Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Post I'm Not Supposed To Write

I never intended on being a single mother. I've always pictured myself married with children, not single with a child. Even when I met a guy, did the deed, and unexpectedly became pregnant, I still had an image of what my "happily every after" would look like.

I could write about all the fantasies I had of the three of us living-it-up in NYC or skipping through fields in the suburbs or being one little happy family. But not today.

Today, I take a leap of faith.

Today, I look fear in the face and push forward.

Today, I write to help someone else heal and move forward.

To the outside world, everything was seemingly perfect -- an attractive young couple raising the cutest baby ever. It was good.

Until it wasn't. And sweet turned sour. And... I found myself in an abusive relationship.

One out of four women has experienced intimate partner violence in her lifetime. 

There I was, strangled until I passed out on my bedroom floor. Twice in one night. Because I said the wrong thing, crossed the line in his eyes, and had gotten him upset.

I remember it like it was this morning. It was August. I was wearing my former favorite jeans. And he, he had a monstrous look on his face.

The more I cried and yelled for help in between the assaults, the harder he strangled. The more I begged and pleaded for it to end, the angrier he became.

I was not allowed to leave my apartment that night. My cellphone was confiscated and I was held hostage. A prisoner in my own home, so to speak. Apparently he feared for what might happen to him. How ironic!

As I sat on my balcony the next morning wrapped in a thick comforter, chills ran down my spine despite the warm Summer breeze that was blowing. My neck hurt and pained from the events that took place just hours before, but I never felt so blessed to be alive. I'd made it through the night, I survived the terror. That's all that mattered.

Could this be real?, I thought. Am I in an abusive relationship? What will happen to Aiden? How will I explain all of this?


So many thoughts, so many questions, so many concerns. But I remained silent. Embarrassed. Ashamed.

Nearly three out of four Americans know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.

For weeks, I couldn't look my neighbors in the eye when we greeted each other at the elevator. I knew they heard my screams that night. Believe me, they were loud enough. But in the light of day, I remained silent. That's what shame does to a person.

I'm not supposed to talk about this. For some reason, it's too taboo. But maybe, just maybe, if people dialogued about it, it would make it easier.

I'm not supposed to "bad mouth" my ex because of the mere fact that he's my son's father -- at least that's what many of the Psychologists out there say. My sweet little Aiden shares half of his DNA and somehow speaking "badly" about him equates to speaking badly about my precious child.

But I'm tired -- so tired -- of keeping it a secret.

Because silence can kill.

Most cases of domestic violence are never even reported. 

The abuse didn't end with that infamous night. I left. He cried. He promised to get help. I took him back. And needless to say, a few months later there was another incident. He strangled. I passed out. This time thrice in one night.

Again I found myself moments away from slipping into a comma. Or death. Again I found myself thinking, just make it through the night; just make it through the front door; just make it somewhere safe; just survive... Aiden needs you to survive. 

After that, I realized that there's got to be more to life and love. So I left. For good. And although a part of me hated him in those moments, part of my healing process has been to release those feelings. To forgive him. For myself. For my Aiden.

But the silence almost killed me. And I still suffer from the post traumatic stress. But here I am. Talking. Writing. Sharing. Healing.

If you've never shared a Mommy Delicious post before, today is your day. Be brave with me. Break the silence with me. Share with me. Share this. On Facebook. On Twitter. Because silence only gives more power to the abusers and allows shame to dwell in the hearts of the victims. Let's talk. Let's take their power away.

54 comments:

  1. I agree, silence does no one any good. You are one brave and strong woman for speaking out like this. For sharing this gut wrenching story so honestly. I am so thankful you are alright and that you stood up and did what was right for your family.

    No one deserves that. It must have been terrifying.

    So sorry you experienced something so awful. :(

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  2. This gave me chills. I can feel very word you typed, my story sounds similar to yours.

    I hope writing this helps you heal in some small way.

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  3. Very courage post. I always wondered how things took a turn towards you being a single mom but figured it was none of my business.

    I commend you for taking a stand for yourself and Aiden.

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  4. I've told you before that you are truly something special and I applaud you for the courage it took to 1) leave 2) stay gone, and 3) continue to be the best mama you can be. I tell you all the time how lucky Aiden is to have you as his mama. I've never met you but I know you love that boy with all your heart and would do anything for him.

    Continue to blossom :)

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  5. I know more than one woman who 'chose' to be a single parent because of abuse. Not just physical, but emotional, too. Thanks for this post!

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  6. I was in a similar situation, though not as dramatically violent, and I also have a young son. I understand every emotion you were feeling before, during, and after leaving. All I can say is: the doubt (and some of the fear) will never leave you, but as long as you can wake up in the morning and still be grateful that you aren't waking up next to HIM, everything will be fine.

    Thanks for sharing. The shame is a tough cloak to drop in this judgmental world.

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  7. You are a strong woman! Stay positive. It's not too late for your dreams to come true. Keep the faith!

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  8. It took a lot of courage for you to write this post. Thank you for sharing your story. You are such a wonderful woman, mother, and friend. You did the right thing for you and Aiden even though it's not what you "pictured" your life to be. You are both better off. Stay strong girl! :)

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  9. I am in awe of your bravery. You were brave to leave and you are brave to share. You are right that often we are violated, our pain turns to shame and we bury it deep within to fester and destroy. I truly hope your words will reach someone , or even better many someones, and give them the courage to get out, too. xoxo to you.

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  10. Oh wow. Kudos to you for getting out of that relationship!! I am proud of you for sharing your story to help others. A lot of young women are afraid and even embarrassed to share their stories.

    Trust me you and Aiden are better off without that kind of drama in your life. And I have to admit that you are truly brave for still trying to allow his dad to be in life. You are in all sense of the words a phenomenal woman & mom!!!

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  11. You are amazing, Alicia. So brave for sharing. Im so glad you opened up about this, because I know there are so many women who are too scared to say anything. Posts like this are so important and I am so happy that you did choose to come forward. ((hugs))

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  12. Thank God I was never in a abusive relationship. But I did see abuse in my maternal side of the family and it was scary. I couldn't believe everyone knew but never said a word until she left him years later. I'm glad you spoke up b/c there are so many women like you that have kept things quiet. I hope by me tweeting and sharing on FB will save at least one woman in need. (hugs to you)

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  13. Kudos to you for sharing your story. I know it is not an easy thing to talk about but you did the right thing. Keep doing the great things you are doing for you and your son and the sky's the limit!

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  14. Alicia I am so sorry for what happened to you but also very, VERY, proud of you for having the courage to leave, to get out, for you and for your son. You survived. Not all women do. You got out and I applaud you!

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  15. So proud of you for opening up about this and having the strength to see better and leave!! Telling your story doesn't say anything bad about sweet Aiden but about the strength of the woman that raises him. ((hugs))

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  16. You are beyond brave my friend.
    That took so much courage.
    Now can we, your friends, get a posse together and string him up?
    Mitch

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  17. How incredibly brave of you to write this post, Alicia!! You are an amazing woman and a wonderful mother, particularly because you had the strength to get out. Your story will help others. I have no doubt in that. xx

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  18. You are so brave! Thank you for having the strength to write about this.

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  19. You are so strong! I am so glad you and Aiden are safe now and staying away. I agree--this subject needs to be less taboo so more people can get help. I am sure you are inspiring others by writing this!

    Carla

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  20. Girl, I'm so sorry you had to endure this and learn that love doesn't hurt the hard way. Unbelievable how you're taking a painful memory and turning into something positive by helping others. You continue to amaze me.

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  21. Wow. I can't imagine. You are one remarkable young lady. They tried to stack the odds against you and you took them and used them as stepping stones. Congrats on all that you have accomplished. With your spirit you are just starting. *hugs*

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  22. You are strong for leaving and brave for sharing. I hope this post helps many women living in shame and fear. {Abrazos} ... What a great role model your son has in you.

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  23. I commend your bravery and for allowing your voice to be heard, which in turn will open the doors for other survivors to speak up, speak out, and speak against this violence.

    Big HUGS,
    Li
    @LaLicenciada

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  24. Theres so many things that our community keeps silent about... I'm so happy you made it out!

    thanks for sharing.

    #strength!

    xoxoxo

    RO

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  25. Clap, clap, clap! Women everywhere are benefiting from your speaking up. You are giving voice to those who are still silent and those who've been silenced. Domestic violence knows no color, education, economic status. There is no shame in speaking the truth.

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  26. Thank you for sharing! I found you via Twitter from DimSumDebutante. You are so brave to share your experiences, but I appreciate your honestly and willingness to share to help spread the word.

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  27. this is such a moving post, and i agree so much with the comments above, and hope you know how much good it is doing for others to hear your story and know it is ok to tell the truth, and to tell others and not suffer alone.

    here's to you and aiden living the fabulous life you know you deserve! :)

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  28. Found your post on FB through youngmommylife, as a must read so of course clicked on the link and WOW! So glad that I've found another mom that I can relate to but one that has truly found her voice. I was choked in front of my child and his child (trying to combine families was enough in itself) sitting in my car trying to leave him. Long story short, everyone looked at me wrong for calling the cops and accusing him of assault-really? Even the judge made up his mind that this was a "mutual argument, angry moment"...Seriously? Were his hands choking you judge? Basically I'm in court looking like a foul even though I had pictures of the marks. (this happened in 06-court wasn't until 07) And even I think in 08, this guy was still mentioning to someone the trouble I had gotten him into...?? I'm sorry, I don't recall choking anyone, or even arguing for that matter, I was in my car ready to leave for good bc the relationship I realized was toxic. Go figure how the victim becomes the bad guy, but now I know why so many women remain silent. So I scream with you sister, and I still to this day vow to get out here and help other women from the slightest emotional/verbal abuse to the physical which I can testify to this day NEVER fades away, even after finding a new relationship/years later.

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  29. I have tears in my eyes reading this post. You are so brave to share your story. I had known your relationship had ended and you made a choice to benefit yourself and your son. I never knew the reason until today. I admire you so much for sharing your story because so many women cannot admit the situation much less share it or remove themselves from it.

    I just want to give you a big hug right now my friend. You are so amazing...in every sense of the word. I love you lots! :)

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  30. I am so supportive and proud you had the guts to post this. You are a brave woman. I applaud you.

    You are right, its an ugly topic no one wants to talk about. You dont need to be embarrassed, I am embarrassed that your neighbors did not help.

    We are all here to support. love linda

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  31. Thank God for you and your testimony! Ive been there myself!

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  32. You are one amazing woman! I'm so sorry this happened to you but so proud you chose to share. Every woman has her story that has stigma around it whether it is Abuse in your case or Vaginismus in my case, The most important thing is that we don't keep silent like society wants us to... speaking out helps others to know they are not alone. Alicia, you aren't alone. God bless you. x

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  33. My heart aches, wishing you didn't have to go through that pain. Thanks for being brave enough to share your experience.

    stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

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  34. WOW!!! I know it must have been hard. My mother was abused. I remember watching it. I remember being abused. The man she was married to at the time made me believe that there are truly bad people out there. I am so sorry that you had to endure this. But SNAPS TO YOU for getting out before you didn't wake up from one of those strangling episodes.

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  35. Forgive my bluntness, but as a former victim of domestic violence myself, I feel I have the right to say that any man who puts his hands on a woman is an absolute piece of shit, and that his shittiness is not transferable onto your son unless you (or your son) choose to make it so. Your son is not his father just like you are not your ex, and so long as you make sure he doesn't get raised watching that kind of cowardly, unmanly fuckery for the rest of his childhood (which you accomplished by leaving, and kudos for that), it's all right to call a spade a spade and a jackass a jackass.

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  36. Your post is a powerful testament of the courageous woman you are! No need for you to carry the shame of another.

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  37. BREAK THE SILENCE! THANK YOU! And tell the truth in bytes as he can handle it to your son, I am a LPC and that is what you do.... he is/was abusive and might abuse your son if he has the right to joint custody and can see him alone..I empathize with you.

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  38. Wow. I followed the link from Young Mommy Life's page and I must say I was speechless as I read your post. That was brave of you to post it. Wish I could give you a big hug right now. I can imagine the fear, etc. when that happened. I am thankful you made it out alive and well. Thank you for sharing. You are helping many people. Like I also learned, love is not supposed to hurt.

    I wish you all the best as you raise your little one!

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  39. Minus the baby, I was in this exact EXACT situation in my life at it's lowest point. Around 10 years or so ago. The same violence (choking!) the same shame, and more. I managed 9 months of it, before I finally moved back home and then 3 more months before I finally admitted defeat. And it still lingers this day. Thank you so much for speaking up and speaking out. <3

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  40. I'm your newest follower! My best friend was killed while in a domestic violence relationship by the father of her child. I commend you for writing this post and for BREAKING THE SILENCE! You rock!

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  41. I check in on your blog from time to to and I just came across this post. I am a 23 year old female college grad, and just suffered physical violence a couple of weeks ago at the hands of my fiance. I was slapped and chocked, after he threw my cellphone out of the sunroof. Your post was so helpful- to know that someone who looks like me, has some of the same ambitions, and in the same age range went through what I went through. I still find myself wondering if this is really my life. I made the decision right after the incident to never go back to my fiance and reading your story further affirms that I'm making the right decision. I chose not to be silent- I told my family and friends and sought help. Thank you for sharing your story. It gives me strength to share mine!

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  42. This is such a powerful post. Hopefully this post will encourage/inspire other women to leave similar abusive relationships. I am so happy you made it out of that situation, no woman deserves to be treated that way. EVER.

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  43. WOW, I always wondered why a woman would want to be a single parent and forgot that sometimes the choice is made for them. You are a strong woman to get out of that for the sake of you and your son.
    Thank you for posting and stay strong!

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  44. I work very closely with a fantastic organization that provides services for women who are victims of domestic violence and will be raising money for them soon - this post really touched me. thanks so much for sharing

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  45. You are an inspirational woman! For having the strength and courage to do what is right for YOU and your beautiful son.
    C

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  46. Wow this is an intense post. I'm speechless.

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  47. Just read this post for the first time. I sit here with tears in my eyes - I'm so proud of you and your strength my bloggy buddy. So proud.

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  48. Thanks for sharing your story. You might want to consider posting it on Violence Unsilenced. You are so brave and strong for sharing this.

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  49. Oh, Alicia! I am speechless! I am crying right now.
    At first, I felt sorry for you, for what you had to go through. Now, I admire you for breaking free, for writing this post. That takes a lot of courage which I can only dream of possessing.
    I will share your post on Twitter. I want to do what I can to help other abused women out there. Thanks for sharing this, really!

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  50. Alicia, I've been following your posts for awhile, but I believe I began several months after this was originally posted and therefore never knew exactly why you chose to become a single mother. Today, I read your article about your new job, which makes me so proud of you! As I scrolled down towards the bottom of the article, I hit this link, and couldn't believe my eyes. I've admired you from afar for some time now, and now even more so for having the strength to live through something like this, the courage and wherewithal to share it with others with grace, and the talent and motivation to make your life just what you want it to be - amazing in every way.

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  51. Wow this is my story... Thanks for posting this! Here is just one of the many times I tried to make it work: http://www.thesearch4therealme.com/2011/03/drama.html

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  52. This gave me chills. THANK YOU for sharing your story. Thank you for being brave enough to leave.

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  53. I can't imagine how you felt and what you went through. Your story shows your strength, humility, resilience, and the unrelenting love of a mother for her child. I applaud you for your sharing your story.

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  54. I was in an abusive relationship and stayed longer than I should've because I feared being a single mom. I finally gathered enough courage to leave and haven't looked back. Thanks for sharing.

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