This I believe. I am valuable and worthy of respect. Not because I have made great accomplishments or done anything special in life, but simply because I am a human being.
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, in a far away kingdom, there lived a princess who fell in love with a handsome prince. He was everything she had ever wanted. The princess thought he was wonderful and fabulous because he came charging up on a white horse bearing gifts of diamonds and whispering sweet nothings. Soon the prince persuaded the princess to give him her hand in marriage. He promised her everlasting love and faithfulness. She thought she was the luckiest princess in the land. Before she knew it, the wedding day at her chapel had arrived. Her parents and the rest of the royal family came from far and wide to see her pledge her life to the prince. The wedding was a true fairy tale. It was everything she had hoped for and more! She couldn’t wait to start her new life with her wonderful prince. However, it wasn’t long before the prince showed some cracks in his armor. It went very quickly from a wonderful fairy tale to stark reality.
It started off in insidious ways. When I tried to tell a joke or a story, I wasn’t allowed to be right. He was always smarter, better looking and a more likeable person. Everything I did was wrong. Everything he did was right. Anything I did he could do better. Soon the emotional abuse escalated into small physical mishaps. Somehow, according to him, I managed to be in the way of his hand whenever he was angry. Soon the small mishaps turned into something that no one could mistake for accidents. He made every effort upon every occasion to belittle me and take away my belief in myself. He wanted me to lose my will to fight back so that he could feel powerful. I found myself lying to my family and myself about the situation I was in. I had the foolish hope that if I worked on it hard enough he would change back into the prince I had once known. Before long he escalated into throwing me down the hallway and shoving me down the stairs. Then he would trap me in the corner and scream profanities at me until I felt like I was worth nothing, and would never be strong enough to get myself out of the situation I was in. On the occasions that I found the strength to leave, he managed to persuade me that he was a new man and things would be different from now on. However, every time I left and came back it wasn’t long until the abuse escalated into an even higher level.
My mom always taught me through example and words that I was worthy of respect. As a young teen I never dreamed I would know what it felt like to be in an abusive situation. I always thought those women were weak, and if I was in that situation I would leave without another thought. However, I found that living the reality was so very different. Every time I had the courage to leave and go back home my mom would do everything in her power to help me. She wanted to make sure that I understood that I was worth so much more. She told me that this kind of behavior does not stop but only gets worse.
One night I once again said something that made him angry and he threatened to kill me. This was my defining moment. It was like a light bulb came on inside my head and I could finally see clearly. Everything my mom had been trying to tell me suddenly just clicked. I saw my life stretching out before me as a nightmare of unending abuse. I knew at this moment that I deserved better. That night I left and never went back or spoke to him again. I cut him completely out of my life and filed for divorce. I refused all of his e-mails, phone calls and any effort to contact me. Doing this was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But with the help of my mom I became stronger and more determined daily to become the best I could be.
True character can only be obtained by going through a situation rather than giving in to it. I have learned that forgiveness is for my benefit rather than for his. I have found core strength through this. I now know that I have the will and the determination to face anything that life throws my way. I alone am in control on my destiny and am responsible for my own happiness. This I believe, I am valuable and worthy of respect not because of my great accomplishments but because that is my right as a human being. I am strong. I am following my dreams.
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