Marica Phipps, Founder, and CEO of Battered Not Broken shares her story of the pain and challenges of living through domestic violence. In the gritty and raw pain, she discovered purpose and meaning. That pain, became the birthplace of something beautiful, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, she named Battered Not Broken. It would later become the platform she would use to empower and provide crisis support for victims and survivors that had been (or still) in her shoes. Equally as important, it would become a valuable prevention tool, used to educate (especially youth) with the skills and tactics to avoid becoming a victim or perpetrator of interpersonal violence.
Marica says “When a person shows us who they are, we must believe them! We must stop being so quick to rationalize the away the red flags because when we do that, we miss the message that our instincts and our higher power are trying to send us.”
“We need to realize that no one is going to save us…we must save ourselves by being consciously informed and intentional in understanding and recognizing the control of abuse”
Her Story ….
“December 2013, I was forced to flee from my home (unclothed) in the snow, with no choice but to leave my 7 yr. old daughter; after being beaten unmercifully by a monster, her father…my ex. As a mother, that was the worst decision in the world to make, but my survival instinct overpowered my maternal one…it was my only choice.
That night, I was repeatedly beaten, strangled, and kicked like an animal from head to toe by a man twice my size. I endured blunt force trauma that split my head open from my forehead to the middle of my skull, and strangled to the point I felt my body going numb and my soul leaving my body. The entire time he beat me, he told he was going to kill me…and let me tell you, he tried! Unfortunately, that was not the first time I felt the blow of my ex’s closed fist and the force of his strength.”
December 2013 assault:
May 2008 assault:
Five years prior, Marica almost lost her life (again) when she endured subdural hemorrhage from her abuser beating and kicking her in the head multiple times; leaving her unconscious (while her two little girls watched). The physical abuse was only a small part that Marica endured, compared to the 7 ½ years of mental and emotional abuse from his narcissistic behavior.
Marica endured severe brain trauma (subdural hemorrhage) in which she later had to regain some of her motor functions (speaking and walking normally) again. Marica’s mother, painfully recalls seeing his shoe print on her forehead in the days that followed and as Marica healed.
Behind Closed Doors…
“On the outside, we looked perfect, but behind the image, there was so much more hidden. For nearly eight years, I had been beaten emotionally with words and manipulation. I came to fear the arguments and ’emotional beatings’ that were nicking away at my soul, until so much of who I was, was gone/buried under all of his behavior. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. He told me that he loved me, but deep down I felt he really hated or resented me because his actions spoke it! My self-worth was damaged because in his eyes, I could never do anything right & he always found a way to make it my fault…and I began to believe him!
I was always on the defense, always defending myself against him twisting my intentions or his allegations. The ‘gaslighting’ he put me through was unimaginable! I felt like was going insane, I got to the point where I had to start keeping a log of things that I would tell him and have evidence ready; because he would always say I didn’t tell him or ask him something… when I knew that I did! The silent treatment, trying to use a third-party (usually my mother or my kids) to validate his actions and make me look like I was the problem, the rejection, tit-for-tat retaliations, always shifting the blame and his up and down dark moods, were only a few of the emotional-narcissistic behaviors I endured.”
“My three children, unfortunately, have suffered along side me through all the dysfunction, fights, yelling, screaming and tears. Two of my three children witnessed the physical abuse, will have the sights and sounds etched into their little memories forever. The 2008 assault, left my face was do disfigured, that my 18 month- old daughter wouldn’t come to me for weeks..because she was not able to recognize me. That literally broke my heart as a mother…to be rejected by my baby girl. I was a victim, but so were they…they lived through it with me and seen the aftermath of the abuse though my tears and bruises. I was so disconnected from myself, that I never even seen how the trauma was affecting my children. If I had one regret from my choices that I made to remain in the relationship, it was allowing my children to endure the trauma alongside me. To constantly keep them confused and anxious regarding what was going to happen next in my relationship.”
Death & Rebirth…
“I have looked death in the face more than once, at the hands of someone that was supposed to love me. Yet, the more saddening truth is I did not love myself enough to consciously see that I was dying a little every day.
It was though the last near death experience, that I realized a part of me actually did die that night, and a “new me” was resurrected /reborn with a new life and purpose. I almost let go that night, but God kept me, he heard my cries and answered them. It’s been a long journey of mental and emotional restoration, medical procedures including multiple plastic surgeries, court hearings, etc.; but God’s Grace & mercy has kept my kids and I surviving and thriving through it all.”
“I made so many rationalizations for all of his behavior…because I wanted my relationship to work. I wore my vulnerabilities on my sleeve. I wanted what I thought everyone else had. He was a piss poor excuse as a partner, but he was a good provider/father (at least that’s what I told myself). As a single mom with two other children, that was golden! I wanted to raise the child that we shared (my youngest), with him. I longed to be married and have a household like the one I was raised in; with a mom and dad.
My dad used to tell me that he didn’t think I wanted to be married to him..but that I was just in love with the IDEA of being married. Looking back, my dad was correct. I wanted the happiness everyone else had.. and I almost sacrificed my sanity, my worth and nearly my life to obtain that image.
Being co-dependent (pleaser/fixer) made me a target for him, a narcissist (taker/controller). Had I been in touch with who I was in my core, my boundaries would never have allowed it and I would have seen right through his charm in the beginning. I wanted to “fix” and please him and he wanted to control (despite him always accusing me of being the controlling partner).
A narcissist is the mental equivalent of an alcoholic…they have a drive and insatiable appetite for the power, control, and manipulation and will do anything to obtain it. He preyed on my vulnerabilities and my weakness and kept me right where he wanted mentally and emotionally. This was an unhealthy dysfunctional relationship disaster that was doomed from the beginning.”
Pain & Purpose…..
“My circumstances inspired me to learn more about the reasoning behind the choices we make. Therefore, I am in the process of pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in General Psychology. This knowledge will not only help me to better understand myself through the recovery process but also help me to understand my children’s trauma and how I can support them through their healing process as they mature. This knowledge will be a vital resource as I support other survivors, their children, and their families.
Through the trauma and trials, God gave my pain a purpose! I am a living testimony of how God’s grace and mercy will always prevail over any evil that tries to penetrate it. My abuser tried to break me, emotionally and physically so that I would not be any good for anyone; the irony is it made me stronger than I ever imagined! It has deepened my faith and my relationship with God.
I am not proud of my past choices and decisions which almost took my life and traumatized my family, but I am not ashamed either. I know they were all part of the journey that led me to where I am now. I make no excuses for his behavior or anyone that intentionally target’s a person or tries to physically harm someone…that is his own cross to bear. I do, however; take accountability for the part I played in allowing his behavior.
I am able to see that my pain had a purpose and was necessary to elevate me to the next level of God’s purpose and path for me; it is only a small part of my journey and the reason I have survived. God uses our pain to elevate us to the next level and get us ready for our destiny. We have to be ready emotionally and spiritually to receive the assignment when he does the roll call! God asked me to share my story so that others may understand theirs better.”
Marica says “In order to heal, we need to realize that all the abuser does, is show us where we are wounded. Once we are healed, we do not attract such people into our lives anymore and we go on to experience fully empowered and joyous lives that are very different to what we knew with the abuser.
We must stop being so quick to rationalize the away the red flags; when we do that, we miss the message our instincts and our higher power are trying to send us.
The only remedy for domestic abuse…is consciousness. Conscious of what it is, what it looks like and more importantly, what it feels like (emotionally and psychologically) …so that we are never again a perfect match for an unbalanced soul.
Regardless of what life put you through that left you battered and bruised, God sees your value and wants to use your pain.”
Battered NOT Broken…
“Out of the ruins of my drama, I found purpose and meaning. I discovered I was Battered but I was not Broken, I was made stronger in the cracked and shattered areas. It was the birthplace of my nonprofit organization Battered Not Broken. This is my first offering to give back; to be an abundance of empowerment & resources to help those in need. It’s My vision and purpose is let survivors know you are not alone, your voice is not silent, someone cares and has a vested interest in YOU coming out the other side of what you are battling & emerging stronger…NOT BROKEN!
This is what I believe I was meant for and why God has spared my life in the hands of evil; to share my testimony in order to consciously raise awareness to domestic abuse; as well as be a living testimate of Gods grace that has healed me and carried me through this journey.
There are millions of survivors walking the same journey, in the very same shoes, enduring the same pain and /or recovery. It does not make a difference the story we tell, (i.e. mental, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, etc.) our pain ALL feels the same! It is through our pain and fear, that we learn the greatest lessons; it is when our courage steps forward despite the circumstance and we learn how to survive, this is why we are called survivors!
My hope is for something you see or read on this site, ignites your inner light, no matter how dim it might be. I hope to ignite the flame I know still lives inside of you. It is then, you will be able to look within yourself and see everything you need and have been unable to see: your worth, your value and your purpose- they far exceed anything that you are going through. Your light will allow you to see things that will help you make better confident choices and decisions, for the next steps in your lives.
I proudly represent the fighter and the survivor that lives within all of us, not only to teach my own daughters…but OUR daughters:
To never run back to what tried to break you…
To refuse for any man or circumstance to hold your prisoner, in your own mind…
To keep fighting, even when you feel defeated…
To unapologetically do what you need to do to survive!
And above all else…
NEVER PUT THE KEY TO YOUR HAPPINESS, IN SOMEONE ELSE’S POCKET!”
Founder & CEO, Battered Not Broken, Inc.