Since I started writing these issues on Domestic Violence, I haven’t yet mentioned to you women out there how to get out and why you have to get out of your abusive relationship. Maybe I wasn’t yet ready myself and I didn’t really have an answer. I guess I had to find out more about myself. I will share with you all that I have learned about myself and where I stand.

First of all, I’ll tell everyone that I found myself through Native Spirituality. I tried all other means, but Native Spirituality is what was missing in my life. All my life, I kept a lot of secrets, deep, dark secrets, things that had happened to me as a little girl, as a teenager and as an adult. I never really felt good about myself. I had a lot of anger, shame and guilt. As a little girl, I was sexually abused and physically abused and emotionally abused. All this was done to me by men.

I married at the very young age of 17. My first love, my knight in shining armour who would whisk me away from all my pain and my burdens. But little did I know the abuse would continue for eight more years of my life. The other abuses of my childhood would continue on to an even more traumatizing cycle.

I used to keep the abuse from my husband just between me and him. I felt I had to keep it to myself, because I would have no respect for him if I told anyone, so I thought. The physical abuse continued on for eight years. I used to dread him going out with the guys and having him come home drunk. He always seemed to find something to anger him. He was sick, he needed help. He got so used to being in control and making decisions for me that my life was no longer mine. I wasn’t perfect. I made mistakes, everyone does, but being a woman and making mistakes led to tremendous consequences for me, especially with an over-possessive husband. It got to the point where we lost the honesty and trust towards one another. We became too busy trying to please one another. We completely forgot about trying to please our own selves.

I couldn’t help Marilyn overcome her burdens. For many years I lived in fear. And I guess I could also say the abuse became a part of me and I started to believe this was my role in life. For a long time, I thought that I had to live with it, because I guess you could say I was addicted to it. It came to a point where I would say to myself, “Okay, he’ll beat me for a few minutes and then it’ll all be over.” All my hope and faith were gone. You see, what I’m trying to say is, I allowed myself to be beaten – the fear, the shame, the guilt took control of my life. I can’t put all the blame on my husband. Some of the blame, I will have to take.

I used to talk to the Creator and ask him why he allowed this to happen to me. I used to get angry at him. I used to ask him to show me how to get out, but all that time the answer was inside of me, in my heart. I needed a boost to regain my strength and to end the abuse. Then I found people to help me, medicine people they call them. In my eyes, they were heaven-sent. Everything they said seemed so perfect. I started on my healing journey. I concentrated on changing myself. I worked hard on myself. These people just guided me, but in the end, I was the one who had to find the courage to overcome my fear of another human being. I talked, I cried, I laughed, I prayed and I shared. It made a real difference in my life.

Finally, I realized that I had to make a decision to take back my life. The Creator gave us our lives to take care of ourselves. Whatever decisions we make, they come from us and if we are abused, that’s a decision we have made. In the deeper spiritual sense, we are responsible for ourselves. I know it is difficult to leave an abusive relationship but we have to. We have to gain strength and stand on our own two feet and tell ourselves that we don’t have to live that way. There will always be something trying to stop us, whether it’s money, the children or fear of what people will say. But look at it this way, don’t you want to make decisions for yourself? I know there’s a lot of women out there who are going through this and I just say to you that you don’t have to go through this – you can learn more about yourselves. Everyone is unique and no one should be allowed to overpower you. This I say to all you women out there: “If you feel alone, you’re not. Listen to your heart, the first step will have to come from you. So make a decision, take back your life.”