22nd May 2020 at 10:22 am #104053
I am new here. I was in a really toxic relationship.looking back, none of my relationships were healthy, but this one broke me. I don’t know who i am, what i want, what s trie and what s not and i feel i m losing my sanity. I want to heal and learn the lesson (I knkw there is one in there). I want to be able to look back at this and make it a success story but I don’t know where to start. I just want to be OK.
22nd May 2020 at 8:51 pm #104092LisaMain Moderator
I just wanted to offer you some reassurance that what you’re feeling is completely understandable and normal. I’m sure that lots of the women on here will agree that healing after domestic abuse can take time and it’s not always a straight forward road to recovery, but you can learn from what you’ve been through and be stronger for it.
A good place to start might be your local domestic abuse service. They might have access to specialist domestic abuse counselling and/ or support groups.
In the meantime be kind to yourself and keep reaching out for support on here,
22nd May 2020 at 9:19 pm #104095
You say you was in a really toxic relationship, so hopefully you are free of it right now, which is great as you identified this and got out of it, and this is a huge part of ‘being OK’. Trying to understand it all and come to terms with it is another matter!
I likened my journey through Domestic Abuse as like climbing a series of mountains. It was hard; that first mountain was so high and steep, and just as I was getting to the top of it I could see the peak of an even higher one behind it!
I had a DA Counsellor who gave me one to one counselling and I also went to group counselling and attended a 10 week programme similar to the Freedom Programme (have a Google of the Freedom Programme and see if one will run somewhere near you when this pandemic is over.) I read lots of self help books and learnt a lot about myself and why I felt the ‘need’ to be in a relationship, especially with men who I really didn’t have anything in common with. I was a person who would rather be with ‘someone’ than be alone, even if that ‘someone’ was no good for me. Learning to be happy alone was something I had to work on, but now I have it down to a tee 🙂
I learned about the ‘red flags’ to look for in a man when I started dating again. By asking certain questions on a first date I could clearly wheedle out the men who I knew showed abusive behaviour traits and not venture on a second date with them. They had no idea that their answers were so important!
23rd May 2020 at 9:33 am #104129
Thank you so much for being so supportive! It is hard explaining it to my friends or family as they expect me to be fine now that I’ve left him. Probably their blank looks and silence hurts me just as much as everything else. So having people who have been through it and are now enjoying life is so helpful. I booked 8 sessions with a therapist. Had the first one yesterday and she s amazing.and i have purchased some books about trauma bonding, C PTSD and self compassion to start my journey. Just like you I think I have enred up with people that were no good for me just because I didn’t think I deserved better.
Thank you again!
23rd May 2020 at 10:38 am #104143
That’s great that you have made this progress already, that’s a huge step you have already taken.
It’s really hard trying to explain to people what DA is if they’ve never been through it. If 1 in 4 women experience it in their life time that means that 3 women really won’t have much of an idea what it’s like to be so controlled and abused that we really lose so much confidence in ourselves. They try and be supportive but more often than not they inadvertently make us feel foolish. Some of my family got frustrated with me and told me I should “just leave him”. They couldn’t understand why it wasn’t that simple. Now I’ve ‘educated’ them, they get it.
My counselling really challenged me at times, so be prepared for some emotional sessions ahead. It was quite hard for me to confront my ‘neediness’ and understand why I always felt that I had to have a boyfriend. I had to be so brutally honest with myself along the process, but it was for the best. Due to what I’ve learnt I’ve not had an abusive relationship in any way since I left my ex over a decade ago. I’ve had a few relationships that haven’t worked out but that was due to us not being right for each other. They were great men and I’m actually still good friends with one of them.
Enjoy your reading of your self help books, you will gain so much knowledge to empower you. As the saying goes – every day is a school day! 🙂
23rd May 2020 at 11:37 am #104151
You give me so much hope. I am starting to understand the why and the how. And you are right. It is really hard and it takes brutal honesty to admit my own responsibility in what happened, without adding to the shame and guilt I feel. Sometimes it feels like giving up drugs and I doubt myself a lot. I can just hope that if I stick to it, it will be worth it. What you’ve written gives me hope that there is a light at the end of all this, because all I can see now is darkness
23rd May 2020 at 12:16 pm #104154HopeLifeJoyParticipant
Yes it is normal to feel lost after having been abused.
Our sense of self is eroded through abuse, it takes time and enormous kindness to oneself to rediscover who you are. Start simple. Ask yourself what is your favourite colour? Food? Season? Clothes? Hobbies? Interests? Etc…i’ve set up a board on my wall and write stuff down as it comes. Without pressure. Since couple of years now.
Each time you remember something about yourself write it down. And if afterwards you feel that isn’t you, it was actually the opinion of your abusive ex, just erase it and wait for the next memory to come.
Slowly you build up your identity again. It takes time, make it an ongoing project without a deadline, it is quite a rewarding little task because you build yourself back up and feel good about it 😊
23rd May 2020 at 12:21 pm #104156
Yes, there really is a light at the end of the tunnel, and a life that is free of abuse.
So, admitting our own faults in our relationships does NEVER make us deserve assaults, abuse or control. The faults I had to face up to were that I went out with men that I was never suited to, so in reality, the relationship was destined to fail. However, I couldn’t see that, so I thought that if I ‘stuck at it’ and ‘gave it a bit longer’ then, in time, it would start to work. All this led to was prolonged unhappiness, and finally, a very abusive relationship with someone I had a child with 🙁
So now I have my ‘check list’ of 9, non negotiable traits and behaviours that I look for that I will absolutely not negotiate on. If I decide to negotiate on them, then what I am expecting is to try and change him in some way so that he suits what I want. I have learnt to NEVER enter a relationship in the hope of changing someone, or that they will choose to change in order to please me. These 9 traits are totally personal and can be as serious or shallow as you wish. They they fall under 3 categories and you have 3 in each.
The categories are based on Physical Appearance, Must and Musn’t. It is as simple as that. For me to date a man he has to fit a certain physical criteria that I find attractive. (To start with my list was huge but I was told I had to whittle it down to 3 lol). Then there are 3 things that he MUST do or have, and 3 things that he MUST NOT do or have. Everything else I can choose to compromise on if I want to. So, for example, under my MUST NOT, the man I want to date MUST NOT have a drug or alcohol addiction and I will not compromise on that. I am not going to enter a relationship in the hope that my love, support and understanding will help him overcome his addiction and that I can ‘save him’ from himself. So it doesn’t matter if he fits all the other 8 of my requirements, I absolutely cannot compromise at all, otherwise, the relationship will be all about me wanting him to change in some way right from the start.
One of the more shallower of my requirements is that he MUST have a car (and legally be able to drive it!). I live in quite a remote area with an unregular bus service, so the last thing I want is to meet someone who is reliant on me for lifts, or has suddenly ‘missed the last bus’ and can’t leave my house at night and hasn’t got enough money for a taxi so has to stay the night…unless I pay for his taxi home. So, I’m afraid if he can’t drive or hasn’t got his own transport then he’s no good to me!
So when you are in the right place to move on and start dating again, make yourself your own personal list of NON NEGOTIABLE RULES OF DATING. Write down all the qualities you would ideally want in a man, from what he looks like to how he behaves, to what he does, his values and beliefs. Then strike off the ones that are not really ‘deal breakers’ and you will start to be left with the ones that really matter to you.
23rd May 2020 at 12:33 pm #104157
Thank you both! Atm I can’t even imagine dating or meeting someone. I have been terrified my whole life with being on my own or single. Somehow i believed that as long as I am in a relationship I have worth and being single was me being a failure. Now I have the same fears but at the same time I can’t imagine being with someone. I can only hope this will fade in time and if I do decide to date, it ll be from a place of strength rather than fear
23rd May 2020 at 2:26 pm #104166Bobocel-blossomParticipant
Hi there brave one.Workinprogress you are brave and smart for going out of it.I done the same and i will find my way somehow.These amazing people on W.Aid are like many Lighthouses pointing to us the way home,home to the Real Light within ,the one that you have as well.He tried to bring dark clouds over your wonderful rays but it does not work as this temporary derail only will make you stronger.You always been the good,the truth ,the enduring one,the strong one.
23rd May 2020 at 5:14 pm #104177
Thank you! getting out of it was probably the hardest decision i ever had to make and I am well aware he will still try to get to me to make me feel guilty for choosing myself. And the worst part is that I do feel guilty in a way. Emotional abuse is probably the ugliest thing there is. It turns you into someone you’re not and makes you feel ashamed of yourself. Apart from not knowing who you are, what you like or what you need, you are also left with this constant weight in your chest
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