I am honored to introduce our guest blogger today. We’ve known each other for years now. During most of this time, She hid something dark, something painful and something many women feel ashamed to talk about. Faith Glosser Conaway shares her story of how she conquered Domestic Violence. She’s a “Super Hero” Mom, Entrepreneur, and Advocate to raise Awareness for Domestic Violence.
*You need tissues while reading this.
“I HAVE SURVIVED”
Within 6 months of our December 2000 wedding day, Jason slapped me in the face. I looked him square in the eyes and told him that I watched my mother and siblings being abused in my childhood, and endured it myself and I would NOT stand around and be a punching bag. I told him in NO uncertain terms that if he ever laid a hand on me again in anger, I was leaving and I would never look back. Between 2001 and 2012 I can recall countless incidents of emotional abuse, name calling, screaming, fits, tantrums, breaking things in anger, throwing things in anger, verbal accusations, and RAGE, but I do not recall many physically abusive incidents.
I have survived 11 years and 9 months of verbal and emotional abuse. Looking back I can see that the physical abuse escalated in March 2012 with an incident that happened one Friday evening, March 2, 2012. Jason and I were lying in bed talking, and something we were discussing made him mad, and in his rage, he punched me. HARD. He punched me with his right fist and hit me in the upper right arm. I winced but didn’t say a word. When he left the bedroom I cried and fell asleep. When we woke up, he walked over to me in the bedroom and said he was sorry. For the life of me, I cannot remember what that conversation was about that caused him to become so enraged he punched me; and I know it doesn’t really matter. For the next 5 days I wore long sleeves, so the ugly black and blue bruise on my arm wasn’t apparent to those around me; so that I wouldn’t have to lie to anyone, and answer any questions. All I could think was….HOW ON EARTH did this happen to me. My mom had to leave my dad after an abusive relationship and I had always vowed to myself that THAT would never happen to me. I was ashamed, shocked, sad, and afraid. On Thursday, March 8 I had to work an event at PCA and I knew it would be hot working in the back hallway so I wore short sleeves. I must have had 10-15 people ask me where I got my nasty 3” in diameter, black and blue bruise on the top of my right arm. But the most memorable encounter I had that day happened after the event; around the lunch table. Mr. and Mrs. Allen; a couple co-workers and myself sat and ate lunch in the break room. Now one of my co-workers and Lois Allen had both already asked me how I got my bruise. I had told them both the same thing I had told and continued to tell everybody else…that I had run into something. If they asked what it was I had run into I told them I couldn’t remember but that I remembered it hurting at the time. As we sat down at the lunch table Mr. Allen took one look as my arm and asked me if Jason had been beating up on me again and if I needed him to talk to Jason. I wanted to disappear; sink down in my chair. I was mortified. That bruise lasted 3.5 weeks before it finally faded. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME? . And what was I going to do about it? About a week later I brought it up to Jason, that I COULDN’T believe he had hit me, and do you know what his reply was? He said, “Well, did you learn your lesson?” Then he laughed. In August I brought it up again because I just couldn’t shake this feeling that he TRULY wasn’t sorry or aware of what he did. Once when he was telling me how he was trying not to get mad as much I asked if he remembered punching me in March. He said he did remember, and then asked again “did you learn your lesson?” From that point on, either the physical abuse escalated, or I just started noticing it more.
He said, “Well, did you learn your lesson?” Then he laughed.
At the end of May we traveled to Ohio, then North Carolina, then South Carolina on a family summer vacation. We made some good memories and we made some bad ones too. One afternoon we were walking into Walmart in Piqua, OH and Jason was holding Aubree’s hand as we went across the parking lot into the store. I am not sure what Aubree (age 2) did to warrant this behavior, but Jason was holding her hand and in his frustration at her actions, yanked up into the air roughly and shouted at her. Jason told me right away that he had heard a pop when he yanked her. Aubree started crying loudly and holding her wrist like a puppy dog with a wounded paw. We tried to go in and do the shopping, but Jason ended up taking Aubree to the car to console her because she just couldn’t calm down. After I was done in the store, we drove back to the hotel where she still limply held her wrist pathetically, winced every time she moved her arm or anyone touched it; and didn’t want to do anything but be held. Jason and I and some other family members were planning to go out to a movie and Jason’s mom was going to stay back and watch the girls. Aubree was so uncomfortable that Jason wondered if something had snapped or popped, and started asking me if I should take her to the doctor for x-rays. When I determined that she could roll her wrist I honestly didn’t believe she had broken her wrist; so I put ice on it and just held her. Jason then recommended that I stay home from the movies to console Aubree while he and his family still attend the movie. I said (in front of his family members) that I didn’t understand why he was still going to the movie while I stayed home, when HE is the one who hurt her! He felt bad that she was hurt, but I explained to him that he needed to be more careful when grabbing a 24# little girl because he was a big, strong man and when he was upset, he didn’t control his strength very well. We ended up going to the movie and I remember wondering….how bad does he REALLY feel if he still went to the movie? Later, when Jason’s brother and sister-in-law asked what was wrong with Aubree I explained the story to them and I was ashamed that he had hurt our daughter. When I explained the story again to Jason’s other brother and his girlfriend I felt the same thing…helpless, ashamed, and angry. After 2 days Aubree’s arm stopped hurting her, and after several days she stopped babying it, and Aubree’s arm returned to normal use. But something happened to me that day. My eyes were now WIDE OPEN regarding Jason’s treatment of our children.
During the month of August I decided to share snippets of my story with two people. Up to that point I had told NOONE. Not a soul on the earth knew. Some people closest to me knew he was mean, but not that he was physically abusive. I had a friend ask me “What are you waiting for – why don’t you leave?” The answer was very complex. Many things cause women to stay: finances, fear, children, job, religion, stigma, shame, guilt, etc… But my response was “I am waiting for someone to get hurt badly so I can prove he is abusive.” My friend said something very wise to me – “later on tonight I want you to play this conversation back to yourself in your head.” I did. And that moment changed my life. It was when I realized that I had blinders on. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from MY OWN MIND. It was the moment I knew my thinking was going to get one of us seriously hurt. It was the moment that changed my outlook. I realized I was the only adult my kids could rely on. In that moment I determined to do SOMETHING. I knew I had to do something. Anything. Something different than what I was doing! I vowed in that moment to get a plan together and try to get Jason some help. REAL help. If he refused, I knew I had to leave to protect my girls. I knew I may have to leave. I decided if that is what it took, then that is what I would do. I CHOSE TO BREAK THE CYCLE for my girls, or die trying. I decided to take this action even if I lost my family and friends in the process. In September 2013 I offered Jason counseling help and he refused to get help. I left in the middle of the night and never looked back.
I CHOSE TO BREAK THE CYCLE for my girls, or die trying.
Parts of this process were very painful. I lost A LOT of “friends” and “family” throughout, but I also realized who my real friends and family are. My support system is LARGE, and I am so blessed to have support and love.
Notice I do not call myself a victim – I am a survivor. If you can relate to this story, and find yourself stuck I want you to know that there is HOPE. There is always hope. You are strong. Make a plan. Call somebody. The best advice I can give you is to BREAK THE SILENCE! Silence is the abusers best friend. It keeps you trapped. Tell somebody – do it safely. There are resources available to help. Do some research. Call a Lawyer. Arm yourself with the FACTS to help break your fears. Now I give back in any way that I can. I support women who reach out to me for help. I try to connect them with the resources they need to get REAL help in starting over and rebuilding their lives. I am part of the Choose Courage Foundation dedicated to raising awareness and raising funds for a local Domestic Violence Shelter in Fort Worth, Texas. I am humbled and honored to be able to give back in this way and redeem my story. My three girls and I are healing nicely. I am hopeful that someday they will look back and find courage in my strength. That they will grow up in the amazing knowledge that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and do NOT need to allow anyone to bully, abuse, or demean them.
LIPTalk Nation, did you realize that Faith wanted to wait until someone got hurt badly? It was that very moment when she said those words, her wise friend asked her to replay their conversation over in her head. THIS WAS A NECESSARY STEP for Faith to finally break free from the chains of abuse. When Faith was able to replay the conversation, meaning she gave herself permission to process the facts and not feelings, she knew exactly what she needed to do. What if she waited until someone got hurt badly? What does “hurt badly” mean? She decided ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
Abuse in any form is NEVER okay. It is TIME for all of us to raise our voices and Support one another. When we do this, something AMAZING is formed; a movement, a CONFIDENCE MOVEMENT is born. When any person learns the definition of self love, (NOT PRIDE) we learn how to stand up for ourselves and others.
It is TIME for all of us to raise our voices and Support one another.
1. She decided that Enough was Enough by recognizing the facts about the situation.
2. She left the abusive situation to save her life and her 3 daughters. (Even though she lost many friends and gave up her job.)
3. She got a lawyer. Abuse is not legal.
4.She has given her daughters the greatest gift: Teaching them Courage.
There is always hope and there is always help. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. I think it’s time we BELIEVED it. Remember: What you say is what you become.
Be sure to visit the Life in Purple website to meet more people who are living Life in Purple!