(joyfulmysteries note: I have had more trouble posting this post than any before…it keeps cutting parts out but this is a real you need to read. It won’t include a link or let me edit. But it’s real. It’s the hardest one I’ve read so far. Because for months she has been working on this and for months wanted to make sure it was a story of survival. She chose this week to send it to me. She is my sister Erin. My little sister. She is the ultimate story of strength, and rising above years of pain. I will never stop feeling guilt for the years she cut me out and was fighting for her life. I should have known. I’m her sister! But I didn’t know. That’s why this topic is so critical- it comes with so many layers and faces. My sister is the strongest person I know. After he went to prison, she walked away- now she is a successful VP in a big city with the love of her life as they raise their five daughters. I love you Erin. You are beautiful and amazing. Thank you…) 


Let me start by saying I’m not the kind of girl that would get abused. But was the kind of girl who got out alive.

Every time I started to write this post for my sisters blog I would psyche myself out. I don’t like what I’m saying so I stop. But I know what it’s like to take years to heal from abuse, and I do believe that my story is a story of survival and strength. 

For a long time I never understood why I stayed…what kept me there. But by the time I had stayed too long I had completely isolated myself from everyone. 

I led this completely double life. My relationship was separate from my family and my job. At the time Lucille the woman I cared for knew…she would tell me “it will get worse” and “things will never change.” I thought and feared she would tell her husband my boss, or her daughter, but she never did. 

So it stayed a secret. 

The bruises always had an excuse. And always came with a lie. One of the worse incidents came with a story that I was in a car accident. It got to the point where I was starting to believe my own lies. Because the secret was too much too bear. 

I told them “he” was such a nice person and worked so hard. But actually “he” never worked, he was an alcoholic, would pop pain killers, or snort cocaine, and drink some more. 

He was an addict. And an abuser. For five years I stayed with the mental, emotional, and physical abuse- each just as damaging.

It’s crazy because sitting here, writing this makes me feel guilty. Because I’m telling the secret. I feel like at any moment he’ll walk up behind me and know, “I told.” I’ve spoken about the secret. 

I hate hearing about other people’s abuse. It’s too hard to hear. And writing this is reliving it with each word.  And I hate it because I think- how could I be so negligent? How could I have ever stayed. There were kids in the home. How could I? 

I have so much guilt. For staying so long. For allowing the abuse. I have so much guilt. But most of my guilt is as a mother. What kind of mothers allows her children to feel that much stress? Allows them to witness that sort of violence.

I won’t even write his name on here. Because it makes me sick to my stomach. I’ll call him/he but I won’t write his name…

I am writing this, and putting my heart in these words because if I could help anyone, or give anyone hope who is going through the same thing. 

Abuse is a tricky thing. There’s something so sick about someone tearing you to shreds only to build you up again. Over and over. 

But that was me. I was that girl. 

It didn’t start out that way. He was different from any other person I’d ever met. I don’t even know why I liked him so much looking back. I do know he filled a very lonely empty space in my life right then. He wanted me, and it was so nice to be wanted again.

I had two kids, and there’s a lot of want to be in a relationship. To not feel so alone.  

I had heard he was abusive to his other girlfriends in the past. But I didn’t believe it. They were liars. 

And then I saw him. The real him. And he was a monster. It didn’t matter what I would do to prevent what I thought of as blow ups, whether it was the drugs or him…but the monster would come out. 

He always ruined holidays, so I would plan ahead, so carefully. I would make sure he had an outfit. That the kids were all taken care of. 

But he would still blow up. He’d chase me, and I’d have to hide under the tall bed. He’d say he was going to kill me.

I started to take my keys and hiding them by the front door. So I could grab the girls and run. Get away.  But then he figured that out and would stand in front of the door so I couldn’t leave. 

He was worse when it was just us and our baby, if the older girls were home it wasn’t as bad. I got really good at hiding under the bed with her. It became sort of a game to her and even years later she would ask if we could play the game where “we hide from daddy under the bed.” 

There were so many times…where he hurt me. 

But I will only write about the last time. The time I got out alive. It was the night I decided to leave for good. I had been with a friend all day. I had done nothing wrong. But I came home and he just kept yelling at me, and nothing he said made sense. It was midday which was different because usually he only blew up at night and only attacked me in the bathroom where no one could see him. But this was different. And it was so bad that today I only remember some of the parts. He kept yelling at me and chased me up the stairs. He caught me by my hair before I hit the top step and dragged me all the way back downstairs into the bathroom. 

He kept punching me in the head, grabbing my face, and spitting on me– calling me stupid. I remember my face was in the shower and he just kept banging it and i felt like my head was going to crack. And there was blood. He kept saying “I’m going to kill her.” And “This stupid bitch just doesn’t get it.” And I didn’t get it. I hadn’t done anything wrong. And then the world got fuzzy. And I thought I was going to die.

I really thought I was going to die. I was going to be beaten to death…

The next thing I remember is banging. I was still in the bathtub. There was someone at the door and they kept banging. It was the police. And I called my Mom.

“I need help. I need help.” I kept saying. 

That day was the day I decided he would never put his hand on me again. Ever. 

Because I saw this person in the mirror I didn’t recognize. Her eyes were swollen and she had finger prints bruised into her neck and face. Her lips were huge and face was bruised. And they were there as soon as they knocked on the door, already there. 

I kept that sweater I was wearing that day, covered in blood for years as a reminder that I would never ever go back. And I would remember that day. 

I don’t know why I stayed for so long, only that maybe it was after the blow ups, I was so wanted. He would beg and be so wonderful and promise it would never ever happen again. And I wanted to believe that was true. But eventually I knew it would happen again. And it did. And then I left…

My brother in law told me a revelation once, that what I had was my normal, but it wasn’t normal because that’s not what love is. Love doesn’t hurt you. But it had become my normal because I had gotten used to being hurt. 

For a long time I was afraid…
 I lost friends because I stayed. Because they didn’t understand. But abuse comes with many faces. And sometimes people forget that their normal, isn’t healthy or normal. My normal was because of fear. I was afraid. And fear is a liar. Fear told me I wasn’t good enough. Fear played off my insecurities. Fear kept me there. 

But then I left the fear behind. It took years, and still is with me today when I think about it but then I remember that fear is a liar…and I’m not afraid. 

I learned that God is good. And that God loves me. My children love me. My family loves me. 

And I met Justin. Who told me my normal was never normal, and showed me what real love is. Who looked at me, and saw me. 

And I have forgiven him. I haven’t forgotten. The scars will always be there. But I have forgiven. 

That day. That day before the police knocked- I pretended I was dead. I pretended to be dead so that he wouldn’t kill me, and he got scared and called 911. And then left me. Left me there. 

But that day I lived. And chose to leave. And I have found strength in my life. I am strong. And God loves me, and showed me how to save my life. You see, Im not the kind of girl that would be abused.

I’m the kind of girl who got out alive…