Domestic Violence isn’t just bruises and blood. The broken doors, shattered pictures, or holes in the walls.
It’s the life after.
It’s the bad days.
It’s the fear.
It’s anger and feeling ashamed.
It’s always looking over your shoulder, checking the back seat of the car when you get in, triple checking every window and door to be sure it’s locked.
It’s your family. How they don’t understand what you went through, they may try but they will never understand. They don’t understand the worthless feeling you have deep inside somedays. How no matter how hard you try to get ahead you always feel like you aren’t enough.
It’s guilt. You feel guilty for bringing your family along on this emotional roller coaster. Guilty for needing help. Guilty for not being strong enough to leave.
It’s trying to remember your identity before the abuse. Imagine looking at your reflection then someone shattering the mirror with a hammer, but instead of a hammer it’s a fist and the shards of glass are the pieces of who you were. You are frantically trying to put the pieces back together but everytime you get close the hammer slams down on the mirror again. And this cycle repeats over and over. Breaking the tiny pieces of glass down until there is nothing.
It’s the feeling of disappointment. You’re disappointed in yourself and you feel like you disappointed your family. You did not turn out to be their dream of what a daughter should be.
It’s the child in the morning begging you to stay home with them because you are always gone at work but you have to financially support him. Missing out on events a mother shouldn’t miss.
It’s the social anxiety. Your friends not understanding why you don’t want to go out to bars or feeling out of place around them.
It’s going to work and putting a fake smile on, coming home making dinner, putting your child to bed after spending a measly hour and a half with them.
It’s breaking down the minute the lights turn off, when you can finally let the tears you’ve been holding back for so long fall.
It’s feeling anxious or overwhelmed when someone raises their voice at you. Trying to avoid the flash backs it triggers.
It’s the mental war you have with yourself every time you look in the mirror. Trying to rebuild your self-esteem brick by brick after someone took a wrecking ball to it every single day. Trying to scrub off the disgusting words that were branded into your skin.
It’s the struggle of not letting other people’s words or feelings affect you when they bring up the past.
It’s making it through these bad days and overcoming them.
It’s the reality that you will NEVER be the same.
Because Domestic Violence is Hell, and Hell changes you.
It changes who you were.
It changes who you could’ve been.
But if you have clawed your way out of the depths of Hell….
You are not weak
You are not a victim.
You are a SURVIVOR.