To all the ladies who blame themselves for what he did,
To all the ladies who don’t remember what it felt like to trust a man,
To all the ladies who keep one foot outside the door because the last time they put both feet inside, the door slammed and locked behind them,
To all the ladies whose abuse was written off because it wasn’t the right kind,
To all the ladies who know what it feels like not to trust their own thoughts,
To all the ladies who forget what it felt like to feel safe with a man,
To all the ladies who beat themselves up for their inability to have a “successful” relationship,
To all the ladies who know that emotional abuse leaves just as many bruises and scars,
To all the ladies who had to fight to get back to a place where they felt like themselves,
To all the ladies who can only fall for unavailable men because it’s safer,
To all the ladies who still have his voice in their head and worry that sharing something about their story is attention-seeking, rather than brave,
To all the ladies who are tired of feeling broken,
To all the ladies who are safe and strong single, but feel afraid and small in a relationship,
To all the ladies who have felt unsafe inside their own heads and bodies,
To all the ladies who know that he will never know, understand, or care about what he did, what it meant, and how profoundly it impacted their lives,
To all the ladies who want the world to know that they are here, that their story is just as valid as it was years ago, that they have something to say, and that they deserve to be respected and loved by someone special, even if they don’t remember what that looked, felt, or sounded like,
To all the ladies who had to look at their abuser every day, work with them, attend classes with them, share friends with them, hear their name in casual conversation, or was forced to sit next to them during what should have been a day of only happiness,
To all the ladies who sometimes still put up a front because he made it clear that the real her wasn’t good enough,
To all the ladies who still wonder if they’re the “crazy” one,
To the lady who almost deleted every word of this,
You are okay. You are more than okay. You are strong, brave, smart, kind, talented and capable. And if sometimes you don’t feel any of those things, if sometimes you don’t even feel okay, that’s okay, too. Remember that time was just a chapter in your story, not the whole book. Give yourself permission to feel, to learn, to know, to experience, to love, and to explore just a little outside your comfort zone each day. Give yourself permission to try and fail. Be patient with yourself. You are not broken or weak or lesser or crazy or to blame or any of those things that he or society told you to feel. You have the look and bearing of a survivor, someone strong enough to go through something absolutely terrible and come out on the other side. You deserve to be validated and fulfilled, and I have faith that you will be.
To all the ladies, you are important and beloved, and your worth is not defined by anything in this world.
To all the ladies.
***Relationship abuse can take many forms, and abusers and victims can be of any gender or sexual orientation, not just the male to female example represented below. The after effects of abuse vary widely, but these are just a few examples. If you were moved by this post, you can help by sharing this post, speaking up when someone makes an ignorant comment about abuse, or by donating to worthy organizations such as The Blackburn Center, which works to end domestic and sexual violence. Here’s the link to donate:http://www.blackburncenter.org/financial-support. Thanks for reading.