The Moment You Decide!

No one ever prepares you to leave your husband and all the abuse behind. It does not happen like a lightning bolt in the movies, but more like a slow steady awareness; that to survive you have to leave. You must tell yourself that the abuse is not love. He does not care about me when he hurts me. It does not matter how educated or strong you are, you never really see it until it is too late. We are loving, caring, creative, people and we believe the best in people. That is why when they lie to us, we don’t believe it. But when the lies turn into truths, we have nowhere else to turn, but to leave. The long journey to leave starts with one step.

It is difficult to leave, because for me, I spent a whole lifetime covering up the abuse, making excuses, taking the blame that did not belong to me for the actions of my abuser. They thought he was charming but controlling. Every time I tried to leave, my friends and family sent me back home. I learned to endure. There was a story I remember reading in university that always seemed strange to me “Taking it Like a Woman”, by Ann Oakley. At that time in my life, I believed women were in charge of their own destiny and that I would not be like those ill-fated heroines in the romance novels, falling for the wrong guy and enduring a life of abuse. I never met a man like this, I was not prepared for the lies!

Life is stranger than fiction, because I would never have imagined that my one true love, would end up being a liar, a cheat, and a monster. I have never looked back on that moment in the hospital when I was hooked up to an ECG machine. Something was wrong with me, but I could not remember, because I learned to push the abuse way, way down. I was admitted for a suspected heart attack when I collapsed at a cardiology appointment. When I was on the hospital bed for 5 hours, and my husband refused to pick me up, and the hospital would not release me in a cab; I heard a quiet, but resounding, “this isn’t what I want for you, get off this table and walk in a different direction!” I thought it was the voice of God speaking to me, but I believe it was my inner self, calling to be saved, and the only person that could save me was me!

I will never forget that moment, that I decided I was worth more than this abuse. That God did not want me to hurt, and wanted me to be safe and happy, that I started taking steps to leave. I guarded all my actions carefully. I made mistakes along the way, but I am free now. I live with my children, and my home is a place of love and trust. I ask for help from caring people from organizations like YRCCS, who want to help women. It is still hard to trust, but every day I try to remind myself that this life is a gift, and I am the most precious gift of all!

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