Teela Hart

Surviving Domestic Violence


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The Night the Lights Went Out *Trigger Warning*


I’ve been working on this post for several days.  It is the single most difficult post I’ve made.  It is my hope that in the end you will have found it to be encouraging.

Raw unadulterated emotion reduced me to a fragmented heap in every sense of the word as *Jon’s* lawyer ripped what was left from my heart and soul. He condemned his prey to death with the stealth and viciousness of a Leopard; I could hear Jon’s words creep like the grim reaper from his lips and into my thoughts exacting a cruel and hefty price for my defiance. The courtroom, packed with onlookers, stifled the air. They needed no oracle to see all of the destruction; the gruesomeness overpowered their urge to turn their heads.

Streaming tears gave way to guttural groans; breath escaped me; heaving and gasping my composure fled. My defenses hemorrhaged onto the stand, as the predator circled and clawed ferociously ending me with ease. Gravity weighted me to the seat, I couldn’t stand under it’s supremacy. I buckled under the pressure and gasps escaped from the (now) audience in the courtroom

 

Granted supervised visitation, I met with my children every weekend. The release I’d felt when I left my abusive environment quickly turned from hope to hopeless.  My health and mind quickly declined; depression settled like a black stormy cloud. The gnawing, deep seeded pain, no longer tolerable, drove me down into the hell of hopelessness. The wish for a shove or a slap and even death replaced the desire to survive. Alone and rejected by everyone I relied on, I screamed into the void, my voice went unheard. In my mind, recourse did not exist. I’d failed at every attempt to retrieve my children and now the desire to rescue myself no longer existed.

 

I couldn’t divert my eyes from the bottle of pills on the coffee table. It somehow drifted into my consciousness incessantly, calling my name. The harsh unrelenting words and actions of Jon over the past 19 years cut like a knife. The memory of his attorney’s assault invaded my senses and I questioned my sanity. The cries of my children and their inability to cope formed the final bullets of death.

Separated, mind from body, I took the bottle into my hand, I stared into it’s eye and it stared back at me. It understood what I had to do, it invited me. I twisted off the cap and 20 or 30 pills spilled into my hand, they seemed to sparkle like jewels. I answered their call and swallowed them down a few at a time and then 30 more. I did not seem to be in control of my body, it was moving through the actions without my consent.

 

Three days later, I found myself drifting in and out of consciousness unable to move. My hands, tied to rails on either side of the bed, ached. A respirator effected the rise and fall of my chest. The hospital room was cold and sterile and the machines played a lulling song. I could hear my own heartbeat on the monitors; silent tears rolled down my face.

I returned to my mother’s a week or so after my suicide attempt and still I never sought help.  I returned to Jon and my children a few months after that. I grew angry and insolent as time passed and even contemplated another suicide attempt. I didn’t follow through because of one simple act of kindness. Someone reached out to me and spoke living words into my heart. Those words ignited my hope into a fire that would give me the courage to ask for help.

I went to a rehab/shelter, told my story and it was heard.  I knew then that if I’d reached out to the right people I could have prevented such an awful act of violence against myself along with untold suffering.

They called outside resources to come in and provide counseling concerning Domestic Violence. I was given a plan with local resources, the hope to fight and the strength to win. It was a welcome reprieve, a place of strengthening, encouragement, and acceptance. I was safer and freer than I’d been in a very long time.

Three years later, one year ago, my children and I walked out for the last time. We received therapy and I’m blessed in their presence and living the life of a survivor. Many good and bad things happened in that three year interim and I reached out for help.

While the reasons for our pain may be different, one fact will remain the same; heartache is, at times, intolerable to bear without help.  The choice to reach out to someone in my desperation saved my life and the lives of my children; I hold firm to that belief.

I’ve included a national suicide hot line link here. I also have resources and help links at the top of my blog page for those struggling with Domestic Violence.

Don’t suffer in silence.  Reach out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Deaf Ears


Crying

Crying

I called to wish you a happy birthday today and the words “I love you” fell on deaf ears.

The bruises I took for you.

The rants I endured for you.

The hundreds of times I defended you.

The hours I held your hand when you gave birth to your son; my grandson.

The hours I spent defending the hateful accusations hurled at you.

The agony I feel as he plays his games with you.

The pain in my heart will never leave me

Until I hear “I love you too”

Beat Me

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We are fast approaching the end of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  The hurt in this young lady’s eyes is clear, however, she found her voice and I would like to share it with you.  The video brought tears to my eyes as I listened to her sing about her own personal hell and her desire to prevent this tragedy from being cycled to her baby girl.

Chantell finds her voice.


57 Comments

Silence Is Deadly


http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=death%20clock&pc=conduit&ptag=A8FE4BCE7BDDC43E78BF&form=CONBNT&conlogo=CT3210127#view=detail&id=31FCA0540D1DE21718F3F1445A01A8A469D4C71F&selectedIndex=6

Silence is Deadly

As a newborn, you cry loudly with your first breath and grip your mother’s hand for the first time; your first bond continues its formation. As an infant, you absorb the world, learn and grow. You learn to roll over, pull up, crawl and walk. Your first birthday is celebrated with grandeur. Your relationships expand as you explore your great big world. You change, adapt and weave yourself into friendships.

Your voice is heard.

At 13, you are officially a teen. At 16, you are now a licensed driver. At 18, you are now officially an adult and graduate from high school and go to college.  At 21 you can go to a bar or club, join the military and vote.  At 22, you graduate from college, get your first job, and become a contributing member of society.

Your voice is heard.

In this short span of time, every achievement is met with jubilance; shouts from the mountaintops pierce the veil of silence as you are celebrated for each accomplishment. Acceptance is your reward.

Your voice is heard.

You have discovered right from wrong, the things that are accepted, and the things that are not. You have experienced, in relationships with others, that some will thrive and some will fail. You will feel the sting of rejection, heartache and pain. You will know what it is to succeed as well as fail.

Sometimes silence is preferred.

Failure elicits disappointment while ability is met with credence. Grievances, undoubtedly meet with disdain, while molding into your surroundings connects with respect.

Silence is beneficial.

You never desired to see the person you confide in reflect any sort of disappointment or derision.  You never made it your life’s mission to display your dirty laundry, your insolvencies or your mistakes.

You are silent.

Tell me, when you feel intimidated, do you speak up? When you are bullied is speaking out your first course of action? Let me ask you this. When the one you love and trust, the one you give yourself to with complete abandon tells you that you are no one, nothing, mental or unstable, do you believe them? I mean really, you have never known this degree of evil.  Will you be able to recognize it when you see it?  Are you confused?

Silence.

In any case, let’s bring the deadliest enemy to the forefront. Suppose you have voiced resistance to intimidation, bullying, shame, violence, hurt or pain, did your confidante really listen? Did they believe you? Did anyone offer viable solutions?

Silence is solidified.

Your heart, mind, body and soul is caged like a wild animal and you reciprocate by acting like one. You know nothing but obedience or reprisal. No one hears your cries of desperation; they turn a blind eye and may even take the side of your captor out of fear of retribution themselves. Your life’s spirit now sucked from you and into the vacuum of a soulless being, you give up the fight.

It is now time to die by either his hands or your own.

Silence is deadly.



Prescription-Drugs


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The World Continued to Turn


It is true.  I married an abusive narcissist.  It was a poor decision; however, in my defense he presented himself very well.  He was a kind, humble, Christian, man looking for a kind, humble, Christian woman.  It seemed only logical that we join forces, forming a kind, humble, Christian couple.

The problem came, when after 2 weeks of marriage, he revealed to me that he was a member of the KKK, and a prospect for the Hell’s Angels.  The fact that he was trying to be a better person and move on from these things gave way for the compulsion to overlook these horrifying confessions.

After picking up my jaw from the floor, he declared yet another unspeakable revelation.  “I almost killed my ex-girlfriend; I was choking the life out of her and my brother broke a Pepsi bottle over my nose to get me to let her go.  But she was a crazy bitch; she attacked me first and talked trash about my daddy.”

He went on.  “Please believe me, I’m a changed man.  I will quit the KKK and the Hell’s Angels and I will never, ever, ever, put my hands on you in anger.  My father used to beat me like a grown man when I was a child, I will never forget what he said as he beat me with clothes hangers and drop cords, ‘son, I am going to beat you as hard as God will let me.’”  “  I will never do that to my children and I could never do that to you.”

My heart broke into pieces for Jon as I imagined him a small, defenseless, child battered at the hands of a full-grown man.  Jon’s mother left his father after 19 years of marriage, and proclaimed the whole time that his father had never struck his mother.  I, in turn hated his mother, who had already passed, for allowing her son and herself to suffer such abuse and I hated his father for perpetrating it. I had no idea I would be Jon’s mother one day.

I could not understand why a neighbor did not tell someone, or why family members never intervened, or why his mother did not leave long before 19 years had gone by.  I wanted to help Jon.  I wanted to make him better.  I wanted him to know what it felt like to be loved by someone who would never hurt him.  I believed in the power of God to heal his wounds and so I proceeded on the rescue mission facing me.

I ignored the red flags, I turned a blind eye to his shenanigans and my children and I paid a hefty price that will likely haunt us for the rest of our lives.

Upon realizing that no amounts of love, assurances, yes sirs and no sirs, perfect housekeeping, or perfect “wifing” would ever make a difference with Jon , I felt destitute.  He continued to berate and abuse me; several times, he actually slapped my face while getting ready for church and loved me like a princess in the presence of the church family.

Alone in the bed, I had made for myself, destitute and suffering both physically and emotionally, I made the fateful decision to medicate not only my physical pains but also my emotional pains.  I found that my painkillers worked wonders for numbing the insatiable anguish dwelling deep within.  I no longer belonged to my children, my husband, or myself.  I now belonged to a new lover.  One that was always present down that dark desert highway.

The world continued to turn and I sank lower than I could have ever imagined.  Angrily, I survived many attempts to end my life and after two coma’s and a final decision to do it “right” this time I called the pharmacy to inform them I would be there the next day to pick up my bottle of 240 pain pills.  In my mind, I had twelve hours to live, therefore, I curled up in a fetal position underneath my blood red throw.  However, as fate would have it, a tiny hand touched my shoulder and the words, “I need you Mommy” pierced my heart (See “I need you Mommy”).

The following day I took myself to rehab, detoxed my drug-ridden body, and hashed my plans to escape the streets of hell that Jon had so carefully constructed just for me.

If I could do it all over again, I would have pulled myself up by my bootstraps, flushed the drugs down the toilet and I would have run, and run hard, and I would have never looked back.

Caged


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Caged


 My witness today is only the beginning of my great exodus.

Spending many hours in the emergency room was nothing new; however, this would be the last time the visit would be on a gurney instead of standing along side one, caring for patients. 

“Dr. Spade” sauntered into the room. He adjusted his silver, wire rimmed glasses causing his crisp, white, lab coat to tug upward distorting his name printed in blue script.  His brow furrowed as he breathed in, and let out a long deliberate sigh.  It was then that my countenance took an unrecoverable nosedive; shame shrouded me like a heavy blanket, the weight of which was unbearable.  The cause of my injury was not only indelible in my mind but in my medical chart as well.

The wait, following the MRI, was excruciating; worry over the extent of my injury overwhelmed me and it was all I could do to maintain my composure.

I could tell by the look on Dr. Spade’s face that the results were not good, as once again he let out a deep sigh.  “I’m afraid, my dear, that the MRI results show that you have a significant avulsion (separation) of the network of nerves (the brachial plexus) that conducts signals from your spine to your arm, shoulder and hand, causing the paralysis.” 

In complete brokenness, I recalled to myself, the events that led me to the hospital.

That morning was no different from any other; the ritual of debasement, offhanded comments about my housekeeping skills, and the inability to care for my children permeated the morning silence with a thunderous clap.

 “Let’s go, let’s go!  You gotta take me to work this mornin’ and I can’t afford to be late.”

I donned my jeans and a T-shirt swiftly to avoid any other outbursts; headed out the door and made my way to the car.

Bewildered by the early morning tantrum, I rested my head against the passenger window trying to recount, in my mind, what had made him unleash his fury this time but the cause had once again evaded my capture.

Sensing my inward, guttural disdain, he abruptly skidded the car to the shoulder of the road and brought it to a screeching, halt.  Instinctively I flinched as he clutched my neck with his leathery hand, simultaneously clouting my head against the passenger window.  He then shoved my head downward, between my legs with such force that I could hear the vertebrae in my neck pop and grind in my ears, and just as quickly as he attacked, he retreated, releasing his grasp.    

“You will drive home right now!  You will clean the house; make yourself presentable and you better not be late pickin’ me up!  Do you understand me?  We’ll fuckin’ finish this when I get home!”  To drive his point home he squeezed my left arm with the force of a vice grip before getting back onto the road.  In the parking lot, at his place of employment, he gently kissed my cheek before exiting the car as his co-workers passed by.

An unimaginable fear overwhelmed me when I realized that my right arm would not obey the mental command to open the car door.  Therefore, I maneuvered over the console and into the driver’s seat.  Manipulating the gears, the steering wheel, the gas and the brake was a monstrous undertaking considering my arm was numb and my body was quaking.

  He called incessantly that day to make sure I had been performing my “wifely” duties and to inform me that he had a ride home after work.

When he finally did arrive home, he took notice of the unkempt house, the unkempt kids and me.  He flew into a rage, and barreled toward me with all the ferocity of an F5 tornado.  Our eyes locked and the only thing I could see was the blazing fire of hell contained within.  Attempting an escape into the hallway proved futile; grabbing my injured arm he yanked me toward him and hurled me into the wall with such force the closed doors in the hallway rattled.  Any insult he may have hurled in my direction fell on deaf ears.  The only thing I could remember was the onslaught of abuse, and the unprecedented desire to escape his grasp with my life.  

Dr. Spade, turned around and looked me squarely in the eyes, “you don’t deserve this Teela, you have to get out and move on, that man could have snapped your neck like a twig and if that had happened, I would be pronouncing you dead right now.”

Outrigger

Outrigger

Leaving the hospital with an hideous splint was depressing and degrading.  On my return home I never received an apology and my children were informed by Jon, the injury was the result of a delayed reaction from an auto accident I had been in nine months prior.  They believed him.

The echo of Dr. Spade’s words, pierced what was left of my soul and I conceded.  It was time to open the door to my cage and walk out and that is exactly what I did.  I was recaptured nine months later; the door slammed shut behind me and my treacherous descent into the abyss soon followed.