****READERS…we have a submission from a domestic violence survivor which I think is an important story to share as I was once in that situation myself with a boyfriend many moons ago—- It is my hope as well as hers that this will inspire you and if you are in a situation like this PLEASE seek help from qualified professionals…a website that has resources by state is www.thehotline.org. This is a bit outside of our normal content, however I feel that it is an issue that needs a voice. PLEASE any comments positive and supportive, we don’t do judgment here. Thanks. – Noelle
Is There Life After Domestic Violence?
While you’re living in fear, being controlled, degraded, assaulted, abused and isolated it can feel like a hell that will never end. Domestic Violence presents physical, emotional and mental pain that changes who you are and changes who you were going to be. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
I’m out now. I’m 7 years out after being in my relationship for 14 years. And the biggest mistake I made was thinking my life would be ‘normal’ once I left. There is nothing normal about my life as I know it now. But it certainly isn’t the hell that I once endured.
I had to learn to accept what I lived. It happened. It was done. I couldn’t change it. Ever. I had to understand and fully accept that it wasn’t my fault nor did it have to define me. I was free to choose what happened next and what to write in my next chapter. I could make different choices on how I wanted to live my life. And then followed through with those new choices because I accepted that I could.
Over the years I’ve engaged counsellors, psychologists, doctors, alternative practitioners, medication and lots and lots of personal development reading and support. It has been imperative in my healing journey that I spoke out loud to professionals. Not to relive my past or the traumatic events in detail but to help me gain perspective and gather my thought processes together. To help me learn and develop strategies to calm my negative thoughts, to ground myself, to be mindful and present. I allowed others to support me and hold space for me while I activated my own healing mechanisms and processes.
I had to be proactive about my healing. I had to do the work. I continue to do the work. I meditate, write, journal, rest, read, listen to my body and my inner guidance. I walk barefoot on the Earth, I exercise, I drink water. I practise self-care by booking massages and getting my hair done. I try not to feel guilty or shame myself if I eat ‘bad’ food. I say no when I need to. I take steps back from negative and toxic people around me to protect my own energy. I do what’s best for me, most of the time. I acknowledge it’s a never ending journey and I remind myself that the joy is in the journey rather than the destination.
Share your story
Silence hides violence. Tell your story. Write your story. Help yourself by helping someone else. People think they’re alone until they hear about someone else’s story. You could make a real difference and help change someone’s life by sharing your own story. You could make another human being feel seen and heard. You could spark their own power to get help and begin their healing journey. You could inspire someone else to tell their own story. There is power in the spoken word. There is great power in telling your story and being heard.
Through my acceptance, professional help, healing and sharing my story I have grown confidence and self-worth I never thought I’d ever have. There is peace and happiness inside that I never knew was possible. And I’m so grateful to be alive to use my voice and tell my story.
Lisa Lee is the founder of Lisa’s Sanctuary (www.facebook.com/LisasSanctuary) and the author of ‘Why I Stayed’ written in response to the many times she was asked why she didn’t just leave.