Forgiveness Survivor Speaks

woman sitting on a beach woman sitting on beach thinking forgiveness

As I sit in the hospital waiting to be seen, I try to figure out the events that led me here. The blood rushes down my face and my nose and head throb. I am lucky to be alive, and I pray that I will be okay. I am grateful that I left my house when I did. The nurse walks in and asks if I can hear her. When I look up, I can see the outline of her body, but the details are blurry.  She tells me to follow her back to triage. She pauses, turns back, and looks at me, “Don’t worry you are safe.” The hospital is on lock down so that no one can come in or go out. I sigh with relief.  I walk into my hospital room, crawl onto the bed, and close my eyes. My mind automatically begins to recall the events that brought me here.

Earlier that day I went home after work, and my boyfriend was in the kitchen,  pacing around the kitchen table. He had a glazed look in his eyes as if he had been drinking. Apparently, someone that I did not know had made comments on an old picture of me, posted a year ago before we were even together. I tried to talk to him to calm him down, but nothing worked.  His anger had a domino effect; he would complain about one thing, and one thing would lead to another, and the next thing I know, he was complaining about everything. The more that I tried to calm him down and tell him that I didn’t even know this person, the more upset he became. He was looking for a fight. I noticed some beer cans behind him.  He never could control himself when he drank. He just kept yelling as if I was not even talking. He would not listen to me.  I decided that my best option was to walk away, so I told him that I was going to lie down.

So I then walked away from him and started to walk upstairs. The next thing that I knew, he ran after me, as if to attack me. I ran up the stairs and into my room. I quickly locked my door. He then kicked open my door, knocking it out of the frame, breaking the door, and chipping the paint off the wall.  I sprinted into the bathroom. My heart was racing so fast; I quickly locked the door. I backed away from the door and started fumbling around with my phone.  I was just about to dial the police when he kicked open the bathroom door with such force that the door split in half.  He grabbed me by my arm, and ripped me out of the bathroom, and punched me in the head as he screamed, “where do you think you’re going?  He yelled with such rage, it was if a maniac killer was after me in one of the horror movies that he watches. The hits to my head were so hard that his words echoed as if I were  under water. I felt as if I would die if I did not get control of the situation.

Then he punched me in the face and broke my glasses.  They cut into my nose and face, and blood gushed  on his hands and mine and all over my carpet. I cried. I begged for my life. I looked up at his 6 foot 1 frame towering over my own. I said, “Please stop.  I need to go to the hospital.  I feel faint. I am losing consciousness. His eyes fell to the phone in my hand and he said, “You’re not going to call the cops, are you? Because I will go to jail. I am on probation. ” I said, “No please just let me go downstairs and get some ice is that okay”? He said, “Yes, that is fine.”

I started to walk down the stairs and he followed right behind me. He was watching my every move. I had to be careful and calm. He said he was sorry and told me to hit him. I said, No,  I just want some ice for my face. He said “I’m serious. Hit me!” Then, he said, “Wait here. I will be right back. I am going to get a knife.”  I felt like he completely went mad, and I ran for my life right out the front door.  With my keys in my hand.  As I was running he yelled, “Where are you going?” I said,  to my car, and added a lie, “Why don’t you get your things? I will bring you home.” I then jumped in my car and as I raced out of the driveway the tires screeched and I took off. Never looking back and not even knowing where to go but I kept driving I had to get away from him and far away. While driving down the street I called the police and I told them what happened. They met me down the road from my house, and I made a statement about what was done to me. Then I went to the Hospital after I made the statement with the police.

They arrested my now ex-boyfriend. It was not right away he fled from the scene and was running and hiding in the woods. He also called his mom to pick him up. It took the cops two days to catch up with him. They made him a deal and he only had to serve a month in jail and two months in rehab. I continued with the charges. We went to court, and he has assault charges on his record now. After this happened, I kept asking myself, what did I do wrongWhy did this happen to me? I wanted answers.

When my ex was released from rehab, I called him and asked him why he did that to me. He said he was drunk and had no control over it.  He sounded so cold with no remorse. He was only worried about what he suffered in jail and rehab. He was so upset with me for calling the cops. He started calling me names, so I hung up the phone.

About two weeks later, I received a message from a girl who knew him. She warned me to be careful because he was making terrible threats about me and saying that he should have killed me. For months I lived in fear; I was afraid that he would come back and kill me. But after a while, I started to see that I couldn’t keep living in fear. And I can’t keep all this hatred inside of me.

So now I am learning forgiveness. It is not so much for him it is for me. So that I can be free from this nightmare and move on. I did not contact him again after that phone call because I feel forgiveness does not always have to be spoken to the person. Forgiveness has different meanings. My ex always tried to force forgiveness on me. He would tell me that I had to forgive him for his physical and mental abuse because his other exes forgave him. He said that I was the only “big mouth” that went to the cops.  He said not even his mother went to the cops, When he beat her up, that she knew better. While he was in jail, he wrote me letters saying that he wanted to marry me. He thought that that would rectify his actions, or at least keep me quiet.

And throughout the course of our relationship he threw the word forgiveness around so much and forced it down my throat to the point where I started to choke on his apologies. I was tired of being forced into forgiving him. I left him for good this time. I found a new type of forgiveness. I now forgive me for being so hard on myself and for always blaming myself for his abuse. I no longer torture myself with trying to understand why I stayed. Now, I am learning to make peace with what he did to me. I cannot change what happened to me, and I will not dwell on it anymore. I no longer try to rationalize or justify what he did. I’ve stopped asking what  if I did this different? What if I didn’t go home that night? I’ve also stopped asking “why” he did  it? What was he always so angry about? Why did he always direct his rage on me?

My final act of forgiveness is really forgiving him not by force but by choice.  I forgive him to release him from my mind and my life. Even though he is out of my life and I do not wish to speak to him anymore, I do not hold a grudge. I choose to let go of the pain from the past and to start my life over. I have no more regrets or resentments. Sometimes when we forgive, the other person does not have to accept it, and that’s okay. I will not change my loving nature for anyone. I have learned to put myself first.  He was always my top priority. He was always in a crisis; he always needed help.  Now, I am giving myself my full attention.

Forgiveness is freeing one’s soul. It frees a person  from staying in purgatory. That is where I used to relive the most painful moments in my life over and over again. Forgiveness does not mean no wrong was done, and that it is okay. To me, forgiveness means taking back your power. We give our power away when we hold on to anger and resentment.  The real power is in the now; it is in the present moment. Living in the past and worrying about the future only cause anxiety. Living in the true moment of the now is the path to freedom and new beginnings.

This survivor story was written by Kelly. This content was transferred from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).

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