Before I came to ARMS, I had no idea what a healthy relationship was or what it might look like. I grew up in a very legalistic church, thinking that women didn’t have a voice and speaking up against a husband was prohibited by God.
As an adult, I have had more than one unhealthy relationship. The abuse didn’t make sense to me, like I wouldn’t be allowed to go anywhere, not even to my parent’s house.
One time my abuser left after an argument. He had disabled my truck so I couldn’t leave. I got on my bike and headed to my friend’s house. He followed me, ran into my bike and I fell. He continued to follow me, this time on a bike trail, running into me again. He then demanded I get in the car. I tried to get away but he threw me down, slapped me, picked me back up and slammed me into the fence. He put me in a head lock, hitting my head into the car. It took me about two weeks to recover.
I remember the first ARMS class I attended. I was so shocked when I found out what abuse actually was. After so many years of exposure to domestic violence I had become numb. I saw abuse as just a normal part of my everyday life.
I now know the importance of healthy boundaries. I am not afraid to say “no.” Before the ARMS class I didn’t know what a “healthy boundary” even was.
I realize there is a difference between healthy anger and abusive anger. I didn’t know there really was a difference before. I thought when you were angry that meant you should express it with rage. I thought it was a normal response for my abusers to treat me abusively when angry.
Because of the abuse I’ve suffered, I have Panic Disorder and PTSD. Before I had any help or classes, I was a mess. I was afraid of my own shadow. I didn’t know who I was. When asked, “What would you like?” I had no opinion. I had no hope. I was an empty shell. I didn’t know how to be happy. I was focused on pleasing everyone else. This was one of the ways I learned to survive.
The ARMS Her Journey classes have saved my life! Now I understand what God wants a relationship to be. I now walk in truth. The truth will set you free and I am living proof. Because of the ARMS classes I have been given a second chance at life. I now can feel comfortable in my own skin. The information I received from ARMS is not attainable anywhere else. In fact I have taken the class twice because the information is so powerful and I want to have a complete understanding.
Thank you for everything you have done to make the ARMS class possible.