Human beings are incredible. But incredible in that way that the Chinese proverb “may you live in interesting times” is not necessarily a good thing. Humans can be amazing to one another, and they can be amazingly awful. I believe each and every one of us has experienced abuse of one form or another. While some pick themselves up and dust themselves off determined to not allow it to define them, others wrap their trauma around themselves and own it as an identity. Neither is necessarily correct, but one will certainly allow you to live a more fulfilled life that the other.

I don’t think I realized I was in an emotionally abusive relationship (because that shit only happens in the movies, right?) until I was so far down the well of degradation, I was looking out at the sun of the rest of the world from a very, very, deep hole. It’s hard to pull yourself out of that shit. Because you don’t know who you are anymore, and your abuser has done such a fantastic job of convincing you that you’re worthless, you feel you deserve the constant correction, taunting, public embarrassment and unwanted physical advances (“You should be happy somebody actually wants to sleep with you.”), as direct result of your terminal stupidity.

My friend Amanda did a thing a few days ago. A really fucking brave thing. She spoke about her experience with an abusive partner and laid herself bare for the world to see and hear. Patrisha McLean is an award-winning photojournalist and the founder/president of Finding Our Voices, the survivor-powered and grassroots nonprofit organization breaking the silence of domestic abuse and interviewed Amanda and another victim of the same abuser’s serial abuse. I am so fucking proud of Amanda for doing what she did, and am honored to call her a friend. I hope you give it a listen by clicking here and know that if you are in an abusive situation there is help out there for you. Know that you don’t deserve it. No one has the right to lay hands on you, or psychologically manipulate you. And just because you are in a relationship, the other person never has rights to your body.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233

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