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He Never Hit Me

I set a benchmark. The red line I wouldn’t cross. The minute he hit me, I would leave. But the truth is, I know I wouldn’t have left then either. I would have rationalized that in hitting me, he would realize how out of hand things were. Everything would change now. I wouldn’t have left. By hurting me, he showed me he loved me. He cared enough to go that crazy. He cared so much that he was overwhelmed by anger or jealousy or sadness and simply couldn’t control himself.

When it was over, I wasn’t permitted to mourn him. No one could understand how love, hate, fear and comfort could coexist simultaneously. They could not understand that in addition to my abuser, I also lost my confidant, the person to make dinner with, the person to watch movies with on a rainy Sunday, the person to laugh with, the person who knew me. I lost my companion. How can you explain to someone that the abuse was only a part of who he was? How do you explain that to yourself?

There are still days when I remember tender moments and wonder if it really was that bad. I still struggle with reconciling how he could love me to the point of tears and yet hurt me as if I was an enemy. Like a child, I’m learning to redefine the borders of normal behavior and to realign my expectations. I remind myself that acts of violence can never be acts of love.

For the first time, I see my own reflection in other women who have emerged from the depths of such darkness. Indescribably courageous women whom I have never met, but who have shared their stories and in doing so, saved me. These women embraced me with their pain and unknowingly convinced me that I was not alone, that I am worthy of more. I hadn’t believed that singular truth in a very long time.

Knowing that others were there has allowed the shame to dissipate. I used to default to the trained belief that I was crazy, overly sensitive or had imagined it all because I could not reconcile the love and the abuse. I have permitted myself to accept that both existed. Their stories have allowed me to forgive myself. To recognize how arbitrary that red line was. Seeing myself in their eyes has allowed me to name my abuser. To name my experience as an abused woman. And then to let go.

I pray now that my words will travel to the broken woman staring back at them and embrace her. I hope they equip her with the strength and love she needs to raise herself from the depths.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline or visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated byRAINN. For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

Reut Amit
Reut Amit
Reut Amit lives in Vancouver, British Columbia where she works at a commercial litigation firm. She holds a Master of Arts in Diplomacy and Conflict Studies from the IDC Herzliya and a J.D. from the University of Victoria. She writes essays and opinion pieces about feminism, politics, law and public policy. Follow her on Twitter @reutamit

Toddler is Sick With Mystery Illness for 3 Months When Doctors Finally Discover What’s Lodged in Her Nose

A mom from the UK is sharing her story after her toddler suffered for three months with a mystery illness caused by an object unknowingly lodged in her nose.

Candace Cameron Bure’s Dreamy Family Vacation in Italy: ‘Take Me Back’

Candace Cameron Bure, loved for her roles on "Full House" and "Fuller House," recently took to Instagram to reminisce about her family's dream summer vacation in Italy.

Chip and Joanna Gaines: 11 Godly Secrets to an Epic Marriage and Family

Chip and Joanna Gaines are teaching us important lessons about marriage and family as they walk away from their HGTV show for the sake of their family.