From Darkness into the Light... Harmony's Story
Domestic violence is literally a life or death situation. In the past 2-1/2 months, here in Washington there have been at least three publicized DV-related murders: a beloved teacher, a mother and two kids, and an entire family including the abuser. This only makes me question how many more exist, who are not given the same media attention? How many other victims lost their lives as a result of abuse and violence?
And to think… I was almost one of them.
In the beginning I was definitely “blinded by love” and overlooked many red flags that I should not have ignored. My ex was a charming smooth talker who seemed the utmost polite gentleman, an upstanding citizen with an admirable career, when in fact it was only a matter of months when he made his first of three attempts to kill me. It was shocking to see a “Jekyll & Hyde” personality, turn into such a monster behind closed doors at home. But yet I accepted the apologies, the excuses, the reasoning, and I hoped that it was a single incident. It wasn’t – it was only the beginning of the abusive cycle that I am now so familiar with.
I did everything people told me to do. I got the protective order and tried to move on. He continued to pursue me, he violated the order and spent 2 weeks in jail. It wasn’t too long until I gave in to his pleas and agreed to talk, which led to dropping the PO and deciding to give the relationship another chance. He convinced me to move away from my home state, isolated me from my friends and family, and things only got worse from there. I was stuck in the cycle and felt powerless with no support system around me. I was being controlled, threatened and humiliated on a daily basis and I was too ashamed to tell anyone. Even if I had attempted, he monitored my phone calls and would tell me not to talk to my friends and family about our “business”.
Meanwhile, significant life events had occurred... I had lost my constant companion of 11 years – my Rottweiler, Peanut. He didn’t want me to get another dog, probably because he knew how protective they can be. My dad passed away. He used the keepsakes and items I treasured from my dad’s house as a tool to manipulate me by threatening to damage or throw them away if I didn’t do what he wanted. I obtained a very nice, well-paying job that he vowed to make me lose, and he eventually did. On top of all the loss and grief, I knew I was also losing my relationship with him that I had tried so hard to make work.
My spirit was broken. I gave up. I didn’t have it within myself to deal with him anymore. I missed those that I loved and lost, and I thought I could solve everything. I know it was selfish, even coward, but maybe subconsciously I figured that it was one way I could take control and not give it to him. I decided to take my own life and not let him do it for me, I overdosed on pills - prescription and over-the-counter, a mixture of about 90 of them.
When I woke up in the hospital I was actually disappointed that I had failed. I was upset that he was still there, and that it was he who had saved me. I was also somewhat dazed and numb to my situation in general. It took another 5 months for me to rebuild my inner strength, to relocate the strong independent woman that had been lost inside me, and to stand up to him one last time. For good.
He put up a fight. He attempted to manipulate the judicial system just like he had manipulated me and so many others before. He turned the tables on me, lied to the police and said I had assaulted him. As a result, I spent a weekend in jail. He was now considered “the victim”, and I was unable to return home. I ended up spending a month at a women’s shelter. There were many more 911 calls, police reports, court appearances, until I had the courage to file the final protective order. This time the judge made it “indefinite” with no expiration date. That still didn’t stop him from making 3 more attempts to follow and stalk me, but it was the end of my nightmare with him.
In the two years that followed, I did a lot of external and internal personal evaluation. I joined a grief support group, volunteered with non-profit agencies, and made more friends along the way. I attended counseling sessions, reconnected with long-lost family members, and rebuilt my support net. I was now able to notice red flags right away and anyone who exhibited a single sign was not allowed to continue to be a part of my life. I used the resources that were offered to me and I sought out the positive, I became proactive in taking back my life.
I read about "The Secret", the laws of attraction, and manifesting positive energy and thoughts to make changes for the better. I set new goals and obtained them. I felt peace once again that I had been missing during that horrible relationship and I knew better things were now in store for me.
Within the past year I met someone who reminds me a lot of my dad. He is kind, caring, understanding, patient, loving, funny, spiritual, generous, and loves me unconditionally. And he has given me the greatest gift of all!!
I am now once again happy and confident. Strong and independent. Alive. I survived.
The need for awareness and support of DV victims is immeasurable. Too many victims stay silent, remain in fear of getting help and getting out, and too many already have not even made it to that point. The Purple Reign Campaign is working towards making a difference in the lives of those affected by violence and abuse and reminds us all that anyone can be a hero by raising awareness and educating others about domestic violence prevention.