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.