ENDING THE CYCLE
BY: MASHONDA W.
There’s a girl out there somewhere that is struggling to make ends meet. She’s a mother, a student, and an employee. She faithfully attends church and prays to God for her breakthrough. She’s constantly uplifting others and helping them in their times of need, while never taking handouts from anyone else. She always finds a way to make it through any situation that she is faced with. Lately things have been changing for her. Her patience is running thin and she’s starting to feel like things will never look up for her. She knows that she can’t give up because she has someone looking up to her, but she can’t help but find herself falling into a deep state of depression. She no longer finds enjoyment in the things that she once did, and she avoids being around her close friends and family. Though her body isn’t physically harmed she has committed suicide of her soul. She’s given up, but what she doesn’t realize is that things are about to take a drastic change for her good.
That girl was me 5 years ago, after leaving a very abusive relationship where I experienced mental and physical abuse. I was screaming for help on the inside but refused to go around those that loved me, in fear that they might actually answer my call for help. That answer would be preceded by questions that I wasn’t ready to answer. I had hidden the abuse for so long in order to protect him and out of embarrassment for myself. I had spoken so highly of him and I would brag about him to anyone that would listen. Let’s not forget all the bruises I was constantly hiding in order to cover up the fact that he was beating the snot out of me. When someone would see the bruises, I would lie and makeup some story about me being clumsy and running into something. I felt the need to protect his image and didn’t wanted anyone talking bad about him. How would I go back and tell them that they were all lies? How dumb would I look? Why is love so blind?
I endured the abuse for 3 years before I finally decided to leave him. I remember that night like it was yesterday. I knew in my mind that he had jumped on me for the LAST time. I followed the advice of someone that I referred to as a friend, I fought back and left. The breakup was horrible, and in the end, he ended up looking like the victim. Everyone was giving their opinion of what happened, and he was sending me messages calling me all kinds of things. He even had me questioning myself, wondering if maybe I was wrong. Maybe I made him hit me. Maybe I shouldn’t have talked back. Maybe just maybe I shouldn’t have gotten mad when he cheated. I mean people make mistakes, right? They were all mistakes….at least that’s what he led me to believe. After 3 years of defending my offender, here I was after finally breaking away from him, continuing to defend him. Even when I thought I was in control and no longer bound to this abusive lifestyle, I was still a prisoner to it. Then I found myself fighting for my image instead of my freedom. I cared about what others thought, and I had to let them know what really happened. Eventually I decided to leave it alone and let people think what they wanted to about me.
I stayed away from social media for years and began to work on me. After leaving the relationship I realized that I hadn’t did anything to make myself happy in a long time. I realized that years before I had stopped living my life for me and started living solely for him and our relationship. I didn’t see myself as an individual but solely as his partner and to exist without him seemed surreal, but now I was finally walking in my purpose and becoming a woman that I was proud of. I’m not saying that I am perfect, because like any victim I went back a few times before enough was enough. I never moved back into the house but sometimes co-parenting lead to small flings but they never lasted long. It only took a few of those flings to realize that he didn’t deserve any part of me. I knew in my heart that I could never give him the complete control of me that he had once had. I never again allowed myself to lose sight of who I was. I worked profusely on improving me, which consisted of getting my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, finding a job, building back my relationships with my family and friends, and being the best mother that I could be to my sweet baby girl. I can honestly say that nobody but God got me through this difficult time in my life. By leaning and depending on God I was able to start fresh and build a foundation where I was able to support my daughter and myself. My weight came back, and my hair grew (yes, the saying is true). Overall I found myself again and I can honestly say that for the first time in three years I was happy.
To leave this relationship was one of the hardest things that I had ever had to do, but it was also one of the smartest things that I have ever done in my life. After leaving it became so much easier for me to walk away from things that didn’t add value to my life. I had more confidence in myself and I was a much better mother, friend, sister, and daughter than I was before. I healed myself so that I didn’t bleed on others. So, ladies just know that uncomfortable feeling that you are feeling right now only means that it’s time for you to take action. It’s time to let it all go and give yourself a chance to live again. Work on yourself! Rebuild those broken relationships with friends and family! Take all the energy that you once put in that dead relationship and put it into reaching your goals. It’s going to hurt and it will take time, but the longer you wait to make a change, the longer before you receive your new beginning.