By Dawgelene “Dr Dawj” Sangster
Here we are almost at the end of another year and well into what we come to know as Domestic Violence/Breast Cancer awareness month. It is October, and we get to see so many people, men and women alike, representing all of the pretty shades of pink and purple, in an effort to show support for being consciously aware.
I have come to know Domestic Violence personally, and I discuss it year-round.
I have written about it in my books and blogs; lectured about it on campuses and talked to other survivors, as a way to move beyond the pain and focus on my healing. I had to learn the art of forgiving myself for self-blame and pity and then forgive my abusers. For years I lived in fear, paranoia and looking over my shoulder wondering if I would ever have to face the abusers again and what I would do when that day arrived.
In my quest towards healing and forgiving, God allowed life to happen and I began to muster up the courage to forgive and learned to love again. It didn’t come without additional pain and challenges, but hey, I had garnered enough courage by then to just do it…right? Well I lived and loved and lost that love to brain cancer in 2012. Beyond that devastation and grief, I had to face the reality that I will continue to live but in living, I must learn to love again because I want to love and be loved. This reality hasn’t been easy to accept. I had become accustomed to the everyday joys of being a wife to someone that knew and protected me, and who I loved and trusted unconditionally. I never imagined I would have to learn what it means to fall in love again but more importantly, learning to trust someone enough to get close to me again.
Recently I wrote a blog about one of my abusers returning for me after 20+ years. He stated that his goal was to make “amends” and live the rest of his life with me. While for some women it may be exciting to hear that someone still wants to be with you after so many years, it was scary for me. The reality of that fear didn’t hit me until I realized how he had found me (my personal address, phone number, mother’s house, visits with my mother for months and convincing her he was the one for me now that my husband was deceased), and his use of my husband’s death to manipulate me into becoming his wife.
As I reflected on the recent encounter and have removed myself from it for better tomorrows, there was and still is a level of fear.
In the book Sex Esteem: Secret Lives of Wives and Side Chicks, Authors Helen Goldberg and Amy Loeb discuss the fear that lies in trying to reseal and heal the reopened emotional wound from the abuse I endured. I now see clearly that my Sex-Esteem was affected for so many years after that abusive relationship.
If the road of emotional and physical abuse attacks our self-esteem and sexual esteem, mine exploded like dynamite blowing up buildings. I was demolished. I lived a life of always questioning whether I was good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, submitted enough, smiled enough, worked hard enough; just too damn many enough-isms and not the right amount of “I AM MORE THAN ENOUGH-isms”.
So here I am, courageously walking into the healing pastures of my Sex-Esteem for my mind, body and spirit, and praying for God to come through for me yet again with the healing balm of hope for my wounds. I have hope for emotional healing and physical love in my life again and it will happen, just at the right time and with the right person.
As for abusers returning for you, here are 5 questions you should ask yourself:
1. What steps have I taken to forgive this person and myself for the past pain?
2. If intuition, words and actions tell me this person hasn’t changed, why am I willing to risk my safety again?
3. If I decide to give it another chance, what are the risks involved?
4. What will my life realistically be like if this person hasn’t change and is it worth the risk?
5. What’s so hard about moving forward in hope and letting the painful past stay in the past?
I believe that people can and do change if they have the desire. However, in my case, all of the signs showed “warning, dangerous road conditions ahead”. Thanks but I’ll pass!
About Dawj– Serial Entrepreneur | Lifestyle Strategist | Influencer | World Changer
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Tags: 5 Questions, addiction, domestic abuse, Domestic awareness, domestic violence, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Helen Goldberg and Amy Loeb, October, Ray Rice NFL Abuse, Sex Esteem, Sexual Abuse, survivors