Don’t You Dare Give Up

Don't give up because there is always a way out.

The Christmas Holiday Season has arrived. This time of year can often be the WORST time for people in abusive relationships. I know this because it was that way for me. I wish I had the freedom to really tell you all the details of when and how I left, but I can't. One day when I am safe I will spill.
The holidays can be so joyous for some and so dark for others.

I remember the last holiday that I was married to an abusive man.

I was terrified because Christmas was looming closely ahead. Stress levels were running high and every where I turned I felt more trapped then ever. We all know how tough it can be when thrust amongst our family on certain days of the year. Imagine having to hide your brokenness when you are feeling completely isolated. My mother told me I deserved an academy award.

Isolation is one of the favorite tools of an abuser.

They slowly and methodically separate you from your family and friends. Ultimately, you end up lying to all of them because how can you even begin to explain how your life has fallen apart. How you have fallen apart and have become a prisoner of sorts. That you have lost your freedom to be who you are meant to be. That you are losing your identity more and more every day. That it's slipping and you can't seem to tighten your grip.

Today my boyfriend's sister had to be rescued from an abusive situation.

I don't even know all of the details yet, but what I do know is that her husband is an abuser. It got so bad that she took her child and split. Thank God she had an opportunity to get out and luckily for her she has two brothers who were able to go back with her to get her stuff. For those of you who do not know, this is the most dangerous time for victim's of abuse. This is when the abuser feels they are losing control. Out of desperation they react and can do the worst imaginable things. I've been terrified all afternoon because I understand this better than anyone. I didn't want him to go, but I knew he had to. They are on their way home and safe. Thank God. 

I know that life can be hard, and at this time of year it can be almost impossible to hold on to even the tiniest spark of hope. I am here to beg those of you reading this that might be in the same situation to hang on.

Don't give up because there is always a way out.

Even when you feel like you are completely alone there is always help. I know that if there is NO reason to stay then that alone is a good reason to go. I also know that you have to leave if you are being abused. It will never get better…only worse. Sometimes you have to leave with the clothes on your back. Know that there are shelters and people to help you. You deserve to be happy, safe and loved. I KNOW how scary and hard it is to leave, but I also know how beautiful and free life can be once you do.

Be brave. Find your voice and speak up.

Please know that there is no shame in this for you. There are so many people in this world (both men and women) that have experienced abuse at the hand of someone they loved. You have to trust and take that step to get out. There is never a good time. I kept waiting for a “better time” and it never came. I ended up leaving at the worst possible time, but in retrospect it was the perfect time. It was the perfect time because I got out alive.

If you know anyone that is in an abusive relationship please share my blog with them.

It's hard to talk to people who haven't been through this because so often your reality starts to get muddled. If you can let them know that they are loved and worthy of that love, and that there is always a way out.

Don't you dare give up. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.


Ella Hicks

Ella Hicks is a survivor of many things, however her biggest battle came during her 12-year abusive marriage. **Note: I cannot use a photo of my face due to safety concerns due to domestic violence.

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Akiroq Brost
Akiroq Brost

Hi Ella, I believe from everything I have read that we have a lot in common. I wanted to tell you that I really appreciate you writing about topics such as this one, as many women are still living this reality. I also went through the isolation, manipulation, and control at the hands of an abusive spouse. Yes, when I left I had to go into a women’s shelter. I was in absolute fear for my life. It was terrifying. What was even more terrifying was when he showed up at the shelter demanding to get in. I don’t know if he tried every shelter, or if somehow he figured out I was there. (I broke all contact with everyone in an effort to protect them and me.) I ended up fleeing much much further away, to a different country altogether, because I was so scared. I was sure that given the opportunity, he would do all the things he had promised to do if I ever left. Leaving was the hardest but best thing I did. It was incredibly difficult. I had no self-confidence. Yes, thankfully, thankfully, there are services such as shelters and counseling available. I suffered from PTSD when I left. I needed a lot of therapy!! I was completely traumatized and woke up screaming in terror in the nights. I remember barricading the door because I was too scared to even function. It’s not easy. It’s a lot to deal with. But worse still is staying in it. I can’t say I would still be alive if I hadn’t left. It’s a wonder he didn’t kill me.
I couldn’t talk about it for a long time without all that pain and fear coming up for me. I was ashamed that I had been in that situation. I was ashamed that I had a failed marriage. It took a long time for me to heal. It’s still not comfortable, it may never be comfortable. BUT, it is so important to open a dialogue about this. Too many women suffer in silence and secret. Thank you for your courageous sharing Ella. <3

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