8 Domestic Violence Survivors Share Their Greatest Moments of Joy After Leaving Their Abusers

10/21/2021 11:14:00 PM

“I’m no longer the shell of a person I once was. Freedom is bliss.”

Domestic Violence, Domestic Abuse

“I’m no longer the shell of a person I once was. Freedom is bliss.”

“I’m no longer the shell of a person I once was. Freedom is bliss.”

—EmilyBut a few years in, when a letter from the IRS revealed I was in far more debt than I thought I was due to his spending, I knew I had to free myself. I knew God wouldn’t want me to live a life full of abuse and mistreatment. Leaving put me into more debt with extended hotel stays and a move to be closer to my family, but my life improved so much afterward. Just recently, I hit a huge milestone: I finally paid off $30,000 in loans and credit card debt I’d accrued while I was with my ex. In that moment, I thought, Wow! I’m really getting back to me. I’m healing.”

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I still struggle every day, but I’m managing now, and I am once again finding joy. I’m married to a wonderful man who is my rock, and I have a new career running my own business alongside an amazing friend. "Sometimes as women what we do is we fall in love and we go, 'You know what? I'll fix it later,'" Henson tells co-host Tracie Jade and guest Angela Simmons. Thanks to two reconstructive surgeries, years of physical therapy, and a driving determination to prove this man didn’t take every part of my identity from me, I’m proud to say that I ran a half-marathon last weekend. "The message I have for them is not to be impatient," he said. I ran every step of the way and crossed the finish line almost twenty minutes before I had hoped to. And then once the fist came -- I'm missing a piece of my lip to this day -- that's when I knew I had to go. I ran farther and faster than I could before I was assaulted, and I am celebrating this accomplishment every day.

” —Emily 4. Henson first revealed her past abusive relationship in her 2016 memoir,  Around the Way Girl spoke to ET about her experience. 19, 2021. “Paying off debt is my proof that the weight I acquired from an abusive marriage is being lifted from me.” “Ever since I was a little girl, I was taught in church that the man was the head of the household and the woman was to submit."Guess who it is up to to get out of it? You. So when my husband made me pay all our bills and buy him flashy things, even when he had a high-paying job, I let him take the lead.-based missionary group were abducted by a gang. But a few years in, when a letter from the IRS revealed I was in far more debt than I thought I was due to his spending, I knew I had to free myself. If you're not chained to a wall and no one has a gun to your head and says, 'I'm going to shoot you,' where's the power? You have the power.

I knew God wouldn’t want me to live a life full of abuse and mistreatment. Leaving put me into more debt with extended hotel stays and a move to be closer to my family, but my life improved so much afterward. "We are trying to heal," she told ET of herself and Jade. After they were kidnapped by the armed gunmen, Bordeau said that the group changed locations three times; their captors able to evade the authorities in a country that is roughly the same size as the state of Maryland. Just recently, I hit a huge milestone: I finally paid off $30,000 in loans and credit card debt I’d accrued while I was with my ex. In that moment, I thought, Wow! I’m really getting back to me. It's not like I'm some celebrity that said I'm gonna do a talk show and I'm gonna ask people a bunch of questions, no. I’m healing. Of course, if we needed to go to the restrooms we had to ask permission and we were followed by an armed guard.

” —Chantelle 5.". “I found the relationship I’ve always dreamed of with someone who accepts and loves me for who I am.” “I’m diagnosed with bipolar disorder , which I manage extremely well." In the forest they experienced perhaps the most terrifying event of their ordeal -- when they suspected their captors were digging makeshift graves. But because it’s a lifelong condition, I disclose this condition to every partner in the event that we become serious. Unfortunately, my ex used this as leverage in every argument we had.

If I felt lonely, sad, disrespected, or afraid of him, it was always because of my condition—never him.S. After I left, I knew he was the toxic and abusive one. But I couldn’t help but feel as if my bipolar diagnosis made me unlovable. He’d told me I’d never be capable of being a wife or mother."They tied our hands, one of the gang members [ripped] a priest's robe to make strips to blindfold us altogether, but it did not last for a very long time. I would think, Would every relationship of mine result in this toxicity? Would I ever be able to be the mom I wanted to be someday? Fast forward to today, and I’m engaged to a wonderful person, someone who was so emotionally supportive throughout the most difficult time in my life.

We have a baby girl on the way, and he says I’m going to make the most amazing mother. He’s never once raised his voice at me. "We supported each other, we took care of each other, we paid attention to our own words as well," she said. He’s aware of my bipolar disorder and never uses it against me. He chuckles when I spontaneously want to paint the ceiling blue—and he paints it with me. He holds me when I’m sad..

And because I have such a healthy partner, symptoms of my bipolar disorder rarely negatively affect our relationship other than the occasional irritability. When that happens, he helps me laugh it away.” —Sarah 6. It is unknown whether or not a ransom was paid. “Changing my name helped me start a new chapter of my life.” “On my 31st birthday, my best friend threw me a party with a twist: We were celebrating my name change.

When I left my abusive marriage, I knew I wanted to change my last name, but I had a lot of difficult memories attached to my family name too.S. So, I chose a brand new one for myself. I chose a word that means confident, strong, and brave. I hadn’t had a birthday celebration at all in the time I was married, and my 30th birthday had been particularly difficult. ABC News' Conor Finnegan and Marcus Moore contributed to this report. So sitting in a room full of incredible women who celebrated me and supported my choices was more head-turning than the champagne in our glasses.

I remember looking around the room and being so in awe of how I had changed my life for the better. Today, I keep a card given to me at that party on my desk. Whenever I need to summon some of that positive energy, it’s there for me.” —Brittany 7. “Getting an apartment gave me joy, independence, and the freedom to start helping other survivors.

” “After I was hospitalized due to abuse, I was released to the streets because there was no room in the domestic violence shelters. I was homeless and felt lost, sleeping on park benches in the middle of winter. At one point, I contemplated going back to my abuser, but I knew if I did it might be the end for me. About a year later, with the help of some support programs, I finally got an apartment. This was definitely a moment of joy for me.

I felt like I could regain my sense of self-worth and find myself again. Having a home also gave me the security and safety I needed to begin helping others who had endured domestic violence, to give them hope that there is life after abuse. When I got on my feet, I started a Facebook page and have begun to build a community. My goal is to found a nonprofit organization, invest in real estate, and open my own domestic violence shelter one day. My mission is to help as many survivors as possible.

” —Destiny 8. “I’ve found joy in reclaiming my passion for adventure and looking for the beauty in the world that surrounds me.” “After more than two decades of extreme control and abuse, I didn’t realize how much I lost of myself until I started hiking again. On a late summer day, I walked down a trail with the sound of gravel crunching beneath my feet. I noticed the most beautiful petite lilac flowers on my path.

The cool breeze blowing through my hair was welcome. And I felt a great sense of peace overtake my soul. I hiked daily as a teen and young adult. But for so long, I’d lost that adventurous spirit. I walked for a few miles and ended up at a small pond.

The dam at the end of it had white caps on the tips of rushing water. I saw it as a parallel to my life: White water caps symbolized freedom to me, with the dark murky waters as the darkness I left in my past. The young woman I’d lost so long ago, she was back. I’d found myself again. As the sky started to turn for the evening, the fiery amber sunset became my backdrop.

Tears of joy rolled down my face. I hadn’t noticed the changing sky in years. I knew at this moment I was going to be alright. All the struggles and major setbacks I went through to get to this point had made it all worth it. I was free.

Since my divorce, I’m no longer the shell of a person I once was. Freedom is bliss.” —Theresa If you or someone you care about may be in an abusive relationship, confidential help is available. To talk it out, make a plan to stay safe, or figure out next steps, contact the .