Love wasn’t supposed to feel that way, but I didn’t know how to escape.
I felt trapped.
Accept That Things Are What They Seem to Be
I was convinced I was going to marry my first boyfriend. I truly believed that he was the man for me and I didn’t need to look any further.
I was so wrong.
Throughout our entire relationship he hit me, talked down to me and cheated on me. He made me feel so small; so devalued.
I had a fear of being alone, a fear of not having this man by my side. I’d rather be abused than be single. I’d rather be treated like this than have him leave me for someone else. I believed everything would be ok.
But things would never be ok.
I was in an extremely abusive relationship. Pretending everything was fine did not change the facts.
My relationship was dysfunctional, and until I fully admitted and accepted this, there was no way out.
Making excuses for his behavior didn’t help the situation at all.
He had a serious problem, and putting his hands on me was unacceptable.
In any abusive situation, you must be honest with yourself. Making excuses for inexcusable behavior only makes things worse. Once you acknowledge that a problem exists, you can begin to find a solution.
Understand Abuse Is Not Just Physical
I was being mentally, verbally and emotionally abused as well. On top of calling me names, he also cheated on me all the time.
After a while, he didn’t even try to hide his cheating anymore. He would leave at night and tell me he would see me in the morning. He spent almost every night with someone else.
Eventually, two women turned up pregnant by him. It felt like my heart exploded. The day I found out was the worst day of my life.
Every second of the day, worry consumed my mind. The thought of him having a family with another woman would play over and over in my head.
I was being mentally and emotionally tormented by this. I couldn’t function normally.
If this man was the one for me, I wouldn’t be going through all of this. My physical, mental and emotional health was at risk.
I had to realize that my relationship was jeopardizing my health and well-being. I had to learn to value my sanity.
Don’t wait until your mental health is at risk. Guard your emotions. Seek the help you need to get your mind back to a healthy state.
Stop Believing the Abuse Will Stop
Over the course of those eight years, the abuse became worse.
I remember one night he told me was going to kill me. He choked me until I passed out.
I fell on the floor, and when I finally came to, he was frantically pacing back and forth because he thought he had killed me.
Fortunately, he didn’t. I was able to walk away that night.
The good never outweighed the bad. The bad times were so bad that I would forget about the good times.
I begged, cried and pleaded with this man to change. I even professed my love for him over and over.
At some point, I had to stop believing it was going to get any better. The only way I would be able to live a happy life was if I escaped this relationship. I had to understand that I couldn’t change him. It was not my fault that he did this to me.
And no matter how many times he claimed that he was going to seek help, he never did.
And he was never going to.
I had to accept that my relationship wasn’t going to change. Things were going to stay exactly the same unless I left him. I had to let go.
The best thing to do is accept that your problems will stay the same unless you change them.
Consider Your Loved Ones
I tried to hide the abuse, and I tried very hard. I had everyone fooled for a while, but eventually they found out.
There’s one thing I never took into consideration. And that was my family. My relationship was hurting them and the people who cared about me.
When you are in an abusive relationship, it is very easy to get caught up in the way you are feeling. I never once considered how everyone else was feeling.
It’s very hard to see yourself on the other side of the fence when you are the victim. But abuse doesn’t only hurt the abused.
It hurts everyone!
I had to wake up and remember that I had a family who loved me, and people who really cared about me. If this man took me out of this world, there would be a lot of people hurt and destroyed.
Looking back now, I wish I went to my family for help. It’s usually the ones closest to you that can help you find a way out.
Remember, you’re not alone. There’re people out there who love you and don’t want to see you hurting like this. Find someone you trust and confide in them. Don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones for help.
Have Faith That There Is a Better Way
Eventually, I was able to find my way out.
I could never get that time back. I could never be seventeen again and enjoy life.
I decided not to waste any more time in my life. I couldn’t bring back what I lost, but I could change the future.
Now, I’m married to the love of my life. I have the family that I always wanted. The family I always prayed for.
Actually, I have the same exact family that I wanted with my ex. I always wanted to live in a house and take family vacations. I wanted to live a certain lifestyle.
And at this moment, I have everything I ever desired. Only now it’s with a man who truly loves and respects me.
Sometimes, I can’t believe I’m truly happy now. Back then, I would have never believed any of this was possible.
You have to believe you can get through this. Regardless of how things seem, you do have a way out.
Realize Pain is Sometimes a Blessing
I learned a lesson from every painful experience I went through.
I had to go through that situation to be a blessing to someone else.
If I was never abused, I couldn’t be living proof that things can turn around and get better.
You see, someone needs to hear my story. Someone reading this now has found a bit of hope. Someone needs to know that you don’t have to go through this. You don’t have to hurt anymore.
You deserve love and respect.
If I give just one person strength to say enough is enough, and take control over their life, then I’m fulfilling my purpose.
I believe you have a purpose too. Someone out there is waiting to hear your story. Someone is waiting for your victory to give them hope. Your story is someone’s blessing.
Forgive and Let Go
Just imagine being happy with someone who is just for you.
But how can that person come into your life if you are filling that spot?
It’s time to let go. It’s time to move on.
Time heals everything, trust me! You don’t have to deal with the pain anymore. I am fully healed from my past. I have truly forgiven my ex for what he did to me.
Forgiveness released all power that he had over me. It gave me control over the situation because I let go of all the animosity in my heart.
And now, I actually feel sorry for him.
Sorry that he is still trapped in his anger, misery and frustration. Meanwhile, my forgiveness towards him has set me free!
Set me free from my pain.
Set me free from my tears.
I now have hope.
If you hold onto bitterness and animosity, you are only hurting yourself. You deserve happiness. Don’t let anyone steal your joy. It’ll be hard at first, but forgiveness will set you free.
Tiffaney Kennedy is a mentor whose passion is helping women overcome life’s toughest challenges. Sign up to receive your free copy of “56 Motivational Quotes That Will Change Your Life.” You can follow her on Twitter.
Image courtesy of Roman Kraft.