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May 9, 2012 / Man in the Mirror

Canadian Women’s Foundation: Stephanie

“You had lies before…”

Being in an abusive marriage just killed me. It killed my soul, my spirit.

Nothing was ever good enough. I’m a really good cook, but there was always something wrong with the food. The house was never up to par. If I tried something, it would be: “Why are you trying that? You’ll never accomplish that. You’ll never amount to anything” Just one thing after another. At my lowest point, I remember thinking, “Why am I even living?” I just felt like I was a shell. I didn’t know who Stephanie was anymore.

I prepared to leave over a six-month period. I had left twice before, about seven or eight years ago. But I came to a point where I decided I’d had enough. I just remember having a feeling in my stomach: “This is it. I’m done.”  The last time I left, he got very agitated, so I wanted to be in the shelter to be safe.

The counsellors told me about a microloan program, and I used that loan to pay first and last month’s rent – without it I would not have the place I have now.

When I first moved out on my own, it was really hard to get those internal messages to disappear.

One of my friends had sent me emails as I was going through the process of leaving. They all said things like: You can do this! You’re a wonderful woman! You have all kinds of potential! You’re an incredible friend! You are out of this world! You’re a star player!

So I typed up those words, laminated them, and put them on my bathroom mirror. I would be brushing my teeth or washing my face and that is what I would see. And whenever I was low, I would go in the bathroom and say them out loud. And that’s what got me through. 

Those words are still on my mirror. I’ll probably have to take them down some time, but for now they’re still there.

You have to put those messages out there. You had lies before – now you need the truth.

Stephanie Titus-Andrews, Speaker, Author, Recovery Coach
Participant, December 6 Fund – A Canadian Women’s Foundation- funded program 

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