The decision to feel after a lifetime of disassociation.

I woke up from another nightmare this morning. Before the alarm clock. Just close enough for me to not be able to fall back asleep, not that I’d want to, for fear of seeing this night’s “bad guy” waiting behind my eyelids.

I’m exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that comes from spinning your emotional wheels and re-experiencing trauma after trauma until you wake up to shaking hands and a racing heart. The kind where naps aren’t even comforting any more because day-mares are now a thing.  But just like every night I lay my head down, I take that gamble because I have no choice.

The decision to feel after a lifetime of disassociation. I made it myself. I did it for a beautiful reason but it doesn’t take from the absolute agony I feel every day. Sometimes I talk about it, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I fall asleep after being on the phone and crying to the point where I scream but make no sound so the person on the other end doesn’t know. Sometimes I wake up screaming in the middle of the night. Sometimes my alarm goes off and I do scream…into my pillow, and cry, hands shaking and heart racing.

Applying eyeliner in the morning with tears in your eyes is impossible and yet I do it more often than not. I have to because my face must be brave when I wake up the 9 year old girl who sleeps across the hall, unaware of what her mom is going through behind her own door. I have to smile and pretend I’m listening when she tells me things about books and friends and school and the charge on her computer. I have to turn my head when a rogue tear escapes, overflow from what’s waiting when I come back inside after putting her on the bus.

I want to crawl out of my skin and cry and scream. I want to be hugged but I don’t want to be touched. I want to curl up on my couch under a soft blanket and stay there until I feel safe again. I want my cat to sleep on me like she used to, purring and sharing each other’s warmth. I miss her. I miss Nancy. And frankly, I miss who I could have been if none of this ever happened and my brain wasn’t riddled with PTSD & triggers. I would love nothing more than to stop this day-to-day horror show funhouse I feel like I’m walking through.

The decision to feel after a lifetime of disassociation. I made it myself. And I have to stand by it now. So I sit down at the dining room table, I finish my coffee through what I hope is the end of the tears for now, wrap up this bit of writing and get on to work. I’ll listen to an audiobook or some music I love as I get through this day. I’ll try to refocus, reframe and readjust. And if the tears come again, unlike steeling myself and stifling them as I used to do in the past, I’ll let them flow, dry my face and keep going. I will get through this. I won’t give up.

As always,
Love Light & Blessings
~Sarah Gallardo

Valentines Day 2017

To be soft.
In a world that is hard.
In a world that will shake you to your core and leave you a shell of a person, in tatters.

For someone who has survived severe trauma this sounds like an impossible task. It feels like exposing every major artery after almost bleeding out, once before. I never fully understood the gravity of this, the sheer ridiculous faith one must have in order to wholeheartedly try at love again, until now.

But before I continue, let me clarify the use of the word “soft”. I don’t mean “to be weak”. For so long that’s what I thought it meant. I believed I needed to be hard to keep myself safe. This is a trap. If we all went through life with our shields up, how would we ever really see or get close to one another? By “soft” I mean open, trusting, vulnerable. I mean not to fight for a “safe distance” in a relationship while simultaneously wanting to feel close to someone. It’s like a porcupine. Sure, they’ve got a back side full of needles, but their tummies are so soft and warm. There is no feat of bravery in showing your quills. Courage is rolling over and showing your soft side to the one you love.

And so I have taken the leap and tried at love again. Truth be told, at first I was waiting for disaster, waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for yet another disappointment. My life experiences trained me to expect this. After leaving my abusive ex husband, I had had other tries before. They ended in heartbreak, like the slow removal of a bandaid that never had the chance to heal anything at all. In fact, I learned more about what I don’t want from a partner than what I do want. What I didn’t realize at the time but I do now, is that I wasn’t showing up in those relationships 100%. It didn’t matter what the other person did or didn’t do (not to dismiss their bad behavior), I wasn’t being my authentic self. I didn’t even know who that was. I had become so attached to my armor that I became it. I was a “take me or leave me” girl, and I set it up so that I’d be unfazed if they left. That is not love for anyone involved.

Now I realize the importance of give and take, compromise, communication, trust, honesty and vulnerability. I have taken the leap. I showed my soft side to the most amazing man I’ve ever met. This after four years of attending a weekly domestic violence support group, becoming a trained counselor and still going to one on one therapy every week, to this day. So yes, I put in the work to learn about choosing to surround myself with healthier people. I’ll always still be learning. But I know this, I have a wonderful friend and partner by my side. He taught me what it feels like to truly be loved. He’s my person. He’s someone I can learn with, grow with and tell the truth to without being judged. And the most beautiful feeling of all; I can trust him with my soft side knowing he’d never intentionally hurt me. It’s not easy. We make mistakes, we fumble, we flounder at times. It takes work. We’re not perfect and we both know it. But I think we’ve grown to love that about each other, and in the process I think we’ve grown to love that about ourselves.

There is no such thing as fantastic reward without fantastic effort and fantastic faith. To me, the most real, down to earth, splendidly simple kind of love that I have found is the most fantastic reward of all.

As always, thanks for reading!
Love, Light & Blessings

~Sarah Gallardo
To S.B.

You Are Enough

There I was, at a dinner like any other. Something we had done so many times before. Sitting in a daze of the phrase, “You are enough”.

Maybe it was the way that he held my hands and looked into my eyes when he said it. Maybe it was the fact that I know he never minces words, that he means what he says in serious conversations always. Maybe it was the fact that I so desperately needed to hear it, and more so believe it. Whatever the reason, there it was. Said. Out of his mouth and lingering in the air between us, waiting for me to pluck it from its orbit and soak it into my soul. But no part of me wanted to do that. Walls, barriers, barricades, crocodile motes, pitchforks, fire and brimstone… All the training throughout my life began to kick in. “You have to do more. Be more. Give more. You have to prove yourself.” And all the lessons people had taught me about love. “I’ll give you this if you give me that. Sacrifice yourself for no return. I will love you if you give me… (Oh my God is this really what I think?)… I will love you if you…”
I had to stop. In that moment I had to put my head in my hands and hold onto it for fear that it might explode, rustling my long straight hair as if to close the curtain around my face so I had something to hide behind. There was really no point. I know the look on my face gave me away. But as hard as I tried to avert his gaze, I couldn’t. He held me there and refused to let me go, making me hear it, making me see myself the way he did. There were a few times I could recall being trapped in his eyes before and seeing, really seeing each other. But never like this.
He had asked me how I was feeling. Something we agreed to check in with one another about more often. I talked about how I’ve been struggling lately. A particular event that happened in my personal life recently, was affecting me so much more than I wanted people to know about. So much more than I wanted to know about. He was there when it happened, a reminder of horrible things from my childhood, and he’s been there ever since. No judgment, just understanding. Only, I’ve been there too. Judging myself the whole time. Holding myself accountable for offenses that had been done to me in a time when I was powerless to stop them. Telling myself I should be stronger. I should be better. I should be over this by now.
I’m not.
And I can’t pretend to be anymore. That masquerade does me no good. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t do this to me but, I can’t forgive myself. Yet…

But here’s the good news… I’m not alone. I haven’t always chosen the best people to surround myself with but I think I’ve got it right this time. They love me. They want to protect me. They forgive me when I can’t. And my dinner date, the one whose eyes can hold me in a moment and calm me in a panic. The one who has stood up to protect me when I couldn’t do it myself. The one who held onto me when I let go of myself. Well, he’s enough too. He’s more than enough. We both are.

A Letter To The Man Who Molested Me:

Part of me wants to write so I can spill this out of me and leave it. Almost like I can remove it from myself as I type these words. Part of me doesn’t want to write at all, but curl up in a ball on my couch in a comfy hoodie, covered in a blanket and watch Pixar movies while eating ice cream all day. As you can see, I chose to write.

A letter to the man who molested me:
Hi. You know me. You’ve known me for years. I remember you always holding a beer, working on cars in our yard, when I was growing up. I remember that you used to get shaky and need another drink. I remember you being rude and upsetting my mother. I remember screaming at the top of my lungs for you to get out of our house one summer day. I herded you out like Amalthea in The Last Unicorn when she forces The Red Bull back into the ocean. All of maybe 9 years of me. I was small but big at the same time. I got in trouble for that.
I remember being upstairs in my bedroom, with a curtain for a door, which was kitty corner to the bathroom. I was 13, home alone and just about to fall asleep. Our front door was always unlocked. My father prided himself on the fact that his friends and family could stop by and feel like our house was theirs too. You did feel that way, didn’t you? You came to our house to use the bathroom. You had drank too much. Then again, you always did. The distance from the bar to your house must have been too far, even though our house was the other way. Did you know my dad wasn’t home? I know why you didn’t just pee on a bush in our yard like you used to do if all the guys were there.
I remember hearing the door open and close downstairs. At first I thought it was my dad, having come home. It wasn’t. I remember seeing your profile through the curtain in my doorway and pretending to be asleep. I thought that if I play dead, like a possum, you might just go away. You didn’t. I could smell alcohol…so strong, like you had bathed in it. Stale and sweaty. My spit spattered face wetter with the tears that were sliding down my cheeks, escaping from the corners of my closed eyes. I remember wishing that I no longer existed. Feeling that I was disgusting and that I couldn’t ever tell anybody or they’d think I was disgusting too. I felt like a leper. Broken, wasted, used and discarded.
I have never been the same.
I was blamed for my depression. I was told that my panic attacks were me being dramatic and to walk it off. I was blamed for the behavioral results of the pain I went through. And I blamed myself too. Hard. Hated myself, in fact. I cut myself, burned myself…I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t feel anything. My wounds could not be touched because they were so deep. They threw pills at me like I was a guinea pig. I lost years of my life to “finding my right combination of medications”. My fault. My depression. My fault. My fault…
I worked at getting better. Through severe abuse, through rape, through suicide attempts that I wished were successful but weren’t. My struggle to live, to heal, was like trying to run through quicksand, with a couch strapped to my back, and no desire to do it.
I am still here.
And you know what? I’m better than anyone ever thought I could be. Including myself. I help people. I show others what it is to be strong by doing it every single day. I take responsibility for my life no matter how hard it is. Because at the end of the day this life is mine, and how far I go in it is up to me.
You, my ex husband, my dysfunctional childhood…are the couch I tried to carry for so long. My fault…my burden. No. I’ve cut the straps and let it all fall off. It does me no good, so I let it go. I let you go. And I don’t need you to admit it, or anyone else to believe me in order to feel validated. I know the truth. And I know it’s not my fault. It never was.

What you took from me is gone. I’ll never get it back. But that’s ok. Look how far I’ve come without it! And look how all these years later you are in the exact same place. I don’t hate you. You don’t deserve that from me. You are sick and you always will be. But me? I am strong. I am stronger than you. You don’t matter.

A Gaggle of Geese Cross the Road

Yesterday, as I was driving into Middletown on Rt. 9 S, I saw a gaggle of geese in the process of waddling their way across three lanes of highway. They were trying to cross from the right, over to the median on the left. I can only assume that they were going to traverse the lanes going north, to get to the lake on the other side.
As does happen on highways, people were driving 65 to 70 miles an hour. We had to round the bend in the road, so nobody could see the geese until they were very close. I remember being in Drivers Ed class and being told that if it’s possible you could cause an accident by avoiding an animal in the road that you should continue moving forward, hence running over the animal. That rule never set well with me. I understood why they would teach us that but I wasn’t happy about it. And to be honest, I haven’t followed that rule, always risking an accident over blatantly killing something with my car. (There’s a story about a turtle, but I won’t get into it now)
On this particular evening I happened to be driving in the left lane. The geese hadn’t gotten close enough to where I was driving yet. I remember fighting the urge to pull my car over and guide them across the highway like a vigilante, donning my invisible traffic director’s vest and getting them across safely. I thought twice, however, as I’m sure I would be risking certain death. I continued moving forward with a horrified look on my face as I saw the cars breeze past. At that point I became very angry with the drivers who seemed not to care about the well-being of these beautiful creatures. As I motored on down the highway, however, my perspective shifted. It occurred to me that geese can fly. I then became annoyed with the geese. “Hello! Guys. You have wings. Kinda ballsy to just saunter across the highway like that, don’tcha think?”
I know that geese are very loyal birds who travel in a tight-knit circle. It’s possible that one of them was wounded or that there were babies. I began to create a back story as to why they had chosen to walk and not fly. Their leader’s wife, the matriarch, had taken ill. The gaggle put her in the middle of the circle and escorted her across the highway, knowing exactly what they were risking. It was an act of sacrifice, love and bravery.
Whether that is true or not, isn’t quite the point. I’m not sure if anyone involved in that situation was happy about their choices and the outcome. But I did come up with a moral to this story, so here it is…
If you can, if it is within your capacity, if you are equipped, ready, willing and able. If you are presented with the choice, please don’t think twice.






As always, thanks for reading!
Love, Light & Blessings
~Sarah Gallardo

I was carrying the weight of all I had been through. I physically took it on. 

I was helping, experiencing, giving, going through, pushing past & overcoming so many major life events without thinking about myself. I forgot how to be kind to myself, how to forgive myself, how to take care of myself. And I no longer cared to try.
Before my aunt died I was in great physical shape. I exercised every day, sometimes twice a day. I took pride in the fact that I didn’t need to rest like people said I should. I pushed myself so hard physically that I ended up in the emergency room for overexertion. My heart rate wasn’t slowing down enough for me to get REM sleep. I left the hospital with a prescription to rest. Ha! What? Me? Rest? The doctors were not impressed with my want to push through this too.
Reluctantly I tried the rest thing. Two weeks later my aunt died suddenly. My whole world changed after that day. Grief, sadness, overwhelm, anger, frustration, grief, disappointment, regret, grief, grief, grief.
More things in my life unraveled after that. Relationships ended, goals changed and I tread water through it all. I tried hard to look like I was sailing swiftly, easily gliding across the water. I was not.
Fast forward to now. Today. This moment. I have come to realize that I am a whole person. I am multifaceted. I don’t always have it together. More importantly, though, I realize that I don’t have to. Not all the time.
I’ve remembered what I had forgotten. And that is that I need me more than anyone else does. I can be gentle and kind or relentless and harsh to myself. I can make or break me.
Before, my self care regimen consisted of going to the gym, getting my nails painted, taking baths, hiking, reading & taking myself out to the movies or dinner. I am now adding energy healing, cleaning/ organizing/ designing my home space, writing, meditation, yoga, alone time & the quest for balance in my life.
This is a work in progress, as it comes more naturally to me to take care of others before myself or push myself to unreasonable limits. But I am not a martyr. I am a whole person. I’m a work in progress. And I’m excited to see where this new road of clarity and self-care will lead me. Better yet, I’m excited to see where I will lead it.
As always, thanks for reading!
Love & Light,
Sarah Gallardo
Founder & Executive Director of Sarah Speaks Up

I’ve always hated Valentine’s Day. Boyfriend, married, single or otherwise… Not because I hate love or chocolate or teddy bears, but because I don’t like being told what to do and when to do it.

Christmas: A time for peace, love and joy. Ok.
New Year: A fresh start. Ok.
Easter: A time for rebirth. Ok.
Halloween: A time to be creepy and eat candy. I don’t know. I don’t get Halloween. Yeah, yeah… It’s another Biblical reference. All-Saints Day. But we all know that nobody cares about that any more. It’s about the candy and wearing things you can only wear one day a year… Ok.
Valentine’s Day: A time for acts of love that you should be showing people throughout the year but most of us don’t. Ok, people. Hallmark! And every co-conspiring store imaginable! What about the single people, like me? What if cherubs freak me out? What if I’m allergic to chocolate and teddy bears? What if don’t want to? Huh?
(Deep breaths…) I’m ok.
So, yes I do have plans on Valentine’s Day. I will be spending it with my beautiful daughter. In the evening I will be giving an interview on a TV show called Bully No More. It airs on Skye Cable TV Channel 13 every Sunday at 6:00. I will be discussing the fact that February is Teen dating Violence Awareness Month. This sparks a great parallel between bullying, teen dating violence and domestic violence. I’ll also be discussing my non-profit organization, Sarah Speaks Up.
After that my daughter and I will be meeting my fabulous, talented, motivated friend Rita, for dinner. We have decided to spend this holiday making a difference, loving each other, and most importantly LOVING OURSELVES! We are doing what we have decided. Not feeling forced to find a date, but to share friendship and simply enjoy each other’s company.
All that being said, my daughter is still getting a necklace, pad and pen set with hearts on them and an oversized Hershey’s hot chocolate mug with candy and a teddy bear inside it. My Valentine this year, Rita, is getting… Well, Rita might actually read this so I’m not telling.
Valentines Day, I have complied with your theme of love, but on my terms.
Sarah Gallardo

Leaps of faith are not for the faint of heart. They are for the resilient ones among us. You need gumption, determination, panache, and a sprinkle of crazy. You need to be the person who, in conversation with someone trying to convince you that your path will be hard and riddled with bumps and detours, simply says, “Yes. I’m sure it will.” and smiles.

We aren’t trained to take these leaps. We have been taught that the path to security, financial or otherwise, is through college, love, work, marriage, career, kids, credit, insurance, grandkids, 401K, some place warm where our arthritis wont flare up any more and we can play golf and eat dinner at 4:30pm, and a plot of Earth adorned with granite that has been pre-selected and paid for.
If you live this life, if you are currently on this path, good for you. Although I’m sure you have stress (we all do) you are on a road so etched and deep that the dirt has created a wall of safety around you as you move forward. You know that you have a plan. You are checking off the boxes. You’re climbing, achieving, creating, doing, being what you set out to. There is great satisfaction in that.
I…(as I chuckle)… I took the leap. I did the thing that people said would be hard as hell. My stress keeps me up at night sometimes. How to build something new, something that will help people and effect change…and make ends meet while doing it? Well, that’s the hard stuff. All I know so far is that you work. You work hard and then some more…until your eyes sting and your brain hurts and your schedule is bulging at the seams.
I’ve started a nonprofit organization. I am the Founder and Executive Director of Sarah Speaks Up. My experience? Surviving domestic violence, volunteering for the Prudence Crandall Center, and most importantly being Sarah. So, yeah. I leapt like a gazelle.
Another leap? The first fundraiser for Sarah Speaks Up. I planned this event for months. I envisioned the hall, the decorations, the auction table. Months of contact this person, follow up, print this, post this, meetings, designing promotional items, asking for donations and so on. I worked. And yes, my eyes did sting.
The day of the event felt magical. My vision was coming together. I was so excited! The hall could have fit 150 people. About thirty people showed up. Of course, I felt like I didn’t do enough. I didn’t promote enough. Didn’t reach out enough. (Cue Catholic fist beating of chest)
But, no. As some very dear friends reminded me, it was what I meant for it to be. I made something out of nothing. I did what I set out to do. The bands were awesome! Shout out to Rockin’ Rhythm and the Chris Barba Band for donating their time and talent, and thanks to Jim Neri for booking them. The food was great! Thanks dad, for cooking and donating all the food. Thanks to my friends Erin, Gordy, Bridget, Tom, Brenda, Chrissy and Will for all your help. Thanks to my fabulous Board for being such an important part of this journey. Thanks to all the people who donated auction items, including my mom and my sisters.
We will be having another fundraiser this Friday December 4that the Masonic Lodge, 80 Walsh Ave. Newington Ct. from 6:00-10:00. Tickets are $20. There will be dinner, beer & wine, live music, & a silent auction (pretty much like the first one, but more intimate) I’m excited to see how many more people we can reach.
So, here’s my takeaway… First of all, thirty people matter. I touched their lives and that is more than enough for me. Second, leaps of faith are not for the faint of heart. I’m not faint hearted. I am resilient. I have gumption, determination, panache and a sprinkle of crazy. I am that person who, in conversation with someone trying to convince me that my path will be hard and riddled with bumps and detours, simply said, “Yes. I’m sure it will.” and smiled.

Thanks for reading.
As always, Love and Light. 

I wasn’t prepared for this. I thought I was, but how could I be? How could anyone be? The more I stand outside of that belief and look in, the more real it all becomes to me.
This kind of thing happens every day. A thing that victims, survivors, navigate. And then there are those who don’t make it. The people whose navigating days are over.
My ex husband was released from prison two days ago.
Maybe typing those words, much like saying them out loud, makes them more real. It makes them exist in the world.
I’ve toyed with overwhelm. I’ve battled fear. I conquer the want for isolation daily. I have embraced what makes me real, what makes me human. It is not easy. For those who don’t know what it feels like to have been abused, imagine your own personal Hitler, Stalin, Castro, or dare I say ISIS. Imagine a person seeking complete control of every aspect of your life. Someone who wants that power and control and will take it at any cost. One who is energized by the very fear you feel. Who feeds off your panic, terror, paranoia, tears, sorrow, exhaustion, lonliness & despair like a leach.
When you’re in this state of panic and exhaustion you start to get tired, you don’t take care of yourself or the things that you are responsible for nearly as well as usual. You get sick, maybe gain weight, maybe lose weight, make little mistakes that could be costly; run a red light, forget an appointment, forget your wallet, miss deadlines at work, seem flaky or forgetful to people, become withdrawn etc.
Thus begins the slow and painstaking breakdown of a person.
Sometimes, even if you’re aware of what’s going on, you have little power to stop it. You feel like you’re falling down a spiral staircase with no end in sight. I tend to feel like I’m pulling a heavy load while neck deep in quicksand. And this…this very feeling is what the abuser counts on, hunting the weak and wounded to feel powerful.
These empty, insecure cowards are in among us all. We see them, just like we see their victims, every day. At the grocery store, the hospital, our children’s school, dance class, soccer practice, on TV, on a sports team…
I wasn’t going to write this. I was going to keep the appearance of a strong stoic woman, while fighting this battle in silence. But then who would I be? If I am not true to my brand, who am I? This is not Sarah Shuts Down, this is Sarah Speaks Up! And so I will share that I am scared too. It hurts. I struggle. I know how it feels to fight this battle for freedom, for life, again and again, wiping the tears from my face as I hear my daughter’s footsteps approach, hoping she wont see me crying.
I made this decision before I was posed with the question, “What will you do when he gets out?”. I decided that I will continue my work. I decided that I will be an example of boldness and tenacity. I decided to fight harder for those in need, including myself. No matter how tired I feel, how much my head aches, how badly my eyes sting. I will reach out to friends and family for help and support, just as I am there for others in need. I am no different from any other survivor. We are all one family, sharing a common thread, the understanding of what the other is going through.
For my friends, for my family, for my clients, for my coworkers, for my kindred spirits, for my daughter, for myself…

I decided that I will not be quiet even if I am afraid. I will not shrink or shrivel even if I am trembling. Against all odds, I will not stop Speaking Up.

What I wish I thought to say…

On Tuesday I had my radio interview with the amazing Renee DiNino. She was gracious, thoughtful and incredibly insightful. (Thanks for that, Renee.) Our topic of discussion was, you guessed it, domestic violence. And although this is a topic I discuss every day, it’s not one that I discuss on the radio. Usually I get to preview the questions that will be asked during interviews so that I can prepare my answers mentally before we begin. With Renee? No dice. She wants the raw, real un-canned answer. A genuine conversation. Of course she does, because that’s what listeners what to hear! 
Me: So, can we go over the questions you’re going to ask?
Renee: Don’t worry. It’s just going to be a conversation. Talk about whatever you’re comfortable talking about. But try to keep it to a twelve year old audience. Remember, kids might be listening. 
Me: “Ok, I can do that.” (in my head) Holy crap! Most of my story is pretty terrible. Can I say miscarriage? Can I say he shot at me? Can I say he strangled me so I couldn’t sing any more or that he gave my cat away while I wasn’t home so that I would stay with him in order to get her back? (out loud) “Can I say miscarriage?”
Renee: “Yes.” (she paused and looked at me) “You’re ok. This is going to help a lot of people. It’ll reach about 2 million.”
Me: (in my head) Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap! Smile. Deep breath. (out loud) “Ok.”
And so the interview commenced…
I think I did alright. I get stuck on the weight of what I’m doing sometimes. The fact that I want to save as many people as I can. I want to help people improve their lives. I want healing to go forth into future generations. It can get heavy. If I let it, it could probably derail me. Self doubt. Insecurities. And the grand asshole in my head, the one I lived with in person for ten years. “Who do you think you are? Who’s gonna listen to you? You don’t know anything! Stupid Bitch!” That was my name for a long time. 
No. More. 
But there is one question I wish I had answered differently. And since I have this platform, I’m going to make use of it. Will it reach 2 million people? Maybe not. Maybe it will if you help me by sharing this. Either way, I have to put it out there. And even if it saves one person, then it will have done what I had hoped it would. 
Renee asked me what I would say to someone who is experiencing domestic violence right now. Heres what I wish I had said…
I know what you’re going through. I know you’re scared and hurt and embarrassed and confused. You can’t see past surviving today. You’re probably angry about what’s happened to you. Maybe you blame your abuser for hurting and manipulating you, maybe you blame your family for judging you or not saving you. Maybe you blame your friends for being distant or turning their backs. Maybe you blame yourself. Its not your fault. I know you feel totally alone, but you’re not. I’m here. There are places for you to go for help and so many other people to help you. YOU ARE WORTH SAVING! You don’t deserve to be abused. Nobody does. You deserve to be happy, to be free to make your own choices, whatever they are. You are NOT broken beyond repair. You are NOT worthless. You are beautiful, gorgeous, handsome, smart, worthwhile, special, intelligent, ONE OF A KIND! Your children need you. We need you. I need you. There can be a beautiful life waiting for you. I can’t promise it will be easy, but it is possible. Recovering from abuse takes hard work. I know that because I’ve done it…I’m still doing it. But every single second of reclaiming my life has been worth it. You deserve real love and respect, from everybody…including yourself. 
I love you. 
Please stay safe.
Help is a phone call away.
National DV Hotline:
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence Hotline:
1-888-744-2900 (English)
1-844-831-9200 (Spanish)
Prudence Crandall Center Hotline:
(860) 225-6357

International Domestic Violence Hotline:
To contact the toll-free crisis line from overseas, first dial your AT&T USADirect access number and at the prompt, enter: 866-USWOMEN (879-6636).
Or email at [email protected]