There is no struggle quite like the to struggle to become yourself.FrankieB
The lasting effects of domestic violence and abuse are not always black and white. As I’m learning to accept the harshness that was my reality, better understand the ways in which the abuse I endured have shaped the person I am, and am growing into the person I was meant to be – I’m realizing that this struggle is long, hard, and lonely. That the world – society – pushes against survivors as we strive to take our lives and freedoms back. We are brushed under the rug and, as I have recently experienced, not always seen or heard when we should be. Law does not protect us, or assist us in protecting our children. And many of the people we look to for support turn their heads the other way.
We, the survivors of abuse, can be, and often are, abused publicly – in the eye of society and even in the midst of those who SHOULD be protecting us, as we attempt to protect ourselves and our children. The law doesn’t help us. Indiana is a “reactive” state rather than a “proactive” state. For my daughter, this means that the state won’t protect her from the harm that is (and will be) caused by her constant exposure to an abusive man/father – but once the damage has been done, they will look at us (the victims) to fix the issues. Why? Why does his “right” to a relationship with her trump her “right” to emotional and mental well-being?
This is my reality. This is the battle I am fighting. The emotional and mental damage this man has caused is exponential. But it’s not just me. There were two wives before me. Four children before mine. A wife after me. My daughter. And many others he has violently touched in one way or another. How many other victims are out there, with his name written across their scars? How many more are in his future?
I am done being silent on this. If I were able to send out a PSA, I would [perhaps that is the purpose of this post]. I wish I was able to track down every woman in his past, present and future and let them know they aren’t alone, and for those in the future, warn them of the danger they face every moment they spend in his presence … I wish he had “Abuser” tattooed across his forehead. I wish those who protect him, stand by his side, and knowingly hide his abuse could be punished for Assisting an Abuser. I wish people would stop excusing abuse.
Anyways, now that I have swerved a bit off the road I originally started down … allow me a moment to recenter …
Part of healing the wounds of abuse is growing and becoming your best Self. There is such a HUGE difference in the person one is as a victim, and the person one becomes as a survivor. I cannot even put into words how difficult it can be to look back with hindsight, with a healing “self” and a perspective that is so significantly different, to see the person, the victim, you once were. It is a painful reflection in the mirror.
As a victim, I lived in survival mode. I made decisions instinctively or through my abusers manipulation. Sometimes, the decisions I made seemed “right” at the time, only to feel so wrong once made. I have said so often to myself … “If I had to make the same decision now, I would make a different decision.” Not because I know the outcome, but because I am no longer living in survival mode. I do not fear retribution of making the “wrong” decision every single day. I do not walk the same fiery path. I am no longer his “victim” in the same sense I was then. My mind works differently. Without the fear clouding my mind every moment, I am able to make clearer and better decisions.
Don’t get me wrong. My abuser still gets his jabs in. He is manipulative, narcissistic, and simply put, a liar. He manipulates my child and uses her to control and abuse me at every opportunity, as he did with the children and wives before me. He manipulates those around him with his “poor me” behaviors and narcissistic abuse cycle. He is violent and angry and bitter. He claims to have “changed” a million times a year, only to revert back to the classic abuser he has, and always will be. And while there are times that he is able to cut into an old wound or get into my head [This is becoming less frequent and I cannot wait for the day when I can look him in the eye, see the evil that darkens his shadow, and feel nothing. That day is coming.] I am NOT his victim any longer.
Day by day, I grow stronger. I am becoming ME. I am finding my voice. I am learning to make choices based upon my needs and the needs of those I care about rather than pleasing the “abuser” in my life. And while some strides may seem small to those around me – I know how truly enormous each and every step is.
Today, my journey to my Self has brought me to the realization that I tend to hold back parts of myself …
Those of you who read the blogs of the SparkleNinja know that there is a sassy, sarcastic, and perhaps witty “alternate ego” buried inside me. There is this other me that every once in a while escaped and blurted out some sort of rant or sassy blog post. (Yes, at times I paid dearly for those posts.) That alter-ego is ME. Her voice is my voice and has always been my voice. She (the SparkleNinja, ShadowedHeart, FrankieB) has always been the side of me that I could say was just my writing persona. But the truth shall set me free … I am her and she is me.
I am reaching for the me that I have always wanted to be. The me that is screaming from inside the deepest parts of me. I am setting her loose. I am not hiding her. She refuses to walk a path of eggshells. She refuses to remain silent. She refuses to silently be abused. I refuse to be silent.
So, I suppose you can consider this my public service announcement. This is my awakening. This is my moment. This is self-love. This is that moment that I start living for myself – for my children – for my husband – and for those who have been there for me.
This is the merge. In this moment, I have given myself permission to heal. I am taking back my Self. I am blending the alter ego with the Survivor and we are taking the world by storm.
I am writing again. Not just here … I am WRITING again.
I am putting my foot down with those who try to walk where they aren’t welcome. (So be warned, if you are not cheering me and my family on, you are not welcome any longer. I am not afraid to use my voice to defend myself or those I love.)
I am forgiving myself for the decisions I made as a victim and accepting the losses.
I am standing up for myself. I won’t be walked on. I won’t be violated or victimized again without one hell of a fight.
I am moving on.
I have to. I have a little girl who needs a strong survivor in her corner so she may survive her own abuse at the hands of this abuser she calls “dad.” I have to continue this battle to protect her, no many how many times I am thrown in to the bear’s cave. I have to heal every wound as it is received, and work to help her heal her own.
And I have a life to live.
So, I’m going to live it.
This is just the beginningSparkleNinja, FrankieB, ShadowedHeart, Brandy