The Enormous Strength We Possess

silver lining

Sometimes as women, we don’t realize the enormous strength we possess. We allow ourselves to be used, abused, and misguided with thoughts that there is no way out.  As I watched the video with NFL Star Ray Rice, delivering the knock-out punch to his then fiancee, Janay Palmer, I saw myself over and over again. And yes, I cried.

My abuse ended more than ten years ago and although the physical pain has vanished; the memories are still fresh, the emotions still raw and the hurt and pain still there. This video brought back so many memories of my life.  I remember the slaps across the face, the punches, the kicks and the knock-downs.  When it all started, I was too ashamed to tell anyone.  I wanted so much to hold “my family” together. After all, he was a nice person and he “could change.”  After many years, and that “change” was not forthcoming, I had had enough.

That’s when I realized the enormous strength I possessed. That’s when I realized that I could have left long ago and would have been okay. That’s when I realized that the fear that I had was only in my head. I was resilient beyond my wildest imagination.

Growing up, I witnessed so many abuses of women. I remember my neighbor ruthlessly beating his girlfriend one day. My sisters and I stood behind the fence and watched. We laughed. Two days later she was back at his house. We thought she was stupid, that no one could ever do that to any of us.  I also remember another neighbor whose husband used to beat her constantly – day and night.  She had five children and never left.

It was not until I found myself in those women’s position that I realized how difficult it is to leave. The fear, the shame, the feeling of emptiness, the feeling of being not good enough and most of all the feeling of guilt was what kept me there.  If I just learned to not argue so much, I told myself. If I just try to not be so concerned about his infidelities, I told myself.  If I just be a more submissive wife, I told myself.  But would all those things changed my husband’s behavior toward me? Probably not!

He was an angry person. He quarreled for everything.  Nothing pleased him.  He was tormented and it did not matter how much I tried to be a good mother and a good wife, it was not good enough for him. My husband used to tell me that I was “meagre” and looked like a “crow.” The women that he was involved with had big butts and meat on their bones.  This killed my self-esteem.

He was not the only one who made me feel insecure.  I grew up believing that I was “ugly.”  My mother reinforced this thought in my head. She used to tell me that my face was “big and broad” and that my mouth was “big.” She used to beat me mercilessly for everything.  I never really feel loved and secured – I was always a sad child.

But after I finally gained the strength and divorced my husband, I realized a marriage did not have to come with so much heartache and pain. That I was beautiful and smart.  That I deserved better. That I could stand on my own two feet and not have to depend on anyone!  I went back to school, got my degree and moved on with my life.

After every dark cloud, the sky clears and the hope of a bright day begins.  I did it and you can do it too!

Don’t Settle for Less Than You Are Worth

woman with hatSometimes as women, we are so beaten and battered by those around us that we forget what we are worth. We chose the wrong people in our lives and although we know that these people are not good for us; do not bring anything to the relationship; and only provide us with hurt and pain, we still hold on.

Why? Because sometimes we forget what we are worth!

We have to realize that we cannot make someone treat us well. We cannot make someone love us the way we want to be loved. And we cannot make someone be there for us if they decide otherwise.  We have to know what we are willing to take and how long we will put up with someone who does not care.

For some people it takes many years and for others as soon as they realize that the relationship is not working out they leave.  But more than often many of us do not give up right away. We still try to hold on. We believe that if we “give him some more time,” he will come around or change.  We make excuses for people’s bad behavior “oh he has a lot on his plate” or “he had a stressful day today.” Regardless of what one is going through, it does not give that person the right to treat his partner any less.

Many years ago, a co-worker told me that she was very unhappy in her marriage because her husband was always verbally abusive to her. He would say things to hurt her feelings and he would put her down in front of others. She did not feel good about herself – she thought she was ugly.  When she told me this I was very surprised. She was a very attractive woman with a great personality, but because of how her significant other was treating her she felt ugly. She eventually gained some strength and determination and packed up and left with her two children.

When he realized that she left him, he was shocked. They were both in church and he decided to seek counseling. After so many years of verbal abuse and name calling he finally realized that what he was doing to his wife was wrong. They eventually rekindled their marriage and are still married today. But she had to realize her self-worth and decided that she was worth more than he was giving her.

If you are in a situation where you know you deserve better, don’t sit around and wait for that person to change, because unless you demand better you will never get it.

“As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are – what others say is irrelevant.” ― Nic Sheff

How do you know you have had enough?

holding handsOne of my friends who have been married for more than twenty years and whose husband continuously indulge in sexual affairs with other women asked me, “How did you know that you had enough – that it was time for you to end the marriage.”

She said, “I want to leave, but I just can’t. I keep hoping and praying that he will change and that we will have the marriage God wants for us.”

The day I knew that I have had enough, I listened to my husband’s voicemail and heard his mistress thanking him for a “wonderful time” and applauding him for being “such a great lover.” While I was shocked, hurt and angry, I knew that there was no hope for my marriage. I envisioned him lying in bed with this woman and I could no longer bring myself to sleep with him. The thoughts not only infuriated me but also made me feel insecure and not good enough. Why couldn’t he be satisfied with me? What was wrong with me? What was she doing to him that was so different? These questions tormented me over and over again.

Our marriage was rocky for a long time and we had been back and forth so many times due to his infidelity and abuse that I decided that if I had to lose everything and start over again I would do it. It was not an easy journey and many times I wondered if I was wrong in giving up, but in the end it was the best decision I have ever made in my life.

So when my friend asked me this question, I looked at her and said, “Whenever you get to that point in your marriage you will know it. Nothing will matter anymore and all you are going to look forward to is peace, quiet and solidarity.

“Every cloud has a silver lining. The edge of light that shines brightest holds a sliver of hope for a bright today & an even better tomorrow.”― Truth Devour

The culprit behind failed marriages

Loving couple holdind on the hands and sunsetAlthough there is no one reason why marriages fail, infidelity has proven to be one of the most common perpetrators.  It is difficult to know exactly how many people really cheat within their marriage because keeping track of the reasons for all failed marriages certainly is an impossible task.  We hear the argument all the time that half of marriages that end in divorce are as a result of infidelity.  Is this really true?  A research published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy stated that 57 percent of men admitted to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had while 54 percent of women admitted to the same.

Infidelity is not an easy issue to deal with.  I remember the day I found out that my ex-husband was having an affair with someone else how it made me feel.  At first I was hurt, then angry, then depressed – to the point that I felt like dying.  It took a lot for me to pull myself together and realize that there was nothing wrong with me; that I was just as worthy as the other woman – beautiful, smart with a good sense of humor; and an awesome mother.  But all these qualities did not stop my ex-husband from carrying on affairs with other women who were not as educated and ambitious as I was.

One woman and I used to quarrel all the time as if we were in a competition for a trophy.  And the truth is, he was no Romeo! But when you are in a situation you are so blinded and your head is so mixed-up that you don’t even realize that you deserve better.  It was not until I had the courage to say “enough” I realized that he had a problem – not me.  That he was the one who did not see the “good qualities” I possess, and that he was the one who stand to lose more than I did.

Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.”― Ben Carson

I gathered my strength and never looked back. I am crossing my hurdles one at a time on my journey to success. You can do it too!!

The Other Woman – Why she keeps holding on

holding onMany years ago while I was dealing with my marriage from hell, I asked myself many times why the women my husband was involved with kept holding on although he refused to leave home to be with them.  I could not understand why they chose to put themselves in that situation. While I was questioning their reasons for holding on, I was comforting myself with the reasons I was staying. The kids, the house, and how far we have come to achieve what we had was my reasons for staying.  I was also hoping that he would change and eventually give me the love, attention and respect I deserved.

What I did not understand was that some of the reasons why I was holding on, were the same reasons why the other women were holding on too. They wanted someone to build a life with, they wanted a man around for their children, and they also craved the same love and attention I was craving.

But what I eventually realize was that they were holding on because of what my husband was telling them. They hoped that someday he would leave and be with them. What they did not realized was that just as he was telling them stories, he was also telling me stories too.

One of his women and I used to argue with each other all the time as if we were in a competition for a trophy. She would not back down and neither would I. As the wife, I feel entitled to say whatever I felt like saying. In the end, I threw in the towel and filed the divorce papers.

You cry and you scream and you stomp your feet and you shout. You say, ‘You know what? I’m giving up, I don’t care.’ And then you go to bed and you wake up and it’s a brand new day, and you pick yourself back up again.” – Nicole Scherzinger