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My name is Annestacia, and I live in a small, rural town in Kansas. This is the story of how I overcame the emotional trauma of an abusive relationship. As a child, I was under the impression that abusive relationships involved marriage and alcohol. This isn’t true. I was 14 when I met my ex, and he was 20. We used to have so much fun together, like any couple. The abuse didn’t begin until a year and a half after we’d been together. He abused me physically as well as depriving me of emotional needs, such as friends, family, a job and a future. He even convinced me to have a child with him.

When I got out of the relationship, I had a daughter. I wasn’t sure I could ever get through it. The victory over freedom was bitter-sweet. Then I began to channel the pain I felt into something that I loved, art and journaling. As the emotions were written on the paper and plastered on the canvas, in the form of colors and shapes, I began to feel better. The biggest relief I felt was when I wrote in my journal. I knew that I couldn’t keep everything bottled up, so I put everything I felt in the journal. I later even found out that many therapists will suggest a journal to young women in the same situation. Now, though the times I went through were hard, I feel as though I grew as a person. Once I got past everything that happened, through journaling I realized that what happened wasn’t my fault. I was able to grow and live a life for my daughter and me so that she could grow up in a healthy environment.

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