Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Lenore’s Story Pt 4
Ladydee’s note: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I’d like to thank Lenore for sharing her story. Her honesty and strength is inspirational. I hope it offers hope and strength to anyone who may be going through this now. Read part 3, part 2 and part 1.
And now here I am, over ten years later. I still take anti-anxiety meds. I still get skiddish around very big and loud men. But I no longer feel apathetic about my own state of well-being. It took me nearly a decade, but I am finally in a really great place in my life. Steve and I took things nice and slow, and eventually got married a few years later. He is still sweet and supportive and wonderful. He is my soul mate and he is my best friend.
We had a little boy together, who turned out to be the real love of my life. I no longer apologize so frantically for every little thing. If I bump Steve now when walking to closely next to him, I say “Ooops! Sorry babe!” and smile. If I don’t like the way I’m being treated, I feel passionate about standing up. I feel truly deserving of happiness. I have lots of friends now, and feel anything but isolated. Instead, I feel truly embraced by those around me. Anyone who makes me feel otherwise now gets kicked to the curb. I don’t have the patience for that nonsense anymore.
I stayed because I felt sorry for him. I stayed because I pitied him for being raised by a man that was violent and mentally sick. He had nightmares about his childhood, and would sob in my arms after hurting me and wail “I’m worthless and stupid and evil, JUST LIKE HIM!”. I wanted to prove to him that he was NOT like his father. That he could break the cycle that his father had set, and turn himself into something better. I wanted to support him through the pain that his father had put him through. But I was not a trained therapist, so I didn’t know how. Being his friend and loving him through it was not enough. And that was not my fault. Even if at the time I thought it was. I stayed because I felt cut off from so many others. Because I didn’t know how I was going to afford the place on my own. Because I felt like I would miss his sweet face whenever he laughed alongside me at a funny movie, or I would miss that funny little happy dance he would do that would send me into hysterics every time I bought him a present. I stayed because I worried about what would happen to him if I wasn’t there for him to lean on, whenever he was down and needed to talk. I stayed because he felt so familiar, like an old soft worn-out blanket with holes and frayed edges. I stayed because I cared about him, more than I cared about me.
I have no idea of what became of Russ. I pray that he has found peace in his life, and that he is finally living it well. I pray that he has become as happy as I have, and that he is treating his loved ones well and with great respect and kindness. I want only good things for him, because I believe in Karma. To wish him ill will only come back to me. So instead, I wish him love and joy and a life of peace. Simply not with me. Never again with me.
I still see a therapist once every other week. She helps me to love myself as much as I deserved to be loved. She helps me to stay strong. She encourages me to take my anti-anxiety medication daily, and to be kind to myself, and to respect myself more than I was previously used to doing. My therapist works hard with me on being an assertive woman, who can stand up for herself when need be and who will be gentle and kind with herself, at all times. My road to recovery is a long one, and it’s a trip that I may spend the rest of my life trying to navigate.
If you live in NYC, please visit the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence for Resources. They have a great directory where you can search for services.
Safe Horizon also offers great services. They have a bilingual hotline: Call for help (llámenos para ayuda) 1.800.621.HOPE (4673) –
For more information on Domestic Violence, please visit the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
SAFETY ALERT: If you are in danger, please call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233