Submitted by: Christina, Survivor
Those who have not been abused often ask survivors of domestic violence why they stay so long. While each survivor may have different reasons, they are all valid. Survivor Christina shares how the abuse began – and escalated – after marrying her high school sweetheart, her reasons for staying, how she left, and where she is now.
Christina married her high school sweetheart. The entire time they dated, she never saw anything out of the way. And then they got married.
A few weeks after getting married, the physical abuse began.
The first time Christina got hurt was a few weeks into their marriage. He eventually ended up breaking her back twice and injured her arms badly enough that she had to have surgery. The doctors have told her that she will have arthritis in every part of her body.
He would beat her and tell her that if she left no one would want her, she would not have anything, and she could not survive without him. And she believed him. He had Christina quit her job because he wanted her to be a ‘stay at home mom,’ which meant that he wanted to isolate her from family and friends. Each time Christina tried to leave, he would tell her those terrible things and threaten to kill her or her children.
After enduring seven years of an abusive marriage, Christina left with her children.
Christina lived like this for seven years, seven years of enduring pain, hurt, and trauma. Finally, on her 30th birthday, she got the courage to leave after another long night of injury and threats. She left with a diaper bag and a sweatshirt. Her children were 3 1/2 and 18 months when she left.
For years she lived with guilt, fear, and nightmares. Christina was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder from all the damage he had caused. She believed everything he said. She felt worthless and hopeless, and there were many nights that Christina didn’t want to live to see another day.
People have asked how she could stay so long. When it is your life, when it is all you know, and you have been brainwashed to believe that you cannot make it, your only option is to stay. It has taken Christina many, many years to finally get to the point where she no longer has the triggers or the panic attacks.
After many years of healing, Christina has a happy marriage and works to help other women and children who have been impacted by domestic violence.
Today, Christina is married to an amazing man of God who treats her like a queen. He loves her unconditionally and believes in her and supports her dreams. He loves her children like they are his own. Recently, Christina finished an LPN program at University. She also has two jobs and serves as the director of a shelter for women and children that have been victims of domestic violence.
“There is hope, and there is someone out there that will love you and show you what true love is. It is not your fault. There are days that you make it a minute at a time and days that you make it an hour at a time, and before you know it, those minutes and hours turn into days and then years.
“You are not alone. There are people that understand and that love and support you and will help you out of your situation. You can make it!”
**If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page.
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