Life After

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Life After

It takes a lot of courage to share these stories. Thanks to Shana Smith for speaking about her experience in the hopes of helping others.

This is something that you just don’t hear enough about. Survivors speak and they go from their abuse to what they are currently doing, not describing enough of the true gut-wrenching feelings that you have in the days weeks or months after you leave. Life after abuse is so positive, but truth be told, sometimes you feel like it’s harder than the abuse. There are many great programs that will help you with the transition from where you have been to where you will be. The Victim Compensation Fund is a great program that will help with Mental Health Therapy, relocation and many other things, plus some cities have at least one shelter to turn to. There are many options for assistance; you just need to safely find them.

After almost 8 years since the abuse, I still deal with my after. There are still days that I apologize incessantly, cry at the drop of a hat, feel totally worthless and take the weight of the world on my shoulders. I still don’t let people see beyond the mask of total happiness — if you met me, you would never know the past that I am hiding. This is the truth about life after abuse. I married my Prince Charming at 19 after a year of dating. We were married about 15 months before he became physically abusive. I became withdrawn from my family and long-term friends out of fear they would find out. I left after 3 ½ years of marriage following a huge fight.

I had no money except for an ATM card that I was just sure he would cancel quickly, no place to go and no clothes. I left with a bag that had no makeup, hair brush or deodorant – only a toothbrush and a change of clothes. I didn’t really know anyone to call, besides I really didn’t want anyone to know. So I drove to the only hotel in town. The hotel was booked! How in the world could a Days Inn in a town of 30,000 people, mostly farm laborers, be BOOKED?! NO WAY was my thought. I begged and pleaded for a room with no luck. I couldn’t go to a shelter for fear I would lose my job if they found out, so I slept in my car that night. Ok, let’s be honest, I didn’t sleep. I waited for him to find me – and then went into work the next day and acted as if everything was normal. My husband worked 30 minutes from our house so I knew that I could, safely, go home at lunch without him there to get something for the next day. I didn’t go home the day after I left because I didn’t know if he would expect that and be there. I knew what the consequence would be for leaving.

I met someone at my gym who let me sleep on the couch until I got on my feet. For three months I hid. For three months, my abuser came to my work to ‘take care of me,’ bringing me little things like protein shakes, soup and money, all to entice me back into my old life. I was so secretive about my separation that people I worked with thought we were still happily married until after my divorce was final. Even through it all I wanted to make him happy. I wanted to make everything ok. I knew that I couldn’t go back but that didn’t mean that I wanted anything negative to happen to him or me. I just wanted to move on; I wanted a healthy life and chance to be more than just So & So’s wife – I wanted to be Shana.

Most victims would say that you become the queen of appearance. You know how to smile regardless of what just happened and act like everything is fine. The months after I left were horribly hard. I thought it would never get better. I thought I would never be able to support myself, be able to pay my own bills and be a successful adult without him. I often thought about going back because that would have been so much easier, at least in that arena I knew what to expect.

I couldn’t handle most loud noises. A slamming cupboard in the next apartment would make me jump and TV shows with violence would give me horrible nightmares (I still don’t do well with them). I was sick to my stomach constantly worried that my work or my family would find out my secret. I didn’t sleep very well; always worried that he would come to get me. There were days that I would cry – just sob – because I felt like I failed. I was getting divorced at 23 years old. I couldn’t handle the reality in my mind as a complete failure. To this day I feel like that sometimes.

Two months after I left, I finally went to our apartment to move my things into storage and on that day he tried to kill me. I remember thinking that I would die by strangulation. Thankfully, he let me go and I eventually moved to San Diego where I eventually found a job. To forget the past, I drank and had little self-worth. I did anything to try and forget the past. I thought that forgetting it was better than dealing with it. Most people seem to shy away from people after being in an abusive relationship, but I ran head first into as much attention as I could. I went to therapy and tried to talk to my friends, but no one believed that the man I was married to would do anything to hurt me. I felt so isolated and only two people stuck by me through all of this.

I moved to Orange County in 2003, and it was my big chance for a future. I got a job with a temporary agency, making barely enough money to pay my bills, but everything was MINE. The best part was that HE didn’t know where I lived. Until the day he called and begged to get back together, he had changed.

We had been apart for 18 months so I wanted to believe him. I made the mistake of allowing HIM to come down and spend a weekend to talk and see if there was anything left of the relationship and to see if he had changed. How perfect! I could be with him and have no violence and then I hadn’t really failed at marriage, right? After spending time with him, I realized he hadn’t changed. He was still the same person. I asked him to leave and he did. Over the past several years he has emailed me and contacted me on MySpace and Facebook. I’ve come to realize he will never stop trying to reach me.

After a while, I started working on myself, realizing that my unhappiness was not good for me. I deserved to be happy. What I went through with him was not a reflection of who I am or what I am worth. I started writing again and encourage others to write about their day and feelings and then reflect on what you have written.

I began to feel like my old self again. I started looking at dating again and I even stopped drinking occasionally. I didn’t feel the need to be numb any more. In 2006, I had the amazing opportunity to become a mother through adoption.  Every moment of my life became about this little girl. I knew that everything had to change but I never realized that I had pushed my past so far back in my mind. I didn’t realize how much changing my life would require me to deal with things. I have been the mother to my beautiful daughter for 3 years and 5 months. Two and a half years ago I married an amazing man, a man that would never raise his hand to me. To this day, I don’t like scarves around my neck, or really anything touching the front of my neck. I apologize for everything, my fault or not. I worry that my daughter will follow in my footsteps, just as I followed in my mother’s. I worry that no matter how many times I say I am a SURVIVOR of domestic violence that I will have nightmares for the rest of my life.

Surviving domestic violence is one day at a time. I believe that forgiveness is important in moving on but not forgetting because this made you a stronger person. You lived through something that most people couldn’t. I don’t like people to pity me or apologize for what HE did to me. I want people to see me as a strong woman, a mother and a wife – a woman that survived and is thriving. A woman with a mission to help educate others on domestic violence.

Are you supposed to be terrified to leave? YES. Are you supposed to think about him afterwards? YES. Are you supposed to be able to move on and have a happy and healthy relationship? YES. There is no one way to deal with the after trauma of domestic violence but know you can do it. There are so many people here to help, so many organizations that want you to succeed!

You can do it. Each person deals with this in their own way, none of them are any better – only different.

Comment section

0 replies
  1. I like to live vicariously through my friends. I make them tell me about all the fun they had in thir 20s. In my 20s, I worked, I gave birth, and I was beaten. I don’t remember much else until my 28th birthday when I left my abuser. The hardest part for me about the “after” is all the questioning. Trying to figure out what I did to deserve it, why he chose me, why i was so stupid, why I stayed so long. I have never found answers. For months after I left, I had nightly nightmares of being killed, being thrown down steps, being stalked. And the most maddening part of it all, back then at last, was the fact that I still felt bad FOR HIM. When his family contacted me, when he tried to, I actually couldn’t help bhut fel sorry for him because he “needed” me. Of course now I recognize that he needed me because I was college educated and working, but then, all I knew was that he had nothing once I left.
    I didn’t script this response so I don’t know if I’m rambling but seeing this site is making me cry because I really thought I was the only one who felt like this. It has been 5 years since I last saw him because when I ran, I RAN! Yet when I hear his name, see a picture, anything, my stomach drops just like it did when I knew I was going to get hit. Still to this day, I remembr things that he did to me that I had tucked in corners of my brain. I don’t trust anyone. I think my children, who watched my hair pulld from my head, watched me get chocked into unconciousness, will be involved with abusers as well, and I fear it, because I know that their abusers will die by my hands if it ever happens. I am scared. All of the time. Anytime I hear loud noises, floor creeking, doors slamming. I don’t have a relationship now and I don’t believe I will ever get married. I can’t justify in my mind why I shouldn’t be mad that 8 years of my life are gone. Wasted. I can’t understand why someone treated me like he did and it makes me hate him. I am constantly depressed and there are times when I really wish I was dead. No one understands. If anyone is reading this and can relate, I don’t know if it gets better. But you are not alone

    1. Hi K Brown,

      Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you had a very traumatic experience. Feelings of guilt, shame and depression are common when you are a survivor of Domestic Violence, not understanding what kept you in this relationship can be very overwhelming when you think about it. I hope you know that you did not deserve what your ex did to you and there are many valid reasons a woman will stay in an abusive relationship. Having fear for your kids future is very real, the best thing we can do for our children is to educate them and let them know there is never an excuse for Domestic Violence. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is an anonymous and confidential hotline. We are here 24 hours a day, please know you can call us anytime, even if you just need a listening ear.
      NDVH Advocate

      1. i am in an abusive marriage. he started the abuse while dating… i hate myself for marrying him. i was so stupid. i have been married for 15 years now and i feel very angry towards him and myself for allowing this to go on for so many years. i hate him for taking away these years. after a couple years married i became pregnant with twins… he still beat me and tried to stomp them out of me.(when i write i get sick to my stomach… i am so stupid, how could i have stayed???) he loved to spit “snuff” in my eyes… among other things. 22 stitches in my face…blah, blah. yeah, i know… stupid. i have left twice…. guess, what??? i have came back… twice. i am totally disgusted with myself. without my children there would be no me. my husband stopped beating me when the children got older… they are turning 13. but, he is relentless with all the other abuse. i am going crazy. he never stops… this constant questioning… from “what;s wrong with you?”… to “why do you have that attitude?”… first thing through the door. constantly accusing(but, getting better at not coming right out and accusing). my children both had pnuemonia, one in the hospital… so, my mom came to help me (she lives over a 1,000 miles away.) also, my mom came to help me because i was feeling very sick… my joints were swelling, etc… i am pretty healthy and have never had any problems. well, any way my dr diagnosed me with an auto immune disease. well, my husband didn’t help me, treated my mom so sweet… then gave her the cold shoulder… then sweet… over and over… to me and my mom. then he finally got me alone… started the relentless accusing that we are “sceaming” and “plotting” behind his back. said my mom was eating too much and wanted to know when” she was getting out of here?” over and over he is saying these things… i am going crazy. this is 3 weeks later, my mom is gone, the kids are back in school… but, he is still taking every opportunit to wisper and intimidate me. he likes to sneak up on me and scare me. he watches EVERY move i make. i step outside for a minute… boom, he’s there. i go to use the bathroom… boom, he’s there(i watch for his shadow). plus, i have certain pictures and mirrors on the walls and i can see if he’s coming. oh, one thing that has scared me… while my mom was here… my mom and i were watching t.v. in the family room… well, i turned my head just a little to see if he was in bed(open floor plan) from his t’v in the bed room. well, he was laying in the middle of the bed stairing at me… i told my mom and it just kinda spooked us. so, a few nights later… my husband got a call from someone who owed him money… of course he jumped up and left as quick as he could. well, i walked into the bedroom and there was binoculars laying in bed where he was. i always knew he would watch me… accusing that i was talking to someone on the internent,phone. my lap top is right in his view and the t.v. all the way in the family room. i am very scared at this point and am being extremely cautious. as long as i keep my mouth shut he is ok. but, he is not stopping this time. i wanted to tell someone other than my mom about this. talk to someone… i can not call anywhere. he checks the phone and at this point my mom and i really think the phone is tapped. i know that sounds crazy but, some things my mom talked about to my dad while she was here he said to us… i am telling you… he has already put 2 little recorders in the house. told me if i wasn’t hiding anything then what should i care if he was recording me.
        i want to say that i am not so dumb anymore… my family and i have a plan in motion… i am so scared. he leaves for work early in the mornings and i still close the bedroom doors through the house(so i can hear them open) because i am afraid he will try to sneak up to me and “catch” me doing something. i came back almost 11 months ago and 10 months i have been a prisoner… i only go to take the boys to school and pick them up. very rarely to the store because it’s not worth the fight and questions. i have no family, no friends… nothing. i look out my windows and see nothing but woods… i live on 30 acres. very rural. if this is the last thing i do … i will get my children safely away from him. i need some serious counseling and want to try to get it set up immediately. i really think he is trying to push me over the edge. i have went on and on… i feel like i am really talking to someone… ha. how pathetic is that?

        1. Dear Just Me,

          Please don’t call yourself stupid, because you are not. You are going through what many abused women have gone through, and I think it is best if you call the hotline to talk to a caring voice. Good luck with everything.

        2. you aren’t talking to yourself.. though people may not respond i know i heard you.
          my situation is not the i wont compare it …but i really hope that you and your children get away and find a safe haven.

          as an idea…while alone try to think of a back story.. and some day while at the supermarket try to use a courtesy phone or pay phone and call a hot-line.. it’s just an idea.. but hopefully you can get some answers and help

          Just know that all of the things he may say to you are probably just a reflection of what he thinks of himself. He is the weak one! Only someone like that would do what he does. he just knows he can overpower you and so that is what he does.. to make him feel powerful.. but the truth is he is weak!

          In the world he made for you maybe you feel week… but in the real world I know that someone will find you beautiful, strong, and smart. 🙂

    2. Thanks K. Brown! Now I don’t feel like the only one that jumps at loud noises, or when someone yells… I just wish that I had gotten away before wasting 17 years, and finding out that my kids had been sexually abused. I was stupid and thought that my beatings, sexual and verbal abuse for all of those years, kept him from taking out whatever was going on with him, saved them from it. WRONG!! He is now re-married , had a vasectomy reversed & sent me the bill, has 2 other victims, that my kids & I pray for their safety. DEFACS in my county dropped the ball from the Judge & our Dr., and skipped away free on this place.


  2. K-

    Your feelings are true and valid. Feeling alone and fearing the future is normal, anything you feel is normal. As your children grow talk to them, volunteer at a shelter… show them that they do not NEED to get into that relationship. Help them learn how to realize whats going on before it’s too late. I will use my past as a learning tool for my daughter. I can not imagine her going through 1/8 of what I did as I am sure you can’t either. You are strong for leaving, strong for living and even stronger for writing about it. Take a moment each day to dwell on what makes you amazing… I can already think of a few.


  3. I’m 24 I’ve been abused for 7 yrs how do you deal with it I really need help I’m having an hard time dealing with it all I don’t like to talk to talk about it its very hard and very emtional I just need somebody to help me throught it all what are somethings that i can do

    1. Sweetie… find a Church, or call DEFACS and they can put you in contact with someone that can get you shelter, and get you through legalities!! I was in it for 17 years & my 3 kids went through horrible things that I didn’t know about until my divorce & counseling! PLEASE get OUT!! God Bless you!!


  4. Shatisha

    You should really contact the Domestic Violence Hotline. You need help and there is so much available to you. Life is more than what you are living with right now. Your life can be anything that you want it to be and you are so young. I was 23 when I left… I thought that my life was going to be no more than what he was making it. I am so proud to say now that I am living the life that I wanted and have always deserved. I don’t know if you have children, but if you do think about the what they are seeing. They deserve a wonderful life like you do.
    You need to locate a shelter, they can help you move forward from there.


  5. I am a woman that turned 45 on the 18th of September. I was divorced 2 times after being abused mentally and physically, and we were only divorced about 2 months, when his Dad (whom I loved dearly, as he did me) His Mom was another story. The mental part was the worst. We had a baby in the first year of our marriage. I had known him since I was 5 years old, through my cousins that were friends with him and 1 cousin dated his sister, that I later found out that was 14 years old… WHAT kind of MOTHER would allow her daughter to spend the weekend with her boyfriend of a few years older?? Later I found out that my ex’s his first marriage was to a 14 year old. When I asked him what he was thinking, he said it “was to save her from her Mom.”

    The first time he was physically abusive was the night our oldest son turned 1. We had plans to take him out to eat & celebrate with friends. When he was not home at the scheduled time, I fed my baby boy a single packet of instant grits, which was the ONLY thing in our kitchen, and the change that I always saved (which I had to hide in a jar in our sons closet, so he wouldn’t spend it), from my allowance that was used to be for groceries, and I saved my change for the previous Christmas to buy my ex a Member’s Only jacket that he had dropped many hints about, but the brown was sold out like he wanted, so the other choice was a light grey. I cried every bite I fed my baby, even though he grinned the whole time, which broke my heart even more. I bathed, dressed him and finally put him to bed, thinking when my husband came in, I could get him up & he would still be hungry. I fell asleep on the sofa, and awoke at 3:30 a.m. to him coming in reking of cigarettes and alcohol, which we lived in a dry county. He had what appeared to be GA red mud on his fairly new jacket, and upon a closer look, there was also red lipstick & mascara. I asked him what tramp he’d been with, rather than his son for his 1st birthday, and he tried to deny it.
    He walked into our room to change and I asked him again whom he was wasting money on, rather than providing food & diapers for. That was when a 6’4″ “man” through a 5″ 1″ woman into the air, when I hit the wall that was a few feet away, where I slid down the wall about 4 feet and was left with perfect handprints from him around the topsof both arms. Thank God, he left soon after that, and I called my parents at 4 a.m., and told my Mom what had happened, and they along with my brother drove almost 3 hours to help me load the baby’s & my things, which was almost everything from my left over college fund, except the sofa and the waterbed, that my husband had bought years before we were married.
    I saw an attorney the next day when I went back to get the last of our things, to find out from the apartment manager that he’d tried to change the locks.
    He of course called begging me to stop it and come back, crying saying he would NEVER do anything like that again. His Mom called my parents home, which she never did make calls to me & tried to ask me if we were having problems, because she had seen him with another woman. I called him immediately to ask him why he wanted me back if he was still fooling around, and he drove 3 hours to show me proof with his time card that it couldn’t have been him. Long story short, we got back together, but I told him I would not sleep in our current place or bed, as ahe had been in it, we moved to a much bigger (& needed) place, which we did, and I made him buy a new bed which called for a dresser, as his older bed had stackable drawers under the waterbed. I felt better in the new place & bed, but was terrified everytime he was a few minutes late, but held my tongue for fear of being hit again and for promising I’d forgive & trust him again.
    A few months later he was offered a fairly decent job offer that would let him move up quickly, but it was to Corpus Christi, TX. I was actually surprised at myself for being on board with it, but the main reason was to get away from “her”, thinking things would be great as they’d been during our dating & earlier years of marriage. WRONG!!! Happy at first living on the beach, family coming to visit at various times for school breaks & parents & siblings coming during Holidays. When we had been there almost a year, and going through talks of another baby, things seemed wonderful, other than Hurricane evacuations that happened several times, we found out I was pregnant and a month after that, my babysitters were with me to watch my almost 4 year old son, when I found out the great news I was having TWINS!! A boy and a girl… life was great!!! The peace was gone as my 98 lbs., dropped from the horrendous all day sickness. I was in & out of the hospital with my best friend & girlfriend of a man that worked for my husband, and the wife of the owner of the paper, whom had taken me in as another daughter, watched my precious son during those times. A few months later, still sick, I was put on complete bedrest & other Moms, I know that you know that is almost impossible with an older child. The ONE weekend, that I knew I could get a restful weekend, with his Dad to watch over him… decided a deep-sea fishing trip with co-workers… I hate to say, but I prayed he’d get his own, and he came in the door that night, and was GREEN from sea-sickness, which had NEVER bothered him. THAT night I was the one to order pizza, as he’d done, on some of my sickest days. Eventually the stress of reported girlfriends, and other horrible things, I soon lost my baby girl. I carried her another month before my son was born prematurely, but a healthy 6lb. 8 oz. beautiful baby boy, with Christina 1 minute behind him.
    We moved inland to a home, to make things a little easier to clear out during hurricanes with a newborn.

    After the birth and move, the beating and mental abuse began even worse. I was told later by a professional doctor, it was because he felt he had power and total control over me, until a family member came to stay, which he was on his BEST behavior, that of the man I fell in love with many years before, but went right back as soon as they left. One year, my cousin came to stay for the Summer during her school break. She and my younger brother had seen the abusive coward. That last weekend she was there, we had gone to our condo on the beach, to entertain clients of his. I was cooking a huge Shrimp, crab, lobster boil, when my teenage cousin came in & told me I needed to hurry down and get my newborn, whom was 4 months old, because she had seen my husband using cocaine with his clients, and was letting the baby suck on ice cubes. I told her I had the van keys, and asked her to grab the little beach playpen & what ever she could, as I would get the baby… saying I needed to feed him, and our then 4 year old, needed to take a nap & come out of the sun for a few hours,,, and we loaded up the kids, their things & got to our home as fast as I could, which really only took about 20 minutes. I waited in fear with my babies & cousin, until he called or came home. He was unusually quiet, which I’d NEVER experienced and didn’t know WHAT might happen. My cousin and I went into the master suite with my boys, locked & barricaded, we finally went to sleep after she and I had decided he wasn’t going to do anything.

    I saw my cousin off to go back to GA., and went to an attorney and filed for divorce, made planse for a moving company and arranged for tickets to leave as soon as everything was taken care of. Just after telling the families of my plans… his horrid mother called & chewed me out, and asked why I had done what I had. I told her that he had a bad problem with something going up his nose again & she said… “That’s what I was afraid of.” , then she told me I picked a fine time to do what I was, as his Dad (that I loved deeply), had just been diagnosed with the worst stage of Lukemia. I still went back to GA, went to work for my father, and divorced my husband. My former Father-In-Law, subcomed to his illness, after a short but brutal fight. My father and I went to the funeral home that first night, and I saw my ex cry for the first time ever, and for some reason, I THOUGHT that deep down there was a sweet person in there somewhere. We spoke after the funeral, and talked more over the next month, and he got on his knees crying & begged me to forgive him and to PLEASE take him back. A week later he came to my Dads office and gave me a dozen rozes, which I sniffed, admired & thanked him… he told me to look at them better. He had placed a gorgeous engagement ring & asked me to be his wife for the rest of our lives.

    I remarried him, and for a few months thought I FINALLY had my dream marriage. I got a call from my doctor, telling me I had cancer of the uterus & needed surgery. I was in & out, they thankfully got it and my doctors told me if I wanted another baby (knowing I had lost one), that I had better hurry, as the camcer could come back, so I actually got pregnant the first month we tried, but had a difficult pregnancy, after I found out I was… but at 3 months already, I got hit & went into labor. Thankfully, I had a beautiful baby girl, she was early and had a few problems & surgery at 5 weeks, but is now a beautiful young woman!!

    After more years of abuse, being told I was stupid, ugly, that nobody would have me after I had given birth 3 times and many other hurtful things. I had gotten to the point many years earlier, that I wouldn’t tell my parents or brother about the beating & mental abuse, because I was trying to protect him, for our future, knowing my family would hate him for it. He was stealing hundreds of thousands from his very large company that he’d transfered to from TX, when I divorced him & he followed us. I told someone there that I knew I could trust that worked for him, to get me some more documented proof, to go with what I had, because I actually was to the point that I WANTED him to go to PRISON for everything he’d done at work, because I’d rather have that than have him kill me & the children as he had promised many times. His co-worker was caught & questioned by him, but he made up a story to keep us all safe, but he dead-bolted his door.

    I was in an accident that left me permanently disabled and after several surgeries, he became worse in every way, I could no longer go to his company gatherings, which made him furious, and after using my 6 year old son, to steal a $700.00 electronic device, which they didn’t check the box & he got his money back on a cheap VCR that was in the kids game room and a brick, I called them, again hoping they could get him, they said it was taken that night & their would be no way to find it. He became meaner & meaner, forcing me to leave the home that I had bought and paid for, while working on another divorce from him, thinking that he could just keep the house that I had put a large downpayment on, although he’d told me that I didn’t have enough credit, although I had bought 3 cars by that time, one the month before, and a sofa the year before, to build more on my credit, but again, I was dumb enough to believe him. He made a copy of my key to the new house that I paid cash for & furnished it from furniture all the way down to towels, so my kids would not be as traumatized from the divorce. I was told to go for counseling since my kids had been around so much abuse to me, and one day he was trying to FORCE them to go with him, because they would FREAK out, whenever it was his turn. It turned out the day he was forcing visitation, our Dr. went on behalf of the kids, so as to not traumatize them anymore than they had been, but I was the one the felt like my insides were ripped out. Our Dr. had seen us the night before, and 2 of my babies (10 & 14), had finally confided to her that he had been sexually abusing them for as long as they could remember, It explained a lot.. one sone was obese for his age, one threw up after every meal and one wet the bed until he was 17, before therapy helped him to move past it. My daughter was so young during the divorce, she had a moment that randomly happened, that brought up her past, so back to the Dr. we went… she had been abused, the Dr. could tell at best, from the age of 2. He has now re-married, and had his vasectomy reversed… sent me the bill, and has 2 precious angels to pray on. My county is screwed up in the DEFACS Dept., or he’d have done jail time & because he had molested over 2 kids, he’d be labled & on the Child Abuser Repeat Offender list & NEVER off of it. God Bless his new children!!

  6. my then exboyfriend tried to control me by keeping me from my friends and i dumped him and now seven months later im back with him.he is now stalking me.he wants me to marry him.i dont have a choice.

    1. Crystal,
      You must feel so isolated at this point, but there are options that you might be able to take. You are always welcome to call the Hotline to talk with an advocate and safety plan around how to safely leave the situation, if that is what you want to do. We can also look for local resources that might be able to help. We are here for support 24/7 and everything is anonymous and confidential.

      Hotline Admin

  7. I have been in an abusive relationship for 20 years. 16 days ago I took a huge step in the right direction, at least I think and hope so. Things have gotten so bad that I honestly am afraid for my life. So my 2 boys and I walked to the police station and I told the officer what happened and that I was afraid for myself and my kids. I was scared. Afraid to press charges (he has made it perfectly clear what will happen), but also afraid not to (I know from experience that his apologies and promises are empty). They didn’t arrest him right away, but told him to go somewhere else. He has been staying at his mom’s apartment which is just downstairs. So far it has been okay. He says that he knows he was wrong and that he will change and he “can’t live without me and the boys”. He says that he will give me time and space one minute then says that he needs to know what’s going to happen to “us”. They arrested him yesterday on a warrant, the charges are domestic assault and child abuse 4th degree. The child abuse charge is because he went after my 14 year old son for “sticking his nose in” and trying to protect me. In the past 2 weeks my husband has made me doubt my decision. He points out how much the kids miss him, especially our 3 year old. He tells me how much he loves and needs me, and points out how much I need him (particularly because I have been letting him drive me back and forth to work and the grocery store because my license is suspended). He claims that he will change and he knows that he messed up, then makes excuses by saying that he is under extreme stress and other people “piss him off” which is why he did what he did. He acts like it was only one incident and it’s not as bad as I claim it is. In my heart I know that it is so much more than he says, I only hope I’m strong enough to stick to my decision and stay separated, but I am starting to question myself. I don’t know what to do!

    1. Hi Mary-Susan,

      Thank you for reaching out to us and sharing your voice. From what you wrote it sounds like you have made some big and courageous changes by going to the police and living seperated from your husband. There is some concern with your husband living so close though. If he sees that you are not wanting to go back to him, his violence can escalate and he can become abusive toward you at anytime. From what you wrote it sounds like he is making alot of the same promises that many abusive men will say to get you back and his excuses that he gives regarding being under stress and other people making him mad or unacceptable. There is never an excuse for Domestic Violence, you don’t deserve the way he treats you. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is an anonymous and confidential hotline, 1-800-799-7233. Call us and we would be happy to safety plan with you regarding your situation. Thanks again for reaching out to us!

      NDVH Advocate

  8. To all women out there stay strong.
    My name is Wilma and I too married my Prince Charming 18 years ago. I was 18 when we met. This man was everything I wanted handsome, tall, strong, and protective. He would (in my eyes) make sure nothing bad ever happened to me. We dated 2 years and married and I was pregnant within 6 months. At the time I thought that he was protecting me because he always had to know where I was, I was not allowed to drive but we could go together, and I was not allowed a bank account because he was much smarter than me and he would handle all finances so I worked and gave him every dime. At the time I never saw this as abuse, however my nightmares began when I was 5 months pregnant and I made a comment about setting something up in the house – my back was to him and I felt a harsh blow on the back of my neck the pain is so vivid and shot through my body I remember as though this happened yesterday. I tried to protect my belly and I ran crying from the house. Then I sat and realized I have no family – he did not approve of me talking to my family, I have no money, I have no car, I sat and cried for what seemed an eternity – where had my fairy tale gone. I went back.
    Now I would get beat every time I did something “wrong” and that meant whenever he felt I was not obedient. In my 15 years of marriage I have had a fractured nose, broken rib, I have been beaten with belts, 3 hole punch, bats, his work boots, he bit through my hand breaking the skin, hands and fists and I have had more bruises than I care to think about. His favorite thing was to drag me around by my hair, pull me down flights of steps and slam my head into walls or desks. He has cut my hair off twice, spit on me, called me every name in the book – stupid, fat, ugly, whore, that I am inferior to him, and on and on. When I found out about his “extracurricular” time with another, I refused to sleep in the same room with him however that did not absolve me from 8 years of rape whenever he wanted and however he wanted. He held me down and put his hands over my throat or mouth. I tried so hard to get him off of me. We produced 2 children and he would abuse them as well, he shaved my daughters head beat them with belts, and tried to force feed my daughter her own vomit. When I saw him hurt my kids, I would step in to stop him and take the beating myself.
    Finally I got to appoint where I was going to leave – or die trying. He told me I could not leave, he would kill me, he would not let me take the kids, and he vowed I would never live a peaceful day without him.
    I did not understand the impact of that statement until I left and he stayed true to his word. As I was leaving he called the police and told them I had threatened him with a knife, cops infiltrated my house and they wanted to hear nothing of the abuse or pictures I had, one lady officer told me if I stayed in a house with a man that beat me I deserved it. I was taken to jail. I would be taken away 2 more times.
    My disbelief was once I left and I spoke out – no one listened. I see that there are many agencies but I received no help at all or information of where to go. I did go through my local shelter and they listened they have share groups and counseling but had no ability to do anything. My abuser stalked me and would call me to tell me where I had been so I would know and I was told by the victims advocate and police that really they could not do anything if it gets physical then maybe – so in essence he had to beat me again this time on the record?
    I tried to get custody of my kids but I was told that my state mandates shared custody which I told them that it would never work. We managed to share custody for a short period of time. In the time he had with my kids he worked diligently at telling them I was the destroyer of their life and him and how I am a bad mother. He alienated them so much he was able to get one of them to call the police and use the same story he did (line for line) and 6 months ago I was arrested again, my children taken away and I have not seen them since. Mind you I have proof of the abuse, I have all the agencies involved writing in to the courts that my kids are being abused and alienated and I was falsely accused and they have a protective order in place to protect me from my kid! Yet with all this no one will do anything to help my kids. No one will take a stand against this man who is so ruthlessly violent and abusive. He has found a new way to abuse me I call it “court ordered domestic violence” I can be sitting at home just living and he calls the police makes a false allegation as he is not afraid to lie to the police, and boom I am arrested. He controls my life, my freedom. I am divorced for 2 years and I am still terrified of this man. I firmly believe he will kill me one day.
    I jump at noises, I can’t have people yelling at me or standing over me, I check my doors and get up in the middle of the night to see who is outside my house. I must sleep with a cell phone near my head every night. The worse is I have nightmares almost every night where he is choking me, locking me in a coffin or closed area or stabbing me.
    I am locked in a battle in the courts where there is little justice. Everyone is aware of what he is – and they ignore it. In the meantime they have dragged this out so long and my kids are now so abused and damaged, it is not reversible it is not reparable my children are damaged for life. Not because I stayed in an abusive marriage – but because the system failed. Failed my kids and failed me. If we would like to understand why women are dying at an alarming rate by spouses we need to look at the real culprits. Our failed court systems, failed police departments, lack of substantial legislation that truly protects women. The GAL actually told me that I was the weaker parent because I allowed myself to be abused, I can’t protect my children so they should stay with the abuser, in the same breath told me the violence is only alleged abuse – try and understand her circular theory – I can’t protect my kids, I am weak, but the abuse is only alleged.
    Everyone asked me after I left – “why did you stay” “why didn’t you just leave” and other unintelligent comments. Why didn’t anyone ask him “why did you abuse your family” the blame still lies on the victim and that is a mentality we need to change in this country.
    Ladies I feel strongly that leaving is the best option however that is when the battle for survival begins and we are left hanging, with no support.
    Although I doubted a few times if leaving was smart (moments of weakness)– I walked away with nothing at all 2 garbage bags and $200. I lost my job because my employer did not want to “deal” with my situation and I now work at a job that pays me severely less than what I was earning I sometimes choose between paying a bill and eating I don’t have money for both. In all of this I understand what women say about not hurting them – I did not want to see my ex suffer for the longest time – even though he is out to destroy me. I even took him to the emergency room in the middle of the night when he called me in severe pain a year after we split. It is the mentality that we owe them something- we do not. We owe ourselves and our children and we do have the right to be happy and free.
    My story is not over I am a strong woman and I refuse to let him break me. I will fight as long and as hard as needed I just wish there was an agency to help me. He may yet kill me, but I will know I went down fighting for my kids and myself and our right to be happy.

    1. Hi Wilma,

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. It sounds like you have been through some very traumatic experiences with your husband. The violence he did to you and your children was pretty extreme, I’m so sorry y’all went through all of that. To this day it looks like he is still using anything he can to continue to maintain some control over your life by using your children to do that. I want you to know that at the National Domestic Violence Hotline there are several resources we can share with you that may be helpful. We can also safety plan with you and be a listening ear if you need someone to talk to, give us a call and we would be happy to talk to you and help in anyway that we can. Our hotline is a 24 hour confidential line, 1-800-799-7233. We hope to hear from you!

      NDVH Advocate

  9. I’m 26 years old I have been married almost 3yrs and we have a year old son. I am now coming out of denial and no matter how strong I think I am I can finally be truthful with myself and admit that I am being abused and I am completely terrified.

    I am scared because I feel like I have no way out. He says if I call the police he would call too and say that I am beating him. For instance if he is hitting me he waits until I try and fight back so he can get a scratch or something then he calls the police or threatens to call and he tells me if I tell them that I am not hitting him and he is hitting me, it is his word against mine and the police would take our son and arrest both him and I, but I would have to be in jail longer because I have no money ( I don’t know if this is true and I am scared to find out).

    He also says if I divorce him he will leave the country with our son. I am at a breaking point I don’t know what to do I feel lost, crazy, and confused. I don’t understand why this is happening, I don’t understand why he wants me to be here if he does not love me, why would he even marry me?

    1. Hi Scared mama,

      Thank you for sharing your story. The situation you are in is indeed scary to be in, I’m sorry you are going through all of this. From what you wrote it looks like you may still be living with him. Please be careful when using the computer at home, if your husband knows even very little about computers he can find a way to read what you have written or look up what sites you’ve been on with all the technology we have today. I would suggest using your friends, family member’s or library computer when looking up any Domestic Violence information.

      As far as the threats he makes to you regarding the police, many times abusers will use all kinds of intimidation and scare tactics to keep you from reaching out for help. While this is what it sounds like he is doing, there is some truth to the fact that many women do get arrested for defending themselves when police are called out. If you can avoid hitting back when he gets physically violent with you, that would be best. I know this is not always possible when you are in a dangerous situation and need to defend yourself.

      As far as him threatening to take your child out of the country, I would suggest calling the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678, they have resources for parents and they do abduction prevention. There are also alot of Domestic Violence Programs that provide support services through counseling, support groups or shelter. You can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 , we are a 24 hour Confidential hotline. We would be happy to help answer questions you may have and offer resources, support and safety planning.

      Last but not least, one of the most dangerous times for Women is when they are trying to get out of an abusive relationship. Avoid telling him you want a divorce or seperation. If and when you do decide to leave you want to do so when he is not home and you want to safety plan to make sure you get out safely.

      NDVH Advocate

    2. I am sorry but I must respond to you direct I cannot keep quiet – I realize people are trying to give you the best advise possible however the theory of advise is not what actually happens and your fears are real and may happen – it happened to me and I lost both my children, and my exhusband had me arrested on false charges 3 times.
      The fact of the matter is we would like to think the police know how to handle a domestic violence call and how to asses the situation – but they do not always know. They barge into the home and grab whoever and whatever and they tend to victimize the woman. Let us not forget many policemen are abusers themselves as I have met wives of policemen in the DV world.
      It has nothing to do with fighting back – my exhusband would threaten to hurt himself right before the police arrived actually scratching his own body and say that I did it so he would be able to have me arrested and he would prompt my daughter to say i threw things at him so I would be arrested as well. Yes they will arrest you and yes they will take your children away and yes it will cost you a lot of money to regain everything and to beat it. My family has paid a heft cost to help me.
      It is not fair to lie to women and tell them that leaving is all roses – it is not it is dangerous and it can be the hardest thing you will ever do in your life but it is inevitable and it is the most rewarding accomplishment of your life. to regain your power, your freedom, your self confidence there is nothing more gratifying. But go in with the knowledge you need in advance get ALL your ducks in a row before you leave. Good for you that you are NOT in denial anymore that is an awesome step !!
      I would suggest next that you are safe and that means have a safety plan with friends and family you can trust. Extra money and clothes stashed in hiding and a prepaid cell phone if possible. the hotlines are very good at safety planning. If you are able to speak to lawyer for a consultation most do it for free just to get an idea of what you are up against – and make sure you keep this all quiet. Also document everything if he hits you – take pictures, my suggestion would be to talk to the police and let them know your situation and see what you can do and how they can help because your best line of defense will be your paper trail and documentation – women who dont document are called liars. This may be something to discuss when you speak to a safety planner on the hotline. Please be safe – you are not alone I am so sorry you are going through this, I am divorced 2 years and my ex-husband still wont leave me alone. I wish someone had advised me how to leave him. Be strong and remember you are better than the abuse and there is life after it and I will pray you will get through it. Good luck.

  10. Hi this is my first time on this website, and i am just now realizing what i am living is an abusive realtionship. I am too afraid to leave. I am 25 yrd old with 2 little kids. I have been married to this man for 7 yrs! since i was 18. I am not allowed to do anything or go anywhere,he treats me bad and blames it on me, says its cause he thinks i am “doing something ” behind his back, he calls me every name in the book threathens me and then says hes sorry but cant change. I get accused of doing the worst things when i am just t home with my baby, doing nothing waiting, waiting for him to come home and check the front door or question me, I love him and i dont want to break up our family, but he hurts m and puts me down all the time, i feel worthless, and little, I am afraid of being alone, i am afraid of him if we divorce, he has said hell make my life hell and take my babies.

    1. noelle ,
      i am in a abusive realationship as well but i have already started to make my plan to go to a safe haven . i know that he says he will take your children and truth be told they always make your life a living hell but when you decide to leave and are truely ready on your way out stop by legal aid google the closest one to you its a free legal service they help with divorce custody and other things for women in abusive realationships also when you leave file child support , the parent who files hild support automatically gets custody until your court date . with the help of legal aid and child support offices and other state agency’s you can win your fight and be able to move on . i have been in my abusers control for 7 yrs i have two children trust me i thought i had no where to turn and no one to talk to but i hae family faith and courage pray for the strength and courage to go and it will come . i wish i would have been a little wiser back before and saw what i see now in him but like many others i didnt we are in this together one voice might not be heard but many voices have the power to refuse but not to be heard .

    2. Noelle,
      This is my first time on this site as well. I came here because I left an abusive marrage 4 months ago and am realizing that I need more then me to get through this. I want you to know that you are not alone and staying isn’t your only option. I am 26 and was with my ex for 3 and a half years. We have one amazing child together and I have a story that sounds much like yours. My husband was physcally abusive, choking me, hitting me and threatening me with knives. He always blamed me and called me names and at the end of every fight, I always was the one appologizing for what he had done. I had talked many times about leavng him, but he also threatend me, saying he would kill me and take my baby away from me. Leaving was the hardest thing I have ever done and every day since is almost a bigger struggle then what staying with him was. With that being said I know that I made the right choice and I know that with the right help I can get through this. I have a protective order and primary custody of my daughter until we have a court date for our divorce. I’m still scared every day but I’m no longer being abused and most of all my daughter no longer has to grow up in a home where she has to listen to fighting and see her father hit her mom. Please don’t think staying is your only option. I have found there are so many people and resources available to help you through. I felt so alone before I left and it’s almost overwelming somtimes the people who are willing to help me get back on my feet. As far as breaking up your family…neither you nor your babies deserve the life he is giving to you. You wont be breaking up your family, you will be making it just a little smaller and a lot healthier for you and your kids.

  11. Noelle, Please remember that it is the courts that ultimately decide who’ll get custody of the children, your babies. Just because he says so doesn’t make it so.

    Welcome to the site though, although I’m sorry you are here because of the circumstances. I would suggest that you contact the hotline advocates at 1-800-799-7233 so that they can help match you up with some legal advocates in your area, as well as discuss other strategies.

  12. I never should have stayed in this relationship. He lets his family curse me and back-stab me and control us and our lifestyle our religion and then tells me that he has to pay for my “stupid” mistakes. I broke down a locked door to keep our children from danger and he called it “my” stupid mistake. He said I like to place blame on other people for “my” mistakes. His grandmother said it was my fault her door was broken therefore I had to pay for it despite the fact that I am currently unable to work. Especially considering that the place I formerly worked at had legal issues with my spouse and I had to leave inorder to be his advocate. I don’t know why I keep returning to this mess. I know I can’t work in the same community he grew up in because he has too many “unknown” friends he won’t tell me about.

    I have nightmares about me dieing in a car accident , stair fall or some other sort of emergency and his family collecting their “lottery” of life insurance with smiles on their faces while not even shedding a tear
    for my death, but rather joys that they can finally enjoy their religious mess with our children. I need out.

    Being in a “christian” religiously abusive relationship is the most dangerous and scariest thing because it is hard to see the relationship as abusive unless viewed through a microscope. Gossip from his family is a way to intimidate me and make me feel like I have to walk on egg shells without breaking them inorder to meet his approval.

  13. Hi, I would like to ask why Iowa doesn’t have Grants to help the people who have been beaten, abused, domestically abused, to help them get back on track. And not Left in the cold to try and figure out how to put there lives back together. Some of us can’t even get jobs because of the violence. Either verbal or being beaten it doesn’t matter, we are all people and we just ask for your kindness. In Northeast Iowa there are no safe homes, that people can go to , there are volunteers, but we need more than. What is wrong with our government? The state of Iowa needs to step up and see that we have a BIG problem here in our own back ward. Please don’t let the children die and people get beat ,cause the senators are, trying to hurt each other and won’t help the people in this state.

    1. 24-hour statewide hotline: 1-800-942-0333
      this is a state hotline in your state of Iowa – your state has services call them and ask I dont know about grants – I dont know that any state provides grants for women coming out of abuse but you can contact the hotline at your state level to find out ALL services available to you.

  14. Nancy: Of course you can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Our advocates can certainly match you up with a number of domestic violence program throughout the State of Iowa. In fact there are, at least 29 domestic violence programs that are within your State of Iowa. If there are issues too of not having enough domestic violence programs in your particular area of the State, we would also suggest that you contact your State domestic violence coalition; in Iowa, that would be the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence and can be reached at 515-244-8028. What is good about the State Coalitions is that they often are working with the State Legislators to get additional funding for more domestic violence programs in your State, as well as an array of other things, such as getting some laws changes to make things safer for the victims of domestic violence.

    We hope that it helps to let you know that you do have a voice, especially in your state for more action to be taken to get more funding for more domestic violence programs, to change laws, etc.

    Thank you for sharing your story, Nancy. We think that it is always important to let people know that what actions that they can do when they see some injustice being pervailed in this world. There is always power in more than one stating the injustices and trying to enact some changes in this world to right the wrongs.

    Hotline Admin_kk

  15. I’ve read all these stories and lived alot of them. Today he tried to snap my neck because I wanted to go to my mothers house before things got bad . I’ve been with him for 12 long years. I refuse to marry him. I almost lost my life for saying no. I’ve been raped, beat, strangled, kicked, bit, mocked, tortured. We have 4 children. My kids have watched me be strangled almost to death. I left 3 times and almost died 3 times. The system failed me. I got the protection from abuse, he went to jail, I moved out of town, and struggled with my children. My family wouldn’t help, they got tired of me going back, some don’t even believe me when I tell them , My aunt laughed at me and told me to stop making up stories. I feel stuck, sometimes I wish I were dead, because I feel that’s the only way out. I try to pretend that I love him as long as I pretend ,he’s happy it seems. but everyday I can’t . I’ve read these stories and the women who left don’t seem much happier. My Aunt asked me why would I stay if all of that is going on. I told her because I want to see my children grow up I want to see my grandchildren play. I have no doubt that he would kill me, and then all my children afterwards. I am no longer living in this world, my heart knows no passion, I am a shell of a woman that I once was. I’ve died long ago. Sometimes I feel I have nothing left to give my children , my heart empty and broken. I feel worthless. I no friends anymore, I heardly talk to my family. because they just don’t understand. Our Bishop is always saying when are you two getting married? He knows how he abused me, I don’t think he really believes, I pray to God for help. Where is he in all of this, why are all these women dying? Everytime I watch the news I see another woman dead, children dead by the hands of men who swore they loved them. That’s why I stay. I start cutting myself after my last son was born, my post partum depression brought out alot of ugly things, My children feel like nails in my coffin. I got fixed, while he was at school. he didn’t know for awhile. I paid for that too. Most of them were born out of rape. I can’t go no where do nothing, he doesn’t work I do. It’s my house, my car, and yet I’d leave it all just to be free and truly happy. I have no peace I have no life. I have no friends , I’m not even allowed to talk to the neighbor who’ve I’ve known for years, he told her to leave me alone and not talk to me because she causes too much drama,(because she got her boyfriend lockup for domestic abuse) I have nothing but my children, and they look at me sometimes like I’m weak,and I am, my daughter asked why I just don’t leave shes 12 but she knows why I see it in her eyes. If I leave I’ll be stalked harrassed threatened everyday of my life, that’s why I went back the system failed me. they did put him in jail for trying to buy a gun the day a got a pfa on him.3 months in jail.

    I keep waiting on God to answer my prayers to change him or just get me out of here. I can’t go on like this. My children need me. My son has autism he’s 6, his father wants to put him in a home. Because he can’t control him. Imagine that. I love him so much and if I wasn’t here who would he have? No one. God please help me.

    1. Adrienne
      I would like to respond to you because you deserve a response – first of all please be careful using a computer as he could be tracking it. Use a computer outside your home.
      Also you should contact the national domestic violence hotline or the hotline in your area in order to speak with someone to do some safety planning and get some guidance and counseling on your situation. Whatever you decide to do stay strong and know that all people deserve to live violence free. I really hope you find peace in your life and you contact the people that may offer you assistance.

  16. Adrienne, please contact The Hotline and an advocate can talk with you about your situation. You are not alone and there are people who care about you and what you are going through. Please call us at 800-799-7233 when it is safe to talk.

  17. I am finally starting to get to the point of believing it was not my fault.
    I married the “sensitive” bad boy that was always so sweet to me and caring. we meet in October moved in together in May and married in September and looking back now there was “red flags” but I just felt he had a bad day or he was stressed. after we got married he got more controlling and kept quieting his job it was always some one else s fault and I had a good job but he always spent what I made and then some I got pregnant with twins and I was so happy but that only lasted a week with him and then he felt his life was over. that Christmas I was six months pregnant and we had his family over for dinner he had gotten mad and left then called during dinner and told me to tell them to leave or he would call the police and have them arrested for trespassing and what still to this day gets me is they left and told me I should treat him better then he would be happier. when he came home hell broke loose an he told me I had to give the tins up for adoption or he would have me deported and then I would never see them again. and he threw this heave ashtray at me just missing my head by inches.
    when I tried getting help they told me since he wasn’t physically abusive there was nothing to be done.
    the boys where born 5 weeks early and he told me he was going to be nice enough and “let” me keep one.
    in the end he won and when we came home from the hospital with only one child I broke down and told him I couldn’t and I would not take him to court for anything, child support or nothing I just wanted my boy. he then called his family and told them the other child died in the hospital after that he told me” now you cant do anything or my family will take the other child too”
    a huge part of me died that day and his family did nothing coming to find out years later they knew but never liked me even though he doesn’t even speak to them any more. after 13 years and a past restraining order and him threatening to kill me more times that I like to remember I finally one day left with our 10 year old boy while he was at work after he had now done his home work and told me he was getting a gun and the police and courts said they couldn’t do anything because it was “only” a implied threat.
    we ended up in a domestic violence shelter 2 hours away and we left everything I had built and bought but I am still so much happier now after 8 months still trying to find a job, no child support yet but at least his supervised visitation is suspended for his bad behavior and I did get my divorce but have to go back to court for his e mail harassment, sole custody,child support and then some other things. thank god he doesn’t have our address the judge gave me that to stay secret and we have a Hope phone but I want our life back and him to pay.
    but I try to stay positive with the small miracles my son is finally starting to make new friends doing better in school. He still is having a hard time with anger and being emotional. and I just want to be able to sleep with out the nightmares and having to constantly look over my shoulder and there is not a single day that I don’t think of my sons twin brother and wish I had them both but god did bless me with the adoptive family staying in touch and I do get to see pictures of him but it still hurts and hopefully one day that will get better to.
    but I am still happy I took the step and left. at least I no longer fear coming home and waiting for the daily battle since no matter what I did there was always something I did or didn’t do to set him off.

  18. Petra,
    You have been through so much! Thank you for sharing your story with the Share Your Voice blog community. It sounds like these past 8 months have not been the easiest, but that you have made it to a safe place for you and your son. It is diffiicult in these situations not to blame yourself, but there is nothing that you could have done to make your ex husband be abusive like that to you. It was a huge step for you to leave and go somewhere safe to start over. I think your story will help other members of our community find strength and hope. You are always welcome to contact the Hotline for support, or if you need additional domestic violence referrals for assistance. Keep it up!

    Wishing you the best,
    NDVH Blog Admin

  19. My story is similar to everyone who has posted…and it kinda overwhelms me of how much abuse is out there. I have just recently left for the fourth time. From the time I have left, I have encountered his mean and hateful words, threats to I love you so much…can’t live without you. The thing I am most concerned about is that my birthday and holidays are coming up and he wants to take me out for my birthday and to attend his family gatherings. I do not know how to respond that will not upset him as I still have items in the house that I want to get. Any suggestions?

  20. I am so sad and lonely. Why do I lack self esteem? Why do I feel like it’s never enough? I am so isolated. I am so sad. Why do I stay where it is clearly emotionally destructive to me? I am never good enough. I really pray for strength. I wish there was a website that taught people how to live…what a normal life is supposed to be like.

  21. Oftentimes, the feeling of sadness and loneliness and isolation can all be symptomatic of being with an abusive partner who continually downgrades you and tell you are not worthy. It’s hard when you are constantly with someone like that to build yourself up; however, the good news is that it CAN be done.

    Start with some index cards and put favorite Bible verses, quotes, and/or affirmations on them (ie, “I am beautiful.” or “I have the strength of wonder woman.” etc.). Take those cards and put them in strategic places — on your nightstand, in your underwear drawer, on the bathroom mirror, by the coffee pot, on the back of your closet door, etc. With these strategically placed throughout your home (or even too in your purse/wallet/backpack, car, books, etc.), it’ll serve as gentle reminders about your worth. Works wonders!

    Additionally, journaling truly helps but would suggest that you do this with no more than just 3 pages a day. You don’t want to go overboard with this and write a novellete, however the concept is take that jumbled up thoughts on the paper, fold it up and put the journal on a shelf or someplace safe for your eyes only (maybe even in the tampon box if it is small enough).

    One website that I love to recommend to callers is called Campaign for Real Beauty ( It is a site that was started by Dove and supported by Oprah in many of her shows. Take a look and let us know that you think.

    In the meantime, if those don’t seem to help you, please give us a call and we will give you some more ideas and suggestions to pull your self-confidence and self-esteem back up. We can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.

    NDVH Hotlline Advocate_kk

  22. BTW, J….

    Too, I’m not sure that any one could define “normal” these days. It’s all so relative.

    What we do have control over in our lives is only ourselves oftentimes. Through self-empowerment through some of the tools I’ve outline to you just above — the affirmation cards, the journaling, and the Campaign for Real Beauty site — we can re-define ourselves as the strong woman who we know ourselves capable of being.

    Wishing you the best of luck and do, please call, for some additional encouragement and empowerment at 1-800-799-7233. 🙂

    NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk

Leave a Reply

Please feel free to add your comments, but be aware that this blog is a public space. Your email address is required to comment but will not be public or shared. Please note that entering a website address in the comment form will create a link to the site’s URL. We reserve the right to remove comments that do not abide by our community guidelines.

caret-downemailfacebookgoogleplusLove is Respect Heart Iconlinkedinmagnifying-glasspdfpinterestreddittumblrtwitter
Click to go back to top of page.