After years of abusive relationship after abusive relationship, life came crashing in on me. I felt terrified. I could not see a way out. Along came my next abuser. He rode in on a white horse… okay I got a phone call. He was someone I had known for many years. He was familiar to me and I felt safe. He wanted to rescue me.
This was a new experience. Me? “The damsel-in-distress?” No way! I was a force to be reckoned with. I had done it all on my own, having raised three children as a single parent, owned my home. I was trained in interviewing techniques, not to trust people. I was cautious of charming and manipulative personalities. I was a Corrections Officer and worked in a prison. These were abusers of every kind and skill level. I was strong, educated and experienced. Now, I felt completely paralyzed.
My abuser slowly developed my trust. It seemed I could tell him anything and there was no judgement, just tenderness. He was romantic and strong. He made me feel safe. I felt loved and accepted. His compliments and affection spoke love to me.
Several months into the relationship, I tried to have a conversation about his flirting and texting other women. He exploded, screaming at the top of his lungs, calling me names. I was terrified and humiliated. He had done this in public. He screamed at me that he was the best thing that ever happened to me. As he stormed down the street, I was reeling in disbelief. He came back later and apologized and said it would never happen again. That behavior became my normal.
Eventually things became more brutal, so verbally abusive, so graphic and vile. I felt as if I was nothing— worthless. I thought I must have provoked all of this somehow. Then it became physical, he grabbed and twisted my arms in pain. I tried to get away but he chased me, throwing me across the room. He held his fist to my face, telling me he should just smash me.
We started seeing his counselor together. He walked out. I sat there with his counselor who suggested I get out before it got worse. My woman’s pastor told me about ARMS.
The Her Journey class was free, what a blessing. I would not have been able to go if it were not free.
I walked into class the very first time so scared but I met a lovely lady who led the class. She made me feel safe and explained how the class worked. I realized my healing was a process, not a quick fix.
The other women attending were just like me. Their stories were so similar. Their abusers words and actions were eerily similar to mine. As I attended Her Journey, my mind was filled with hope. My heart began to accept the concept of self-love and I began a journey in the pursuit of truth. Each week the lessons revealed the darkness and the lies that I had believed. I was learning to break the strongholds in my thinking. I was learning how to break the cycle of abuse. I didn’t just have knowledge now, I had spiritual freedom from what I learned in the faith-based curriculum. It began to reveal the love, peace and truth of God to my soul.
It showed me how God wants me to be loved and how I should be treated. I am enough because God made me that way. It gave me power with God to walk out and to get away from my abuser. I am here today, strong, brave and free!