Searing pain, a vibrant fear, and the swirling uncertainty of what to do this time. He has you good and scared. Bending to what it is he wants, that is, of course until you break some arbitrary rule or cross some imagined line in his mind. So you did it again and here you sit for the 10th time in the emergency room.
If you would just listen and follow the rules he wouldn’t get so mad it must be your fault. You did the laundry wrong again, you put far too much pepper on his meal or maybe, just maybe, you didn’t do a single thing wrong!
Maybe he is wrong? Maybe he is insecure, lazy, stupid, a slob and undeserving. Consider that for a moment. What has he told you? What has he actually done for you? Get those words and his voice out of your mind. A roof over your head? Nobody likes you, but HIS friends do. Food maybe even clothes or nice jewelry, do you have children now? Feeling a bit trapped? My dear, trapped you are not.
People are there. That roof over your head can be replaced. The isolation he snuck in is imagined. Call those friends or family you haven’t spoken to; I don’t care if it’s been years. Call someone. Clothes, food, jewelry…These are all material things that can be replaced. Honestly, I would gladly clear out my closet and pantry if that will help you. Your neighbors who can hear you scream and cry with terror and pain? Yes, even them. Put them in that, seemingly, difficult uncomfortable situation. Knock on that door (even if you do so with your children at your hip) and ask for help. Call the police or run. Whatever he said you have done, these are lies. I promise you, they are lies.
It is initially up to you and despite how terrifying that moment is relief will soon flood over you. Washing you in a sensation(s) you cannot yet begin to imagine. Your fear will lift, you’ll realize one day, maybe when you’re making yourself dinner that you actually love the taste of pepper and you just might be okay. Maybe you will smother that mac n cheese in so much pepper you can hardly stand it. It’s definitely awful but you wanted that pepper and it’s your meal. He can no longer harm you because you found your voice. You spoke up for yourself and possibly your children. I want to send you a hug right now. Reach for it, touch it and feel it. It’s there. I’m here and so many, many people are around. Use your voice, use their voices and get out.
Enough is enough. Many women reach that point, but many more do not. I’m writing this to tell you, it’s possible to get out, heal and then live. My husband would not ever harm me. It would never even cross his mind. Find what it is you actually deserve, not what you were conditioned to accept; don’t base your entire life on the lies of another and don’t live in fear and pain. I’m here to tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, you deserve better. Yes, you do.
I’d like to leave you with this. I shared this, years ago with a woman I knew, relatively well. She had later told me that when she read that note it struck a chord, in a profound way. The note was short and read, “define your life,” followed by these simple definitions and my cell phone number.
Domestic- ADJ. of or relating to the running of a home or to family relations.
Violence- NOUN. Behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
Call me when you’re ready,
Family can be defined in many different ways, but ONE thing about a real family is they do not intend to hurt, damage, or kill. I saw someone who needed help, I was able to help. One thing for everyone to take from this is if you see something say something. You have your voice, use it for someone who hasn’t quite found theirs yet.
If you or someone you know is in need of help these are national organizations that can get you the help you need! Call, reach out to someone, and use their voice to make yours a powerful force to be heard.
US: http://www.thehotline.org/ 1 (800) 799-7233
UK: http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/ 0808 2000 247
Erika is a freelance photographer from Chicago, IL. She has worked as an entertainment & nightlife writer, as well as a model. Her & her husband now live in Indiana with their ferrets. They are very passionate about animal rescue & rehabilitation. She lives with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) PTSD, Depression & Anxiety. Some of her parts struggle with their own individual mental health problems; an ED & OCD to name two. It took many years but she found her voice and now is actively speaking out against the stigma surrounding mental illness and the lack of assistance for those struggling to reach out. In addition, she also lives with some limiting physical health conditions which unfortunately have made working impossible. For now, she is focused on her writing, speaking engagements, painting and her small family.
You can follow Erika on Twitter.