We had no idea that Angela Simmons was a domestic violence survivor. Did you?
This week’s new episode of Peace of Mind with Taraji, featuring Angela Simmons sharing intimate details on her experience in an abusive relationship and the toll it took on her, is now available on Facebook Watch HERE.
The episode, entitled “Why Do Women Stay in Hurtful Relationships?” reveals how Black women are 30-50 percent more likely to experience domestic violence than white women. Angela Simmons reveals why she stayed in a physically, emotionally and verbally abusive relationship and what suffering in silence did to her mental health. Then, a go-go dancer shares her story of how she endured an abusive relationship for years and almost lost her life because of it. Therapist Dr. Lena Green tells how to identify domestic violence and how to get out of an abusive relationship.
In her talk with Taraji, Angela Simmons revealed what led her to opening up about her past abusive relationship saying:
“I just felt like after I kinda got through it, like with therapy and stuff. I was like, I know there’s a lot of other girls like me out there. And when I was going through it, I felt kind of isolated. Because like the situation as it’s happening, you don’t even realize because it’s happening so fast, what’s going on. And I just feel like I wanted to be able to use my voice and my platform for other people who were going through that as well. Like, let me just start opening up and talking about it.”
She says she was blindsided by the abuse and things started out great at first but got to a point where she ddn’t recognize herself in the relationship:
“I dealt with somebody with a temper and I didn’t know, you know what I mean? It started off as small things. Then next thing you know, stuff’s getting thrown at me. Or I’m against a wall. Or I’m jumping out of moving cars because I’m afraid. Or I’m calling cops. Like, I never thought in a million years I was gonna be that person, you know? And so when I was going through it, I’m like, this is insane. And at the same time, you’re not wanting to tell like no one around you. Because you’re in a relationship with the person, right. And you don’t really want them to judge them. And in a weird way, you’re still guarding them. But like going through it yourself.”
Angela also said she fell into the common trap of trying to fix her abuser:
“I didn’t fully see it until it was too late, you know,” Angela said. “Like once you’re knee-deep in a relationship and you’re like, is this really my life? And then every time there’s a sorry, I don’t know how you wind up staying. Like, you just, you think they’re really sorry. Or it’s not gonna happen again.”
She continued, “I’m always feeling like that. Miss You Want to Fix Everything. ‘I can get them better.’ And, you know, we can go to therapy or something. And it’s like, sometimes it just doesn’t work…I had a really bad night one night, and cops were involved. And I was like, what am I doing?”
Angela added that the abuse started out emotional before turning physical:
“A lot of it was mental, but then when I started seeing bruises and stuff, I was like, okay, this is actually real,” Simmons remembered.
She also spoke about how the abuse had her blaming herself at times:
“It shook me up, like I felt horrible after it all. You know what I mean? Like I feel broken. You know, maybe it’s me. And that is the hardest part in a relationship. Like when you feel like you’re the reason, like how could I make someone so upset that they’re gonna treat me like that?
She went on to comment that the experience changed her personality:
“You’re not yourself,” Simmons said. “Your energy is drained, you’re constantly worrying about, are they going to snap on me? Is something going to happen today? Are you gonna hit me today?”
She added that one of the wake up calls for her was seeing photos of her abuse on her phone.
“When I’ve got pictures saved in my phone of what you’ve done to me, that’s terrible,” Simmons recalled. ” You know what I mean? That’s when I was like, I gotta, I have to, this is a part of my purpose, you know what I mean? Like, I need to talk to other women who are going through this because it’s secret. Like you’re living life in a secret and you come out and you would never even know people are going through that.”
Angela said one of her main reasons for coming forward to speak openly about her experience was to help other women get out of abusive situations more quickly:
“It’s like a cycle over and over until hopefully you get the strength to leave. ‘Cause some people don’t. And that is to me why this conversation is so important because I was there, like I was stuck. I was like, what is wrong with me? Why can’t I get out of this? But it’s love, but I want to stay, you know, like every reason to stay, I stayed.”
Ultimately Angela Simmons says it was therapy that helped her get out of her abusive relationship:
“I started doing therapy, as I started going through some of this stuff. And the therapist was like, ‘What are you doing?’ Like you just start to realize, for me, I think because I was in therapy, I was able to pull myself out, to be honest with you. Without the therapist, I might’ve just stayed in the cycle.”
“I think therapy is super important. I really started doing therapy when I lost my son’s father. I didn’t even want to live after that. I was like, I don’t know why I’m even here. Like why would God give me something like that?…What do you tell a four-year-old?”
“I really learned my strength through that. Because when I look back, I’m telling you and I think about actually what happened, I’m like, how did I even get out of it? When I go, ’cause I speak, and I did, I do something called Pressure Makes Diamonds. And it’s under my nonprofit Angela’s Angels but I go and I speak to young women and I’m like, there are girls 17, 16, standing up. Like, ‘What do I do if–’…Like I wasn’t going through that at 17…It breaks my heart that there’s no outlet.”
You can watch the full episode below:
This is so sad and so many women go through the same thing. The saddest part is that so many lives have been lost to abusive relationships. We really hope this episode can reach someone who needs to hear it. Kudos to Taraji for bringing this important topic to the forefront.
New episodes of Peace of Mind with Taraji drop every Monday at 9amPT/12pmET.