Recognizing what's broken inside you is key to the journey of living a fulfilling life.
When I contemplated leaving my abusive relationship in 1988, I spent a lot of time having all kinds of conversations with myself. “I can’t leave him – he’s their father.” “I won’t be a good Christian woman if I leave.” “What did I do to make him treat me that way?” “I can’t live the rest of my life like this – he’ll end up killing me.”
I was paralyzed with fear, yet excited at the prospect that my life would change for the better and I could finally get away from the abuse. I didn’t know what would happen once I left, but I was willing to take that chance. Because of the verbal, psychological and emotional abuse, it made me afraid to leave and afraid to stay. It stripped away my self-confidence.
With all the emotional and psychological damage done to me by the abuse, I realized that I suffered from low self-esteem, for starters. As hard as it was, I looked at myself in the mirror every day to see what stared back at me. And I did not like what I saw - the hurt, disappointed, angry woman that was about to join the ranks of single motherhood.
My challenge was convincing myself I wasn’t all the things my abuser said I was. But, the more you do something, the easier it gets. That constant self-talk helped build up my resolve so I could eventually leave. I kept telling myself that I was not born into this world to be abused, and I am a good person with a good heart. I told myself that my children and I deserved better. The more I did that, the more I empowered myself to take the first step in changing my life.
Written by Ivette Attaud