Sue's Story: How A Broken Girl Became An Unbreakable Woman

Sue's Story: How A Broken Girl Became An Unbreakable Woman

You Don't Know My Story: It’s the story of how a broken girl became an unbreakable woman. I am a Beautiful Disaster because I am a survivor. I identify with the Beautiful Disaster brand because it tells the beginning, middle and ending of my story.

It started 45 years ago, in 1976, when I was 16 years old. I met a boy and fell in love. We married 2 years later. And that’s when it started. 

I’ll never forget the first time - the first time he laid hands on me in anger. It’s forever etched in my mind; imprinted there. He took a fly-swatter and slapped me on my bare arms and bare legs with it. I had raised red welts all over my body and my body stung all over. Did I see the signs before we married?  No, no I didn’t and honestly, even if I did, I wouldn’t have recognized it for what it was – domestic abuse. Back in the 70s, we didn’t learn about domestic abuse or narcissists, and I was so damn young.

Narcissists are very charming people – to outsiders, to those that don’t know.  I didn’t even know what a narcissist was; not until I was in my early 50s and started to understand that there was nothing wrong with ME, but everything wrong with HIM. Narcissists lack empathy and compassion. They look at themselves as being superior. The world revolves around them and NOTHING is ever their fault. They refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

He broke me down at a very young age; broke my spirit, took advantage of my forgiving nature, my sensitive nature. I believed him when he told me I wasn’t good enough, that I did everything wrong, whether it was cooking, cleaning, my weight, my hair, my personality, my role as a wife, and later on, being a mom.

I bought into it all - I was crazy, I needed help, there was something wrong with ME and he always bad-mouthed my family. I didn’t have any friends for a long time, and the ones I eventually made I couldn’t allow myself to become close to – I put up walls. I couldn’t let them know what my life was like. I couldn’t let my family know what my life was like. I had no support system. I was isolated and alone.

I took it. I took everything bad he said about me, about my family. I took the physical abuse. I knew if I spoke up, if I challenged him, there would be consequences, so I learned to not say anything. I learned that HIS opinions were MY opinions. I also learned to shut down. It was a defense mechanism because that was the only way I could cope with my life. 

Yet, despite it all, I still loved him. I still forgave him. Time and time again. He cheated on me? I forgave. He physically abused me? I forgave. He verbally, mentally, and emotionally abused me?  I forgave. Countless times; more times than I can even fathom.

For the first 10 years of our marriage, he physically abused me. And like the first time he physically abused me, I will never forget the last time he physically abused me. We were in our living room. He had me down on our couch, choking the life out of me. I remember flailing my arms, trying to push him off, and losing the battle. All of a sudden he released my throat and I gasped for breath, breathing in that precious air. He never physically abused me again. I guess it scared him that he almost killed me. But the verbal, mental and emotional abuse continued.

Why did I stay with him? Because despite it all, I still loved him. And because I bought into it. I bought into everything he said about me - that I was the one at fault - that I was the one causing problems in our marriage. That I was crazy.  That I needed help - that I was the one who was lacking, wasn’t good enough, wasn’t this or wasn’t that. That’s what narcissists do. They twist everything around on YOU. They don’t take responsibility for anything. They make you believe that you’re the crazy one. It’s like being in a cult – you are brainwashed.

Then Christmas day, 2009, came and he ruined Christmas. He yelled at me over a gift I had bought our son, and made our son cry and it was the day that changed the way I thought. The day that I realized that really, truly, there was nothing wrong with me, that I WASN’T crazy - that HE was the one that was dark and twisted and needed help and that was the beginning of the end for me.

That was the day I started to realize just how strong I was, it was the day my courage took hold and the day that I started fighting back. It was the day I started to find my way back to ME. It was a game-changer. 

It took another 5 years of misery, of silence, of existing in the shell that I had become and then, I finally broke free, broke the chains, and left. I left the horrible life I had been living for almost 40 years. I moved out – left everything but my 19 year old son, my pets, and my clothes. I didn’t want anything from him; didn’t want any connections to him. I left the house to him, didn’t ask for my half of his military pay, didn’t ask for alimony. I walked out of that house and never looked back. 

My new home was my sanctuary, my safe place. Where I curled up in a ball every day for 3 years once I got home from work. I had so much healing to do. I had so many triggers.

Six years later, I am healing, and happier than I’ve ever been. I still have triggers but they lessen with each passing day; I still have moments of self-doubt; I still have moments where I beat myself up, but they are decreasing as time goes by. I’m excited about my future, what lies ahead. The girl that I had lost so long ago, has been found. She’s been there all along, just suppressed and repressed. But she was frozen in time and is in the process of learning about life, about people. I’m learning how to have healthy relationships. I’ve learned to love who I am, and where I’m at in life. I just turned 61 in Feb. I’ve never felt stronger or more confident. I am limitless. I am strong. I am ME.

It’s hard to pick a favorite piece from the Beautiful Disaster line because I have so many, and they all tell my story from beginning to end. But if I have to choose, I choose the “You Don’t Know My Story” collection because that is the very first piece I bought when I started my healing journey and every time I read what it says, and every time I wear it, it reminds me of where I came from and where I’m going. I also like the Phoenix collection, as I consider myself a Phoenix, rising from the ashes of my life. I also have a tattoo of a Phoenix on my back – just one of many tattoos I have. I just got my 12th and 13th tattoos a couple weeks ago representing my spiritual journey. I’m using body art to tell my story. Each piece representing a piece of my life, my journey. Your clothing also represents my journey and reminds me how strong I really am, what a badass I am, what a Beautiful Disaster I am.

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Comments

Chris August 9 2021

I too spent twenty years with a narcissist. His abuse was very subtle in the beginning years but escalated over time. By the time I gathered the courage to leave he was trying to convince me that I was crazy and should check myself into the nut house.
Its been twelve years and i still have nightmares about that time in my life but everyday it gets s little better. Both my kids see him for who he is and have nothing to do with him.
Beautiful disaster speaks to my heart. I love the colors and can’t wait to get my new shirt. These stories are vital to share so that we see how we are more alike than not.
Keep sharing ladies! Stay strong but when you can’t, just pray!

Chris August 9 2021

I too spent twenty years with a narcissist. His abuse was very subtle in the beginning years but escalated over time. By the time I gathered the courage to leave he was trying to convince me that I was crazy and should check myself into the nut house.
Its been twelve years and i still have nightmares about that time in my life but everyday it gets s little better. Both my kids see him for who he is and have nothing to do with him.
Beautiful disaster speaks to my heart. I love the colors and can’t wait to get my new shirt. These stories are vital to share so that we see how we are more alike than not.
Keep sharing ladies! Stay strong but when you can’t, just pray!

Becky L. August 9 2021

All of you ladies are A MAZ ING!!! I believe we are are all worriors and I look up to you all. I have spoke about my story, parts of it. It starts at having an alcoholic father, being stalked and raped at 12yrs old by my neighbor, being told I was lying, he was from the RICH family. You can’t say that. Trying to tell anybody anything was over. Ending up with 3 kids married and trying to get in rehap without cps finding out and being able to take my youngest. We did it. After moving around so much, we have been sober 9yrs. Still going to counceling, but it’s so nice to have all of you that have gone through yr own stuff and understand and don’t judge. Thank you. I can finally say, “I am who I am.”
SOBER!!!!

Pheonix August 9 2021

Thank you for sharing your story. I know from experience the journey it is to break free from this type of toxic relationship. You are a strong badass chick. Keep rising, keep shining. Be gentle with yourself on the days that you find yourself struggling. Healing is not a linear path, but a roller coaster of ups and downs. Xo

TIFFANY GRAYSON August 9 2021

I was married to a narcissist for just shy of 10 years. He didn’t become a narcissist until after we got married. He abused me mentally, emotionally and physically. I got out, left everything, he was a complete jerk during our divorce. Convinced to the judge in the small town where his family knew EVERYONE in power that I was a drug addict. So, I got visitation of our kids, not joint custody. And he used that control for EVERYTHING!!!
I’m happy to say that my kids knew that something wasn’t right with the story that their dad was saying, so when they FINALLY asked me about what happened, I told them the absolute TRUTH. I told them that they didn’t have to believe me, but they knew. So now, I have custody of my daughter.
I am remarried to a WONDERFUL man that treats me like a queen. Treats my kids as his own, and loves us unconditionally. We have been married for almost 14 years.

Connie Howell August 9 2021

Thank you for sharing. I was married to a narcissist and been verbally physically emotionally sexually abused for most of my life. I am now trying to heal. Sometimes I feel so broken but I am so happy to go into my little apartment and close the door to my own little sanctuary.

Akura J August 9 2021

Thank you for sharing your story. It is really sad how many of us can relate to yours. You are truly brave to have spoken out. We make so many excuses, but really, there are none. Kindness and love are taken advantage of. You are so strong and such a warrior. You are a wonderful inspiration to me for taking the power back and reclaiming my story. I have so much respect and am glad to hear how empowered you are. Cyber love ❤️

Tara W. August 8 2021

Thank u for sharing. Its nice to know I’m not alone. I am in the beginning stages of leaving an abusive relationship. Pushing our 5 year old Autistic son to the floor was my final straw. That is it, no more. I called the police and they did nothing to help me bc my son and I didn’t have bruises (those came the next day). Apparently, a bleeding elbow and scuffed up knee isn’t enough evidence for abuse where I live. Wouldn’t even grant me an order of protection until I called CPS and cried for their help. I am glad someone finally believes me. My abuse started at 7 months pregnant and never stopped…until two Thursdays ago.

Tammie Hensley August 8 2021

Your stories move me deeply. I have been living deeply depressed for years. I feel like there is no hope for me. You all give me hope. God bless you all

Sue August 8 2021

Thank you all for sharing your stories/comments with me. You are all beautiful, strong badass women! Rise up!

Nikki Lind August 8 2021

Continue to rise from the ashes my beautiful fellow Pheonix!

Melissa Gielda August 8 2021

WOW what a powerful story! I literally just moved out from my Narcissistic husband if 20 years! He abused me mentally, emotionally and cane very close physically. The only reason he didn’t hit me with the end table was because he had a security clearance pending! He was in my face screaming at me and was less than sn inch away from my face/head with the table. I told him to do it. I f***ing dare you! That was 3 years ago but it took me a while to gather the strength to finally leave him. I am more relaxed and not on edge anymore walking on egg shells around him wondering if he was going to snap over the slightest thing. Happy you are free and getting healthier for it!

Debbie fuller August 8 2021

As I read every word of this story it was like you had a window into my life. The life I thought no one knew about. 25 years I was convinced I was crazy. And he hit me because I made him .. when my last child moved out,,I had never been more scared to be in that house with him. Alone…It took 8 months but I manage to hide enough money and I moved into my one bedroom with 2 bags of clothes and a box of my children’s baby things .. I slept in the middle of the floor for 3 months until I could afford a piece of furniture,,and I was at peace. I would come home every night and use that paper plate and sleep on that floor and I was at peace. That was 3 years ago🥰 I have my dream job. And I still live in this one bedroom.. but I love me and I love my life. My children finally see me. Really see me. . Beautiful Disaster is all I put on🥰, I feel strong in it. I feel awake in it. This company has changed me..
Thank you for your story.. we are not alone ❤

Katie Sawyer August 8 2021

Thank you for sharing!. I just got out of a horribly 8-year abusive marriage to a narcissist I didn’t even realize until last year that I was a victim of domestic violence

Kym Thompson August 8 2021

You are a total Rock Star….One amazing, Strong woman…..Thank you so much for sharing your story….One day, I hope to share mine…And yours helped me…Keep being awesome and thank you again….

Linda McElmurry August 8 2021

I was there as well totally understand your state of mind and why you stayed. They are very good at what they do. You are correct in the 70s it wasn’t taught or talked about.