I’ve spent most of my life trying to be, look, act, and be perceived as perfect in an effort to prove I’m worthy of love and belonging.  This habit has lead to a great deal of pain and suffering.  The most painful of all has been the toll it has taken on me being able to show up as my authentic self and share what is real for me.  

So, in the spirit of being real, I’m going to share a story that many people do not know about me.

I couldn’t wait to go to college.  I remember the day my mom and brother dropped me off.  I was so excited to start this new chapter in my life.  I wanted freedom, independence, and to recreate myself.  I really didn’t like high school very much.   I felt like I was given a clean slate and I could be whoever I wanted to be.

Up until this point, I never really had a boyfriend.  My first day there, I met a guy and there was instant chemistry.  Not too long after we started dating.  This was new territory for me…being totally on my own and now having a boyfriend.  It was like a dream.  Not only was he my first boyfriend, he was the first guy I said “I love you” to, and the first guy I had sex with (maybe TMI, but I think it’s important to the story).  Honestly, I thought we would get married. 

About 8 months into our relationship, something happened that changed things forever.

We had been out drinking one night and started to get into an argument.  The next thing I know, his hand is around my neck and I’m being pinned to the ground.  I was in shock.  The next morning I woke up, I was hoping that it was just a nightmare, but it wasn’t.  He apologized and said it would never happen again.  I believed him and chalked it up to drinking too much.

But, then it happened again and again and again.  

This time he was shoving me in his room while we were arguing about something.  That started to happen more often than not.

Then, one night while arguing he ripped a necklace off my neck and pushed my head into the car window.  

Before all of these events, when I would hear of someone staying in an abusive relationship, I would be in shock how they couldn’t just leave.  Now, being the one in the abusive relationship with someone who I thought loved me and who I loved, I started to not only hate him, but hate myself for staying.

I just couldn’t seem to bring myself to leave him.  I knew what he was doing was wrong.  I knew that I did not want to be treated that way.  I knew it would keep happening even though he would say how sorry he was every single time.  

I didn’t tell any of my friends.  I was so ashamed of myself.  How could this be happening to me???

The only person I told while it was all happening was his sister.  

I felt awful about myself for a very long time.  Here I was nineteen years old trying to make this heart breaking decision.  What made this so painful is that I loved him, but it was killing me inside to stay.

Then, one day I found the courage to leave him.  Something just snapped inside of me and I couldn’t do it anymore.  

I didn’t date anyone for a very long time after this.  In fact, in an unhealthy way I totally detached myself from wanting to really like any guy for fear of being hurt like this ever again.  

I’ve done a lot of inner work in the last 7 years from this experience.  I believed I was not worthy of love.  I connected love with pain and hurt.  I thought I had to constantly protect myself from guys.  The walls I put up from this experience are still being taken down to this day.  

Time does not heal your past experiences.  

Doing the inner work to face those demons and limiting beliefs is what heals you, frees you, and creates peace within. Healing is processing what happened, feeling the emotions, and loving yourself not despite of what happened but because you did the best you could.  Healing is loving all parts of you, the light and darkness.  Healing frees you up to start making new choices like showing up as the authentic you, saying no when you mean no, and saying yes to experiences that light you up!

Whether that means working with a therapist, energy healer, or other facilitator.  If you are stuck in the past, know that you are worthy of healing.  If you have tried many things that have not worked, keep going.  Do not stop until you find what you need to heal and free yourself.  

I have a feeling that there are a lot of people out there that have had similar experiences that have not spoken about them or healed from them.  I’ve learned from Brene Brown, a shame researcher, that shame needs secrecy, silence, and judgement to thrive.  It’s so easy to judge yourself or others for the choices they have made.  With everything that is happening in our world I think more compassion, love, and healing are the answers.  

With Courage,