And just like that my life changed…..

And just like that my life changedโ€ฆโ€ฆ

How it all started:

I can remember it like yesterday, although it has been 8 whole years. I was in my first marriage, 9 months pregnant, & the most unhappy I have ever been in my life. ย When you are deep into a situation it is hard to see the bigger picture. Any person that has been depressed, abused, or in an unhealthy relationship may describe that time in their life as โ€œa fogโ€. The dictionary defines a fog as โ€œsomething that obscures and confuses a situation or someone’s thought processesโ€. The years 2013-2015 were a fog to me. I can tell you that I reported in my Army uniform to work every day, I graduated from college, I had two children I was caring for, but I was not aware of my true feelings. The marriage was for โ€œshow purposes onlyโ€ I was not loved, supported, or respected. Since I was not receiving love, support, or respect I became this shielded person. I walked around completely numb, and I always had this fake smile on my face to keep my coworkers, family, & friends unaware of what I was suffering through on a regular basis.

Why I never accepted help:

A week before my second child was born, I was holding onto a stairway pole with a death grip because my then husband was attempting to push me down the stairs. I was screaming over and over โ€œwhat about the baby?โ€ with no avail at all I was still being pushed. This incident was not the first time & unfortunately for me it would not be the last time. I would never involve my family in our problems but on this night in particular I was so afraid I called my mother and begged for her help. My mother was the only person in my family that was aware of the abuse, & she promised me she would never tell or call the police because I was threatened to have my children removed from my home by law enforcement before. Law enforcement would come to the house when I would call & tell me about all the resources available for me & say โ€œjust leave!โ€. What no one never understood is that leaving was the hardest part.

Why I could not leave:

Leaving is the hardest part. Why is leaving hard? To leave a toxic situation you must first have CONFIDENCE! I was often beaten down verbally, so I lacked confidence and self-esteem. Beautiful was not in my vocabulary, never felt likeย  ย I mattered, and I never felt like I was enough. I can admit now that I had become co-dependent, and I was in the cycle of abuse, love, sorry, separate, makeup, & things improving. Then back through the same cycle all over again. Did I think of how I could leave this man yes, but I never would actually leave longer than a month. Even when he cheated on me on a regular basis, I still would make excuses for him and blame myself. The young twenty-four-year-old me thought I could change him, or that he would change if I did better as his wife. He never changed and he never made me and our kids his number one priority. This marriage scarred me so deeply inside and I was so broken that I contemplated suicide just to get out of the toxicity. Before I met him, I was a happy & free-spirited individual that lived life to the fullest. I lost all of myself in him.

How I planned my exit:

When I look back today, I know exactly when I decided I was done, and nothing or no one could stop me from going. March 2014 my grandma passed, and I also was deployed to Afghanistan. Afghanistan was the best thing to happen to meโ€ฆ. sounds crazy right? I was in a combat zone, but it was the first time I felt safe, the first time I felt free, and the first time I realized what I had allowed to happen to me over the las five years. While in Afghanistan I started to think of my exit plan. Although my life was on the line every day, I was still very aware that if I survived this deployment I did not want to go back home to another war. My tour in Afghanistan ended earlier than I expected, and I was thrown back into the lionโ€™s den. My ex had changed while I was gone, he showed me a different side as if he had changed his behaviors, which led us into living together again with our childrenโ€ฆonly for me to discover that he had not changed at all.

How I left:

We stayed together seven months after I returned from that deployment. I was mentally, physically, & emotionally burnt-out. I had physical injuries from my deployment, but I also had some deep mental scars that I needed help with. Mentally I was a complete wreck, so my first step was to ensure I stayed in therapy. I participated in trauma recovery therapy every week during those seven months and slowly but surely my mind, my confidence, my courage, & my will power began to grow immensely. When I started to look in the mirror, I seen a woman I did not recognize, someone that I was not before I boarded that flight to Bagram, Afghanistan. My first step to leaving was to have all my financials in order. I started stashing back extra funds, I placed my kids in permanent childcare, and I found a divorce lawyer. ย Through out this entire process I acted as if nothing was different, and I prepared to go to war again. March 2015, I had him served with divorce papers, and at this point my mind was completely made up. My mind was set, and I was not afraid of what could happen next. I had informed my company commander of everything that was transpiring, and I had support of friends and family, which made the process easier for me and my two boys. My ex-husband did not want the divorce, & he attempted on many occasions to convince me I was not sure. Not even three weeks after I had filed, he had moved into a place with one of the women he was cheating with throughout the marriageโ€ฆ& it was then I knew I had made the best decision for me & my children!

Fast forward 8 years later:

Currently I am retired from the Army, and although my life in not perfect, I am happy & genuinely free. As for my ex-husband he and I share the boys. He currently has visitation rights with some restrictions, and I can say now that he is still the narcissistic man I was married to, but it does not directly affect me as much because now I am confident, respected, loved, & practically fearless. I have remarried an amazing man that loves me & accepted my boys as his own. My husband and I have a daughter & currently we are expecting our baby boy Mj! My marriage is not perfect, but my relationship is not toxic, and I enjoy that. I am still guarded but in a good way. Since my experience I am now aware of who I am. No one can change my perspective of myself regardless of what they say or how they feel. The confidence I have today is unmatched and can not be touched. The hardest part used to be that I had to share my boys with someone who hurt immensely. Therapy has allowed me to separate the relationship him and I had from the relationship that my boys needed with their father. There are days my boys ask why their dad and I are divorced, and I have not given them a complete honest answer, instead I say mommy and daddy grew apart and decided to move on. One day when the boys are older and understand life more, I will have that conversation with them. For now, I just want my boys to enjoy life, and figure out who people are on their own through their actions.

As for meโ€ฆ

As for me, I currently run The Pearl Blog, which I started as a place to share my life experiences. I have experienced so much trauma in my short thirty-one years of life. Sharing my trauma, giving life advice, and revealing how I got through it is my purpose now. My goal in life is to help anyone who have experienced trauma or is experiencing trauma. I want all who are hurting to know there can be healing after hurting, and you can grow strength & learn through your life trauma. Trauma does not have to be the end of your life. There is healing and growing after trauma. You can follow my Instagram page @healingandgrowing_ to see how I am healing and growing through my own personal trauma. You can also shop The Pearl Blog merchandise, which was inspired by my life trauma and experiences.

 

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