At the ripe young age that I am today, there are a few things I can say I know something about, and this month’s topic is definitely one of them: relationships. This topic is ages old and even more ages of evolution have occurred in it. Some aspects of it have remained traditional and some have really taken a “non-traditional” twist in today’s society. Nevertheless, it is still the most precious commodity we have as human beings. Nothing can take the place of it and we all have a deep-seated need and desire to have them in our lives. After all, the Bible says “it is not good for man to be alone”. We were created to have relationships, but somewhere, something went wrong.
Relationships are something we see all around us, experience throughout our lives and maintain whenever possible. There are many different types of relationships; personal, professional, business, and they all require various contributions from those involved. The focus of my article could be called the “post honeymoon phase” of relationships, and can include all the categories listed above.
In this phase the honeymoon is over and real life starts to happen. The individuals associated with it begin to notice behaviors about the other person that are not so appealing, or as they say “the rose-colored glasses come off”. That is when things really start to change, sometimes for the very worst. Please allow me to share my experience, strength and hope on this topic. In July of 2006, I received the following invitation:
The Millions More Movement Ministry of Justice has organized “From Hurt to Healing”, a MARCH AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT”, Saturday July 1st (Essence Festival Weekend). This is an idea initiated and chiefly organized for women, by men. Everyone is invited. We believe that these are two ills that are eating away at the fabric of our community and leaving women and girls to bear the pain of rape and molestation alone. Young boys have become victims of molestation in unprecedented numbers. We know that these are sensitive issues to many, but we are firm believers that it is impossible to conquer that which you are afraid to face. This is not just a march. It is a demonstration in opposition to the apathetic position that has been adopted by us regarding these issues”.
This was the birth of H2H and Sister Ebony Muhammad has taken the torch and continued the march with this dynamic publication! Kudos to her!!!
My son Deric Muhammad headed up that ministry and immediately asked if I could be a speaker and share my story of surviving domestic violence. Of course I was more than honored to do so. I am a survivor of domestic violence that was associated with drug and alcohol addiction. I suffered from a drug addiction for many years and endured physical abuse at the hands of the man I was in a “relationship” with at that time.
I can honestly say the reason I stayed in it and tolerated the abuse was because I was addicted to drugs and he was my supplier. However women do remain in abusive relationships for other reasons, but there is never a good reason to tolerate abuse. I recall this man beating me so badly that both my eyes were black, and then after I healed, I went right back to him. The drugs had my self-esteem at an all-time low, and that is another reason I believe women endure this mistreatment. So many of them fear they will be alone if they leave the abuser, so they become comfortable in the pain.
My experience was one of mostly physical abuse, but others endure emotional and verbal abuse which sometimes leaves scars that are much more challenging to heal. Scars on the inside: in the mind and the spirit, which can affect many other areas of a woman’s life. I have provided counseling services for women and girls who had mental and emotional trauma from past abusive relationships, and I can honestly say that many may never fully recover. However, with a lot of determination and willingness to love oneself, it can be overcome. It takes stepping out on faith and believing that you deserve better. It takes loving yourself enough to be alone and being comfortable in your own skin. It takes knowing that you are never alone and have the unconditional love of other women who want better for you, and are willing to be by your side while you go through. It takes trusting in a Power greater than yourself to bring you to the other side of the pain and darkness into the healing and light!
I am a living witness that you can get there, and I am still here to do what I can to help. One of my favorite movies is “Waiting to Exhale”, because those women stuck together through each other’s pain. We have got to do the same. We have got to come together and help each other overcome the poor self-esteem and self-loathing that keeps us in the prison of abuse. Today, there are numerous support groups, organizations, safe housing, and therapeutic venues for women in abusive relationships, but you have to go or call and get the help.
I am the Founder & CEO of Overcomers Foundation, Inc., and my vision is for it to be an organization that helps people overcome any and all challenges in life. The slogan is “Helping Those Who Help Themselves” and the logo is indicative of that. If those women who are being abused would help themselves, everything else would fall in place. It is my humble prayer that they will.
What I know for sure about relationships is that; 1) they are meant to be healthy, 2) they are intended to enhance our lives, and 3) they are not meant to be abusive.
Peace & Blessings,
Overcomers Foundation, Inc.