People think domestic violence has to involve fists, bruises, physical pain and suffering. It’s the silent attacks that hurt the most, while physical scars and bruises heal and fade in time it’s the remnants of the emotional trauma that continue to manifest and torment you for the rest of your days. I am beginning to get comfortable owning what happened to me, but its effects have lasting consequences that I am aware of almost daily.

The more time I spend analyzing my past based on my wisdom to date the more I see links, connections and reasons behind my behaviors over the years, things just make sense now. It’s my past that has shaped me and provided strength beyond words. While my body has broken down many a time my mind is yet to break. My spirit, happy nature and sparkle is still within me and those who know me have had the pleasure of meeting my inner weirdo; the co pilot to my life!

Being controlled, manipulated, systematically ignored, assaulted both physically and sexually made me feel invisible, worthless, angry, confused, unloved, bitter; like I was nothing. My voice went unheard, my traumas overlooked. It takes only fragments of time to break a spirit, and a lifetime to re build it.

Life was being dictated on a tightrope with a constantly shifting, near invisible line. The manipulation was perplexing at such a young age, initially being built up with meaningful and thoughtful expressions; I truly felt loved. Gradually in time my feelings of love and acceptance withered away as I became the misfit, the reason for every argument. I retreated within myself many years ago as a child, creating my own form of self-preservation. Internal battles were faced daily, and ongoing to this day; sport became my channel and vice. I was incredibly hard working, dedicated and disciplined; the recipe for athletic success. It was clear that no physical hurt in training or competition could match that of my secretive emotional and physical struggles.

In some ways, the hardest thing for me now is coming to terms with the views, opinions and judgments of my family. Through openly sharing and exposing my struggles I face yet another set of demons. The guilt, anxiety, sadness and isolation, this is nothing new just my emotions being historically repeated.

I wanted to be open and honest to reach out and connect with people in similar situations, feeling trapped, withdrawn or simply a watered down version of themselves, unable to speak out and ask for help. I know too well how that feels. I know the shame and embarrassment that keeps your lips sealed, even around those who you trust and love the most.