This is my theme for the month. October is National Domestic Violence Prevention/Awareness month. For years this month has always been special to me. Not only have I experienced domestic violence – twice – but I’ve been a witness to it far too many times. Domestic violence goes beyond physical abuse. There are varying types: emotional, financial, sexual, mental, religious…the list goes on and on. There are women – and men, believe it or not – who are stuck in relationships today thinking they’re not being abused because their not-so-significant other hasn’t laid a hand on them. That’s the biggest stigma when it comes to domestic violence – that it’s only physical. It’s not! Any form of abuse that’s hurtful, belittling, and limits your quality of life can be considered abuse. There is no love is pain.
But there can be a purpose for it.
What I mean by purposing your pain is to take what you’ve been through and use it to better your life. A lot of times DV survivors feel guilt and shame for their failed relationships. Having society shame us in their own way doesn’t help, neither. How many times have you said or heard these words:
- That could never be me!
- How stupid is she/he for staying?
- She/he obviously likes the way they treat them or they would have left by now.
- It can’t be that bad.
- What’s to complain about? They’re living it up!
I could name countless other comments, but I think as survivors we’ve been shamed enough. Listen, there’s more to leaving a domestically violent relationship than packing your stuff and walking out. It’s not that easy! And, no, you don’t always see it coming. The complicated details can only be understood by those who have been through it. If you have, don’t waste another second giving the shameful thoughts and comments you overhear – or that are told directly to you – another kilowatt of your power! And if you’re the one doing the “talking” just know it’s more helpful to say something positive and beneficial. Keep your shameful feelings to yourself. You’re not helping the situation…AT ALL!
So how can you purpose this pain? Put a positive spin on it. I know there’s nothing positive about the incident in and of itself, but instead of reacting with guilt, shame, or counterproductively with your own attacks, try using the situation to help better your life.
Have you always been told you’re not attractive and no one else would want you? Use this opportunity to practice REAL self love! Every morning, go to the mirror and say these three affirmations:
I love you just as you are!
I appreciate you just as you are!
You’re beautiful just as you are!
Speak life into your self-confidence and self-esteem! Within a weeks time I bet you’ll feel a whole lot better!
Have you battled with finances because your not-so-significant other always controlled money? Take finance classes. Join online financial groups. Envision a better life where money is a tool that’s abundantly at your disposal.
Were you always told you would be nothing without them? Kept in solitude from your family and friends? Now is the best time to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people. This is sometimes tricky because, sadly, not all family members and friends are supportive of DV survivors during this critical time. I highly recommend seeking support groups. They can be found at your local community centers, though DV organizations, meetup.com, and many other places. Having difficulty finding a group? Create one! You are not alone in this journey. Find another lone walker and take this task on together. The more support you can find, the easier it will be.
There are many other ways to purpose your pain. One way that’s helped me is to give back and help others who are now dealing with what I’ve been through. This month I plan on purposing my pain in several ways:
- Purpose your Pain Open Coaching Sessions – Every Thursday evening from 6 pm – 7 pm EST this month I will host a weekly webinar online to discuss four aspects of domestic violence recovery: acceptance, forgiveness, healing, and forward movement. I invite you to join me and the other participants. As a bonus, all participants are eligible to win a free digital gift basket! Registration is free and participation is confidential. You can register here at Eventbrite. Or you can pop by the Zoom chat room where the webinar will be held. It’s open to all participants and, as stated before, you can participate confidentially.
- Stronger Than Life: On Saturday, 10/14, I will be in Bridgeport, CT sharing my story with four other amazing survivors. If you’re in the Bridgeport area I invite you to attend this event. Information can be found on the flyer below:
- Hurricane eBook sale: The book that saved my life…literally…is on sale this month for $1.99 using coupon code RH32T. It’s available for download on all eReaders at Smashwords .
There’s no telling what else I will do to bring awareness to this life altering issue. One thing’s for certain; whatever it is I will not let my pain exist in vain. If God spared me then it’s only right that I help others escape the turmoil I went through. Through pain, shame, and victim blame…I will purpose my pain!