Written by: Paige, Survivor
I’m not even sure how to start this. My life with my family was great for a really long time, but then it was like a switch flipped. I was eleven when it all started. At first, it was just threats from my mom’s husband. If I did something he didn’t like, he would tell me he was going to break my jaw or nose.
But then it escalated… to him beating me with a belt. Of course, then I didn’t agree with a person getting disciplined, but now it’s okay as long as it doesn’t go too far. My stepdad took it too far. He would use a belt on me and didn’t just hit my backside but my legs and back as well. I stopped wearing shorts and tank tops because I didn’t want anyone to see. He started to hit me when he didn’t hear what he wanted and basically programmed me to just say what people wanted to hear.
When I was 14, it went to a whole new level. My mother and I had gotten into an argument. He grabbed me up by my throat and pinned me on the bed. I started hitting him on the head with my fist. He slammed his arm and elbow down on my chest and broke three of my ribs.
But that wasn’t all. He knew for about a year or two that I was depressed and suicidal. So, he told me that if I wanted to die, he could make it happen. At that point, he had his gun to my head. My mom just stood behind him saying nothing.
Over the years before that, my mom had bought me horses and had me enrolled in military things. Everyone thought she was doing it for me. But to me, it was a way for her to try and make up for not protecting me. It’s still hard for me to open up about my past, which has made my relationships – both romantic and friendships – in life extremely hard.
Over the past few years, I have gotten better with my past trauma. When I was 16, I told myself that one day I would become a public speaker and talk about my story to help youth and adults that have been physically abused. I want to help people realize that it’s not their fault because for so many years I thought everything that happened was because of me.
I went down a road of addiction, telling myself that the drug could numb my pain and make it disappear. In the end, it just pushed it to the back of my mind. As soon as I had gotten off the drug, it all came rushing back. It made me realize that trying to push it away wasn’t going to help me.
I don’t know what it is… I just met a person that had been through some of the same things. It made me feel good to talk to them about my thoughts and feelings. Helping them get through their pain helped to heal mine.
I wanted so much to help people know it’s okay to talk about the abuse they have been through. There was something about talking to someone that made me feel so much better. I want to be able to talk about my trauma and pain to show people that you can go somewhere in life. They don’t have to become a statistic. That they can make themselves stronger.
**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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