Hushed Voices, Secrets Untold

Giving women a voice, one day at a time

Archive for the tag “abuse”


I wrote this post a long time ago, and I was going to save it until my story was complete, but I feel that now is the time to release it. This post explains a question I invariably receive when I tell people I am a domestic violence survivor.

People always ask, ” Have you forgiven him yet?”

Talk about the potential elephant in the room. This answer is always, emphatically, “YES.” What follows is a barrage of questions relating to how, why, when, etc…

Then  I begin to explain.

As a domestic violence survivor, we have to have time to heal, as any victim of any violent crime. Part of the healing process is facing our anger, working through our pain, healing and learning to forgive.

My journey of healing began 17 years ago. Now, as you can imagine, learning to forgive my ex-husband was one of the most complicated, difficult and immensely painful things I have ever done. You may ask how I could forgive a man that did all these horrible things to me.

The explanation is simple. As a minister once told me after my domestic violence ordeal, “If you do not forgive, he keeps winning. You must learn to forgive or the hurt will eat you alive and make you hateful and bitter. Do not let the hurt change you.”

Forgiving my abuser, was the absolute hardest thing I had to do, but it had to be done, to keep me from becoming an angry, and revengeful person. Forgiveness was also extremely painful. It was painful because, to forgive him, I had to be able to forgive him for all the pain and suffering he caused me. I begged and pleaded with God, to help me find another way, to not have to forgive him.

God then made me see, that he taught us to forgive, and we should do the same.

Forgiveness was also complicated. See, I had children that were angry and hurt, and had witnessed some of the abuse. They did not understand why I was going to forgive their father for hurting me. I explained to them that just because I forgave him did not mean I forgot.

I will never forget.

I forgave their father, because he was just that, their father, and one day they would want a relationship with him, one that could be destroyed by my hurt and hate.

So, I went through the paces with my faith, my domestic violence counselors, and God, and I learned to forgive.

Forgiveness, what a powerful word. So many things are wrapped up in that one word. No wonder God wanted us to learn that word.

As I am writing this, I remember how difficult and gut-wrenching that task was. Am I sorry I forgave him? No.

Like I said before, my healing journey began 17 years ago, but that was after 10 solid years of abuse. It has not been easy, and I struggle to maintain my recovery every day. I still have bad days and good days. Every domestic violence victim is always on the road to recovery. We are always working on self-motivation, self-preservation, self-discovery, self-esteem and all those things that lead us to a better place. It takes work everyday.

Abuse leads to a  victim being completely broken, exposed, completely vulnerable and leaves them open for a lifetime of  having episodes when these feelings are worse than others. Therefore, recovery is a lifelong process. It is imperative that every domestic violence victim keeps working towards their recovery everyday. Forgiveness is a part of that recovery.

If you are holding on to hate and hurt, you must let it go before it destroys the life you could have. I know forgiveness is hard, but trust in God and he will show you the way.



Living with Domestic Violence – Part III

We are now in Georgia, and I am working at a chain of movie rental stores as a Controller (accountant). My marriage has continued to deteriorate, and at this point I have started to fear for my life, and for my children.

The attacks of violence have become so frequent that I am so used to them now that the flowers and forgiveness routine have no effect on me. I am numb and I am walking through life with literally no emotion but fear.

The abuse is no encompassing the entire range, both physical and emotional.

My co-workers begin to notice the bruises on my neck, face, arms, cheeks, etc….

They tell me, “You don’t have to live like this.” Of course I tell them, “I know”, and I keep on with what whatever I was doing. Now, you have to undersand the cycle of abuse.

When you are living a life of domestic violence, there is a love/violence circle that goes on day after day, month after month, year after year. There will be days of peace, days of hurt, and pain.

The days that are filled with hurt and pain are followed by apologies, flowers, promises to never do it again, and filled with love. Those days can be long periods of time or short ones. You never know with domestic violence offenders, they have anger issues, they drink and they have very short fuses. You never know what will set them off. It could be something simple as a wrinkle in their favorite shirt, it could be their food is not heated properly, it doesn’t really matter the reason, it just happens.

The days that are filled with hurt and pain, you say to your self, “How can I stay?” and the days filled with peace you say, “Why should I leave?” This cycle continues until you just cannot stay anymore.

One night will live forever in my memory.

I made him his favorite meal, my beef stew. He says it was made him fall in love with me. I am busy setting he table. He comes home from work angry about something. I of course start my “walking on eggshells’ routine. Well that doesn’t work. Beef stew winds up everywhere. The rampage has begun. The screaming started first, then the hitting, but tonight was different, he was in a rage. He woke up my oldest son, with his yelling, and in his rage he picked up a box of books. He threw them at me, and well about the time he launched them at me, my son happened to step in the room.

I became outraged and went after him. In his anger, he picked me up and threw me against a wall, and I landed in a heap in the floor. I knew I was hurt badly so, I pretty much just stayed there huddled in the floor, with my child in my arms, until his rage subsided, and he passed out.

My son was in shock at what his father had done, at what he had witnessed. I managed to make it to work the next morning, only to be taken to the doctor, to be told I had some injuries which required care.

No, I did not divulge how they happened. I pulled the usual domestic violence victim routine.

I had fallen down the stairs.

These memories are not easy for me, but they must be told so that another victim can find the courage to get help, I did. In upcoming posts I will tak about how I got away and got help. If you are hurting and need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline Number  1−800−799−SAFE  (7233), there are people waiting there to help you. There are also resources on this blog under Get Help.

Make the call, it will change your life. You do not have to life this way.



Living with Domestic Violence – Part II

I began this story in December of 2010 here on this blog and never continued it. Well, it is time I told you the rest of the story. I left off in California I believe. Our marriage continued to deteriorate. There were a lot of fights and emotional abuse. I was back handed at the dinner table on many occasions. We had friends living with us, for reasons I won’t go in to, and they were worried about my state of well being. Well, finally my husband was discharged from the military, and we headed home to live with his parents, until we could find a place to live and get settled. I was hoping being around family would modify his behavior.

We moved home in April of 1988. I was 4 months pregnant with our second child. At first things seemed better. But, then with the frustration of not having a normal salary and not being able to find a job, it started again. The screaming, the emotional abuse, the back handing at the dinner table. One instance I remember very clearly. I had made dinner, and it evidently wasn’t what he wanted, and the entire dinner ended up on the dining room floor. Yes, that was normal in our house.

Well, we finally moved to Georgia, where my husband was working. We had moved many times in between. I won’t bore you with where and how. Just know that the emotional/physical violence is increasing. In Georgia is where the heart of my story begins to unfold. It is now 1992 and my children are 4 and 7.

Now, you ask yourself why does she put up with the abuse? You have to understand the cycle of abuse. The woman, or abused person, becomes afraid to go and afraid to stay. She becomes afraid of the consequences if she stays and afraid of the consequences if she leaves. I had someone tell me today, that the woman makes a conscious choice to stay. I told the person evidently they have no understanding of what it is like to be abused.

When you are living a life of domestic violence there is a love/violence circle that goes on day after day, month after month, year after year. There will be days of peace and days of hurt and pain. The days that are filled with hurt and pain are followed by apologies, flowers, promises to never do it again, and filled with love. Those days can be long periods of time or short ones. The days that are filled with hurt and pain, you say to your self, “How can I stay?” and the days filled with peace you say, “Why should I leave?” This cycle continues until you just cannot stay anymore.

I will continue my story and its conclusion in subsequent posts. They will be difficult to write. I suppose that is why it has take a year and a half to continue the story but it must continue. Not only for my sake but, for the millons of women that suffer silently each year. These women should not have to suffer in silence. Domestic violence isn’t their fault. They should not be ashamed. We have to make a change and it has to start today.

If you or someone you know is suffering please get help.  Help is available here on this website under the topic Get Help, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline Number  1−800−799−SAFE  (7233). 

Be the change, save a life.




Silent Pain

These last few months have been really hard on my extended family has we have dealt with yet another suicide. This time it was my ex-brother-in-law. He left behind a 20 year old son and a 16 year old daughter. He and his wife had been married for 25 years. Later that same week a friend of mine also suffered a suicide loss in his family as well.  Then this week I have watched two of my friends struggle with how to get their loved ones mental help that are struggling to deal with awful things that have happened in their lives.

I am struggling with trying to help these people with their pain and suffering as much as I can but at some point I have come to the realization that these people need more help than I can give them. Silent pain, as I call it, is a killer. This means keeping stuff bottled up inside, refusing there is a problem, not wanting to change the situation, or wanting to change it but not wanting to do the work to make it change, and cutting yourself off from all those that love you to be around those that make you feel better about yourself in very bad ways.

Silent pain is something domestic violence victims are very, very familiar with. If there is no treatment after domestic violence, this silent pain starts to eat away at the very fabric of your being and you become defensive to those you love, you cut yourself off from those that love you the most, you begin a self-destructive pattern of alcohol, or drug abuse, sleeping around, doing anything that makes you feel “good”, and I use that term loosely.

Watching someone try to stuff this pain deep inside and act like all is normal is hard. They are literally a walking time bomb waiting to go off. They act like if they ignore it, it will go away, or if they don’t think about it, it just won’t be there. Or they keep moving so fast, staying busy as to not to have to deal with it. Does this sound like you or someone you know? If so please, please seek help before this silent killer, kills you. Therapy is critical after any traumatic event that leaves you broken and vulnerable.

If you have children, you must seek help so that you can continue to be the stable parent they depend on. They cannot help you, do not turn to them for help and comfort. You need expert help, someone that can understand your suffering and help you deal with the demons that are taunting you. If you need help there is help available here on my website. Your call will be kept confidential, but please get help before it is too late.



Old Threats

I have been speaking lately to several women who have been set back in their journey to recover from domestic violence by the reappearance of the ex-husband and the violence that came from that reappearance. I have watched the landslide that came with that reappearance and it is just horrible how much progress disappears when that threat makes itself known again. I have watched them struggle with the self-confidence they worked so hard to gain and felt for them when they tried to describe how far they thought they had come until he walked back into their lives.

It is amazing how hard domestic violence victims have to fight to regain their sense of self and their independence after being left completely vulnerable and exposed by the offender, whether it be a spouse or a boyfriend. And it is even more amazing how fast it all comes tumbling down when that threat reappears and becomes real again.

One of these women had been to a couple of police departments recently, begging for help and protection from her ex. He was stalking her, calling her, following her, and appearing at her work. She even had to change her phone number. What was she told? There was nothing they could do. He knows how the system works, he would provoke her just to the point as not to get arrested, therefore according to the law he had done nothing wrong. Meanwhile he making this woman feel threatened, scared and miserable, and laughing about it.

As a woman who has survived horrible violence at the hands of an abuser this angered me! How dare a police department whose job it is to serve and protect say there is nothing we can do. Domestic violence laws have to change and change now. There is never an instance where a woman should not feel save in her own home and her own place of employment, and she should never be told her own police department can do nothing to protect her.

I challenge each and every one of you to make a difference and help STOP domestic violence once and for all. This cannot continue. Women must feel safe, they must know that the police can and will make a difference and that they can stop this behavior all together and let it be known it is not acceptable and will not be tolerated!



I was speaking with someone the other day and they asked me, after everything I have been through, why had I not just thrown in the towel so to speak. They wondered why I wasn’t suicidal, nervous, on drugs, a mental case per se. I get asked that question a lot. My life has been hard, but not as hard as some I expect.

In 1975 I lost my father to suicide at age 9. I lived in a household where my father was abusive to my mother, was an alcoholic and he eventually died. His death was horrible and tragic and my mother did not handle it well. My mother then remarried.

When I was in high school, my boyfriend was murdered after he dropped me at home after a date. Later, in 1985 I married a man that would abuse me for 10 years before that marriage ended in divorce. In 1993 my beautiful daughter Ceara Alexa died. This for me was the most painful thing I have endured in my lifetime. Then in 1999 the night before Thanksgiving my brother committed suicide when he was 32 years old. In April 2010 I buried my last remaining parent, my mother. Grief and I are very familiar with each other; there has been a great deal of it.

Now, while all of these things are horrible and seem to just go on and on I have always reminded myself of five things:

Life is too short to be miserable, you must go on living and loving.

With God anything is possible.

Life is too precious to waste.

There is always someone worse off than you are.

Finally, my motto: That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I owe a great deal of my ability to persevere to my church and clergy, my faith has never let me down. Also, after my domestic violence ordeal, I owe a great deal to the people within the domestic violence organization, without them my life after my ordeal would not be what it is today. If you had told me 15 years ago I would be graduating Cum Laude with my Master’s Degree in a few short weeks I would have looked at you and told you, you were crazy, it wasn’t possible for me. Time changes things but so does your ability to persevere. If you are being abused, just have faith that you will and can change your life, this isn’t and doesn’t have to be forever. There are people here willing to help you. They helped me and I have persevered.


Living With Domestic Violence

I met the man that abused me, I was 16 years old, miserable at home and not happy with life in general. I met him while I was working at a restaurant and he was a waiter, he was 4 years older than me and had been in college a while. He was good looking, well-off, well-mannered, he spoiled me, made me feel like a queen and he was very charming. He had the kind of charm that as my mom would say “could charm the skin off of a snake”.

Many have asked, did I recognize when I was dating him, what my life with him would be like? Looking back I can honestly say that we had fights, nothing most dating couples didn’t have, but ours were worse. He had a bad temper and yes he liked to drink even then, a lot. I just contributed that to him being part of a fraternity and the college life. Well, we got married my second semester in college and shortly thereafter, I was pregnant.

He convinced me to leave college and then proceeded to drag me 1,200 miles away from any of my family and friends. The abuse started quietly, mostly anger to start and of course the drinking. He was in the military and we were barely making ends meet and the financial stress, as well as the stress of a military job started making things worse. One day he came home and his dinner was on the table and it had gotten cold, and all of a sudden I felt him back hand me across the face. Of course I was horrified and he begged me to forgive him and he swore never to do that again. The following few days were tranquil. This cycle of bruised cheeks and apologizing repeated it self for several months, and then he got stationed in another city 3,000 miles away from my family and friends in California. Then things began to change.

I will continue this story in my subsequent posts. If you have never been abused these next posts may be difficult to read but they are important. The veil of secrecy and silence that has been a part of domestic violence must be lifted and the abused must have a voice. If you are suffering, there is information here to help you. Please speak out, find your voice and get the help you need.

Please feel free to comment, your comments are welcome.

Domestic Violence Prevention

Domestic violence is a vicious cycle that grabs a hold of families and repeats itself over generations. When I was a little girl, growing up in a home filled with domestic violence and alcoholism, my mother never had time to talk to me about how to avoid domestic violence as she was living her own personal nightmare. After my father died and we moved on, all my mother wanted to do was forget about everything that had happened to her. I don’t think she ever really dealt with all of the feelings and the pain. As I grew older, my mother never wanted to talk about the pain she endured, nor would she ever talk about my father. I grew up literally not understanding what had happened in my own home. Until I was living my own hell, called domestic violence, and then it was too late.

The key to prevention and breaking the cycle is speaking out, finding a voice and educating others.  Had my mother talked to me about her experiences, and given me the tools to be educated about domestic violence, the cycle may have ended with her. However, I never found out what behaviors to look for, what signs to look for, and how not to be drawn to men that make me feel good about myself in ways that are not healthy. If you have a daughter, please make sure she is aware of this problem, and what to do if it occurs. Also, talk to her about how a good man is supposed to treat her, and how to stay away from men that will only hurt her.

Another means of prevention is community education and volunteering at agencies that provide assistance to these victims. Getting the word out about this silent epidemic is key to prevent it from spreading.  Domestic violence is the silent epidemic no one talks about, because society has given a stigma to domestic violence survivors, like we have something to be ashamed of. This has to change if we are to conquer this problem.

I am not ashamed, I do not hang my head and want to hide the fact I was abused. If anyone should be ashamed it is the abusers NOT the victims. Once I was free, it took me years of therapy to understand that the violence occurred not because of something I did but, because he was insecure and did not love himself enough to love me the way I was meant to be loved. It took me forever to realize that none of my suffering was my fault. I finally realized I could be loved for me the way I was meant to be loved, and there was help out there, and another life free of pain and suffering.

If you are suffering and need help, I have listed four contacts under the Get Help section of my blog. You can click there and find the help you need.



What is Domestic Violence?

In my last post I talked about defining domestic violence. What is domestic violence? Domestic violence is about manipulation, anger and control. Domestic violence includes emotional, physical and sexual abuse, even if the abuse is subtle. Domestic violence can include loud verbal abuse or arguments, non-physical, but it is just as demeaning and degrading. The abuse can be sexual, using the bedroom as the punishment for wrong doing, or it can be simply physical, leaving tell-tale signs on the abused partner.

Those who abuse are all about anger and control. Everything must be manipulated and controlled by them. Their control is what gives them the “power” to demean and degrade in the relationship. Domestic violence begins silently like a brewing storm. One day he begins to question where you have been, who you have been talking to. This quickly escalates to him checking your cell phone, monitoring your calls, refusing to allow you to talk on the phone to others unless he is present, and then removing your phone completely because he is afraid he can no longer control you in fear you may call for help. Then he begins following you to work, refusing to let you take your own car to work, and then begins going everywhere with you including the grocery store and even the bathroom because he no longer trusts you.

Then the process begins of cutting you off from everyone and everything you love. This is the ultimate “power” trip for most abusers. He is in total control at this point; you have no one but him. He thinks he has you where he wants you. This is where the physical violence usually begins to escalate. The smacks across the table and the bruised cheeks are no longer enough. He has a point to prove. You belong to him and no one else. The violence becomes more routine and if he drinks that escalates as well.

This is why most domestic violence offenders are outraged when the victims finally leave or seek help. They have lost control. It is all about the control.

If you are suffering, you are not to blame, they are. Reach out, I know it is hard and frightening, but that phone call could save your life, and lead to a new life of health and happiness. If you need help please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline Number  1−800−799−SAFE  (7233). There are people waiting there who care.


Defining Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a vicious cycle that grabs a hold of families and repeats itself over generations. I am a survivor, my mother was a survivor. I never wanted to repeat the cycle that my mother endured. For some reason, children of domestic violence seem drawn to those that will repeat the cycle for them, people that are not good for them or their self-esteem. Growing up in a home filled with domestic violence I never wanted that kind of life for my children, but unfortunately I got drawn into that violent cycle as a young girl.

When I speak of my years living in a marriage with domestic violence, people always ask, “Why did you stay so long?” This is not an easy question to answer. When you are living a life of domestic violence there is a love/violence circle that goes on day after day, month after month, year after year. There will be days of peace and days of hurt and pain.

The days that are filled with hurt and pain are followed by apologies, flowers, promises to never do it again, and filled with love. Those days can be long periods of time or short ones. You never know with domestic violence offenders, they have anger issues, they drink and they have very short fuses. You never know what will set them off. It could be something simple as a wrinkle in their favorite shirt, it could be their food is not heated properly, it doesn’t really matter the reason, it just happens.

The days that are filled with hurt and pain, you say to your self, “How can I stay?” and the days filled with peace you say, “Why should I leave?” This cycle continues until you just cannot stay anymore.

As I continue this journey I will explore many of the answers to these questions and try to answer many more about finding help and escaping the hell that is domestic violence. For now, I would like to leave the National Domestic Violence Hotline Number  1−800−799−SAFE (7233). If you are reading this and need help please do not be afraid to call. There are people waiting here to help you. I know making this call is frightening, I made that call and it changed my life. Help is waiting, you are not alone.



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