January 2, 2013

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Girl Without Shoes - Part 1



Today, I am so pleased to introduce you to Margaret Marie, author and trauma recovery facilitator. Margaret has graciously agreed to share excerpts from her soon to be published autobiography, "Girl Without Shoes". Margaret is someone who you immediately adore and respect for the journey she has taken, and I'm sure you will gain so much from reading her story. 

Margaret's domestic violence story started when she was just a child herself and took her through two abusive relationships as an adult before she came out victorious and with a firm belief the God had led her and her children to safety.


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My name is Margaret Marie. I am a thankful overcomer of domestic violence. I also happen to come from a history of abuse, though this is not the case with all people who make choices that place them in abusive relationships.

My real father was very abusive to my mom, my four siblings and me. When I was 11 years old, my younger sister, my three brothers and I were placed in foster care homes, as my mom could not handle this life of abuse and had no other supports to keep her life together. 

It was my further misfortune that the foster father where my sister and I were placed was emotionally, physically and mentally abusive to all of the children in the home. At one point we had as many as ten children living in this home. I was the cook and the bottle washer, and was just one of many who would work very hard with much scolding and degradation. On one occasion I watched my foster brother get beaten. It was very traumatizing. I thought that I was witnessing a murder! This young man was 9 years old and the reason that he was getting this severe treatment was because he did not know how to eat with a spoon or fork. He had never been taught to, and somehow that warranted punishment--as if it were his fault. I watched his under-nourished body as he was thrown violently down a full flight of stairs. Once he landed on the concrete basement floor and just laid there. I thought that he had died. My foster father followed him down the stairs then proceeded to kick him from one end of the basement to the other. He punched this poor lifeless body, then spoke such negative words over this young man and then continued to kick him repeatedly. 

I was so terrified at what I had witnessed that I ran away to my room so that he would not know how much I had seen that day. Thank God that this young boy managed to survive this terrible beating. The next day, every part of his body was swollen and black and blue. He still had to do all of his chores. This young man later grew up and was abusive to his first wife until she left him. He then remarried another woman and beat her as well. The cycle perpetuated, which is often seen, unless counsel, therapy, education or some other kind of intervention, changes the course of the cycle.

The abuse that I sustained was intense emotional and mental torture. I had told my foster father one day when he had raised his fist to punch me, "If you ever lay a hand on me I will turn you in to the authorities!" His heeding this made my terror more of a mental twist and trauma on my state of being. I never knew what it was like to be loved unconditionally by a father, or by anyone.

I began to make bad choices concerning people that I hung around with. I had no understanding what 'red flags' to look for in people. I approached relationships with men with no ability to bond, and was so belittled in my self image that I chose men who were unable to bond and who walked all over my boundaries--men who abused me in every way. I was physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially and sexually abused.

My first husband wrapped a chain around my neck and broke apart all the furniture by driving my body into the furniture until it was broken into pieces, just as my body was also being broken. I became pregnant with my first child and my first husband left for Kansas City to party with some friends. I chose to move out while he was gone. 

I took an apartment in town. The apartment was filled with many boxes packed with my belongings. I was still in the process of moving, so I had stopped by the house to pick up more boxes. I was eight months pregnant at the time. I heard a knock at the back door. I thought that it was the landlord from upstairs. I opened the door, and there stood a very large, unfamiliar man with a knife in his hand. I tried to close the door quickly, but his foot was in the door. He immediately lunged on top of me. My body hit the floor and I felt his weight pressing against the baby. 

My first thought was to get the knife away from him, for I shuddered to think of what he could do to me with that knife. As he was focused on holding me to the floor, I fought the knife away from him and managed to throw it into the ceiling in order to get rid of it. This action angered the perpetrator. He beat me mercilessly, punching me repeatedly in the head as if trying to knock me out. I scrambled to get away numerous times, and as I did, he would kick me repeatedly right in the baby, almost as if he wanted to kill the baby. This beating went on for one hour. 

I tried to scream for help, but no one came. I was beaten beyond recognition, almost to the point of death. I was bleeding from every part of my body, which made it difficult to get away from him. I kept slipping and falling in pools of my own blood. I collapsed against the wall, and could feel his arm across my neck and his breath panting upon my face. I was blinded from the swelling of my brows and cheeks. My head was enlarged to the size of a hydrocephalic. My eye sockets were filled with dried blood, and I could see nothing but black with white and yellow stars. That was why I started to think that I must be dying, because of the spots that I was seeing in my head. I cried out in my heart, "Oh Lord, my God, if you are real, please come and save me, and save my baby!" I suddenly heard a voice say, "Forgive him." I had not been walking closely with the Lord in years, and had no close relationship with Him at that point. Somehow I thought, "What have I got to lose? I am almost a goner." 

I knew that the perpetrator was on top of me because I could feel his weight and me, and his breath upon my face. I said to him, "Look at me! Look at what you have done to me (I was a bloody mess!)!" I paused, and then said, "I forgive you for what you have done to me, and if there is anything that I can do to get help for you, I will try to get help for you." In my mind (I had no faith at that time) I was seeing headlines flash before me that said: "Woman found dead in her apartment!" It is true that your life flashes before you at the end. I was not at all sure of anything that would happen next. 

After I had expressed forgiveness to him, an amazing thing happened. There was a bright glow of light in the room, and even though I was blind, I saw this light appear before me. I could only hear and sense what would transpire after that. All at once I felt the weight of this man's body lift off of me and land on the floor (I heard the echo of his body hitting the floor), and I heard a voice say, "You can go." I have for years been convinced that it was not the voice of my attacker. I believe that it was God's voice or the voice of His Spirit releasing me.

I had no strength left, but I was not going to pass up the chance to get out of there after all that I had been through. I stood up with numbness and dizziness overwhelming me, and I saw the light, which I followed out of the house. I felt a strength that I knew was not my own as I was ready to collapse. I remember feeling the broken glass under my bare feet from one of the many windows that he had thrown my body into. I continued to follow after this light, which led me down the stairs, out of the house, and onto the sidewalk. I could not see anything; I was covered with blood, swollen and distorted like a monster. I collapsed, but instead of hitting the ground, I felt my body be lifted up, as if someone had caught me. It was a volunteer fireman who was on his way to a fire. He lifted me up, called the police, and rushed me to the hospital. The light had led me right to this man. I know that it was God who saved me that day. God had given me a second chance on life. The baby did die later that evening. She had a fractured skull in three places.

This traumatic event brought my first husband back from Kansas City, which was not entirely a good thing. He was not really there for me--he never was--though I was to get pregnant again before we divorced and give birth to a beautiful son. I tried to get marital counseling, but he did not want anything to do with it. One day when my son was 1 ½ years old, his father walked out and never came back. I was with this man for twelve years. I did not know what love was, as he never loved me. He abused and neglected our son and me.

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Check in next week for Part 2 of Margaret Marie's story. 

Learn more about Margaret Marie's published works at http://margaretmarie.com.
Margaret Marie is a credentialed rehabilitation counselor, holding the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Studies, and Master of Science in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. She has an extensive clinical background working with individuals with various disabilities. She is a survivor of 47 years of living with abuse and violence, and has counseled many people from abusive families.

Margaret is an avid speaker in schools, churches, and other community agencies, and is an advocate against violence in our homes and lives. Her great desire is to see people set free from the cycle of abuse. Her message is simple: “Your life has a divine purpose, though you may not know yet what that purpose is.” She proclaims that with God’s help, people can overcome their circumstances instead of allowing their circumstances to overcome them.

In her presentations, Margaret shares strategies for people who may be stuck in a cycle of abuse, and is always ready to share a message of how to be an overcomer. “Through God, all things are possible!”



You can contact Margaret Marie at overcomerpublishing@gmail.com.



2 comments:

  1. So powerful! A chillingly gorgeous story of strength, courage and faith. Thank you so much for posting!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for sharing this. I found healing in reading your testimony.

    ReplyDelete

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