Happy New Year!

Can you believe 2014 is already over! Is it me or did that year fly by?

With each new year, I reflect on the past year, look back at the joys and sorrows and move on to new goals, new dreams for the New Year.

For many years, my goals were always centered on my significant other, my abuser. I wanted to be so perfect for him that he would never get mad or hit me. I wanted to make sure the next year would be better so I knew my goals meant that I had to be a better girlfriend. I was so lost in my abusive relationship; I did not even realize how deep in trouble I was. This year will be 9 years since I left that abusive relationship, 9 years of having goals that were mine, just mine. 9 years of happiness and freedom. 9 years of living my life. I’m one of the lucky ones.

Unfortunately, there are so many still trapped in their violent, dangerous relationships. Although domestic violence is being talked about more, I feel we still have a long road to travel for it to be taken more seriously. This is a deadly crime that claims the lives of so many.

I love shows like Law & Order: SVU and 20/20 but recently watching them, as I was able to catch up on my DVR, it frightens me to think of my child growing up in the world with abuse around him or her. I always heard parents talk about fears for their children and since I’ve never been a parent, I never looked at it from their point of view. Wow, has that changed. I fear for what my child will have to face. I fear that all that I teach will not be enough. I fear the day I tell them about my past.

I have shared my story with hundreds of people throughout the years in hopes to help others recognize the signs of abuse, how to get help, and how to be a supporter but any time I have to share my story with someone close to me, it’s always difficult. To this day, there are some things I still keep locked inside because it’s too painful to bring back to life. I hope that one day me sharing with my child will help them understand why I’m protective and cautious, why I want to meet the person they begin dating, why I want to have open communication and why I will always be there for them whether they like or not.

It’s crazy how immediate your mindset changes the minute you know you are going to be a parent. I no longer just think of me or my spouse, but now I will be responsible for this human being, I will be responsible for teaching them right from wrong, the hard lessons of life and all the joys life will bring. It’s a big responsibility and on the flip side, I think how my abuser is raising his two sons. Does he teach not to hit, not to yell? Does he still abuse his current girlfriend, the second baby’s mother? Does he abuse her in front of his child? How will his sons be raised and will the cycle continue with them or will their mothers step in and stop it?

It’s not my place nor is it my business but it’s a thought that I hope he has changed, if not for him but for those little boys who look up to him and watch him. Domestic violence can be stopped but only if the cycle isn’t repeated. And it’s up to each and every one of us to stop that cycle.