In honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I feel compelled to share my story.
It took years of daily effort to reach a place of healing and freedom, and it is my goal to use my life changing experience, to help others recognize abuse and have the ability to escape the toxic environment.
An open letter to my abuser:
Never in a million years did I ever imagine that I would become a statistic because of YOU. Never in a million years did I guess that I would become so tangled in the complex, yet misunderstood, web of domestic violence. Never in a million years would I believe I would become a woman who would fall victim to physical, verbal, & emotional abuse. Never in a million years would I accept that I have woken up with a man on top of me without my consent, that I would be pushed into a busy New Orleans street with traffic, that I would be struck in the face with your fist, that I would be lifted off of the ground by my neck in the corner of a bathroom, or that I would become pregnant by my abuser. Never in a million years would I believe that I would be woken up by my abuser trying to break into my roommate’s home. Never in a million years would I imagine that I would be sitting on a street corner with a New Orleans Police Officer who would console and encourage me to turn in my abuser. Never in a million years will I ever be okay with you dragging me down a hallway on my pregnant belly. Never in a million years would I dream that during my first pregnancy, that I would have to schedule an emergency appointment to make sure our unborn child was still alive following physical abuse. Never in a million years did I think my strong, independent personality would fall victim to a master manipulator, a charismatic narcissist, a man who would literally and figuratively suck the vibrant, social life out of me. Never in a million years would I dare say that my life would be altered and forever changed by domestic violence. Yet, here we are. Nearly 10 years later, and I am alive. I am a survivor.
The last time you abused me, I left. I packed all of my things while you weren’t home and I left. I left with our child still safe inside my belly. My solid rock, my unwavering support system was waiting with open arms. They were prepared to welcome me back after years of isolation. They’ve loved me all along. The last time you physically abused me, I decided I wanted better for our child (and myself). I made the conscious choice to leave to ensure that our child would have a better life. While crying one night in the shower, I promised our unborn child that he or she would never grow up thinking that that type of toxic and abusive relationship is normal. I promised our child that he or she would grow up in a loving, stable home. I promised our child that I would do everything in my power to shield and protect him or her from being exposed to your history of domestic violence.
Unfortunately, I failed. I failed to protect our child from domestic violence. Rewind. I take that back. I refuse to blame myself. I’ve escaped your powerful grip and you can no longer control me. I will never allow you to make me feel guilty for YOUR actions. YOU failed to protect our child from domestic violence. YOU physically assaulted your wife (our child’s step-mother) in front of our child. YOU choked your wife in front of our child. YOU, with bloody hands, punched out windows to your home. YOU verbally abused your wife in front of our child. YOU had police at your house because of domestic violence. YOU failed to set a good example to our child about how a man should treat a woman, or how a woman should expect to be treated by a man. You. Failed.
Despite the hell you’ve put our child and I through, thank you. Without your abuse, I wouldn’t have found a strength inside of me that I never knew existed. Without your abuse, I wouldn’t have realized my worth. Without your abuse, I wouldn’t have made the promise to our child and myself that healthy, loving relationships are effortlessly possible. Without your abuse, I wouldn’t be the mother, wife, woman, friend, sister, daughter, or person I am today. Without your abuse, I wouldn’t have the greatest gift that could’ve ever come from the darkest time of my life, our child.
To my abuser, never in a million years did I imagine I would be alive to write this letter to you.
ONE of your victims
P.S. To any victim or survivor of domestic violence: There is happiness at the end of this nightmare. If you’re willing and open to accept it. There is love in your future. If you allow yourself to heal. There is such a thing as a healthy relationship. If you don’t become tainted by your experience. I urge you to “find your reason to leave.”
One Mom’s Battle: Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), Custody Evaluators, therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children.
History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2009, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother, (Tina Swithin), navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth. Tina’s battle spanned from 2009 – 2014 during which time she acted as her own attorney. Ultimately, Tina was successful in protecting her daughters and her family has enjoyed complete peace since October 2014 when a Family Court commissioner called her ex-husband a “sociopath” and revoked his parenting time in a final custody order.
Tina Swithin: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon (print, Kindle or audio format). Each year, Tina offers life-changing weekends of camaraderie and healing at the Lemonade Power Retreat. Tina also offers one-on-one coaching services and a private, secure forum called, The Lemonade Club, for those enduring high-conflict custody battles.