This may be the hardest lesson of all for me, so I will start here. How do you fight for your life when you are broken and wounded to your soul?
Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever wanted to give up because you felt there was no way out? Have you ever thought that maybe God was not hearing your prayers? Ever felt so alone and afraid that you did not want to go on? I HAVE!
I can honestly say that the biggest mistakes in my life have been my choices in men. I have made it a habit of painting all the red flags green. Can you relate? It’s okay…there is light and hope at the end of the tunnel, ladies. AGE AND EXPERIENCE! I know, I know, but it’s the truth. No one is going to listen to you when you tell them to run when they are in the thick of it. I know I wouldn’t. You have to share your experiences, do not judge (because you have already done it) and pray for them.
My last relationship almost killed me. Being married to Ric was my new full time job. I was his personal trainer, coach, accountant, lover, therapist, arm charm, the list goes on and on. It makes me tired thinking about it, but I loved him and I was going to save him. But who was going to save me? As amazing as Ric was, he was just as abusive. Being a bipolar alcoholic will do that to a person. I held on tight to the highs so I could forget about the lows. One day, 10 years in, it was so clear, “I am going to leave him, not sure when but I am going to save myself.” I prayed and prayed that God would save me. Are my prayers bouncing off the ceiling I wondered at night as I cried myself to sleep. One of the most painful things anyone can say is “Didn’t you know what you were getting yourself into?’ You never know what someone’s story is until they share it with you. From the outside we were a happy, loving, passionate couple.
I got him inside the ring, his last match and then he was to retire. I remember watching him walk down the long walk to enter the ring, I was so proud of him, of his accomplishments, of his kids. I also remember thinking to myself “my job is done here and now I have to save myself” Four months after that match, I was praying in my office that God would hit me in the head with a frying pan because clearly the other approaches were not working. Something did happen, and it was enough to finally pack my belongs and leave Ric and this life that was never really mine. Harder than leaving was not communicating with him. I have to be honest and tell you that at this point I was just as codependent as he was. One of my best friends offered for me to rent her sister’s condo and her and my cousin helped me move what little I could fit into a couple of SUVs. It’s possible I cried and had a bottle of wine every night for the first month. My family and friends comforted me and supported me. God protected me and guided me through one of the most challenging times in my life. I found an amazing therapist and with her support and reading some amazing books began to heal, began to find Tiffany again. I began to forgive.
I am on a mission to empower women’s voices. It is critical to tell our stories, to unite us, to help us forgive ourselves and the abuser. It is time to get our power back. It has taken me 10 years to publish this book. I was afraid - afraid of being vulnerable, of what might happen to me and my family. God has blessed me my whole life and has never left me even when I wanted to leave. I am sharing my own deeply personal story of struggling to survive a turbulent marriage and finding the courage and confidence to take control of my life. Through this process I was able to forgive, heal and come out of the Ring a Champion.