Elin Stebbins Waldal is a survivor of teen dating abuse and the author of the powerful memoir about her experience, Tornado Warning, which is this month’s featured book review. She is also Founder/Executive Director of, Girls kNOw More, an organization dedicated to inspiring confidence, and self-esteem in school-age girls. Elin shares with us this post on recovering from teen violence from her blog. Thanks Elin!
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“The day I saw myself as a victor of my own life I ended my victimhood: there is life after domestic violence…claim it and make it your own.” -Elin Stebbins Waldal
Staking a claim on my own life, for me, took some doing. What so many people don’t know is leaving an abusive relationship is really the first of many steps. In the infancy of my emancipation from Derrick I was riddled with self doubt and loathing–in fact the burden I felt was so heavy that every step I took was exhausting. I recall literally feeling as if the only way to survive would be to sleep…yet sleeping as a long term solution was not viable.
Once I pushed back the proverbial cover and surrendered to my new found nakedness a shift took place. I had spent years under the blanket of secrecy, the shedding of that cover opened my heart to the notion that I was in fact liberated from pain. The shame I had become tangled in was thankfully not validated by the people in my life who believed in me, no matter how insurmountable my anguish appeared, they continued to hold up a picture where everything they saw in me was sketched. And when doubt threatened to push me back down…there was a believer standing beside me with a tight grasp of my hand.
The therapists I saw supported my quest to unlock my own answers…after all, the paradigm I left behind had convinced me I was unworthy of expression…reclaiming my voice took work, and it took trusting myself along with the individuals around me. Trust did not come easily to me I had been beaten down and robbed of my core sense of who I was.
Shedding the horrific skin of victimization and growing a layer of love to cloak myself in gave me strength.
Over time I was able to step out of the victim shoes and into the victors. Intellectualy although I knew I was free, until I truly felt my own power and freedom, was I truly set free.
If you or someone you love is caught in the vise of abuse–there is help: call the hotline and learn about the countless resources available: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
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