My name is Katie Yeager. You may recognize me from Teen Mom 3. Here is what you may not know…
The PTSD symptoms didn’t kick in until about six months later, followed by crippling anxiety, heightened by what has been a life long battle with depression. “Why is this happening now?” “I’ve escaped, I’m free.” I tried not to give him the power anymore. He doesn’t own me. He can no longer hurt me.
I thought leaving my abuser would be the hardest battle I had to fight. Little did I know that once I was safe, out of the cage he had kept me in for two years, that I would be more afraid than I ever was in captivity.
It started with pots and pans. I was 17. Far too young to be pregnant. I had a false perception of what relationships were. I grew up in a home where the mom and the dad didn’t like each other very much. That was my normal. So, the first time I had a pan thrown at me by the man whom I was 4 months pregnant with at the time, I thought, “Wow, arguing with the person that loves you sucks. I’m going to do everything in my power not to do that.” But the truth is, no matter what you do, what you say, and how much you try to be their idea of “perfect” something as simple as buying the wrong brand of laundry soap can end with holes in walls or bruises in places that can be hidden.
That was my life. For two years we had good days, average days, and really bad days. The bad days were followed by apologies and empty promises. It was like being in a relationship with two different people.
One, a hardworking father and loving boyfriend and two, a screaming, red faced, hurricane, destroying everything in his path. I tried to stay tough to keep my “family” together. I was in survival mode. I cried but I never really felt pain.
Then one night I was getting ready for bed, after the hurricane had left for his graveyard shift. I looked down and saw purple and black marks where his fingers had wrapped around my arm. I started packing. Essentials only. I had until the sun came up to put miles between him and I. I loaded my car and my one year old daughter and drove. I drove to the Wyoming/Utah boarder and I crossed that line. The line that I thought would make me safe.
Once I was over that line, I started my life over. I figured out how to be on my own. It was my daughter and I against the world in my mind. I put on a happy face; went to work, school, and back home with my daughter. I wasn’t sleeping or eating. Every time I would close my eyes I would be back in that apartment. I would feel the pain I never let myself feel. Then one day I couldn’t get out of bed. It was then that I realized I needed someone to lean on. I started therapy twice a week. I’d like to say I was magically better after that. The truth is I still have my bad days. But I am slowly viewing myself to be less of a victim and more of a survivor. I am strong and I have forgiven my abuser. Not for him but for me. Because there is no weakness in forgiveness.
I am taking my strength back from him. Because I am a survivor.
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