I grew up in a home where verbal and physical abuse were present almost daily. I can remember seeing my mom being beaten in front of me. For many years I was helpless to respond to her pleas for help.
I began forming a wall, knowing that I would not let this happen to me. Instead of setting healthy boundaries to protect myself, I began to take on personality traits of the aggressor. Being the victim only meant pain and heartache in my mind.
When I was younger, this behavior was tolerated and not seen as a problem. As an adult, I started to see the damage my behavior was causing me and others around me. I was verbally and physically abusive to those I loved whenever I felt threatened. Instead of removing the abuse I did not want in my life, I was unknowingly bringing it back into my life by being abusive.
My boyfriend, Nick, began to fear my behavior. My abusive behavior continued to escalate in intensity and happen more frequently. One night Nick called the police.. My actions had hit an all-time high. I was uncooperative with the police. I didn’t see that I had a problem and ended up in jail for a night.
It was at that time I realized I didn’t want to keep pushing people away and taking my life down such a negative path. I really thought my abusive patterns were impossible to break. I thought ‘this is just how I am’ and I hated that. I hated myself.
I was thankful when the county gave me information on services to help me deal with my issues of anger and abuse. When I heard of Virtue, that it was faith-based, I knew it was the one for me. I had always wanted a closer relationship with God.
Virtue taught me about God’s unconditional love for me. I learned that I have a value and that no one can ever take from me. If no one can take away the love and value that God has given me, then I don’t need to protect myself by being abusive to others.
Virtue has given me the tools to respond instead of react. I faced the fact that the world is filled with mean-hearted people. It is so empowering to know that I don’t have to let their actions control my life. I am learning the tools to deal with these everyday life struggles with grace and patience. I feel I have not only created a new relationship with God but with those around me. For the first time I can actually say I like myself and the way I treat others.
I also learned how to create healthy boundaries and that I deserve to be treated with love and respect. The Virtue program has given me a second chance at happiness and fulfillment in my life. A heart that was filled with fear, hatred and insecurity is now being filled with Gods love and the truth. I am changing my life through the help of Christ