survivor stories

Shared Voices PT 2: Your Stories of Life After Abuse

Yesterday we shared some survivor’s stories that we were fortunate enough to have received from our inspirational Facebook community. These stories expressed the patience and hope needed to rebuild your life after abuse, and we heard from survivors in all different stages of healing. Some shared their feelings on whether or not they’d want another relationship. Many spoke about how important it is to spend time focusing on yourself and your own pursuits and learning to love yourself.

We’re so thankful for everyone who was able to share their personal stories with us, and we hope that reading these will inspire courage and hope, no matter what your situation may be.

Today we’re continuing to share these inspirational stories, with a focus on survivors who have found love after abuse and are starting a new chapter of their lives with a partner.

Melissa’s Story

I am a survivor of both sexual and domestic abuse.

I’ve been with my love for 3 years now… 2 years after I left a long, emotionally and physically abusive relationship that I cycled through for almost 6 years. The man I love today is the most gentle, loving, caring and supportive man I have ever met. He showed me that there are good guys who do nice things just because they are nice and they love and resort women.

I had found a rare gem of a loving man. I asked him to be official and we’ve been together ever since. He’s supported my return to college (I graduate this May!!!) as well as supported me emotionally as I continue to deal with the lasting effects of the abuse I have experienced in my life.

He has never once raised his voice, or his hand. He doesn’t have one aggressive bone in his body. In 3 years we have never had a fight, we have discussions. Finding love after abuse has been the miracle I’ve been waiting for my whole life…  I found love when I wasn’t even looking and life has been So Amazing since.

Andrea’s Story

I did! I am so blessed to have found such a kind, loving and patient man who loves me and my children. When I was with my abuser, I dreamt of being with someone that was loving and affectionate. Somehow, this dream has become a reality and I am thankful everyday that he is in my life.

Celeste’s Story

I got married a year and a half after I left my abuser. I know my worth and don’t let anyone or anything take me to a place where I can’t grow or prosper. I learned the value of the word NO. No, I can’t do that because it’s not in line with my goals. Or, no, that just isn’t true. I love the me I am today, but am really excited about the me I am becoming.

Curtis’s Story

It took time to discover who I really was – uncover the “real me” beneath the abuse. I started this process before leaving my abuser and it gave me the strength to realize that I had a better life head of me.

Now that I am comfortable with who I am and what I want to do with my life, I have found that I am able to love. I have an amazing partner who is my best friend. I feel free to express myself however I want to – through dance, song, jokes, and general happiness – and I feel respected in my thoughts and opinions. I truly believe that we are equals, that we compliment each other, and that our individual strengths and weaknesses are complimentary… not curses.

I think of her happiness regularly, and see how well it supplements my own happiness. After more than two years and countless struggles with my former spouse in court, we still have “young love”. Thank you for being my rock, my soft place, and my everything, Candice!

Shanna’s Story

I left my abusive ex-husband five years ago. My kids and I spent time in a DV shelter until we could get back on our feet. For a while, I felt like I had lost everything.

I married a wonderful, kind, caring, patient man last year. We still have to deal with my ex on a fairly consistent basis. It doesn’t strain our relationship, which is amazing to me. He helps me know that I am not the person my ex led me to believe I was. Re-finding myself after the years of horror I lived through has been a stressful, freeing, exciting journey.

Julie’s Story

A long road, but worth the journey. Yes, I did remarry 13 years after leaving my abuser.

Donna’s Story

I have had an amazing man for 7 years!! He is kind, never puts me down, very supportive, never calls me names or abuses, not jealous and so much more!!! I could not imagine life without him!! Thank god I am free!!

Teresa’s Story

I was in an abusive marriage for nearly 19 years. It took me a good year or more to PLAN my escape. And another 2 years to have the divorce completed after safely separating (moved all the way from New Jersey to Arizona with 2 teens and a toddler). Happy to say, that I found a wonderful man and we have been married 7 years. Who knew life could be so peaceful?

Connie’s Story

Yes, I did. We have just celebrated our 10th anniversary this year!

Lizz’s Story

YES! I was in an abusive relationship/marriage for 14-years. The abuse I suffered was not kind. I literally ran for my life from that relationship on August 24, 2001. I’ve never looked back. It was a couple of years before I dated… I needed to get back to being ME before I could even think of a relationship.

On a fluke I met a wicked nice, funny, hard working, loving, kind man online. Flew from SoCal to NH to meet him. Spent two weeks together. Came back out a month later for a week. Two months later I moved to NH for good. I feel like I was one of the lucky ones. Got out alive and found a wonderful man. Life is good.

Jennifer’s Story

I did. My wonderful husband and I have been together 8 years, married 6 1/2.

24 replies
  1. stephanie says:

    I too am a survivor of domestic violence,kidnapping and sexual assault and i did get some comfprt from these stories.I just can’t seem to get his face out of my head.I was only with him about three months but he almost took my life and it has not even been a year.

    • HotlineAdmin_AB says:

      Stephanie : If you would like to discuss your situation further we are available 24/7 to speak with you. It sounds like you have been through a very difficult time. We are a confidential phone line and you can contact us anytime it is safe to do so. You can call us at 1-800-799-7233 to reach NDVH.

  2. kitty says:

    Reading this blog makes you feel noot alone ..I move four states away and I still see his face around every turn …I been free for eight days after 24 yrs of abuse matter what I can never go back
    He will kill me there’s no doubt in my mind .

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:


      It takes a lot of courage to leave and move four states away. It sounds like you are still healing. If you are interested in reaching out for counseling or support groups you can call 24/7 to 1-800-799-7233 for those referrals. Thank you for sharing with our blog readers.


  3. Jen says:

    I was in a fog after I left 3 years ago. I moved from the Northeast to the Southwest. I didn’t know anyone. It took me months to talk to people beyond the necessary stuff at work. I couldn’t speak above a whisper or look anyone in the eye for at least 6 months. For a year and a half I was numb, and glad I didn’t care about people anymore. After that I realized that I did want people in my life. The right kind of people anyways. I met some really good friends and surrounded myself with people that cared about me faults included. I had learned that I like having other people in my life but also that I could survive without them. That is key- the ability to say “you add nothing to my world” and shut the wrong people out.
    A year ago I met the man who I love. He loves me and respects me. We just moved in together. Got a puppy since we don’t want kids. The last 2 challenges were filing for divorce and giving up my apartment. My divorce was final on May 29th. I haven’t missed my old place- he gives me the space I need in our home.
    I didn’t think I would make it a week without my ex husband. I loved him so much despite the 3 yrs of hell he put me through. The thing that changed my thinking more than anything else was the book “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft. Once I saw that what he was doing was typical of most abusers, and each thing had a name, I got more objective. The book also gives great tips and red flags to help move safely into your next relationship. I just gave it to my boss, because I found out her husband was abusive. It can happen to anyone. And you can have yourself back, sooner than you expect.

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:


      Thank you for sharing your story of survival and healing with our blog readers. I am sure that it will be encouraging to others to hear that you got away and are now in a healthy relationship with a loving partner. All the best to you.


  4. Beki says:

    Hi. I’m a survivor of domestic violence including physical, mental and sexual abuse. I only survived because my abuser is now dead. He killed himself and to this day I thank god everyday day that he did and that I’m finally free of him. I was with him for 6 years and I was one if those people that would hear of people in my situation and would say why don’t you just leave him and until you are in that situation you will never understand how difficult it is to get away. The threats, the blackmail, the violence makes you feel scared for your life and that of your loved ones. You stay because you want to protect them by letting him abuse me kept my family and children safe but one day he went to far and something snapped inside me and I left. I admit I got back in touch because we had a son together biggest mistake I made but I felt guilty as I didn’t want to keep his son from him. Then the blackmail started again and the threats to take my son if I didn’t see him or do what he wanted. So for months I had to see him and look after him as he was an alcoholic. One day he told me had 2 choices to kill me or kill himself and the next day I found him hanging. I was free at last c

    • HotlineAdmin_MCo says:

      Hey Beki,

      Thanks for sharing your story with us. There is no timeline for this sort of thing. And there is no right or wrong time to leave. You leave when you are ready and when you want too. I’m so glad that you were able to escape and that you are safe now.

      If you’d like, you are more then welcome to call us. We are here to support survivors of domestic violence, regardless of where they are in the process of recovery and healing. So if you are needing referrals to local counseling or support group resources, you are more then welcome to call us. Even if you need an ear to listen, we are here. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are completely confidential and anonymous. Our number is 1(800).799.7233.

      Until then,
      Hotline Advocate MC

  5. Ila Parker says:

    I was 15 and I had a boyfriend who always told me he loved me and that I would Always be his first love. After four months of the relationship he broke up with me and got together with another girl. I didn’t mind, I was 15 and despite other girls in my grade I didn’t care enough to not see there is other guys out there. Anyways it was about two months after we broke up with me, we had one class together and I only knew him in that class. He was very protective of me when it came to other people. He and his girlfriend were fighting he believed she was cheating on him and as it turned out she was. So I was like the rebound girl I guess only I didn’t want to be. He started threatening to commit suicide if I didn’t let him “touch” me and said I was the only person he loved and that it would help me “relax”. It went on for maybe two months and when I finally told him enough after begging him to stop he hit me repeatedly. I was pushed up against a desk as he hit me across the face again and again. It wasn’t until he realized that I had just sat there as he hit me about 5 or 6 times and not fallen, or even cried that he backed of and tried to tell me that he only wanted to help. Even though he had hit me and it had hurt I didn’t fall, I didn’t cry and I think that was what scared him. His threats meant nothing to me when I saw how weak he was and so I got up and left and haven’t been back since.

  6. lyn says:

    i know it sounds horrible. but i am stuck. and sometimes i wish he would just do that to himself. he threatens it all the time. in bad ways. like doing it in my living room so i’d walk in on it or something. i feel like an evil person for sometimes wishing he would just do it already. but when you live in this prison… the prison of an abusive relationship… it’s natural to think that, right?

    • HotlineAdmin_MCo says:

      Hi Lyn,

      Thanks for reaching out. The trauma of domestic violence can be so horrible that it is natural to have thoughts like that. Often, when we are being battered and beaten emotionally, physically and sexually, we fantasize about the different ways that we can escape. And in many ways, the death of an abusive partner is the most permanent way to escape. There is nothing wrong with you. You are having a perfectly normal response to abuse and trauma. Often times, abusive partners will threaten to kill themselves if you leave or don’t act right as a way to manipulate you into staying. This is a strategy that they use to make you feel like the bad guy and obligated to stay. At the end of the day, it is a thing they do to maintain power and control.

      That being said, there are resources available to help you escape if that is something that you want to do or feel ready to do. I would encourage you to call us at the Hotline, 1(800).799.7233. We are here 24/7 and we can talk about a plan for your escape and connect you to local resources that can help.

      Until then,
      Hotline Advocate MC

  7. Beki says:

    Hi. I would ring and talk to you but I’m in England and think it might be a bit costly. I haven’t spoke to anyone professional or in similar situation since it happened. Maybe I should cause still not over it and to finding him hanging although was a release for me was one of the worst things to find someone like that. However much you hate someone for what they put you and your children through there was some good things about him and to everyone else he was nice person and he did a good side to him that I did see sometimes. I still haven’t told my son that he hung himself he thinks daddy died in his sleep. When is the right time to tell him the truth about his dad he was 4 when it happened and doesn’t have many good memories about him. He’s 9 now and when we talk about him all he remembers is that he shouted a lot and drank a lot. He misses having a dad and that makes me feel guilty cause if I had stayed with him he would still be here today but I honestly don’t think I would be or that I could have gone through another day with him let alone 5 years.

    • HotlineAdmin_VW says:

      Dear Beki, Thanks for reaching out to us. You are not alone in having mixed feelings about the loss of your husband, and the domestic violence you and your son endured. Most survivors also, regret the loss of their innocence and worry about picking up their lives again.

      Did you catch the article “Life After Abuse: Helpful Books to Check Out”, that was on our website? I encourage you to look for “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are”, by Brene Brown. Also helpful is “It’s My life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence”, by Meg Kennedy Dugan and Roger R. Hock.

      Domestic Violence is certainly a world wide issue. There is an international directory of domestic violence agencies, called Hot Peach Pages,
      ( They have information on line to locate DV prograns all over the world. You might look under England/Domestic Violence Agencies/United Kingdom/Europe. This site mentions Freephone, a 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline in partnership with Women’s Aid and Refuge at 0808 2000 247. Scrolling down is info on agencies in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Isle of Wright, Guernsey, and Jersey.

      Nothing that happened was your fault. You deserve to be happy, check with local DV programs that might help you find the way.

  8. Candice says:

    I have been out of my abusive relationship almost 4 years. The road was rough but worth it. I was in it for 3 years..3 years of of being punched, kicked, thrown, pistol whipped the list goes on. I decided to leave after a really bad had been going on for hours..I told him he wasn’t a man bc he hit me..he pulled a kitchen knife out of the couch & pressed it to my throat..I thought this is it for me..I saw my life gone..I prayed for GOD to please let me make it out & I would leave for good. God answered with enough fight in me to get the knife dropped & me enough room to run. I was lucky my neighbors had heard & helped me out. The next day she took me to file a protection order. I am now in my 2nd year of marriage with a good man. He helped me see that not all men are bad & it’s ok to trust the right people.

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:


      What a frightening experience. I am so glad to hear that you found the strength to fight him off and get to a neighbor’s house; bless her for helping you out. Thank you for sharing your story of survival with our blog community. I know it helps others to hear that one can get out of an abusive relationship and even find someone new to love who would never think of hurting them. All the best to you.


  9. Anna says:

    I have been sexual abused by assistant manager at a department store. Well for me it is so shame to talk about it. I try to forget everything, but i could not. We used to work together about two years he used me. After what he had done to me I was finally happy what I stopped working for this company. I got fired because he told to me he woulf blame me if i not have sex with him. I also knew he has AIDS. I don.t know what to do ?! I don’t know what he is capable of doing and I fear he could retaliate against me.

    • HotlineAdvocate_MT says:

      Hi Anna,

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry you had to go through such disrespectful and abusive treatment. This was not your fault at all. Sometimes people in authority abuse their positions. I’m glad you are no longer working there but I’m sorry that you are feeling scared of retaliation by him. Maybe you could get a protective order (in some areas it is called a restraining order) that would stop him from coming around you, and calling or texting you. Please call us at the National Domestic Violence Hotline so we can get you the number of agencies that might help you with this. Our phone is, (800) 799-7233.

      Hotline Advocate_MT

  10. Lori says:

    Today February 22nd 2014 I walked away from my last abusive relationship. This last time I was choked near death in another country, thrown and kicked into the snow in Canada. Thankfully my family got me out of there. He still controlled me by not giving me a divorce, which finally he gave. He had this mental control on me through the help of a great therapist I came out of it. I then realized I keep running back to the same guys and why do I do that? It is “normal” to me, After realizing that I then looked at the people in my life that was like the men whom I attracted. Now I can finally see those type of people and smile. Now I have a wonderful man who loves me never abuses me, friends that are not so analytic. I can manage my own money, my relationship allows me to be independent, my children are seeing a new me, My daughter has chosen a wonderful young man and happily married with a new grandson. It is there for you! Take down the wall we try to keep up that I will not let anyone hurt me. BREAK FREE!

    • HotlineAdmin_MK says:


      Thank you for sharing your personal story with us. It is a joy to hear that you were able to survive the abusive relationship, and that you are now safe and doing well. Your experience is a symbol of hope that there is life and joy after abuse; even though this may look different for each and every individual, I am glad you found your way to break free.

      Hotline Advocate MK

  11. Regina says:

    Its been three years since I left my abusive boyfriend and I am now in a loving relationship with a godly and kind man. Although I got out of the relationship, we have a daughter together and he is threatening to take my daughter away from me. He tells everyone that I was the abuser and am a bad mother. Sometimes I feel like the abuse and control is not over yet.

    • HotlineAdmin_MK says:

      Hi Regina,

      I am very glad to hear that you are in a loving relationship and out of the abusive relationship. I know you identified that your ex partner is still trying to abuse and control you. This is something that can happen even after a relationship ends. Some individuals will try whatever they can to maintain power and control even when the relationship is over. One means of power and control is using children as a means of control. Your ex partner threatening to take your daughter and talking bad about you as a mother is a means of him continuing to abuse you and trying to have power and control in this situation. I want you to know that there is support available and information that you can be connected to regarding your situation. It is absolutely not okay for him to be threatening you in this way. Please call our hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and our advocates will be here to let you know what options exist. Again I am happy to hear you found a loving relationship and hope your will be able to find support to help you with your ex partner.

      Hotline Advocate MK

  12. Tracy says:

    After surviving and leaving several long term abusive relationships, I notice I’m not the strong, independent, confident woman I know I’m capable of being. I’ve been with a really amazing guy for almost a year now and he has been incredibly patient and understanding. I don’t talk much about the things I’ve experienced but he knows I made some bad choices and was hurt by people I should have been able to trust. He wants me to be happy and know he would never physically hurt me but it is so hard to truly believe. He’s never raised a hand to me or belittled me or tried to control me, but I keep waiting for the day he will lose his temper or when I make a big enough mistake. I sometimes feel clumsy and awkward and worthless and not good enough for him. He tells me I’m beautiful and perfect just the I am but it does frustrate him when I slip back in to an indecisive submissive state. I don’t know how to be strong anymore and as much as I love this man, I worry my baggage is going to drive us apart. I kept my guard up and have a hard time letting myself get emotionally attached. He was initially attracted to my bold confidence and assertive attitude when he saw me working as an emt but when I’m not in a setting I feel like I really have a hold in, I’m different and it makes me hate myself. I just keep taking every day as it comes and doing my best.

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hi Tracy,

      We’re so glad that you’re part of our online community. It sounds like you have been deeply affected by the trauma of several abusive relationships. Having people you should be able to trust choose to be abusive, manipulative, and hurtful can definitely impact your trust in yourself and in others. That is a completely normal reaction. It can be difficult to “find” yourself again after being hurt and traumatized like that. It sounds like you’re feeling frustrated and scared, as you try to move forward.

      Many survivors find it helpful to talk to a domestic violence counselor and participate in support groups. This isn’t a healing process you should have to go through alone. If you’d like to talk about different types of resources and support, please know that you can reach us by phone 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or online chat from 7am – 9pm CST.

      We’re here when you need us.

      Hotline Advocate AS

  13. Asmodeus says:

    My marriage is a library,
    So how long must I stand,
    As a book on a shelf!
    “Read me, Read me,”
    Check me out!
    And know the fear.
    X-rated hidden in shadows,
    I’ve become to avoid the battles.
    As my husband lives and breathes,
    “His favorite book, no one sees”
    And because of this I live in torment.
    With pleasure each page is read,
    With expectations his egos fed.
    And once my retched husband
    Has had his fill, its back to the shelf,
    Where I stand still.
    In the library!
    “HUSH” no talking allowed!!

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