Overcoming Powerlessness

by Linda Leigh
Categories: Feature
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The situation was critical and needed to be taken care of immediately. But, while *Jenny was desperate to break free from her abusive husband, she had nowhere to go.

In 2009 Jenny, her husband, and two young children left England for Canada. “*Joe felt it was time for a change,” says Jenny.

While the transition seemed positive, it wasn’t long before Jenny was walking on eggshells around Joe, constantly watching what she said in order to avoid a blow-up. She attributed his outbursts to the stress of relocating, leaving family, and a new job.

Then over the span of several months, name calling, belittling, and complete isolation from social interaction, began to destroy Jenny’s self-worth. But, as much as Joe’s intimidation wore her down and his control kept her under his thumb, Jenny continued to make excuses, overlook and deny his behavior.

Breaking Free
“Before I could break free, I had to face the reality of my abusive situation,” says Jenny. Terrified for her safety and that of her children, Jenny formulated her plan of escape. But, she quickly realized she had nowhere to go.

Then one day she packed Joe’s bags, leaving them on their front door step. When he arrived home he was outraged. Unable to rise above her fear, Jenny agreed to Joe’s pleas to allow him to stay in their basement.

Joe’s unpredictable, manipulative and frightening behavior continued. It wasn’t long before he was removed by police and a restraining order set in place.

A Survivor
Alone, and with no reliable emotional support, Jenny contacted her local women’s shelter who, in turn, referred her to The Salvation Army.

At The Salvation Army, a program geared specifically to single moms offered plenty of time for reflection, teaching and mentoring. A wide variety of topics were covered such as communication, budgeting, conflict, and boundaries. Over time Jenny’s confidence and self-worth were restored.

“It took me a while to make sense of my life,” says Jenny. “I trusted no one and believed my situation was hopeless and that escape was impossible.” With consistent support from The Salvation Army and Jenny’s own efforts she learned how to stand up for herself, that abuse had no place in her home and that it wasn’t her fault.

Today Jenny is studying and focusing on a career in the health-care field. She continues to bridge the gap that separated her from the life she deserved. It doesn’t mean things are always easy— that everything is perfectly clear. It means she has reached the turning point where a victim becomes a survivor.

*names have been changed