Survivor Stories

I  AM FREE

Like a butterfly……I am finally free! 

If I believe in myself, which is very difficult, I can accomplish anything.  

Look at me NOW!  I left my abuser, and now I am free… to…..just be……..ME……..whatever that might be.

Just trying to remember how to not be afraid, and to enjoy a “normal” day.

What is “normal?”

I am trying to figure that out.

Who am I anyway?   What am I good for?  I have been told for so long, that I am “not good for anything”, but I know that is not true, but when you have heard it constantly for years, it sinks into your brain.  Horrible feeling and such low self worth follows.   I know it will take time to heal.

I have to heal from the physical as well as the emotional abuse.  Some of the scars, may never go away.  

I will just try to get through, day-by-day.

I know that I can only just do my best.

Sometimes, I watch people go by, as I am sitting in the park, after my daily walk.  I often wonder, who else has dealt or is dealing with what I have been through.  I often wonder how more people didn’t know what I was going through.    I often say to myself;  “Why didn’t they help?”  For all of the pain I was in, I thought someone had to have known.  I know many probably don’t pay attention to someone else’s pain or struggles, but during that time I was with him, and in severe pain, on a daily basis, I lost all faith in people.   Maybe someday, I will believe in people again.  Maybe.

As for tomorrow, and the next day, I just hope that I will find something to bring me more joy.  The joy I have now, is something many people probably take for granted, and that is, just simply having this moment………..this new day……….because I could easily have not been here, and been pushed aside by our system, and society, as “just another woman murdered by her husband.”   

I am saddened and disgusted by how people don’t think that domestic violence is a “real” problem.  What will it take for people to “really see it”, for what it is?!  A plague, that is spreading, faster and faster, everyday.

I pray for every woman still in that situation, in that horror, and in that severe pain.  No words.  I know how you feel.  You are not alone.  I care, even if our system doesn’t.

Praying.

I am a mystery to many people

I am a mystery to many people, who think that abuse is something you just “get over.”  Haha…..yeah sure….

I have heard that term, time and time again, from people who have never been through it.

People that know nothing about abuse, have so much bad advice for those of us who have been through it.

That would be nice, to have the luxury, of just “getting over” something, that is not easy, to move past from.  I don’t think it is something you “get over”, but you just “get through” it.

I am on a long road back, from the pain of abuse.

I was “hidden” from the rest of the world for so long, by fear, inflicted by my abuser husband, who had power and a gun.

Leaving him was the best thing I could do, and the scariest as well.

It is not easy, and not an easy “road” to go down.  It is scary, it is uncertain, and it is something that is slow in recovering from.

I not only have physical scars, but also scars that are ones you cannot see.

My sister has told me, that “no one likes to be around you”, because she doesn’t understand the pain I go through, and doesn’t care to.  She has her privileged life, full of wealth and free from abuse, so she doesn’t want to know what I have been through.  It is ignorance, plain and simple, and if she doesn’t know, that is all the better for her, as she sees it.  That’s fine.  Whatever makes her feel better.

Who am I?  I am a survivor.  For those who choose to know me.  Scars and All!!!

For those who don’t, that is ok too.  You have to live whatever your journey is, even if it is being ignorant of truth and turning a blind eye to what others go through.

I would just hope that a majority of people would choose to care and help others.  Whether they are your family members or stranger, stepping up to help is the right thing to do, in others times of crisis and trauma.

I just know I am a survivor and overcomer.  I am proud of who I am.

The Story of My Scars

A Scar is a Mark.

A Scar is Damage done.

Scars Hurt!

My Scars do not define who I am, but they are part of me.

I began what I thought was a love story,

Only to be fooled, into a nightmare, that lasted for years.

Years of abuse that was aimed at me by an individual, who was no “real man.”

Abuse, that caused scars, both physically and emotionally.

Scars from being hit, from being beaten, daily.

Scars from being cut with a knife, many times.

Scars from being degraded on a daily basis.

Scars that hurt, both physically and emotionally.

Some scars have healed, while others have not.

Will I even fully recover?  

Not all scars heal.

I will never be the same, but I somehow will be stronger, in many ways.

The Story of My Scars, took many twists and turns, and was not pretty at all, to maneuver through, and many times, I thought I would not make it.

I am still here, thankfully, but my journey and healing continues.

The Story of My Scars continues, as I learn how to heal.

Angels are everywhere

I like to think of a time, long ago, when I was truly happy.

Will I ever be again?  

I hope so, I pray it will be so, but I don’t know.

I just know I am still raw from the pain of being abused, and sexually assaulted by my husband and his friend.  

This all started not long after we were married, and I was isolated from talking to many people.  He would tell me never to tell anyone, because it was my fault and it is something that was the right of a husband to do.  He had me convinced of that, in a way, because I feared him so much, and it happened so often.  People just loved him, and were charmed by him, so I was convinced no one would care what he was doing to me anyway.

I thought I deserved what I got………………….because he told me so.

I did feel dirty, and disgusting, because that was my way of life of how he treated me, and as though I was nothing.  That I was never good enough, or never enough period.

No amount of showering, would wash away the pain nor the feeling of disgust towards myself.

I finally found someone to help me, when I finally realized I did not deserve this.  Although I didn’t really believe that they would, because no one ever bothered to be kind to me, for as long as I was with him.  It happened just by accident, when he let me go to the grocery store by myself, while he ran to the liquor store.   Someone noticed my demeanor, and asked if I was ok.  I had a bruise on my arm, which they noticed, and when I began to tear up, they told me to write down my name and address and they would help me.  I didn’t say a lot, because I wasn’t sure if it was real, or if it was a trick, as if he was testing me.    I told her that he was coming back and he would be angry if I was late.   She hugged me and told me she understood.  She asked me when he would be gone to work, and I told her.  I kept repeating; “Please don’t tell him I told you.” I wasn’t sure, and I didn’t trust anyone, not even if they said they would help me.

I wiped my tears and hurried to finish the shopping.  

Over the next few days, I thought about that encounter, and thought as well that this person forgot about me.  I felt sad, but not surprised, as I always listened to my husband who said that no one cared about me.  

Then the strangest thing happened.  One day, after another horrible morning, of him being set off in a rage, because I didn’t have his hot breakfast ready, when he wanted it, and forgetting to prepare his lunch the night before to be ready to go, I was in shambles once again.   He left me with a burn all down my arm, after he poured the hot coffee on me, and threw me across the room.   He degraded me, for the millionth time, of how worthless I am, and how disgusting he thinks I am.  He stormed out of the house, for work, but not before he told me that I better have the house clean and spotless when he gets home and a dinner for him, that is ready on time. If I knew what was good for me, he added as well.   He got in his car and tore out of the driveway, screeching the tires as he left, as I lay on the floor crying and in severe pain.

At that moment, I thought about getting up off the floor, and leaving.  But……..I didn’t know how or where I would go.

I started praying.  

Someone up there, must have heard me, because I heard a loud knock at the door.  At first I thought, it was his abusive friend, and as I slowly got up to make my way to the door, before he started yelling, I heard a woman’s voice, who said she was there to help me.  

I opened the door, and saw the woman who I met at the grocery store, which seemed like a lifetime ago, although it was only a handful of days.

She said she was there to help me, and said she saw my husband leave.  She said to get whatever I needed to get out, NOW!  I really didn’t need or have much, but with my arm in severe pain, she took me to the sink to wash my arm quickly in cold water, and then grabbed some ice in a towel, to wrap around my arm, while she helped me grab clothes, etc. and pack what I needed.   He never let me have much, so there wasn’t anything worth taking.  She said she would take me to the quickcare, but I told her that I didn’t want him to know where I was, or have someone tell him.  I told her that I was just wanting to get away from him. She hugged me tight, and told me not to worry, as her friend worked at quickcare, and would help me.  She texted her friend quickly, as we finished packing, and got out of the house to leave.  Stepping out of the house, and into the sunshine, was a feeling that I cannot describe.  Finally, someone was there for me, to help me.  Someone saw that I was in pain, and actually wanted to help.  I didn’t know how to feel,  except it felt like a huge weight was slowly lifting off of my chest.   She helped me into the car, and quickly got in as well.  She called her friend at the quickcare, as we drove, and asked her to tell the doctor, some story, so that he didn’t alert authorities, because I didn’t want her to, as I just wanted to get away.  I thought that he would make some excuse and I would be forced to go back with him.    It took us awhile to get there, but I did not want to stop for fear he would find me.

When we got to the quickcare, it wasn’t busy at the time. We both walked in, and I had my head down, worried that someone he knew would see me.  Her friend met us, and she hurried us to the back room, and said she told the doctor that I was the sister of her friend, and I burned my arm in the kitchen.  He made me feel better, did some tests, gave me medications, and bandaged my arm, to relieve the sting of the burn.  He also gave me some extra bandages to take with me, and some pain reliever.  I was in awe and so confused as to why others were actually helping me, and cared.  Why me?!  As far as I knew, from what my husband and his friend always told me, was that I wasn’t worth anything.  This kindness had me so confused.   It was something I can’t remember feeling, in a VERY long time.    I said “thank you”, in a quiet way, as we left, as I could not think of anything else to say.  

She helped me into the car, and then got in herself.  She told me that where she lived would be safe for me for that night, and the next day and I could rest.  She told me not to worry, and that she would help me.  I asked her why she would want to help me.  She said that her friend, was once where I was, but was murdered before she could help, and that she hesitated to help her friend, for too long.  She said that this time, she wasn’t going to wait.  She said she only waited a handful of days, to make sure when he would be gone, and that it was safe.   She said she also forgot to find out another important fact.  About children.  She asked me if there were children involved, and I told her no, as he had caused me to lose our baby, only the year before, after another of his violent rages.  She teared up and I teared up as well, as we talked and she drove;  I was feeling so thankful for this person and I said, “The Angels must have sent you to me!”

Before we arrived at her house, she told me that she lived with her elderly mom, after her husband had passed a few years earlier, and her mom knew what she was doing, and was fine with it.  When we arrived, I saw she lived in a rural area, with very few neighbors close by.  That definitely made me feel better.  It looked like a pretty house, and as we drove into the driveway, a few dogs approached.  The last time I saw a dog, was before my husband and his friend purposely killed our neighbors dog one night and took it to a dumpster at the local school.  Horrible how some people can be.

As we stopped the car, she shut it off, and got out, to help me.  She greeted her dogs, and came to help me out.  The dogs were as sweet as could be, but all I wanted to do is to get inside the house, away from where anyone could see me.

We went inside, and her mom was at the door, and introduced herself and asked if she could hug me, which I said was ok.  She then asked me to come in and she had made up a room for me, and that she was making some food as well.    They took me to my “room” and said I should rest for a while, as they put my bags on the floor near the bed.  They both kept saying to let them know if I needed anything.  As they closed the door to the room as they left, I sat on the bed, and just took a deep breath.  I didn’t know where I would be tomorrow, or any day after that, but was just thankful to be here.

That night, I had a good meal, and actually slept, although at first I was worried he would still find me.  She assured me that she would make sure I would be fine, and safe.   I even found myself laughing the next day, talking to her and her mom.

I stayed there, for a number of days, while we figured out, what I wanted to do next.  She helped me file all the paperwork I need to, in order to divorce him (since I wanted nothing), as well as keeping where I was living, a secret, for safety reasons.    I also filed for emergency assistance, to help me get back on my feet.   

I could go on and on with my story, but the good news is that, I felt it safer to move from the area, and this beautiful lady, I will call Amanda, and her Mom, helped me with that as well.  They saved me.

I am sure they were afraid for their own safety, but they felt they needed and wanted to help.  I am so glad they did.  I am so thankful they did.  Every time I think of all they did for me, I cry.  It is such a selfless act, to do this.

I hope that people know, that any kindness they can do to help someone in desperate need of help, can save their life.   Seriously!!!    If someone waits too long, and wonders if they should help or get involved, it might cost someone their life.

I was lucky this Angel found me.

Now, I can live, and maybe I will be an Angel to someone else, if I am called to.

Angels are everywhere.

Some Days

Some days, I just like to sit by myself in the forest preserve, after taking a long and peaceful walk.  I just like to sit and listen, to the sounds of nature all around me.  It definitely makes me feel safe.

Safe-and far from all of the craziness and danger that was all around me—during an abusive marriage, which was my HELL!

I like the quiet, the peace, the hope of a day, without pain.  Of course, the pain has not completely disappeared.  Maybe many people take that peace for granted.  I think they do.

I always hope for a future—-of calm, of joy, of happiness, not just for me, but for everyone!!!

I don’t hold onto any hatred towards my abuser—for that would spoil the peace I feel today.

The secret that I figured out, that probably is no secret, is forgiveness, because it is healing for me.  If I held on to any anger or bitterness towards my abuser, I wouldn’t feel any better, and I wouldn’t be able to move forward.

I have hope for a bright future for myself—to do more and to be more, and to help others.

I am just grateful—every day of my life!  Thankful to all those at Guardian Angel, and the Groundwork program that supported me, during such a traumatic time!  I hope everyone helps and donates to them, in order to continue to provide these programs.  Without them, I would have been lost.