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Source: instagram.com/tiff_uhnay

'You Don't Yell at Her': Three Kids Happy for Mom's New Husband after Living with Abusive Dad

Ayesha Muhammad
Mar 11, 2022
05:40 A.M.
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After enduring a difficult past filled with unsettling feelings of fear, trauma, and reduced self-esteem, a woman thought she wasn't deserving of a stable and loving relationship. Then, one day, life surprised her. 

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Love is a powerful feeling, but sometimes, experiencing it can take longer than expected. Sadly, some people might go through bitter experiences, making them lose faith in the possibility of discovering genuine love.

Ironically, a woman found herself in similar circumstances, which shook her sense of self. It took her a long while to bounce back and rediscover herself. Today, we share her story and appreciate countless others like her who were brave enough to redefine themselves. 

[Left] Tiffany and Brian Durlak pictured with their children; [Right] Tiffany cuddles her children. | Source: instagram.com/tiff_uhnay

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ALL IT TOOK WAS A DATE

Tiffany Durlak of Antioch, Illinois, waited a long time before finding what was meant for her. She worked and lived in New York in a small apartment back in the day. She was proud of her accomplishments and determined for more despite the hardships. 

One day, her residential job required her to attend an event, where she met a man, not knowing at the time that the experience would be life-changing. Soon afterward, they went on a date, and he quickly won her over. 

He made her feel wanted, loved, and understood and said all the right things to get into her good graces. Tiffany shared she had no idea what she was into, and she unknowingly ignored all the warning signs for a long time. 

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SURVIVING THE WORST

Over time, things became crystal clear to her. Gradually, he ensured Tiffany was aloof from her family and friends and was deprived of a support system. But she gave him the benefit of the doubt, thinking he loved her and didn't want to lose her.

Even after escaping the vicious cycle of trauma and abuse, people might experience lingering emotions, ranging from fear of the perpetrator to shame of opening up.

Three months into her traumatic relationship, Tiffany became pregnant with her son. Sadly, that didn't improve things, and the situation only aggravated. After a vicious cycle of physical, mental, and emotional abuse, Tiffany decided she had endured enough.

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HER KIDS BECAME HER STRENGTH

She already had her son, and two years later, on the same day her son was born, she gave birth to twin girls. All her children were born on October 13, and that day became special for her. She left the hospital with two newborn babies, a toddler, and renewed hope.

A few months after she welcomed her twins, she ended her relationship. She was shattered, fearful, and shaken, but she knew she didn't want her children to grow up in a toxic home. Soon afterward, reality set in, and life took its toll on her. 

Raising three kids alone was a challenging task. After tucking them in bed, Tiffany cried her heart out. Some days seemed more complicated than those gone by, but she kept going for her children's sake. She also took time to learn self-love and self-healing. 

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TAKING A CHANCE

Tiffany started working at a behavioral school, where she met her co-worker, Brian Durlak. Even though she liked him, she thought he might not be interested in talking to a single mom with three kids.

But she was proven wrong when they were moved into the same classroom. The two got talking, and one day, Tiffany plucked the courage to ask him for a drink after work. Despite her friend's warnings, Tiffany told him everything about her past. She recalled:

"I remember leaving thinking, ‘He will never contact me again.' He texted me after leaving, 'I enjoyed seeing you outside of work. We should do this more often.'"

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OPENING UP ABOUT HER PAST

After that, Tiffany and Brian started spending more time together. She told him she had her tubes tied after having the twins, knowing Brian didn't have any kids of his own and might want it in the future. "I want you, that's not changing anything," responded Brian. 

Tiffany waited to be sure of her relationship with Brian, after which he met the children, who seemed to like him. The couple then realized they had a lot in common. Brian and Tiffany's sisters had the same name (spelled differently).

Her children's birthday was October 13, which coincided with Brian's parents' wedding anniversary. Brian's niece and one of Tiffany's daughters shared the same name. Soon afterward, things became more serious when Tiffany and the kids met Brian's family. 

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BECOMING A FAMILY

Brian was also thrust into parenthood early on, and he began spending more time with the children. Finally, on December 24, 2016, he proposed to Tiffany, and they tied the knot on March 24, 2018. Tiffany noted how he said his wedding vows to the kids. 

On their honeymoon, Brian told Tiffany he wished to adopt the kids, and after buying their dream house in June 2018, they hired an attorney to start the adoption process. Some trouble ensued as Tiffany's ex made the process cumbersome. 

But on January 10, 2019, the adoption was finalized, and the children were overjoyed to welcome Brian as their father. It was a monumental day for the kids, and the judge thanked Brian for stepping up and accepting the children into his heart. 

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HEALING TAKES TIME

Tiffany cried as she experienced the surreal feeling of being loved by an amazing man. She recalled how her ex always told her she would never find someone who would love her and her children. For a long time, she had believed what he said.

The Illinois woman described how her older son, Noah, suffered the most because he had vivid memories from the past. He would always tell stories about his time with his biological father and how draining the experience was. Tiffany told LoveWhatMatters:

"I remember when we made the decision to introduce Brian to the kids, Noah said to him one day, 'I like you around my mommy. You love her and make her smile, and you do not yell and scream at her.'"

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A SPECIAL WEDDING GIFT

But with Brian as his father and a stable, loving environment, Noah began making progress toward being a child again. Tiffany assured him that he didn't need to worry about her because they were all safe and happy. She said Brian's love gave her strength.

After her surgery in October 2019 that made having children impossible, Tiffany felt terrible. After she healed, Brian reminded her of a wedding gift he gave her the night before their wedding. He had given her envelopes for specific things they'd live together. 

One of those envelopes contained a letter that Tiffany would open after having their first child. When Tiffany opened the letter, it said: "If we didn't have kids, the kids we have now would be fine." She was instantly relieved after reading those words.

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FINDING LOVE AGAIN

Tiffany and Brian adopted a dog to complete their family. They started celebrating family milestones and vowed to live every moment to the fullest. Tiffany was glad to have found her fairytale romance despite surviving the worst circumstances. 

Walking away from an abusive relationship isn't easy, and Tiffany's story is a resounding reminder. Even after escaping the vicious cycle of trauma and abuse, people might experience lingering emotions, ranging from fear of the perpetrator to shame of opening up.

Abuse may be physical, emotional, or both, and breaking free from the stigma of plucking the courage to ask for help might seem easier said than done. Some abusers might inspire feelings of alienation in their victims, depriving them of a support system.

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THERE'S LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

Gaslighting, coercive control, and intimidation might be expected outcomes of emotional and mental abuse. Gender differences might also play a role, with men finding it comparatively difficult to voice their feelings and walk away.

According to the Irish Times, the lockdown has emerged as a period of unprecedented danger for people in traumatic relationships. Many people might be reminded of their traumatic past or experience unsettling feelings.

Indeed, breaking free from an abusive past is cumbersome, but if anything, Tiffany's story teaches us that hope never dies, and there's always light at the end of the tunnel. 

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