FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Durelle Price | Perfe
Did you know that October was Relationship Violence Awareness Month? Probably not. Many other worthy causes have overshadowed this pandemic that thrives in the shadows.
Relationship violence destroys the lives of adults, teens and children. Recently, a teen told me she hadn’t realized she was in an abusive relationship until she read the story on page 185 of Sean Covey’s book, The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make.
In what seems like someone else’s story now, at 22, I was so beaten down physically and emotionally—I believed the lies of my batterer: that I was stupid, worthless, and pathetic. I sought to end my life, but failing in the attempt, I awakened in intensive care, angry and cursed the heavens and the hospital for sending me back to that house of horrors. I had given up on my only asset—me; on any chance that I might find some inkling of happiness or success. Then later at 24, looking down at my newborn daughter, I saw my purpose reflected in her big blue eyes. I had a mission— to be the best mother I could possibly be.
It would take five years to let go of the dangerous hope for change and the lies I’d told myself that kept me chained to a relationship filled with broken egg shells, broken spirits, and broken dreams. I had to grieve the loss as one would a death. I used to think it was the death of that cowardly, witless little girl, but now I know it was the death of the dream I grieved—the dream of having the perfect family—mommy, daddy, baby; living in harmony.
The scenario can be had. It was the actors’ inability to fulfill the roles that brought the show to a close. I had to relinquish my role—grieve the loss of the notion that the only way I could succeed was to stay and tough it out; be the perfect mommy, the good wife and help him change; lie motionless in the uncomfortable, seemingly flame-retardant bed I had, indeed, made. But at 30 years of age, I metaphorically burned that bed and over the years have tried to outrun the smoldering memories that linger in my subconscious. Some nights I still scream out and leap for the door. I still look in the rearview mirror fearful that I will see his angry face behind the wheel of the car behind me. I still set the security alarm each time I enter my home and check all the doors and windows before going to sleep.
Yet, I face the mirror each morning thrilled to see the fresh face of a neo 19 year old free of bruises and remind myself of who I am today—of the hurdles over which I have bounded and helped others to clear; of the accomplishments I can call my own: of the amazing husband who has stood by my side now for 17 years supporting any and all of my personal and professional efforts; and of the blossoming young woman whom I am blessed to call my daughter. For I know now that the courage and triumph was never in the staying, it was in the leaving.
If you are suffering in an abusive relationship—there is hope. Get help and get out. Call your nearest shelter and break the chains. Leave the habits behind that kept you trapped. Learn and live The 7 Habits of Successful Families. Living them has helped me, and I know it can help you too.