My mother tried to kill me and my siblings when I was two years old. It wasn’t the first time either. She locked us in the house and set it on fire. Even though my mother was a very sick woman, it did not excuse her behavior. I saw her grab my older sister off the couch when she was 6 years old by her hair and throw her on the floor, stomping on her legs. My mother would tell us she wished she had flushed us down the toilet when we were born and she called us every bad name there was. She also told us how stupid we were. We were not only abused by her but also by our dad who sexually abused us.
l learned what I didn’t want to be as a mother. I wanted my kids to feel safe in their home, have food to eat and enjoy what life had to offer them.
This was my life. I saw the abuse as normal. It was a set-up for walking into an abusive marriage. The first time I married I was looking for someone else to be the boss, because I didn’t want to be like my mother. The problem with this was, I walked right into an abusive marriage. Abusers like to have complete control.
The second time I married, I thought I was marrying someone who saw me as his equal. It was a lie. He started slowly wearing me down to the point of hopelessness and despair. I would do anything my husband wanted to keep the peace. My husband would say things to make me think I was crazy and badger me about money, questioning every move I made. His emotional and verbal abuse was slowly killing me. I sunk further into myself and life be- came darker and darker.
Last year, something changed. I felt like God was telling me to get baptized. This was surprising because I wasn’t even going to church. I didn’t have much knowledge about God except for what my grandmother had taught me in grade school. She was a devout Christian. In blind faith I began attending church and committed my life to God. I promised myself and God that I would not be like my parents. I have made a lot of mistakes but I was determined to keep my word.
It was at church that I first heard about ARMS. I began attending the Her Journey classes. It has made a big difference in my life this last year. I now have good boundaries and am not trying to people please anymore. I have learned what real love is in God’s eyes. I have learned to accept God’s forgiveness and give it to others. I have learned to control my emotions like an adult should, instead of yelling. I still have a long way to go but I am continuing to heal and grow. I am a happier person with God beside me and because of what I have learned from ARMS. God used ARMS to save my life. I am very grateful.