My name is Cheryl and I am a survivor of domestic violence! I've decided that it's time to share my story.
This is not easy for me, and after holding this in for over 25 years, I'm letting it out so I can finally let it go!
I became a teenage parent at the age of 17. At that time, I believed that no man would ever love a woman with a child.
A few years after my daughter was born, I met a man who I knew was no good for me. Everyone who loved me warned me to stay away from him, but I figured that was as good as I would get or deserved. I fell in love with him, but the more time that past the more I knew he was no good for me.
It started with him just saying really mean and hurtful things to me, but I would just brush it off. Then one by one, he made me distance myself from all my friends....
I remember the first time he put his hands on me, we were arguing inside the bathroom and he pushed me so hard I fell into the bathtub. Of course, he was sorry and promised to never touch me again....
He began to use my insecurities to tear me down and make me feel as though I was worthless.
I became pregnant and had my second child. Once I had my second child he no longer pretended to like/love my oldest daughter, this hurt me so deeply. I believed him when he said he loved her. I felt so trapped in this relationship, and now I had two children to care for....
One day he was drunk when we went to visit my 2nd daughter in the hospital. (My daughter was born a preemie) This wasn't unusual he was drunk often and he got kicked out of the hospital a few times for being hostile toward me. Sigh .... this particular day he forced me into a bathroom at the hospital and forced me to have sex with him... This is something that I did not share with ANYONE until recently. I became pregnant yet again. It was tough and everyone was whispering about me. But how could I tell anyone what was really going on? No one would ever believe me. I was in such a bad place and felt so trapped and would now be a mother of 3! At this point I figured I had no choice but to marry him...
Once we were married, he began to push & shove me often. He would smack me with newspapers and one time he elbowed me so hard that he left a huge bruise.
When you’re in this kind of relationship you are so lost and blinded. I thought to myself ”well he technically hasn't put his hands on me so it's ok"....I know, what was I thinking!
November 17, 1992 was one of the worst nights of my life. He came home drunk again and as always, I tried to keep things peaceful. However, when he was drunk no matter how nice I was to him he would always be extremely hostile toward me. My oldest daughter was gone and the other two kids were sleeping.
I must of known something was going to happen because I hid my kids in and under their cribs surrounded by blankets and stuffed animals. (one was 8 months old and the other under 2 years old.) Ugh this is still so hard to talk about.😪
I remember going to grab the phone to call his dad who could sometimes talk him down. He wasn't going to allow me to do that on this particular night! He pushed me to the floor and yanked the phone out of the wall. I can't tell you the fear that came over me, I could see the rage in his eyes, and I knew this was more than just a push. When I tried to get up, he knocked me back down, he wrapped his hands around my neck and began to choke me as he slammed my head against the floor. I'll Never forget him yelling ”now you see my real temper". I guess he slapped me and maybe punched me I don't really remember I was in and out of consciousness from the choking and having my head banged on the floor. I did however have a fat lip and bruises. I remember seeing a knife close by on the counter and thought about grabbing it, but thought he was stronger and would probably kill me if I tried to grab it. I have no clue how long this beating went on, I was so in and out.
When he stopped and I came to I remember seeing him wrapping the phone wire around his hands/arms. I still believe to this day he planned on strangling me with it. At that moment God gave me strength to get up and run out of the apartment. He started to come after me, but I was banging on the neighbors doors and trying to open them, one happened to be unlocked and I ran in.
I felt so guilty for leaving my kids in the apartment and prayed he would not find them and run off with them. The police and my mom came pretty fast and thankfully he hadn't found the kids. I remember the fear that took over me as I was laying in that dark hospital room thinking he was coming back to finish the job! He was eventually found by the police and taken to jail. This beating traumatized me.
25 years later and I still can't have/wear anything on my neck where his hands choked me, and I panic at the sound of a man raising his voice....
We were separated for a couple of months and I thought I was done with him, but just like any typical abuser he was able to talk me into letting him back home. I forgot to mention I was pregnant at the time of this horrific beating and now was a mother of four! He promised to never hit/touch me again.
He never really touched me after that night but constantly threatened me. I would not let him in the house when he was drunk, or I would hide in the neighbor’s apartment. I remember one time he pretty much busted the door down trying to get to me. I lived in this constant fear that he would beat me again and succeed at killing me the next time....
After the physical abuse stopped, his new weapon became his tongue. The verbal abuse was unbelievable! He was daily telling me that I was stupid, I was an ugly b!tch, I was cheating on him, no one cared about me or would ever love me, he would tell me that he could kill me and throw me in the ocean, and no one would ever find me. He also became abusive to my oldest daughter. I would defend her until I was blue in the face, but it was like walking on egg shells around him. I would send her to my parents’ house on the weekend so she could relax.
He manipulated me to isolate our kids and me in the house. He would tell me if I let my kids go to my parents’ house without me going with them, he would kill my father. When I would go over there, he would either call or show up drunk. I see now it was his way to keep me under his control. He discouraged me anytime I would try to get ahead or do something positive. He told me I was stupid, and I was ugly, and I would never amount to anything so many times that I began to believe these lies. I wasn't strong enough to leave the marriage, but thankfully God removed him from my life.
At first, I was devastated and fought to get him back. I had finally got to a place to let him go that was the hardest part. Once I did let go, I realized how much happier I was. I had forgot what it was like to live in peace, and most importantly my oldest daughter was able to be home all the time and not walk on eggshells!
Being abused whether physically or verbally is awful and you don't have to put up with it! No matter what you've done or how many mistakes you've made YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE ABUSED IN ANYWAY!!... It's only been in the past 4 years that I have realized that everything he told/called me were nothing but lies.
I have to be honest with you I still struggle to not believe those lies, but I'm trying to see and believe that I am not stupid, and I am not ugly. I took the advice someone once gave me and began to pray that I would see myself the way God sees me. (I have to remind myself to keep praying this prayer)
The last couple of months I realized it was time for me to let go of this baggage that I have buried so deep and carried for so many years! I am not telling my story for sympathy, but instead to let it out so that I can let it go. I know that God is wanting to completely heal me and letting it out so I can let it go is part of the process. I realize I am who God made me, I am not a beautiful super model, I am not a scholar, and I am don't have a lot of money. What you see is what you get with me. I am honest, I am loyal, I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. I am the same person at home, work, church or any other place you may see me.
I am blessed beyond measure, I have 4 of the most amazing kids (I wouldn't trade them for anything or anyone), I have a granddaughter whom I adore. I have the most amazing parents who stood by me through it all and taught me what unconditional love is and how to trust in God no matter what the circumstances are. I would have never made it through this without their love and support!
It's not easy to put all this out and relive all these old and painful memories I tried so hard to bury. It's both physically and emotionally exhausting! It's also not easy to share this with my children as they just recently heard a lot of this for the first time.
If you are in an abusive relationship whether it’s being physically abused, verbally abused, abused by someone manipulating you PLEASE GET HELP, YOU DO NOT DESERVE THIS ABUSE!