By Jamey Sheesley
Life after domestic violence can seem scary because it is starting over with a blank sheet of paper. Trusting people is hard and self-doubt is lurking around every corner. Love after domestic violence seems even harder.
How can you even think of loving again? Love hurt you so bad.
This is Kristen’s story of life after domestic violence. If you do not know who Kristen is, then here is a little about her. She is the joy that makes you smile even if you feel like crying. She is the fire in such a dark world. She is the person everyone needs during healing from domestic violence. There are not enough positive phrases to describe her. Kristen is the founder of Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence and she is living proof that life after domestic violence can be wonderful even through the rough patches. You can learn more about Kristen and the backstory of BTSADV here.
Kristen is a survivor just like you. She suffered and her life was turned upside down, but this is not about that. This is about the happiness she found after domestic violence. When she met her fiancé, Kristen was not even looking for a significant other; it just happened. True love has a funny way of working out when you let it.
A year after Kristen broke her silence, she met TerryJosiah and her world changed. However, being a survivor of domestic violence, creating relationships does not always come easy. She experienced self-doubt at the beginning of the relationship, “I remember just thinking, this is too good to be true, something is going to go wrong.”
It took her awhile to look at her own self-sabotaging attitude. It is hard to go through domestic violence and trust again, but it is possible.
Like many survivors, Kristen met TerryJosiah when she was still healing. “He was definitely a part of my healing,” she said.
When they first met, they just started hanging out as friends. They went to the movies and nothing about the friendship felt forced. Even with her own insecurities, she felt safe with him. She also realized that she needed to be with someone that could align with her path and share common interests with her.
Society always makes it seem like people are less than if they are not in a relationship, just look at the commercials shown on television. It could be a couple at a jewelry store, buying a car, or remodeling a house. In reality, no one needs to be with someone just to have someone. It is so important for survivors to start finding themselves after suffering their trauma. Kristen founded BTSADV and poured her heart and soul into it and she still does. Her fiancé just happened to align with her and she changed his life as much as he changed hers. That is what love should be like. There should be no pain and trauma.
Even though Kristen has a wonderful relationship with TerryJosiah, she still has to fight old habits. “I think I have a lot better reaction time now, I can catch myself and stop myself if I start self-sabotaging,” said Kristen.
She also works on her mindset. Being negative attracts negative things and people, but being positive attracts positive events and people that can help a survivor heal. Negative thoughts are hard to get rid of, but it is a process like going to the gym. It does not just happen instantly it takes perseverance.
On Friday, February 22, Kristen’s world changed again. She cut the ribbon at the grand opening for BTS and TerryJosiah proposed to her in the sweetest way.
This can be you, too. Life does not end after domestic violence; it begins. You can start your life over however you want, just as Kristen did. Do not let your passion fade, let it grow and love yourself. Even through the hurt and insecurities, never give up. You can still meet the person of your dreams. Victim is not your defining term; you are a survivor, you are a warrior, and you deserve the best. Create the life you have always wanted. If you find yourself getting frustrated, forgive yourself; you have been through a lot. Not everyone’s healing is going to take the same amount of time.
Kristen and TerryJosiah are proof that love can still exist after a world of hurt. Never give up, your person is out there, you just have to get in the right mindset so you can find them. If you have a happy and wonderful love story after domestic violence, you can share it with us here.