Don't believe what he says. Let a survivor tell you what life is really like when it's over.
To the woman who isn't yet free,
You are someone.
I don't care what he tells you or what he tries to make you believe, you are someone. You aren't a failure. You aren't worthless, stupid, a burden, or anything else that he tries to make you believe.
You are amazing, and he knows it. He controls you because he doesn't want you to know that you are better than him. He tears apart every detail of your being because if you could see how amazing you are, he knows you would leave him. He silences you not because you can't live without him, but because he can't live without you. If he allows you to think for yourself, he knows you will realize that you deserve better.
You don't deserve what he is doing to you. Nothing that is going on is your fault and things will not get better because of anything that you can change. I don't even care if you talked back or spoke up, there is a reason you have a voice and you are allowed to use it. He may scream louder and hit harder, but that's only because he can't deal with the fact that you have your own thoughts. To steal your voice is to silence your soul; if he can't hear you, then you aren't human.
He isn't going to change. It doesn't matter how hard you try, you will never be able to live up to the unrealistic expectations that he has set for you. Despite what he may tell you, he does not control you because you need him, you are being controlled because he needs you. He holds tight on the reins of your life because he knows that if he lets go, you will run free and he will be left standing in the shadow of all that he is, which is nothing.
I know how desperately you want to cling to the façade you've been trying to create, afraid of the shame you might feel when everyone knows your secrets, but I promise you it's nothing compared to the shame you already carry around in your heart. This isn't your fault, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. Illusions can only last so long before the curtain drops, revealing all that's behind them.
I know the unknown is scary. "How will I? How can I? What about? What next?" I know that it's terrifying to take a step forward when you can't even see the road in front of you. I know that by now he has you doubting yourself: Will anyone else ever love me? Will anyone else accept the failure that I am? To change the way you think means having to confront the truth, a truth that will shatter illusions and rock your world to the core; I know how scary that is. I also know how scary it is to start to think for yourself, to acknowledge your feelings, and to realize just how much you are hurting.
It's devastating to realize how far down you have let someone else pull you.
It won't be easy, stepping out from behind his shadow. It will probably get even harder before it gets better, but you can do this. You aren't as weak as he would have you think you are. You are strong. You are stronger than him. You are a fighter. You get up every day, and you fight for your life anyway. So THIS? You've got this.
Only some women know what it's like to have every part of their soul crying at once, the screams in our heads drowning out the beating of our human hearts, silencing the part of us that reminds us that we are alive. Only some of us know what it feels like to suffocate on our own sobs, the very real physical pain that comes from swallowing them down so that no sound escapes our throats. To hide away feelings that you're constantly told you shouldn't be having, as they well up in your chest with a pressure so intense you're certain that if you still have a heart, it may actually stop beating.
Only some women know what it's like to nurse their wounds in the dark and pray that no one sees. To cover up scars and hide them away. To struggle to get through the day while your entire body screams in alarm. To be hurt, and yet know you're not allowed to be.
Only some women know what it is like to never rest, to literally never have a moment when you feel safe or that you can let your guard down. To constantly be on alert, ever ready to fight for your life. Eventually, that fearful feeling you get when the hair on the back of your neck stands up becomes standard, normal even. Fear encompasses your days and drowns out your nights, never ceasing, always haunting. With each rising of the sun comes a new day, new opportunities for failure and new ways to be broken. The setting of the sun brings nothing but silence to the world around you that only intensifies your terror. Screams seem to echo the loudest at night, screams that no one ever hears.
Everyday, you are a survivor, but you deserve more than that. You deserve to have survived. You deserve the life that comes after "surviving." You deserve the life that is lived when you have survived.
There's a reason that you have been able to endure all that you have. There's a reason you haven't given up. It's because you are stronger than him, stronger than this and deep down, you hoped it would eventually get better.
It will get better. You just need to take all the fighting strength that you have and fight for what comes next.
Fight for your freedom. Fight for the chance to be who you were meant to be. Fight to get out.
Fight for the after.
I have faith in you my fellow warrior.
With all the love in the world,
Someone living in the after, who is wishing you were here with her.
I'm looking forward to your arrival.
This article was originally published at It's Not My Shame To Bear. Reprinted with permission from the author.