Today, I will share my journey. It was not an easy one, but it made me strong and brave and made me realize my worth and value as a survivor – a soul surviving abuse, a soul surviving violence – at the hands of whom I loved the most. I am sure my story of becoming me will help you too in recognizing your worth and potential.
I met him in my teenage years. He was a wonderful and charming guy, and I felt I had found my prince charming. We fell in love, and it was a perfect relationship until I realized that I was experiencing emotional, psychological, and physical abuse.
The emotional and psychological abuse started with his need to constantly control me. At first, I didn't realize how his behavior negatively impacted me. I thought he was possessive and protective about me, and I liked that. However, his true intentions were very subtle and were gradually revealed over time. He completely isolated me from my family, friends, and social circle. I was not allowed to meet anyone from my family or social circle, and he was the only person left in my life. This isolation was killing me deep inside.
The emotional and psychological abuse didn't stop there. He was a narcissist, and often degraded me. He questioned my personality, values, and physique. He made me internalize his criticisms and convinced me that no one could ever love me but him. I was broken and shattered. My confidence was at the lowest and I started questioning my self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence. I felt incompetent, unloved, and inadequate.
He was so obsessed with his personality and power that the emotional and psychological abuse soon turned into physical violence. One morning, when I was preparing breakfast, he yelled at me, held my neck in his hands and nearly killed me. That was the icebreaking! After that day, physical abuse became a routine norm in my life. I got slapped and tortured over minor things. My self-worth and self-esteem were at the lowest. I didn't look after myself. I questioned my life and started hating myself. Months passed like this, and it's been two years, I was in an abusive relationship.
A week before our second anniversary, he put his gun on my head and threatened to kill me. It became my breaking point. I had been bearing all the trauma and abuse- first out of love, he was my prince charming, and a cool guy and I was not ready to accept that he could be an "abuser." However, with time, that love was replaced by fear. I was so terrified; I couldn't even imagine a world outside my home where I could share my experiences. I was so embarrassed to share that I had been living in an abusive relationship for the past two years; I thought no one could ever believe me. However, the gun incident was the last nail in the coffin of our relationship. I decided that I wouldn't lose my life in the hands of an abuser. I mustered up all the courage and decided to leave that abusive relationship forever. When he left for his work, I left with all my belongings and went straight to the police station. I dared to name him an "abuser." After going through hell for the past two years, I was being heard and valued and felt protected. Police listened to me with patience and acted on my complaint and put my abuser – once my lover, behind bars. That was where he belonged!
Afterwards, I was taken to hospital by authorities for my physical checkup. My body had many bruises, I was admitted to the hospital. The hospital staff and doctors were very cooperative and caring. I was among positive, compassionate, and supportive people. I felt alive, protected, and started gaining confidence.
I was with people who were not judgmental. My body and soul were healing. It was so good to feel alive after years of violence. I loved my new self, I started gaining confidence. I identified my self-worth and decided to keep going and rising with every passing day.
Once my physical and mental condition became normal, I also joined several Facebook groups to raise my voice with other fellow survivors and against the abusers.
My life's new purpose is to support the survivors, report the abusers, and create awareness in the society. I want to give them confidence that the world would believe them because I know that lack of confidence and low self-esteem are horrible things. Low confidence and self-esteem have the tendency to keep the survivor in an abusive relationship and make him or her believe that there is no one to trust and share their experiences with. Therefore, I found my place working with an organization that works for domestic abuse survivors. I have become a voice of unheard souls. I am stronger and confident than before. I have recognized my worth and potential. I feel competent. I have identified my potential and I know life is precious and much more than living in an abusive relationship. I have set my boundaries, and I stand against abuse and violence a strong spirit.
While spending my days working tirelessly for survivors, a question often strikes in my mind. Who am I? A victim or a survivor? Recently, I have discovered the answer; I am ME! Rising and growing stronger with each passing day. I am one of you, I am with you. Stand up for your rights, you are strong, you are brave, report your abuser, and together we will rise and shine.