"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do."
Helen Keller, 1880 - 1968, American deaf-blind author and suffragist.
I was in a dangerous toxic relationship and couldn't take it anymore!
Hello! My name is Ava.
A few years ago, I loaded up my three little girls, three cats, a pet chicken, and every possession I could discreetly pack into my car. We fled across the country to what I hoped and prayed would be a better life.
I was very frightened, but knew that if I stayed, I would possibly be dead by my husband's hands within a year. The probable fate of my daughters, if I were not around to protect them, was too horrible to contemplate.
If you are reading this, it is likely that you or someone you care about is in a painful, and perhaps dangerous, relationship.
This site is for you: to give you hope in the midst of despair, to help you find clarity in the midst of confusion, and to inspire you to step out courageously and live the joyful and fulfilling life God meant for you to have.
I will help you along the way, and there will be others come alongside you also. God did not intend for you to walk this path alone. He has led you to this site to help you get the answers you need, and find the peace that you crave. Don't give up!
Let me tell you briefly some of my background.
I worked professionally in the domestic violence and sexual assault field for several years. I knew all the signs of abusive men and toxic relationships. I should have been able to steer clear of them, but I couldn't.
I was stuck in an endless and painful cycle of personal toxic relationships. Even with all my professional training, I couldn't figure out how to escape the cycle permanently.
In addition, I didn't know how to really help our toughest clients - Christian women who stayed with their abusers because they unwaveringly believed God required them to. They thought they had to stay, be submissive and obedient, and just pray quietly for their husbands.
I was, and am, a committed Christian myself.
I wanted to please God, be obedient to His Word, and do the right thing for everyone involved. Like most others, I only knew the traditional church's teachings on wifely submission and obedience. I didn't know any other way. So the cycle for all of us continued.
I eventually left the field burned-out, and married a man I will call Brian.
We met online on a Christian singles site. I was attracted to his passionate relationship with God, traditional beliefs, and was ready to be a full-time mother and homemaker. I thought I had found a good man, and was finally leaving toxic relationships behind me forever.
My marriage to Brian forever changed me.
Our story started out romantic and idealistic. But a few years later I was fleeing from him for my life.
God didn't make me marry this guy, and in hindsight I feel He tried to warn me against it. However, in spite of that terrible mistake, God stayed faithful to me through the next few years.
He used the experience to teach me the truth about who He is, and what He wants for us ladies who find ourselves trapped in these confusing and heart-breaking relationships.
I eventually experienced, when I was ready for it, a dramatic inner deliverance from Him that stopped the cycle of abuse in my life. There is so much I have learned that I want to share with you!
This website is full of hope and comfort for you.
You will find the answers you need. Read my story with an open, expectant heart and mind, trusting God to help you see His truth and love for you in your own circumstances.
The inner storm can be quieted, and you can have peace and confidence in Him as you navigate your way through some tough decisions ahead. God is for you. Let Him show you how much He truly loves you!
For the record:
I do not condone separation or divorce in general. PLEASE study the Sliding Scale Toward Marital Breakdown to see where your relationship fits, and what the purpose of this website is.
In the United States, an average of three women die every day at their intimate partner's hands. More than five children die every day as a result of child abuse.
I'm sure many of these women were hoping and praying this man they loved would change, and learn to love them and their children.
Violence is NOT God's will for you. Down deep, you know that.
If you will let Him, He will help you know what the right thing to do is. You can live free of guilt, of shame, and of feeling like a hypocrite if you do decide to leave.
So please read on and join me on my journey to freedom from the cycle of painful toxic relationships.
Have you experienced this in your life or know someone who has?
The Tox Guide is dedicated to Doppio, who did not survive but lives on forever in my heart, inspiring me to speak up to help women, children, and their pets before it's too late.