How Can You Recover And Heal From Domestic Abuse?

Learn about my experience with domestic abuse, and how I healed from it

Most of us are not good at talking or writing about ourselves and our experiences. All I know is that we were designed to survive this world full of obstacles, chaos, shitstorms, whatever you want to call them. Our purpose in life is to experience something very extraordinary, may it be good or bad, and help people understand.

But how can a broken person share something inspiring?

Majority of the people nowadays, only want positivity. No one wants to hear about someone’s unfortunate events in life. Often, broken people are taken for granted and considered bad examples of this doomed society.

Little do they know that those they call broken were pumped with an enormous amount of courage and wisdom. They made their way out on their own when they were picked by the universe to be in situations an ordinary individual cannot deal with.

Their teachers were themselves.

Why am I writing this, anyway? I am an abuse survivor, and I’m writing this intending to give hope to those who are going through similar situations. I want to advise those who are going through something that they think they won’t survive.

My story of domestic abuse and violence

Woman cowering from domestic abuse

When I turned 16, I met the person I did not expect to create such a huge impact in my life. The person who was appointed by the universe to break me and change me.

Things were going so well until my partner introduced me to control and manipulation. I was so naïve, gullible, and vulnerable that I thought it was a good thing and just his way of showing how he cared about me.

He stopped me from doing what I love. I used to be an event singer and a radio jock, and I remember how he wouldn’t want me to be exposed to the crowd. I had to cancel gigs here and there due to his jealousy. My reputation was so ruined that I had to stop.

He broke my artwork and ruined everything that I became attached to. When someone gave me a gift, he made sure to throw it in the trash. Every avocation, talent, and hobby that I enjoyed, he made sure to spoil.

He started putting his hands on me. Being touched is meant to be a good thing. I was craving for caresses and gentleness, but all I had was monstrous hands landing on my body.

The touch of rage, I could say.

So he beat me, again and again. So much sometimes that I would be sent to the hospital. He would come with me to make sure I never said a peep. Life continued like this for years, and things only became more serious.

Realization is the first step in healing from abuse

My manipulation and abuse were the result of my actions, and no one was to blame for it besides myself. That’s because I chose to tolerate abuse over having self-respect. Toleration can be a dangerous thing.

Finally, I realized that this wasn’t the life I had been dreaming of.

I wanted to step out of that abusive relationship, but our playful universe was in the mood to step in and challenge me more.

I became pregnant at the age of 22, and I was devastated. All I could do was cry about it, and it felt like I was carrying the world on my shoulders.

My dreams shattered into tiny pieces. The more I thought about my pregnancy, the more I was turning my dreams into sand. At one point, I came to a moment of realization and told myself that I could build another set of dreams by building a sand castle with that sand.

From that moment, I learned to turn my chaos into a blessing.

Battling my demons

My family is Christian, so they decided to marry us for the sake of reputation. They meant well and had no idea what I was going through.

Abortion is considered a sin in my country, the Philippines, so I felt like I was trapped in a nightmare.  I tried my very best to deal with the situation and had high hopes that the tables could turn. I faked things for so long. I continued the pregnancy with the thought of the life inside me being so innocent and precious.

As I was dealing with the pregnancy, nothing changed. Things were still the same. Abuse was always just around the corner waiting for me.

I had curfews. I was deprived of family support. I wanted to ask for help, but the fear prevailed. I feared being beaten and I didn’t want to harm the little human inside me.

I was so alone in that battle. It wasn’t just an ordinary battle. It was a battle against someone who was meant to be my ally. But the battle against my demons was unbearable.

I started developing self-hatred. I hated myself more than I hated someone abusing me. It was tough but I wanted to keep fighting. Thankfully, I was able to keep my grip on that slither of hope I had in my heart.

I gave birth to a healthy baby boy and finally, I found love again, but what was lying ahead haunted me.

Growing up, my son witnessed the abuse. My son saw me crying so many times, and he would also cry every time I was in pain. I didn’t want him to have a broken family, but I felt like I was causing his trauma.

My son would run to his room and cover himself with his blanket while covering his ears just to escape from something that he didn’t understand. Seeing my son cry made me ask myself, “What have I done?” He didn’t deserve this. It still haunts me up to this day.

How domestic abuse evolved into sexual abuse

I used to work as a supervisor for a telecommunications company. Have you ever gone to work wearing a jumper on a 39-degree day just to cover your bruises? Have you ever hyped a whole bunch of people with a high level of enthusiasm while your heart is breaking into pieces?

Did you ever have to coach a team and motivate them to maintain the good vibes while you’re living in pure hell? Everybody looks up to you, but in the back of your mind, you are praying for help. If you’ve experienced all of it and survived it, I salute you.

The abuse continued to get worse. Back in the house, I was often sexually abused. I was forced to do things that I didn’t want to do. I was fucked so many times while crying, then got beaten after for being ‘overdramatic’.

I was praying to all the gods, but I felt like I was never heard. One day, I just surrendered everything and accepted my fate. My fate is an abused woman who would only be free when one of us dies.

When I started rebelling

For the first time, I decided to stand up for myself. I told myself “No, I don’t deserve this. I deserve a better life. I need to do something about my situation!”

I learned to seek appreciation and attention from strangers online. It was comforting. I would tell them about my achievements and how my day was, and they responded to me the way I wanted them to.

It made me feel good about myself. One day, my husband checked my phone and found messages from strangers I was talking to. He was enraged, but in my mind, I was laughing like a villain.

That was the time I realized that I had developed a lot of personalities. Those personalities were helping me because they also wanted me to get out of the situation.

My husband beat me so hard. Punches and slaps landed on my body, but I couldn’t feel them. I wanted to thank him for turning me into a rock-hard woman. I know, he wanted to make me cry, but I couldn’t. Instead, I was smiling, and it pissed him off even more.

In a rage, he tore my clothes off until I was naked. My son was at my parent’s house at that time, and I’m glad he didn’t witness this.

My husband tried dragging me outside of the house with his cruel intention of humiliating me. He wanted to lock me out so neighbors could see me naked. As he was dragging me, I fought back with all my force. Since my arm was so sweaty and slippery, he lost his grip, and I was able to run back to the bedroom.

I hid under the bed. He grabbed a pole and started hitting me with it. He grabbed my leg, dragged me out, and beat me until he got tired.

That was the roughest night of my life, but that was the last night of torture. My last night with the monster whom I tolerated for twelve years.

The next morning, I decided to escape.

Escaping the situation

I made the decision to slip away, which I knew would have a huge impact on my son. I left without telling him why and only assumed that he would understand.

The last thing I wanted to do was leave him with this man, but even though he was a monster to me, he was a different person to my son. I felt selfish, but I knew I had to get out of this situation and reassess. I knew my son was loved by everyone including his father. I didn’t want him to keep seeing violence.

From that moment I knew that I would come back for him. I was hungry for a better life.

First, I had to stay at my work’s sleeping quarters just to have a bed.

Things were going okay until my ex-husband started to come to my workplace in the middle of the night, and made me look like the bad guy. He told everyone I cheated on him and that I was just running away from what I did.

My bruises were still fresh, so I went to the police to report the physical abuse. He didn’t know that I would sometimes go to the police station to record the abuse, so I had evidence of his deeds.

I could have locked him up in jail, but I didn’t want my son to grow up being bullied for having a convicted father.

I also stayed at friends’ houses. A few friends helped me, and some betrayed me. Some people I considered friends relayed information to my ex-husband, so I ended up quitting my job out of fear that he would find me. I went away for two months without any contact.

I decided to confront everything on my own. I didn’t want to hear any contradictions. I had enough of being controlled and I wanted to be in control of my life now. I wanted peace.

Processing my trauma

As I was starting to regain some control over my life, my emotions were also controlling me. I couldn’t stop thinking about my son. I would cry every night because of guilt. I told myself if something bad would happen to my son, I could never forgive myself.

I kept having nightmares, and the anxiety was ridiculous. I was haunted by intrusive memories and became extremely paranoid. I would fall asleep feeling guilty and woke up blaming myself.

During this time, I would self-harm and after a few minutes, feel guilty about it.

I was free but why could I not find a way out? I tried everything but nothing seemed to work.

At 9 p.m., I woke up from a dream that I was in a different city. A small city with beautiful, pristine, and unexploited beaches, inviting mountains surrounding it, and friendly witches around me.

The place was just so beautiful, it gave me goosebumps and made my heart beat so fast for excitement.

At that moment, I realized, I needed a new environment. I needed to travel, and I just got the sign from the universe. I wanted to go to that place, but I didn’t even know if it was a real place or not.

I looked on the internet and typed in ‘beaches mountains witches’, and I found the place that I was looking for!

It is the city called Siquijor in the Philippines. It’s a small island and it’s not that far from where I was. Just a 5-hour bus trip plus an hour ferry ride. I packed my bags an hour later, and left to the bus station without knowing if buses were running or not.

Creating a chapter of adventure and healing

After arriving at the bus station, all of the buses had left. Unfortunately, no late-night buses were going to where I wanted to go. I decided to wait out the night until the first bus left.

After about twenty minutes, I went to this little store at the side of the bus station and had coffee with the bus conductor. One of them asked me where I wanted to go. I told them my destination and that I was waiting for the first bus in the morning.

They were shocked when I muttered Siquijor. Siquijor is popularly known as the enchanted city of the Philippines. The city of magic, shamans, witches, and spells.

According to the bus conductor, I shouldn’t go there alone as it is a dangerous place for a little lady like myself. Witches might cast spells on me, and I might not be able to get back home.

Instead of being scared, my level of interest in that majestic city rose. My new friends told me that there was another bus going to a city down south that could drop me off at my destination. It was fully booked and leaving in thirty minutes, but they could sneak me in.

They organized everything for me. To my surprise, my ticket was discounted! They said the bus driver would drop me off in front of a 24-hour fast-food chain so I could be safe.

My new friends and I said goodbye to each other. I just witnessed the most beautiful art of letting go, and I couldn’t help but let the tears I was trying to hold back fall.

For the first time in my life, I felt supported. Not by someone I know, but by people I just met over a late-night coffee. We didn’t even get each other’s names.

Finally, I got settled on the bus. As the bus started to move, I saw my friends waving goodbye and blowing kisses for good luck from afar. That was a good feeling.

I had good conversations with strangers. I put my trust in them and they didn’t take advantage of me. At that point, I realized that not everyone has bad intentions.

My perspectives have changed for the better, and I felt more inspired to meet new people and meet my better self.

My trip to Siquijor

I arrived in Siquijor the next day. I fell in love with the place at first sight and had the feeling of being in a safe zone which is very contradicting to what my friends have told me.

I stayed on the island for a week and saw some interesting things such as potions and spells. So I asked some people I met about witchcraft. They told me that it could be real, with smiles on their faces, and it would depend on the amount of belief you have.

I’ve also heard about this ritual that witches facilitate for people going through difficult situations. It tickled my curiosity. I wanted to know if these things were true, and the only way to find out was to experience it.

I experienced a ritual facilitated by a witch. The important thing is, that here I am, still alive. Not a frog or a bug. Still human, but a wiser human.

That interesting experience changed my perspectives towards spirituality and made me realize that I was blinded by society my whole life.

I wrote an article about this witchcraft ceremony that you can read here.

I kept traveling around the country and became addicted to catching late-night buses. Sometimes, I would just pick a random place and go straight to the bus station.

I went to many different places alone, spending a lot of time on the beach and in the mountains. I became closer to nature, and things just kept changing.

Nature became my ally and the best support I’ve ever had. There were times of panic attacks and intrusive memories, but dealing with them became easier with time.

As of this writing, I am happily living my life venturing this chaotic but beautiful world. I am in Vietnam traveling and teaching English. I love what I’m doing as besides teaching the language, I get to teach my students about life.

About my son, he is in good hands and he understands why I had to leave.

We always talk on the phone like best friends. He also has a good relationship with his father and this is the reason why I did not file a case against the man I used to call my husband.

Life has never been perfect since I decided to leave my own country, but it is more meaningful now. I have my rainy days, but since I have a better understanding of how to manage this pain.

I’m using the gift the universe gave me, which is freedom. I’m finally free from grudges, hatred, and most especially abuse.

What domestic abuse has taught me

Flowers signifying healing and personal change

When we are dealing with something, we should allow ourselves to confront it, no matter how difficult it is. I used to always question my emotions until I realized the unhealthy effects of it.

Sit with your emotions. Just allow yourself to feel them. Instead of depriving yourself of feeling those emotions, succumb to them. This is what I repeatedly did to finally get to the point of acceptance.

If you want to cry, go curl up in bed and cry. If you’re angry, just let yourself be angry and let it out. We can only delay it but there’s no way to bypass pain.

You have to trust the process, and part of the process is to get hit by emotions. It would feel like fire, sometimes, a storm or tsunami, but never forget, it’s only temporary.

Understand that anger is your ally

There’s something I have learned about anger along this journey. Anger has a bad connotation, but if we dig deeper into anger, it can be a friend.

Why does anger exist? Why do we need to feel it? What is its purpose?

I used to avoid anger, but avoiding anger only made things worse for me, so I decided to get to know the angry side of me more and give it love. I embraced it, and it made me realize that it is an important part of me. Anger acknowledges abuse and tells me that mistreatment is unacceptable.

Developing a much better understanding of your anger is a good way of dealing with it. As long as you are not taking it out on someone else or yourself, you’ll be fine. Feeling angry is healthy. Feeling your emotions is healthy.

Let’s practice not depriving ourselves of feeling what we need to feel. Let’s deal with our emotions and we should start considering them as friends that need to linger on for a moment to make us feel better.

Use your past lessons to develop the new you

Apart from confronting my emotions, I gave up the idea of finding myself.

Finding ourselves is an illusion. We never lose ourselves. We only develop different personalities that change us. It’s just that we are more capable of nurturing some of our toxic ones, and that’s why we get in trouble.

In this particular situation, I gave up the old me who was a coward, weak, vulnerable. I started molding a different version of myself which is the opposite of the old one.

I don’t like the person I was yesterday and I don’t have to keep holding onto her. Every day I have the chance to better my personality. Technology is innovating and upgrading rapidly, so why not humans?

I don’t hate the old me. I love her, but I needed to leave her behind for the better. Her journey is over but she will never be forgotten. I am what I am now because of her. Always remember, we develop and evolve ourselves. It’s just a matter of who we are trying to be.

Use your pain to find direction in your life

Instead of spending so much time and effort finding myself, I focused on finding my purpose.

Why did I have to experience abuse? Why do we have harsh experiences? Too many questions but I know that the answers are buried somewhere close. We just have to keep digging.

Most of the time, we are confused and miserable not because we couldn’t find ourselves. We are here for a purpose, but we tend to take it for granted and not consider it as a priority because our survival instincts speak the loudest.

People like to listen to others instead of their intuition. We spend a lot of time scrolling on social media which only feeds our egos. Then, we feel more insecure, confused, and miserable until the thought of having a mission in this world fades away.

So we just totally neglect our spiritual gifts. Why can’t a human just feed his soul and not his ego?

Finding my purpose and taking my time helped me turn my chaos into a blessing. I was too busy finding my purpose in life, that I forgot that I was broken, and still dealing with the effects of abuse.

I don’t want to say I’m over it because we can never fully get over such a painful experience. Bad experiences lead us to our better selves. They are parts of us that would repeatedly remind us of our mistakes in life. I’d rather say, I have moved on, and I keep healing!

Rebuild faith and hope by using trauma as a gift

I started doing spiritual practices, such as yoga and meditation. My relationship with the universe also started to grow stronger. Due to this, I learned how to listen to my intuition by trusting myself.

There I found the meaning of my existence by focusing on what she wanted me to do instead of questioning her about my chaotic life.

I learned my lessons the hard way, but it’s all worth it in the end.

It took me a long time to realize that the universe wants me to use my chaos as my power. She wants me to use it to my advantage. Now, I understand that the universe picked me as one of her favorite warriors.

I spared a lot of people who would have lost their minds or lives if they were in my position. I don’t have regrets anymore. Instead, I feel proud of myself.

The universe knows the strong ones who can handle things very well. If you’re going through something that you think you can’t handle, just remember that the universe handpicked you because you have the courage, and she believes in you.

You are extraordinary and a superhero. All you need to do is trust the process and of course, trust yourself.

Embrace change to heal from abuse and hardship

I also find embracing change a very vital part of dealing with something heavy like the effects of abuse.

Change doesn’t heal abuse, but it helps. Change is something we usually avoid due to fear of losing the comfort or fear of failing, not realizing that without change, we’re stuck in a particular situation.

We always have to keep in mind that change is not an enemy.

We can’t proceed to evolve without change. Innovation is not possible without change. When are you going to get out of your comfort zone? Wouldn’t you want that heavy baggage you are carrying to soon turn into something as light as a feather?

Don’t be afraid of going through the process of change. Believe me, change from a shitty situation is a wonderful thing. The more you embrace change, the smoother it is going to be.

Forgive, let go, and move forward

I have learned to forgive those people who did me wrong. I do not wish something bad to happen to them.

I do believe in god, the universe, and karma. We reincarnate, and whatever we have sown in our past lives is what we will be reaping in our next lives.

Dealing with abuse is not easy. If you’re going through something, it is important to be patient. Take your time and never rush things.

There is no point in accelerating if it only means you’ll miss the highlights you should witness and the lessons you should learn.

Remember, you are a work in progress. Always have been and always will be.

Healing is a continuous process

It’s been over four years since the separation, and I’m still healing.

As I was writing some of the parts of this article, I couldn’t stop myself from becoming emotional at times. I had to take numerous pauses just to breathe and allow myself to be emotional, which signifies that I am getting better and better at dealing with my emotions.

I will never get tired of saying that our emotions are our allies.

In terms of finding your purpose, it may take you a long time to find it. To tell you honestly, it was just recently that I started to see a vivid picture of my purpose in this world.

I want to give hope to those who are going through similar situations. The universe wants me to share my experiences and the lessons I have learned from them, to help people raise their voices if they are shut.

She wants me to help those who are being abused and going through the effects of abuse. She wants me to spread the words and lessons she taught me.

I’m not an expert at this, and I can’t speak for everyone with the same experience. All I know is that, perhaps, this can be someone’s survival guide someday.

Be grateful for the little things

In the past, I felt ashamed of myself for being broken. I did not want to talk about my experiences because I was scared of being judged. Now, I don’t care about what other people may say about me.

I’m proud to say, I’ve been through a lot of things that broke me. Yes, they broke me, but they made me grow and brought me to where I am now. I was abused, I have survived that storm, and that is something I want to celebrate every day of my life.

Life will never be perfect but it can be beautiful and meaningful. If you’re broken like I was, don’t be ashamed. Be proud of it because you are extraordinary and you are something. You’re not perfect, just like life, but you are beautiful, also like life.

1 comment

Makayla 1 June 2024 - 11:40 am

Thank you so very much for sharing your story of healing, and your journey to a stronger individual. You should be so very proud of all you have achieved and overcome.

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