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Just Sayin’

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I thought I could “stuff” what I went through in my early 20s. I thought I could outrun the feelings. I was embarrassed. I thought if I shared about my abusive relationship, I would seem weak to others. I thought people would talk behind my back and wonder how in the world I could let myself get into such a toxic situation and stay in it for seven years? 

The craziest thing is that I wasn’t even sure I was allowed to classify it as domestic violence, because, after all, I never had black eyes. But what I endured absolutely, 100 percent, was just that and my soul feels so free now that I’m owning it and speaking out about it.

A few months ago, I watched Maid on Netflix. Have you seen it? It’s about a young mother who flees an abusive relationship and ends up cleaning houses to try for a better life for herself and her daughter. I binged it. It was definitely a well-done production and the story was captivating. But I didn’t expect to be drawn to it the way I was. I kept thinking about it. It affected me. I would dream about it. Ultimately, it stirred up so much anxiety within my body, I had to see my doctor. Long story short, it triggered feelings in me about my own life that I had never properly dealt with. 

I was in an extremely unhealthy relationship for most of my 20s. He was controlling. He isolated me from my family and friends. He was jealous and possessive. He had a horrible temper. He was verbally and emotionally abusive to me. He did harm me physically on more than one occasion, but more often he’d punch a wall or a windshield. He threw things at my head. I was a victim of domestic violence but I didn’t want to believe it. I never told anyone. Eventually I worked up the courage to leave and within a few months, my now-husband dropped into my life.

He was kind. He was gentle. He thought I was smart and funny. He liked me exactly as is. He welcomed my family and friends. He built me up, he didn’t tear me down. My self-esteem was so low after all of those years of abuse, I wasn’t even sure I was deserving of such a good man. But I was wrong. We all deserve to be treated with respect, love and kindness. We all deserve to feel safe in our relationships. 

Use your story. I’m a big believer in that. And I’ve tried to take all of the weird, bad and scary things that have happened throughout my life and turn them into some form of good. I knew I needed to do the same in this case. So, I toured SafeHome. I fell in love with SafeHome. I now volunteer regularly at SafeHome and I plan to keep showing up as long as they’ll have me. I feel such a connection to the staff and what they are doing to help women in our area escape domestically violent situations. I’m finally dealing with my own story and I hope by sharing I encourage others in a similar situation to take that big, bold, scary first step and reach out for help. I promise, you can do it. You absolutely have the strength you don’t even know you possess. And SafeHome will be there every single step of the way.

By: Q104 Personality Jenny Matthews
Jenny Matthews co-hosts The Morning Drive with Mike Kellar + Jenny Matthews on Q104 New Hit Country, weekday mornings from 6 – 10am. Connect at and check out The Morning After with Mike Kellar + Jenny Matthews podcast!