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By Dr. Dawgelene Sangster

My life took a downward spiral daily, yet I was in denial about the verbal abuse, mental abuse and often physical abuse. One day, I realized that I had to get out.

Once upon a time, I was an angry woman. I was bitter, broken and bruised. I followed the example of so many other women out there, who believed that they've found love, only to discover pain.

Such as the pain of wondering why he hit you, or said those hurtful words to you, or better yet, why you're spending yet another Valentine 's Day

emotionally alone.

You may not be alone in the sense that you don't have a person there, but alone in that you've been held hostage in the prison of your own mind.

You believe that there is no escape from your broken situation, so you're in solitary confinement.

And there is no early parole.

I lived a life of mental solitary confinement when I was in a relationship with an alcoholic.

My life took a downward spiral daily, yet I was in denial about the verbal abuse, mental abuse and often physical abuse.

I could not see beyond those five words that he often used after he hurt me: "But I love you,


For some reason, those words felt so good to my ringing ears and aching heart; that phrase even seemed to dry my tears. While I knew in my heart and mind that I needed to get away from this person, it was something about those words that made me feel accepted, cared for, appreciated and connected, if only for a brief moment.

And brief moments they were.

I was called a "sweetie" one minute, and a "Bitch" the next. I was “pretty” one minute and “ugly” the next. This was almost a daily routine that played itself out in front of the eyes and ears of my two small children. How could I allow them to go through this, too?

Was I being selfish, or was it the fear of letting go; fear of being alone, fear of taking a step forward; or the fear of the unknown? I was tired of the lies, cheating,

and insults that killed my spirit.

One day, I realized that I had to get out. I needed to hear words that would speak life into my spirit. And those five stupid words, "but I love you, though," began to make me cringe every time I heard them. I wanted real love.

And in order to experience real love for myself, I had to take a chance on me, and that meant getting out. Over time, I found the courage to leave, after daily talks with myself about how important I was to me, to the world, to my children, and to God. I began to value my worth more and more each day.

I closed my ears to the negativity he spewed. My inner woman filtered his negative words and spun them in a positive way that spoke life into me. Those words of life finally

convinced me to move from the mental solitary confinement of my mind.

I even learned to forgive during that process, as hard as it was, because I didn't want anything to hinder my progress.

Over time, that “Angry Woman” melted away. That “Mentally Confined Woman” melted away, too.

I realized that my value, self-efficacy, and self-acceptance (including my flaws), were far too important to allow those ridiculous five words, "but I love you, though," to hold me hostage.

Today, I am no longer that "Angry Woman," but I am grace, courage, wisdom, strength and a flowing sea of knowledge that seems to sail on this new course that I have chosen for my life.

And on this day, I encourage you to tell yourself how much you are loved, appreciated, cared for, and connected.


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