Speak LOUD

The Best Revenge is Living Well with DONNA WAYLES

January 06, 2023 Tiffany Barnes/DONNA WAYLES Season 5 Episode 129
Speak LOUD
The Best Revenge is Living Well with DONNA WAYLES
Show Notes

Today I’m talking with Donna Wayles, a wife, mother, and abuse survivor who shares her story of escaping domestic abuse with God’s love and grace. She’s the author of “I'll Pray for You: A Christian Woman's Guide to Surviving Domestic Violence” and a self-described domestic violence subject expert. Today, she is here to speak loud about being a thriver after domestic abuse and finding life and hope after abuse.

Donna met her abuser through a church picnic when she was in her early 20s. She describes that the pressure from the church encouraged her to get married early and young, within 7 months of meeting her then-husband. Though she had been sensitive to the physical abuse he began to demonstrate, she interpreted his controlling behaviors as ‘protectiveness’ and being a sign of how much he loved her. 

As the abuse escalated, however, Donna began reaching out to different avenues for support. Another wife from church dismissed her concerns about her husband’s possessiveness and talking with her pastor only put her in more danger after the pastor talked with Donna’s husband privately. One night after a conference, Donna was calling a friend for help when her abuser physically threw her out of the house with her 16-month-old daughter and the clothes on her back. 

Donna, at the time, struggled to understand what she had done wrong, having followed the teachings of her family and her faith. The first line in her book, “How did my life get to be like this?” reflected this. However, she had to eventually learn—through counseling and other modalities—that the abuse she had undergone was not a reflection of herself but of her abuser. Realizing this was the beginning of her healing journey. 

One night, while pondering what to make for dinner, Donna realized that she could eat whatever she wanted. She could wear and do whatever she wanted as an individual without worrying about what he wanted. She felt like a second life had just dawned on her and she was determined to live that life. She is now remarried and her daughter, 18, is thriving in school studying graphic art. 

Donna’s book, “I’ll Pray For You,” was inspired by her domestic violence victim advocate who told her, “The best revenge to your abuser is living well.” Donna published her own story as a way to be her best self and also do for others what wasn’t done for her. She describes her process with forgiveness as not a one-time decision, but a journey. She’s learned that bitterness won’t serve her and has found peace in using her experience to help others. 

“Resilience is stubbornness, persistence, tenacity,” Donna says. Being determined to live her own life helped pull her out of those dark times. As someone raised to help others, she wishes she could have told her past self to be patient and to put herself first before trying to give herself away to others. She hopes readers of her book and listeners know that leaving an abusive situation is not the end and, in fact, there is something much better on the other side. 

Listen in to learn more about what modalities Donna used in her healing journey, what makes her feel empowered, and her experience with self-esteem and abuse. 

Resources Mentioned

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