Now let me just say that 95% of the time I can talk about what happened to me without breaking into a cold sweat or crying or having a mini panic attack (or all of the above). But there are times when I can't or won't talk about it. Mainly because once the flashbacks start it's hard to stop. And also because talking about it can be emotionally debilitating. And let me also say that this is a public forum and, though my daughter rarely reads this blog, I won't go into a lot of detail here. Because while she knows a little of what happened, she doesn't know everything (and thank God for that!)
A long time ago I was in a very abusive and controlling relationship. It lasted for years and it was the worst experience of my life. Abusive and controlling situations can range from manipulation to assault. I lived through both extremes of that range and pretty much everything in between. The scars from that experience don't fade, and they color my outlook on life. I know that may not be the case for everyone that has been a survivor of intimate partner violence, but that's my reality.
In general I've never been a "glass half full" person. I tend to operate under Murphy's Law as a guiding principle, especially since the last "incident". Because once you've lived through physical and sexual assault, and seen some of the worst of humanity, it's hard to see the world through rose colored glasses. But having said that, I try not to let my internal emotional turmoil affect how I interact with others. If you ask my co-workers or friends or even some of my family (especially some of my family) they would tell you that I'm not very successful with that endeavor. But the lack of success isn't due to a lack of effort. The truth is I still have flashbacks. And sometimes those flashbacks come without warning. Or they are triggered by things like a scene from a movie, or a line from a song, or when I hear a name that sounds similar to the name of the individual who caused all this turmoil. And since the flashbacks are not generally fun to live through it tends to change my mood.
As the mother of a teenage daughter I pray for her safety every day. I've been praying even harder now that she is getting older and will eventually start dating (cause apparently you can't lock your kids away in a box until they are 47 or pinky promise they won't date). I know that heart break is a potential reality that I won't be able to keep her from. But I pray that her heart is never broken because someone treats her with less respect than she deserves, or touches her in a manner that is hurtful or harmful. I pray that she will always hold on to the simple fact that she is amazing, and intelligent, and wonderful, and strong and beautiful and anyone who doesn't see that or appreciate that isn't worth her time/energy/attention...
One of the ways to celebrate International Women's Day was with a 5K (or one mile) run...
So today I ran for my daughter. I ran for me. I ran for any woman who has a similar story to mine. For anyone whose current reality is what mine was. For all women and whatever struggle or burden or challenge they are going through. And equally important, for all women who are celebrating a triumph or success or just simply glad for the ability to get through this day. I ran to be bold. Not because I can change my story, but because I will hopefully change someone else's story by sharing mine.
#BeBoldForChange #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2017
Thank you for sharing your story! I know it must be very difficult to think about. When I was practicing therapy I really enjoyed working with women with PTSD from these situations because seeing them overcome and become empowered was so amazing. You are such a great role model for your daughter!ReplyDelete
Thank you Jenny! I'm glad those women had you helping them get through their situations!Delete