Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Salted Wounds

As I woke up on the bathroom floor, I realized I must have either hit my head or fainted. Pulling myself up I got to my feet. My head felt wet and throbbing and I could not stand on my left foot. Turning on the bathroom light, my heart jumped at my reflection in the mirror. Aside from looking like a raccoon with my makeup running, my face was swollen like a balloon. I had a black eye and a small gash to the head on the right. Upon further inspection, bruises to legs and arm, one was pretty nasty looking, the size of a saucer. Quietly opening the bathroom door, the house was dark and still except for the snore. I wondered how long I had been in there.

Hobbling in attempt toward the living room, it all came flashing back in vivid heart wrenching. It was supposed to be a surprise. I'd have the tree all decorated by the time he got home from work and he would walk into wonderland. What a joke that was as I looked at the brutalized tree in it's fallen glittery bits, broken all over the carpet. I'd never seen anyone do that before. Just take an eight foot Christmas Tree and use it as a weapon. Pain shot up through my foot as I forgot, not to put weight on it. I likely came out of it pretty good considering, but it was clear I was going to have to go to the doctor this time. Feeling terrified at the thought of having that conversation with him, I began to shake and decided to let him wake on his own.
I sat and cried, not because he hurt me, but because I just didn't understand how he could forget to love me. Was I so starved for any appearance of affection I was willing to take anything to get it? The very thought of this threw my body into convulsing sobs all over again in self loathing.

Coming back to my senses I looked around the living room. Gazing at the fallen tree I thought how very much alike we were in this moment. A beautiful broken disaster. I remembered then my mothers Christmas Trees and then the one I drew on a cardboard for my siblings, after they had left us. They forgot to love us too. How does that happen? How do people just leave or fly into rage if they say they love you? Was it all connected? So many questions came to my mind in an attempt to puzzle it out.

After he woke up, there were the typical apologies that found their way to the conclusion that it was all my fault. I also ended up with a concussion, walked with a cane for six months with a torn ligament and had to wait to go back to work until the eye healed a bit. Adding salt to the wound, I knew he was never going to change, it was up to me to change. It was then I realized I would leave and never come back. I would never allow my children to move into this house. Even if I didn't think I deserved better, they did.

This was a decision I had to continue to make over several years before I realized the choices I had. Requiring me to dial back my threshold for pain. It took even longer to come to the revelation that I could create my own choices. Life didn't just have to happen to me. My life was for me, not against me. No one had ever even said the word "choices" to me until I was well into my thirties. Had I understood this during the years of abuse I had subjected myself to, I would have called the authorities. Safety, security and love is a right to every human being. The choices others make for themselves in behavior or lifestyle is theirs as well. For me it was a long journey to discovery, but I am one of the lucky ones in this regard.

Although I'm battle worn, many others don't come out of these circumstances with their lives, let alone their dignity. Nicole Simpson is a tragic example. It doesn't matter what walk of life a person comes from. Domestic violence, psychological abuse and even worse atrocities happen daily. Even when it bewilders our minds at the how or why of these horrors, it can't and mustn't stop us from creating awareness and putting an end to it. This starts in our own homes and in our own hearts by example in the decisions we make. But there is much more to do beyond the perimeters of ourselves. We can all make an effort to educate and spread the word of hope. Had someone done so for me, I may have been spared many years of torment and neglect.

The lives of others can be spared now with the many more resources and advocates available today. Respect is the key element missing in human exchanges manifesting abusive behavior. If humanity had pure respect for itself, there would be no war or even a reason to put locks on doors. No one person has the answers. The resolve of humanities issues, requires a collective awareness and the will to create like minded consciousness. It can happen like a snowball and gain momentum the more we combine our understanding and unify intention. I've watched prejudice fly out the door in the face of tragedies like 911, where people do come together and unify for a moment in time. I believe it's possible for us to do the same, for the sake of love itself, for humanity forever.

We hurt ourselves when we hurt each other. We love ourselves when we intend the highest good for each other and back it up with loving action.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who believed in "The Golden Rule"; "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" guess what, I still believe.

You are not alone. Call, don't wait: Domestic Abuse Hot-line & Resources:
National Domestic Violence Hotline> http://www.ndvh.org/
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence> http://www.ncadv.org/



  1. Debra Joy, what you went through could have been what I witnessed my mom go through. The only difference is that there was no place for her to go for help.You are an amazing woman to go through that and come out such a wonderful and loving woman. I am so very honored to have you for a friend. You really deserve whatever happiness is coming your way. Love ya!!

  2. Debra,
    What an honest and heart-wrenching, but hopeful post. I am sorry you had to go through this; my abuse was emotional, but abuse just the same.

    You are such a wonderful, loving and talented human being, and I am proud to know you and call you "friend." xo Olivia

  3. My mouth was hanging open as I read this. I am so sorry, so very sorry. I will forward your post to all I can, just in case eyes fall upon it that desperately need to read your words. Sending love your way this day.

  4. Where to start?
    I found you by accident(?) by way of the new retweet thing, on twitter, which I had not liked, until now.
    I clicked on your page, read your bio and liked what I read...so I checked your blog. I read the first one and liked it, having today spoken to a woman down on her luck. I spoke to her but did not give her any money out of pre-judgement, because I have given she and her partner, money, for the past couple of years. I feel badly now. But I would not have been giving from my heart, as you did. I told her I would catch her next time, and meant it. So thank you for that beautiful post on giving.

    Then I read this post about your horrible experience, at the hands of people, who know not, why they do what they do, and call it love. I am so sorry that happened to you...and so glad that you reclaimed your power, and took yourself out of the situation. Protected yourself and your children. They were learning something not to follow...but you showed them how to be strong and care for yourself and them.
    Back in late Oct, Rhianna was on TV speaking of her experience of violence, at the hands of someone professing his Love...and later talking like he was not really responsible for it...they have a tendency to view themselves as the victim...it is a twisted-mind-cartwheel they do so easily.
    I remember going on a long stream of consciousness about her and him, and violence&sexual abuse against Women & children...on my Twitter page.
    I was a victim of sexual abuse as a child at the hands of my Uncle, my Mothers Brother. At the ripe age of 40, the memories surfaced and I went thru about 8yrs of long hard work and came out the other side a survivor...but at any time, something can be a catalyst, and stimulate yet another layer of feelings, that must be acknowledged, felt and released...for another span of relaxation and peace.
    These were some of my tweets that night:
    "There is no circumstance where a Man has the Right to Hit a Woman or Child with intent to do real Harm...out of Rage!"
    "If you are being hit...get help...you do not deserve it and it is not your fault...XOX...Peace. #domesticviolence"
    9:40 PM Nov 7th
    "...Because you Love yourself and you are worthy of your own Love & Protection."

    And then I read your Twitter post and I fell completely in love with you:)...your beautiful open & vulnerable Heart...I look forward to reading more of your poignant, thought provoking and heart inspiring words. I am following you now and have put you on my lists because you belong there...Peace and Love to you & your children...