How we’ve helped
We’re passionate about what we do at Armagh, and we’re proud to have helped so many women and children. Here are two stories from past residents. Find out how Armagh’s support impacted their lives.
A grateful resident
I was reminded to stand up for myself and for my future…
I recently achieved a major milestone in my life. I graduated with honours from a prestigious law school abroad with a paid work placement. Two years ago my life was an absolute mess. I was a single mother of 3 children running from a long term abusive relationship with a man who swore he loved me as he abused me and our children.
Over the years I minimized the abuse, he convinced me that I was worthless, I hated who and what I had become! I came to believe that I was too fat, too stupid and too useless to ever stand on my own two feet. I NEEDED my husband – and he constantly reminded me that without him I was nothing. I felt that I was a terrible wife, mother and person. At times, I was even grateful that someone actually took an interest in my life, paying attention to me…at least the abuse was some sort of attention!
Fortunately for me, I have a completely different self portrait now. Why the change you ask? Simply put, Armagh House. After my husband was arrested for domestic violence my children and I were forced into the shelter system. I felt re-victimized as I struggled to keep it together on my own. My kids and I spent 7 weeks in an emergency shelter before we were blessed with a second stage housing offer at Armagh House.
I remember feeling instantly at home in the house. The staff embraced me with all my emotional baggage and made me feel worthy of the opportunity I had been given. The counseling I received during my stay at Armagh helped me to recognize my authentic self. I slowly became aware of my intrinsic abilities and natural talents. My opinions and emotions were not only expected, they were accepted and respected.
Armagh staff supported me 100%. They both helped me to see that I was putting domestic violence in the past. That I was choosing a violence free-future and that I had a right to choose safety for myself and my other children.
I was given permission to be angry and sad and to feel betrayed. My secrets were unlocked in a safe and loving environment where I could work through them effectively. I had the opportunity to meet other women who shared my sadness and my experiences. I was never blamed for my situation and that gave me the courage to dig deeper… to do the work that needed to be done.
I struggled a lot with my children. My eldest son, age 16, who himself had been a victim of abuse, became unmanageable and I had to evict him. It was one of the most difficult days of my life. Armagh staff supported me 100%. They both helped me to see that I was putting domestic violence in the past. That I was choosing a violence free-future and that I had a right to choose safety for myself and my other children. I was reminded to stand up for myself and for my future and in the process I became a positive role model for all of my children.
As a direct result of my primary worker at Armagh my children began to trust again. They began to feel comfortable telling their stories and venting their frustrations. She helped me to bridge the gap between me and my children by offering positive re-enforcement and by her willingness to be the bad guy if necessary. I can honestly say that I lead a different life now because of the services I received from Armagh. I now come from a position of self worth and self respect. I know now, that I can accomplish my dreams and that I deserve to be happy and safe.
I slowly began to believe in myself…
In September of 2006 I made one of the hardest decisions of my life, I left a five year abusive relationship. When I finally had the courage to leave this relationship, I felt like a failure. That was two year ago; since then I have graduated with honors from college, I am currently working part-time in my chosen field while attending University part-time and being a single mom to my two wonderful boys.
…had I not had the opportunity to stay at Armagh I would have gone back to the abusive relationship.
Reflecting on the decisions I made during the last two years I know in my heart that, had I not had the opportunity to stay at Armagh I would have gone back to the abusive relationship.
The immense emotional, parenting and financial struggles that I experienced during that first year, together with a distorted and damaged sense of who I was, made me want to hide under the covers most of the time.
By the time I left Armagh, a year to the day I left my abusive partner, I was no longer the same person. With the support I received from staff and the other residents at Armagh and because for ten months I had others who believed in me, I slowly began to believe in myself. I was a confident women and mother of two who knew deep within my heart that no matter what challenges lay ahead for me and my children I would get through them.
The time I spent at Armagh was so important because it gave me a chance to rebuild a violence free life for me and my children.