Scared to stay, but terrified to leave . . .
A woman trapped in abuse finds courage — because of you.
Naomi* took a deep breath and stared at her hands, which were clenched tightly in her lap. “It’s hard to know where to start,” she said.
“That’s okay,” said Chelsea, one of our counselors. “A lot of people feel that way. Why don’t you start at the beginning?”
Over the course of 6 months, Naomi grew comfortable enough with Chelsea to unpack her story. Her childhood was full of violence — from the time she was little, her mother abused her physically, verbally, and emotionally. Naomi tried to do everything right, tried to stay out of her mother’s way, but it seemed that no matter what she did, she was on the receiving end of her mother’s rage.
As Naomi grew older, things got worse when her step-dad began sexually abusing her. Naomi told her mother, hoping that she would protect her — but her mother was angry with her instead . . .
Though Naomi managed to get away from her family as a young adult, the cycle of dysfunction and violence in her life was just beginning.
Naomi earned her GED and began attending college, and at first she thought she was free of the past. But as she began dating, a troubling pattern emerged. Each boyfriend was initially charming and protective. But all were drug-users or alcoholics. And all of them eventually abused her.
When Naomi began counseling at Lahai Health, she had been dating a man on and off for about 2 years. He fit the pattern: charming, protective, unemployed, addicted to drugs, violent, and extremely possessive of Naomi.
She lived with her boyfriend and his dad, and became the caretaker for both of them — paying bills, cleaning the house, buying and preparing food, and more.
After meeting with Chelsea for a few months, Naomi began to understand that it was more than bad luck with men: it was a pattern of co-dependency on abusers. It was how she understood love. The pain of her childhood was repeating itself in adulthood.
By this time, her boyfriend was beating her, calling her names — Naomi was paranoid all the time, wondering when the next explosion of violence would come. But at her counseling sessions with Chelsea, Naomi began to understand that she was created in the image of God, and that Jesus loved her, regardless of her past mistakes, regardless of her scars. She wanted to leave her boyfriend — but didn’t know if she had the courage to do it.
Chelsea helped Naomi find resources for battered women — and though it took time and support, Naomi called until she found transitional housing!
Together, the 2 women packed her things and moved Naomi to another community away from her boyfriend. Her new environment provides resources to help her get back on her feet again — she has health insurance, is working on coping skills, and has access to the medication she needs.
Most amazing of all, she is also finishing her degree and working part time!
Naomi’s new start is possible because caring people like you reached out to her by supporting Lahai Health. Thank you for helping her gain the courage she needed to leave her abuser for good! Because of you, Naomi is healing from her past wounds and is on her way to building a strong, healthy life. Thank you for your kindness!
*Name changed to protect patient privacy.