I always told myself, “It would never happen to me” until it did, unknowingly but suddenly. Do you know how it feels to be in an emotional and physical abusive relationship? I do. Hurtful words, yelling, cursing, and even hitting. It wasn’t always bad, but it made me question myself, my beliefs, and my morals. “Am I really a waste of space? Does everyone think this about me? Am I not good enough? Can I do something different?” The horrid fights made me more cautious about my daily activities. Like walking on eggshells. So careful, wasn’t even sure to breathe. This panicky feeling had me searching for things to do so he wouldn’t be enraged at me when he got home. “Maybe if I do this then he won’t fight with me.” I was always looking for some way to satisfy him. The fighting, the name calling, the bashing, the slaps in the face; it would tear me apart to where I just couldn’t take anymore. My heart was burning. My mind was spinning. My emotions were all over the place. My walls were caving in around me and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. Until I chose to believe in inner strength and dignity, no matter the cost.
It started off absolutely amazing, nothing could compare; love letters, sweet gestures, roses, and so much more. The love I had for him was unconditional. We had two beautiful babies, a house, two dogs, and each other. Then all of a sudden things changed so abruptly. It started off little arguments about cleaning, cooking or social media; however, it then became more corrupt. More controlling, more anger, more intense arguments. The first time he hit me my heart shattered. I couldn’t believe it. A little “Sorry, I was mad. It won’t happen again” changed me. I forgave him, I loved him, and I believed him. Again, it got worse: cops, stitches, bruises, depression, anxiety, blood. My daughter crying out for me, looking at me with hurt and fear in her eyes. My heart literally hurt. I forgave him. The more it happened, the more apologies came, and the more I forgave him. I didn’t have the strength to walk away, I didn’t have the strength to know my worth. I didn’t have the strength to know that I didn’t deserve to be treated like that.
Every day was the same, someone you love calling you fat, ugly, a waste of space and time. Every day, “You don’t deserve to be loved.” “You have no one.” “Nobody wants you or will ever want you.” “That’s why every person in your life has left you.” “Your own mother and father don’t want you.” “I hope you die.” “I hope you fail at everything you go for in life.” “Your own children don’t even love you.” “You’re worthless.” “You’re a whore, slut, C***.” These will forever stick in my head and heart. After so long of hearing it, I started to believe it. I started to doubt my goals, my looks, my family, friends, everything. Have you ever felt so crushed that you just wanted to cry for days? I caught myself listening to sad songs, watching tear jerker movies, and even writing in a journal to cope with the hurt and the bad thoughts.
After so long of hurting, so long of crying and feeling alone, I got better. I had hit rock bottom and knew it was time to get back up. After five long years of misery and hurt, I found my inner strength and dignity. I found my worth, I found myself. Under all the tears, all the fake smiles, I was getting stronger and stronger with time. Finally, I packed my bags and got out. My inner strength that I so longed for finally hit me, and it hit me hard right as I was losing myself. I believe that inner strength and dignity is the most beautiful attribute to a person. I believe it emerges at just the right time, during time of desperate need. I believe a person’s strength and dignity does not just appear, it is always there, even if it does not make it known.
Today, I am strong, and I am healing. Today, I know my worth. I know the person I am and the person I want to become. I will further my education, I will become a Registered Nurse, I will love my children uncontrollably and selfishly. I will become the best ‘Me’ I can be. Today, I start the rest of my life anew. All because I believed in my inner strength and dignity. Life will deliver blows, knocking you off balance with a sense of weakening confusion and a total loss of how to get your shaking, bruised feet back under you again, but when you look inside and find your strength anything is possible. I believe in inner strength and dignity. It saved me.
“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations