Love Shouldn’t Leave Bruises


1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men are assaulted in their lifetime. Each year, over 3.6 million children are victims of child abuse. In the span of one minute, nearly 20 individuals are assaulted during a domestic violence attack. I lost track of how many times I was one of those individuals. Frankly, I never kept count–the black eyes, broken noses, taped-up broken glasses, bruises, concussions, and welts seamlessly blended together through the fabric of time. From the age of seven until the age of twenty, this was my life. When I should have been in gymnastics class, I was forced to hide or lie by stating, "I was hit in the face with a softball." 

Yes, there were moments, and even months, when my body was not used as a punching bag, but that is when verbal and emotional abuse took over. I mastered the art of walking on eggshells. It took years for me to comprehend that my abuse was not my fault.

The day I realized I didn't deserve to live a life riddled with the physical and emotional pain from abuse was the most freeing day of my life. It also could have been the very day that ended my life. I literally and figuratively felt the chains break around me as I stated, "The next time, you better kill me because if you don't–" Were those the wisest words to say? Probably not. But I'd had enough. I was done. I was determined to break the vicious cycle. 

However, decades after the abuse ended, C-PTSD still had a stronghold over my life. Imagine being in a constant state of fight or flight, or anytime you felt pain, you were triggered. To this day, I cannot hear the phrase, "Why didn't she leave?" And not have a guttural reaction to that thoughtless question. I think the only appropriate response is, "Walk a mile in her shoes."

When my son was seventeen, he angrily stated, "Mom, I don't understand. I don't know how you can just forgive and forget what was done to you." To hear my son say those words, dripping with pain and anger for something done to me before he ever took his first breath, was heartwrenching. I knew this needed to be a teachable moment. "Forgiving and forgetting are not mutually exclusive. I did not forgive for their sake. I did it for mine, yours, your sister, and Dad's sake. Forgiving is not the absolution of the pain inflicted upon you. It is releasing of the pain so the bitterness can no longer consume you and the people you love." Too many individuals who have suffered through child abuse and domestic violence do not live to tell their stories. They do not get to break the cycle and change the hands of fate. For them, I share my story. For those who feel hopeless, there is hope. For the ones who feel like there is no way out, I swear to you there is. You are not alone.

#DVAM #DomesticViolence #DomesticViolenceAwarenessMonth #NoMore #Every1KnowsSome1 #loveshouldnthurt #BreakingtheSilence #NoExcuseforAbuse #invisiblescars


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