Overcoming physical abuse and thriving
By: Trish Lee (Germany)
One never truly knows how fragile life is until you nearly lose it. I’m a physical abuse survivor and I’m grateful for being alive every single day.
I’ve been physically abused by a family member 3 times in my life. Out of those 3 times, twice I was worried my life was going to end.
My first experience was when I was just 12 years old. The second time was when I was about 14 and the third when I was 15. It pains me to say it, but the person who harmed me, was my own brother.
We were actually really close as kids. In fact, our mom had to yell at us to go to sleep at times because we had too much fun laughing and playing with each other and refused to go to sleep!
But somehow along the way, my brother started to change as he moved from primary to secondary school. His group of friends changed (they weren’t a good influence on him), which also caused him to change as a person.
He started to become more distant, colder. He got interested in bodybuilding, loved to watch wrestling, got into fights, and started to curse very often. He somehow was no longer the same brother I once knew.
I was watching TV and then he suddenly switched it off, without even asking me first, simply because he wanted to wipe the TV. He was cleaning the house and wanted to wipe the dust off the TV as well.
I told him I was watching the TV and couldn’t understand why he couldn’t wait just a while. I then switched it back on. In a blink of an eye, he suddenly became a monster, a side of him that I’ve never seen before.
He yelled at me and started cursing and swearing. He said, what if he wiped the TV while it was on and he got electrocuted? He then started to beat me like an animal. He punched, kicked, choked, and dragged me around the house. By the time he was done, my face was bleeding and my whole body was bruised.
I recalled thinking how lucky I was to survive that ordeal… only God knows how I survived that level of barbaric violence. Aside from the tremendous pain I was feeling, what was really hard to swallow was going to school the next day and having my friends ask me what happened to my face and neck. There were blue black marks everywhere…
It took me many many years to slowly heal, find it within me to forgive him, and to let go of the past. Though those dark moments are behind me now, I still experience nightmares at times. I’ve come to learn that physical pain heals over time, but the trauma it leaves behind can make us resentful toward life and haunt us for a long time if our emotions are not dealt with properly. No amount of time can ever undo what has been done, neither will any amount of apologies make the actions of the abuser acceptable or right.
With this acceptance, we survivors can CHOOSE to either stay in pain and anger, allow it to slowly eat us up from the inside, let this beautiful life we’ve been given to just slip away right before our eyes… OR, we can choose to LET GO. Choosing to let go, closing the chapter, and moving on is the BEST gift we can gift ourselves.
Just know that letting go or forgiveness doesn’t mean we have to be chummy buddies with our abusers. Even if they are family, we can choose to cut them out of our lives if they are unkind and toxic for our mental well-being. We can choose to FOCUS on our own lives and write the unwritten chapters of our lives.
I was once a very bitter person who hated life and suffered from very low self-esteem. I am proud of myself for learning to LET GO and to focus on building a life I’ve always dreamt of rather than holding on to pain. Today, I can say I’m blessed with a loving husband, a caring baby girl, a humble home, and good health.
To anyone who is suffering, especially women, please seek HELP and support. Please don’t suffer in silence! This was the BIGGEST mistake I made as a child. Don’t think it is YOUR FAULT or that you deserve to be abused. Don’t gamble with your life. No one deserves to be treated like an animal. You deserve love and respect just like anyone does. WE ALL DO!
To all survivors, you’re NOT ALONE. Please know that healing IS possible, but we have to CHOOSE to actively do the inner work. Brighter days are possible.
As Amit Ray, an Indian author and spiritual master once said, “If you want to fly in the sky, you need to leave the earth. If you want to move forward, you need to let go of the past that drags you down.”