October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For some of us at Rejuvenations, that means the air often lingers with reminders of our own struggles. The following is an excerpt from a blog written in October of 2018 by our own Sase Fleenor, recounting her journey out of a physically, verbally, and mentally abusive relationship.
If you or a loved one feel trapped in an abusive relationship, know that Rejuvenations offers an open door and a safe space. We will listen to you, we will cry with you, and we will help you find a way out. If you are unable to make it to us to seek refuge, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
Once upon a time, I believed I was worthless. I believed there was nothing important about me. I believed I had no quality within my soul. I believed I had nothing to give. Through insecurities and self-doubt, I became a shadow of who I was made to be. In the process, I walked hand in hand with a man who slapped me, choked me, bit me; a man who threatened me was always just a foot step away. I was tormented physically, verbally, financially, and mentally. I grew afraid to shower, afraid to be naked in my own home. I was afraid to buy groceries. I was afraid to get in a car. I was afraid to be around people.
In great moments of deep-forgotten strength, I would speak out, only to pay for it behind the french doors of my bedroom, confined by my own front door.
I was told to try harder. I was told that I was the problem. I was told that marriage was hard. I was told to pray. I was told to quit focusing on the bad. I was told my mouth was the problem.
It was my family that was our problem. It was his job that was at fault. I said the wrong things. I embarrassed him. From believing I was smart to knowing I was stupid, I stood in a mess that I thought I made. I left, only to go back, time and time again.
I was not believed.
Nine years. Over 3000 days. I had fear as my first emotion. I had anxiety as my second. I could not catch my breath. I could not sleep. I could not eat. I was a dim light of a little girl. I became frozen and confused. I could not live one more second.
Until I could.
Nothing you ever say justifies abuse. Nothing you ever do justifies abuse. You do not deserve anything that creates fear. It will never be okay, but, you will be. I promise, your heart will be more strong. Your mind will be more clear. Your soul will sing.
You are not alone.
You are worthy.
You have value.