Powerlifting to Overcome Abuse

In July of 2017, I left an abusive relationship. My husband had physically assaulted me on three separate occasions. In the last incident, he threw me to the ground when I was five-months pregnant with our child.

Since leaving, the abuse has continued in various forms. I went on to give birth to our son in November 2017, and my ex has made sure to make our lives a living hell. He has stalked me, sent harassing messages, violated his domestic violence restraining order, denied paternity, made threats, financially abused… the list goes on.

And while the last year and a half have been difficult and filled with countless court dates, I have made it through stronger than ever. Through the abuse and the struggles, I have found solace at the bar. No, not going for a drink. It is powerlifting that has empowered me.

On especially emotional days, I often head to the gym to get out my frustrations. And in lifting, I remember just how strong I am. This week, I have been dealing with a lot of frustration from by abuser. Our son is now 12-months-old. He became very ill this past weekend, resulting in a trip to the urgent care. He had a high temperature, stomach problems, and was just miserable. He was first diagnosed with strep, but then after taking him to his primary for a follow-up, I was told it wasn’t strep and was just a virus. He then developed a rash, and days later, he still isn’t quite back to normal. I contacted his father about the illness and all I received was harassment. He belittled me, mocked me, literally laughed at me, accused me of lying and that Max wasn’t really sick. He refuses to follow the doctor’s orders during his visits with Max. In fact, he refuses to do absolutely anything in Max’s best interest. I received message after message of hostility until I just stopped responding. It is very clear that this person does not care about our child and his well-being. It was more important to him to belittle me than to care for his son.

Needless to say, this was difficult to deal with. I am physically tired from taking care of a sick kid, but these messages were emotionally exhausting. And to top things off, I had to miss work and quite a few workouts (just part of the territory of being a mom). But this morning, I got to go into the gym and lift heavy. It was squat day, and I was feeling pumped with motivation from the emotional stress. I used that stress and grinded out a heavy single at almost double my bodyweight. It was SO satisfying. The adrenaline rush of hitting that rep and knowing how strong I am was exactly what I needed.

I may still have days where the stress of court and being forced to deal with my abuser gets to me. It is inevitable. But I will always have powerlifting to hone in on my physical and mental strength. In addition to the therapy it provides, it also helps keep my body in shape.

And when my body is well cared for, everything else seems to flow. Taking care of myself is what I can do to overcome abuse. It is something that he can never take away.

It is fitting that today was squat day. I felt emotionally weighed down, just like when I am physically weighed down with the bar on my back in the hole. But I will be damned if I get stuck down there and have to bail. No, I will always get that weight up. I will overcome.

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