Hi guys! Now I know I’m a week late, but hey, better late than never right? So…Happy Domestic Violence Awareness Month! But honestly, I don’t think it’s ever too late to discuss topics of abusive, toxic, violent, etc…relationships.
Yesterday I was listening to a testimony from a few prominent public figures, and they were sharing how the stats for the occurrence of domestic violence in women is 25% (as confirmed by ncadv.org). That means 1 out of 4 women are going through domestic violence as we speak. Immediately, I scanned my mind of my circle of friends, but did not instantly think of anyone in that situation. I thought about my own journey in relationships, and again came up empty. Were they toxic? Yes. Maybe verbally abusive at times even, but definitely not physically violent. But then, it hit me. The women in my family definitely went through domestic abuse, as well as a close friend of mine…
I took a moment to ponder my own family’s experience in this manner. I had been raised on stories of my grandmother’s abusive marriages. Was told about the drag down, fist fights that ended in my mother and uncle (who were just toddlers BTW), scrambling to the neighbors’ for safety. My parents did not keep me from these ugly incidents, and instead, they were transparent. Maybe some would say too transparent. But I think they were trying to “keep it a buck” as the youngin’s would say, because they didn’t want me to go down the same path. And you know what? It worked.
I can look back and see that there was definitely potential for abuse in my past relationships. I know my own behavior was borderline abusive, as I can’t deny the flash back of pulling out a knife while arguing with my ex. The memory is blurry, and I don’t believe I actually intended on hurting him, or using it, but it happened.
Oh the mercy of God.
I also remember said ex punching a wall in our apartment and injuring his hand. Hmmm…What could possibly be so deep that you had to punch a wall, sir?
These occurrences were probably just a prelude of what was to come, and thankfully, that relationship ended before it evolved into what could have been something more fatal, like what happened to my grandmother. She was actually shot twice by her husband’s mistress and the bullets never left her body. It is the grace of God that she lived. And it is His grace that has kept me from spiraling into something that deep.
In all of the stories I’ve heard concerning domestic violence, the theme in them is that, even with all the craziness and chaos and danger, it’s still hard to leave that person. I can resonate with that. I know that we logically may not understand desiring someone who is harming us, but the heart is complex.
When we give our emotions and being to someone else, it can be hard to just walk away.Tweet
My mother shared with me a story about being in a relationship where she was actually punched in the mouth by a guy. I was in shock. How could a man punch a women as if she were his equal physically??? Because she had seen the effects of an abusive relationship firsthand, she got out, and made sure to protect me from being raised in a similar environment. Go mom!
My prayer is that if you or someone you know is going through any experiences related to abuse (verbal, mental or physical) that you would seek help. Who can you reach out to in your community that can provide you with support and resources to be sustainable on your own if finances are an issue? Who can speak truth to you when your mind and emotions are telling you lies? Who can encourage you that the decision to leave may be hard, but the outcome is so worth it? That your decisions are not just affecting you, but your children, and your children’s children…
I am so grateful to the women who went before me. They made the decision to leave, and now I am reaping the benefits. They walked a path and cleared it so that I don’t have to. And even when I was probably well on my way, the Father intervened and redirected me. He surrounded me with community. He taught me my identity. And He keeps on healing and delivering me every step of this journey called life.
Here are some signs of abuse on the ncadv’s website.
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As promised, here is the interview I did with Laura Cowan: