I never wanted to be a domestic violence expert. I wanted to cure cancer or buy new tennis shoes for all of the homeless children in the country on the first day of school. I could have gone on Oprah to share my secret knowledge of Science that led to my remarkable cancer cure discovery. Lives would have been saved, families protected. No, instead I got a Ph.D. in domestic violence by default. It snuck up on me; I was in the high school years of my degree before I knew what was happening. I would have never said I was a victim of domestic violence because I was never hit. If I had been mercifully hit one day soon after we were married in June of 1997 my life would have taken a much more positive turn. How can one say getting physically assaulted would make their life go in a positive direction? It is easy. Had I been hit, I would have known without a shadow of a doubt that I was a victim and needed to escape, my family would have rallied around to support me and get me reorganized in an apartment. I would not have had two children with the abuser that sentenced me to an additional 18 years of unwanted abuse. I would have walked freely into a peasant life free of domestic violence. I would have built a life with a man who loved me; I would have had children with a man who loved me. Oh, how I long for this. How I long that I would have been hit, escaped, and rebuilt. No, I was never hit. I have been emotionally abused for now almost 20 years; this is where the expert title comes from, unfortunately. Don’t sign up for this lifestyle; it is hopeless and overwhelming.
If you or some you love is living with emotional abuse please know it is abuse. It is abuse that is much more damaging than physical abuse because it does not present like abuse. There are no physical signs that you are being harmed. It is easy to ignore the signals and dodge the danger of this isolating lifestyle. If you look deeper and you will see all of the signs of domestic violence without the physical aspect. Please seek help, please get to higher ground before it is too late and you have two children with your abuser. 18 years is too long to live in the haunting shadow of court ordered visits with a man who should be put into jail rather than receive custody of his children.
Domestic shelters.org is a great place to start to look for help. Find help, be safe, get information. https://www.domesticshelters.org/
I have written a children’s book for children living with domestic violence. I believe it is a lifeline to them, giving children the correct and age-appropriate information they need to escape. You can buy Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT at www.juliefederico.com or at your favorite bookstore. This book is also available in Spanish. Help is available please do not suffer alone.