Survivor Stories

Strong Enough to Keep the Faith

By: R.M. (A Survivor)

I often find staring the explanation of why me and my ex are not together anymore the most difficult. Part of me just wants to say that we simply stopped loving each other, rather than explain that ultimately it came down to us both loving each other wrongly. “How can love ever be wrong?” you might ask. When that “love” between people turns into a situation of domestic violence, that’s when. I am a victim of domestic abuse. My ex-husband was my abuser.

I’ve heard it all. After everything was out and on the table – the story of my ongoing physical, verbal, and emotional abuse and the two-day incident that ended it all – boy, did I get responses. “Why did you stay with him?” “Because I loved him.” I would answer, “and I had faith that things would change.” Many didn’t see my perspective, but how could they since they were not in my shoes?

Too many of these kinds of stories portray a weak, feeble, shy, unconfident woman as a victim. Usually they are seen as dumb and naïve. Although I admit to possessing all of these negative qualities and more AT TIMES, this is NOT the way I view/viewed myself and NOT the picture I am going to paint for you of me. I am going to explain to you that I am and was strong, resilient, and responsible. These traits in me have always been unwavering, unchanging, despite the abuse. “How so?” Well, I was strong enough to keep the faith that things could change – HE could change, resilient enough to face ridicule and physical pain and still be ME – this part of me never shattered, and responsible enough to desire my children’s happiness and want to keep their family together.

Now, on the other hand… after choosing to leave the abuse, I am strong enough to keep the faith that this decision to leave is the best for everyone involved, resilient enough to not let these experiences break me, and responsible enough to change the negative path my children’s lives were headed on by leaving.

“Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings us, but by the attitude we bring to life.” (Anonymous) To my life I choose to bring an attitude of strength, resilience, and responsibility…still…but without any abuse.

This journey was not an easy one. From the time the abuse first started until now, I’ve had to battle feelings that I was not going to make it. Sometimes from fear of dying from my abuser’s anger, and more recently from fear of not making it as a single mother. Sometimes, the odds seem daunting… But you must be strong enough to keep the faith and you too will make it.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the Groundwork 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline at (815) 729-1228.