Certified Trauma-Informed Life coach for victims of domestic violence tells her own personal story of leaving an abusive relationship.
Building a strong support system and finding safe ways to fight back are two of the most significant methods to surviving and recuperating from abuse.
Leaving an abusive relationship is one of the most dangerous decisions a woman can make for herself and her child(ren). This is when she is the most likely to be seriously harmed or murdered by her abuser. One thing is clear, there are no shortcuts when it comes to leaving an unhealthy home – it takes a lot of effort and strength.
Here, Kishna J., a certified trauma-informed life coach for victims of domestic violence and survivor of domestic abuse, shares her personal story on how the abuse started, the difficulties surrounding the situation, and the methods that she used to break out of her cycle.
If I’m being completely honest, the signs of abuse were there from the very beginning, but I always overlooked it.” -Kishna
Abuse normally develops slowly over time, but some abusers progress to violence and dominance quickly – in my case, it progressed slowly. It started with him flirting with other women, cheating, and then telling me that it was my fault because I was too fat for him to be attracted to. He would lay in the bed with me for months and not touch me and make snark comments about my appearance. He even once told me that he couldn’t see himself standing at the alter with me because I was just too fat.
Instead of me leaving, I thought that allowing him to control what I ate would solve the problem. I went from a size 12 to a size 4 in a matter of 6 months– with this I thought that things would get better, but he continued to find new ways to belittle me.
When I became pregnant with our first child, he became loving and attentive. It was the only time he was ever nice to me. But all of it was short lived because after my daughter was born, he turned into a possessive, controlling monster. He coerced me to quit work and stay home with our daughter in order to care for her myself and not have to pay for a sitter, but in hindsight I believe he only did that so that he could control me; being home made me completely dependent on him and I was forced to beg him for everything.
I begged him for clothes, food, even time with my family and friends. He had managed to completely isolate me from everyone; he either caused a rift between myself and them or had me believe that they didn’t love me and that I should just stay to myself.”
All the while he was still texting, calling, and seeing other women. We attended counseling, but after a few failed sessions I finally made the decision to leave. By this time, I was carrying our second child in my womb. Me leaving must’ve triggered him because that’s when he went from controlling to terrorizing.
Since then, he’s attacked my businesses, my mother’s business, my parenting skills in court (and my character), as well as my then boyfriend, now husband. He’s attempted several times to force my husband to get fired from his job, forced me to move out of the city to get away from him, and he’s still managed to look up my address and began harassing me again at my new location.
My abuser has tortured me for over 10 years and though it isn’t entirely over, I have learned valuable lessons from this excruciating experience, and here I stand stronger than ever.
This is an unfiltered story – I know it isn’t pretty, and it certainly doesn’t have a perfect ending, but I am standing and no longer afraid of my abuser.
I’ve remarried, and I am happier than I have ever been – to all those women out there, know that you are not alone, we understand that this isn’t easy, but it is doable. Here I leave you with the tactics that really helped me push forward:
1. Find something to hold onto. For me, it was my children. Knowing that I couldn’t give up or else they would suffer. It was enough to keep me going.
2. Find a support system. Even if it’s just 1 person, find someone that you can confide in that will be there for you – even if it is purely for emotional support to help you through.
3. Do not blame yourself! Someone else’s inability to control their anger and emotions is NOT YOUR FAULT. Forgive yourself and allow yourself grace to get through, then grace to heal.
4. Find a way to fight back, safely. Get a restraining order, get a custody order, take self-defense classes- anything to give yourself a sense of power and control.
5. Seek help. A counselor, therapist, or coach. Someone who can help you process what you are going through and help you heal from the effects of it. They are ultimately the ones who can help you create a plan to leave in the safest way possible.