Recognize and Drive forward - Create your own future
In order to decide to tell my story I read many other stories first. Growing up in America and belonging to this group I have often wondered if I have anything of value that can help others that have suffered much more than I. After reading the many stories I believe I can add how I escaped abuse and over a period of many years was able to thrive much more than I ever expected I would.
I grew up in the Midwestern US. A location known for its honesty and family values. And keeping secrets... I am the oldest of many children a girl. Then many boys and my sister. Book end you can say are the girls. My father abused my mother for me being a girl. While he only moderately abused me (if abuse and moderate can be used together) my brother 2nd born received abuse very extensively for not being born first. When I was 10 my sister was born when they found out it was a girl my father demanded my mother have an abortion. She refused and his beating were worse. Both my mother and sister survived and then he started cheating with other women. My mother found out a few months later and some how having never worked have a bunch of kids gathered the strength of friends and divorced him. She worked 2 jobs and went back to school. We moved around a lot and I took the caretaker roll. Mom received an associates degree in accounting years later. We survived physically but my brother had many years of emotional and drug issues. At 29 he died of a drug overdose shortly after my mother died of cancer. She had always been his advocate and he couldn't see life without her.
At 18 I married. Shortly after being married I fell into the same abusive relationship that my mother did. I stayed married for 3 years. I made every excuse in the world for the reasons why. My fault, he had a bad day, etc... It was the alcohol at first then he would promise to never do it again but eventually it happened again. I was lying to family and friends. Apparently I became very clumsy laughing it off. He then he found God. Things were going to change. Soon after - he began to find passages in the bible as justification of how I was disobeying and needed to be punished. It didn't take long for me to understand that he was just going to do it no matter what. But I stayed.
Some how after I became pregnant I found the courage to leave. It took me one really good beating and punches in the stomach for me to see this was going where my father had taken my mother and family. My neighbor pulled him off of me and suddenly I had the "ah ha" moment.. The next day my neighbor helped me pack and I disappeared to a domestic violence center. The center helped me file restraining orders, for divorce, hide me, and counseling. I was a strong and vibrant person but the events of my childhood and then my early adult life had turned me into someone afraid to ask a member of he opposite sex where anything was in the market.
I left the center once it was safe and started my new life. The divorce was final. My mother helped me start fresh. I received state and government aid to return to school and continue to receive counseling. Amazing if you look there are plenty of programs to assist us get new and better lives. My son was born and I was able to start working. I felt empowered. I was lucky. The courts saw the abuse and mandated supervised visitation along with a restraining order. I was even luckier when he chose not to see his son because he couldn't have me. Yes I had to do everything alone but without interference (double edge sword. also with out help or relief).
My mother remarried when I was 20 to a religious man who felt that women were to stay at home, have and raise several children while being dependent on their husband. She was tired of raising kids alone. She fell into the same trap as before. No physical abuse instead mental but abuse is abuse. Her new husband began to pressure me to find a husband and stay at home, this education thing was too my much for me to do. He tells my sister to this day that I am a failure because I wouldn't accept his way.
It would have been sooo easy to follow his guidance. But I couldn't, I needed to be in a position that if I needed to get away I could. I was lucky the first time with friend, state and government support. Who knew if it would happen again?
I had cervical cancer when my son was 1. Another set back but I could not stop. Who would raise my son? I survived.. Early detection was key. I finished my bachelors in engineering when my son was 6. I had a great support system with friends and family. I finished my degree and had a great job. Now I also have 2 Masters.n Education was key the more I knew the less I accepted the standard. I question everything and never take NO as the answer. Now, 25 years later I am an executive in a - multi national, multi billion dollar company.
What was the reason??? Why was it me that succeeded when so others have tried and failed? 4 factors:
#1 - Through adversity I refused to say I was beaten.
#2 - The need to break the chain much sooner than my mother did to protect my son.
#3 - My mother said to me just before she died - Honey, you can be or do anything you want. Travel and educate yourself. Do what you want. Promise me.
# 4 - Once my mom said #3, the utter belief that I can do or be anything I want. I was empowered.
My message to women that live in the US or anywhere in the world - just remember.
Do Not be embarrassed of the situation. Embarrassment and fear keep us hidden. Hiding only allows other to have power over us.
Do Not think you are alone. There is someone somewhere in the world in the same situation. Probably very close to you.
Do Not think there are no options - there are many programs and people to help. Reach out! Find. Do not take no for an answer. Find the Yes. If it looks easy be careful. Investigate!
Do Not lose hope. In the darkest hour sometimes one foot forward, a friend, or one kind word is all it takes!!!
Do Not hesitate. Act Act Act... Especially when you feel the empowerment. Tomorrow may be too late.
Do search for support - it may be hidden but it is there!!!!
Do search for yourself - YOU ARE VALUABLE. YOU MATTER!!!!
Do notice and take advantage of when you are lucky!!!! Take all you can get.
Great Friends and Family are the Best Gifts of All!!!
Sometimes Luck is what you need to get over the hump of the next step forward.
I did. All I wanted to do was to survive and I have exceeded my wildest dreams!