As I said in the intro to this story, this has been the hardest one for me to write about. I believe that this story encompasses so many different hardships. Melanie faced the loss of her parents and their support when she needed it most. She was sexually and emotionally abused by the person sworn to protect her: the abandonment, the PTSD, the health factors, the kids’ grief, moving and losing her home, her kingdom, the humiliation…You get the picture.
But if Melanie can come out the other side stronger and rebuild her life again, so can anyone who really wants it. This is the biggest sign of hope that I can share with you.
Lessons from Melanie:
- Give yourself time to mourn. You can cry “ugly” as much as needed, when needed and where needed. There is a reason for the feelings of pain, and there are many books about it. Pain is as necessary as joy. When we feel pain, we must deal with it. Go get the help and the support you need during the journey of pain, but do not rush it. It is a vital part of the rebuilding process. Guess what? A kintsugi dish is not put together before spending much time dealing with the breakage, filing at it and preparing it for the progression of mending. Melanie told me that she cried for months, no matter where she was, she allowed herself to feel. I believe it prepared her for the next phase of her life.
- Allow your kids to grieve as they need. Melanie allows them to go to their father’s grave. She lets them speak about him. She had no intention to smear their father's name and reputation. She understands he was a sick man who did a horrendous thing. There is no need to forgive the act, as he is not here to apologize and repent. At the same time, she understands that their children also suffered a trauma and a loss. Each person grieves with their own method. Instead of dictating to them what to feel, she permitted them to be and do as they needed. She gave them therapy and tools, and when it was the right time, they were exceedingly supportive of her. They encouraged her to start a relationship, and they were open to give the new man in her life their love as well. We can’t dictate how to suffer to others and how to process a tragic situation. By being there and being loving, this is the best medicine for the healing and for their relationship.
- Honesty and transparency. This is what is needed for a healthy relationship, even when the truth is so painful. I asked Melanie if her new husband knew right away about her past. They were dating long distance, and he was not from her town. He hadn’t heard what had happened. After a few months of daily calls, Melanie felt that the relationship was getting serious. She could see herself with him for long haul. At that time, she felt he needed to know and decide if this was something he could handle. Melanie determined that texting would be the best way. In this way, he would be free to have whatever reaction he needed to have without having to say, “Oh, don’t worry,” to her face and be trapped in a difficult situation. His reaction was immediate. “You did nothing wrong. This is not a reason to stop what we have.” And so, Melanie, started her relationship on the right foot. Honestly and openness was not to be compromised. This time, the relationship was going to be different. And it is.
I hope that you can all catch your breath. I ask you to write a loving comment to Melanie and tell her how courageous she is to share such a personal and difficult story all in the name of giving us all hope and sharing her wisdom.
You deserve to be safe.
If you are being abused emotionally or physically, please get help. Things don’t change or get better without proper assistance. If you are in any kind of danger, call the police or seek shelter. You are loved, you are enough, and you deserve to beloved and be safe.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
If you have a story to share please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
It takes courage and strength to share a story that is so personal, but it can help so many and even save a life. What broke you is what makes you special and unique!