I was scared. Lost and hurting having dealt with domestic violence and the end of my marriage. After leaving my husband, I had so much hurt deep inside of me. I used drugs and alcohol to be numb and to block everything out.
We were high school sweethearts. It was like a puppy love type thing. The abuse started when I was in my 20’s, all while we were having kids. There was a point where the abuse stopped. We had started going to church and things seemed like a fairy tale. But then we backslid, and it was as if we had jumped out of God’s hands and ended up right back where we were. He moved out of the house for a couple of months. I had a restraining order on him. One night I was home by myself, he showed up and got into the house. He beat me up, and held me hostage in the room. He pulled the phone out of the wall so I couldn’t call 911. He pulled me by my hair, sat me on the bed, and told me not to move or leave the room. He threatened to kill me with the iron. I really thought he was going to kill me. It just escalated quickly this time, and within a year, the abuse was so bad our marriage was done.
We have five children, four boys and one girl. They are older now, in their 20’s and 30’s. I am a grandma to seven grand babies. My children witnessed the abuse but he never beat on them, thank God. I would protect my children, put them in their rooms, or tell him to just leave. That is what he wanted to do anyways. He wanted to go out and party. There was an incident, I remember, he was beating on me and my son, who was 10 or 11, tried to pull him off. I saw him raise his hand to strike my son, and in that moment, I knew in my heart, that was it. It was not worth it anymore. Him hitting on me was one thing, but to strike one of our children was a whole different thing. I can’t explain how that made me feel.
I knew I wanted to be here for my kids, I wasn’t going to give him another chance to hurt me or actually kill me. We left the area, left our home and moved here to be near my parents. I have great parents; they have been married almost 50 years.
I was full of regret, disappointment, I felt unworthy. The years of abuse caused me to have low self-esteem. I felt like I wasn’t a woman and I should have done something more for my marriage. I had so much guilt and shame for not keeping my marriage alive. It was a cycle of despair and depression. I didn’t want a relationship with another man or another man in my kid’s life. I wanted their father, my husband, I wanted that picture, and I still had hope. I asked God to please strike him with a lightning bolt and make him snap out of it so we could reconcile our marriage, but that never happened.
I was using drugs and alcohol to numb my pain and guilt. I came to the mission through the court system in 2007-I think. It was when the program was 6-months long, not a year like now. I was angry, and I was here to please the court, not to help myself. I was here to do my time and then I was out. I did not absorb anything. I came back October 2018. This time around, I was still hurting, I was still mad, and still angry. I was still all those things, but this time I felt those things toward myself, instead of the system or my ex. I told myself, Trini, I am tired of feeling this way, if I really love myself; I have to really put myself here.
I have been here 6-months, and I am learning to forgive myself; to actually accept it and apply it to my heart. I look in the mirror, and I see myself, and I actually like myself. The Anger Management classes are really helping me deal with a lot of the personal hurt. I really enjoy Bible study. The relationship with my parents, my family and my children are now better. My kids hated to see me self-destructing, they wanted to help me, they just didn’t know how. I can see my healing reflecting off of me and onto my kids. Change is happening and I give all the glory to God. God is teaching me how to embed forgiveness in my heart.
I would tell other woman who have gone through domestic violence, you are not alone. Do not give up on yourself. You are worth it and this is not your fault. I would tell her, you are beautiful. Do not listen to the lie that you are not worthy, you deserve good things in life.
I will get a job and spend time with my kids and my grand babies after this. I want to help my parents. They were my backbone after my separation and I want to give back to them. I want to say thank you to everyone who helps the Visalia Rescue Mission. Thank you for the opportunity to change my life. I am a God blessed, beautiful American woman.