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Why Detrimental Relationships Can Be Your Saving Grace

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Why do some men feel it necessary to control a woman so much, that she gets to the point that she is convinced that leaving would be worse than staying?

Why do some men need to drag a woman down with them to the pits of hell, instead of traveling that journey solo?

Why on earth do some men think that they have to express their point of control with their fists?

These statements might not resonate with you, but for so many women – they hit deep. Literally.

I was raised by a single mom, who stayed in an abusive marriage for ten years. TEN years you guys. For a decade she reasoned herself into staying. For half of my childhood she convinced herself that he would change, that things would get better, that maybe this time he wouldn’t come home and throw her up against a wall. Maybe tonight he would decide to be sober, maybe he wouldn’t force her to do drugs or be caught with another woman. Just maybe.

Women hang on to the tiniest flake of hope, just to keep their family together. Women remind themselves of how good he once was, even though the current reality that she is living is so brutal.

Why do women stay with men who dress up like sheep, but show up as wolves?

Anyways, the point of this blog is not about my story, or my mothers. Today I am writing for someone else completely.

I want to bring you a story about a girl who, not too long ago, found herself in not one but two abusive relationships, back to back. I want to tell you about this woman who has completely turned her life around after attempting suicide during her rock bottom, losing a baby, and having to relocate to save her life.

I’d like to introduce you to Ashley.

Young girls are so vulnerable. Our first real love has the ability to mold so much of the future woman that we become. Most of us luck out with just getting our heart crushed over who we thought we were going to marry. Some girls are not so lucky.

Some women find themselves in a controlling, verbally demeaning, substance & physical abuse, first love kind of relationship. They are young, they haven’t yet found the power of their voice, and they are so love stricken by a man who once said all the right things and made her feel like she was his whole world.

That’s where Ashley was. The first time that he spoke to her in an aggressive way would not be the last. The second time he threatened her life she wouldn’t leave him. Every single time he betrayed her love for him, she made excuses for him and allowed his negative behavior to continue.

She convinced herself that he was a good man, despite all the evidence against it.

She disregarded other people’s advice to leave, when she ran to them tears streaming. He tarnished her relationship with her family and friends, after she would go back to him after the nastiest of fights. She buried all of the signs so deep that she even said yes to his marriage proposal.

That’s right, she got engaged to a man who was verbally and physically abusive because she thought that’s what love was.

It wasn’t until she caught him scheduling other women to come over to their home, during her work hours, that she had reached her breaking point. And honestly, she probably would have found the strength to forgive him for that. But while he was defending his actions he pushed her, smashed her phone so she wouldn’t be able to call for help, and threatened her father and brothers lives if they tried to intervene.

Thank the good Lord that her fight or flight kicked in and she ran as soon as she was able. Unfortunately she ran in the wrong direction.

In a desperate attempt to escape her pain, she found herself in the arms of a new relationship, one which would create new wounds and deepen old ones.

She left a relationship with a man that was extremely verbally abusive, for drugs and a man who was extremely physically abusive.

She never took the time to pause and process all that she went through in the first failed relationship, so she wasn’t able to slow down the negative pace of the following one. She chose drugs to numb the disappointment, the pain, and the sorrow that weighed her down.

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This new “man” would get triggered if Ashley even slightly raised her voice in disagreement, or looked at him in a manner that he didn’t approve of. His trigger would result in placing his hands around her neck and squeezing until she begged for his forgiveness, which happened quite often.

The abuse happened so often that she genuinely felt trapped and scarred to leave. To add to the already dramatic relationship, Ashley lost their baby that she didn’t even know she had. After the miscarriage, the abuse worsened and became more frequent.

After months of grief, she arrived at what she thought was the lowest point of her life, and Ashley attempted suicide.

After hours of unanswered phone calls and text messages, her mom found her in her apartment and rushed her unconscious daughter to the hospital, fearing for her baby girls survival.

Ashley woke up to 10 staples in her wrists from where she tried to take her own life. She was then transferred to a mental health institution, where she would stay for a week until they felt comfortable with her release. Talk about a brutal eye opener.

Utterly in despair and still severely depressed, she had no direction, and so she reverted back to the damaged relationship. It would be another 4 months until she would truly face the demons of her relationship.

Ashley’s moment of clarity unfortunately, would only come in an emergency room - with a broken finger, a busted mouth, and internal bruising. Once again, the man she thought loved her, violently abused her.

After she found the courage to leave, she found that there is this momentum in choosing recovery.

She started to surround herself with people who had her best interest in mind, she found God and listened to His guidance. She moved cities, got a new job, and met a man who is now her saving grace.

Ashley now knows what it is like to be loved by a man who genuinely cares about her, motivates her, and guides her through the word of God. I think more importantly, she knows that she is deserving of love and respect.

She is still recovering from the years of damage that her previous relationships caused her, but every day that passes - she is learning that she is strong and brave and worthy. Want to know the bravest part – she doesn’t regret one damn minute of any of it.

Ashley Harrell - Domestic Abuse Survivor & Proof that you can always choose a new story, no matter what your old one was.

That’s the thing - we all needed whatever we once went through, to mold the person that we have become.

Love is an extremely powerful feeling and when you pair that emotion with depression, the creation is one of pure devastation.

Every single one of us has a story, a history, and ex’s that taught us exactly what we don’t want in a relationship. You just need to make sure that you are soaking in that knowledge when you move from one relationship to the next. Make sure that you don’t take your damaged self with you into a new relationship, before first trying to work through what went wrong.

I want the woman reading this to hear me when I say this: You deserve to be treated with love and tenderness, with patience and kindness. Your significant other should speak life into you, not try to diminish your light. Your man should respect your body and your opinions.

If you do not feel like your relationship is giving you all of theses things, please know that you are in control of your life and do not allow anyone to tell you otherwise. My sweet friend, you are powerful beyond measure and do not let anyone take that away from you.

**If you or someone you know is battling severe depression or walking through a difficult season, please, call/text or share this number – you could save someone’s life – even your own. It is never too late to be your own hero.**

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

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