I’m putting this guest post under “Other Healthy Tipping Point” stories because being healthy is a lot more than whole wheat bread and cardio. Mental and emotional health are so valuable, and I wanted to share Michele’s story in case there are others out there who need to hear this message. Love shouldn’t hurt!
Michelle wrote, “If you read nothing more, please believe this: the person you love shouldn’t hurt you. Not with his/her words, actions, or silence. You deserve to live your life on this earth feeling safe, loved, and respected, especially by the person who holds your heart.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Caitlin has been so gracious to allow me to share my story with you all. As you may have guessed, I am a survivor of Domestic Violence. Not too long ago, the man I loved more than anything was physically abusive with me and I decided to leave the relationship for my own safety and well-being. Even before the physical abuse started, he was angry, controlling and jealous. He censored the people I spoke with, the places I went, and the things I read on the internet, including my beloved healthy living blogs! He accused me of awful things, calling me names I wouldn’t call my enemy and made me feel worthless in every single way. He had complete control over me. If he was happy, I was flying high. If he was angry, I walked on eggshells scared that the tiniest and insignificant thing could send him into a rage.
What kind of woman was I to put up with that?
Before I met him, I was going to college on a full-ride scholarship and had just returned from a year spent studying abroad in Ecuador and interning in Washington DC. I was planning to go to law school and felt like the entire world was my oyster.
Trust me, there’s no “type” for domestic violence.
One in four women in the United States will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Almost four million people in the United States every year are physically abused by their partner. Domestic violence goes beyond physical abuse: it can also be sexual, emotional, economic, mental, and verbal.
The statistics are staggering, but we can all do something. First, if you are a victim, please get help. You can contact your local woman’s shelter or the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. I understand that it may seem impossible, but your life will get better if you leave. Healing yourself is not easy, but it is worth it. Every day I wake up thankful to be alive and living my life on my own terms. I am happier on my own than I ever was in my relationship, even during the good times.
If you’re not a victim, there’s at least a 25% chance you know one. In love, encourage your friend or family member to seek help and be there for her/him every step of the way. You can also volunteer at a local shelter or even donate household items or clothing for women restarting their lives.
Real love doesn’t hurt. Love doesn’t require you to sacrifice yourself or your basic safety for another person. There is no exception to this truth. Please look at yourself in the mirror and promise yourself that you’ll settle for nothing less than the real deal. I know I won’t ever again.
Michelle is currently rebuilding her life after leaving an abusive marriage. She works in Marketing and is applying to law school. Her goal is that no woman will stay in an abusive relationship for fear of losing her children, home, or life. In the meantime, she’s started a brand-new healthy living blog, a Whole lot of Life. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like this story? Check out other Healthy Tipping Points:
- Cynthia: Healthy is More than Size / Dealing with IBS
- Erica: Positive Thinking in Real Life
- Ben: A 120 Pound Journey to an Ironman
- Erin: Young, Strong, and Beating Distorted Thinking
- Tina: Two Pink Lines Motivated Her to Get Healthy
- Bo: A Man’s Healthy Tipping Point Journey
- Emily: A Slow Switch Helped Her Lose Nearly 100 Pounds
- Kayla: The Fear of Going Blind Motivated Her to Get Healthy
- Maria: A Gallbladder Stone Scare Showed Her The Importance of Real Food
- Dani: Learning to Run Through the Couch to 5K Program
- Maissa: Finding a New Outlet for Negative Emotions
- Freya: A Journey Out of Anorexia
- Carrie: Ditched Distorted Thinking and Ran a Marathon
- Amy: A Mom Who Lost Baby Weight and Became a Triathlete
- Jenny: Saw Lance Armstrong on Oprah and Decided to Ride a Century
- Lauren: Stays Active Despite Being a Busy Associate at a Financial Firm
- Beth: A Friend’s Serious Illness Inspired Her to Focus on Her Own Health