2nd September 2021 at 12:43 pm #130918
Hi all, I haven’t posted on the forum since October last year. I thought I could cope and threw myself into my job, blocked out the bad thoughts and tried meditation, therapy, positive thinking blah blah. Now I am a wreck because so much is coming back and triggering a trauma response in me. Controlling behaviour from others, not being able to share my story, not feeling validated and feeling isolated from friends and colleagues. Memories and behaviour from my ex keep coming to the forefront of my mind. I feel so sorry for the woman I was in that relationship. I was so hurt and sad and utterly unsupported. Treated so badly. Now I can see in the clear light of day some behaviour I previously thought of as normal/loving was still abusive and controlling. I have spent months feeling guilt, responsibility and blame but now I know there was nothing I could do and he controlled my thoughts just as much as my actions which is completely sinister. I almost feel it was easier to deal with the silences, rage and intimidation. The mind control/gas lighting was something else entirely. I feel shame too, shame for the way I thought the sex between us was ‘normal’ and it wasn’t. It was controlling, dismissive and actually not consensual and this is a really deep wound. Also he has left me thousands in debt and struggling to make ends meet. Just an overall nightmare. Just wanted to come back to the forum and see how others were. I know I am not the only one who is still struggling some time after getting out of an abusive situation. Sending love to anyone out there struggling and strength to carry on. xx
2nd September 2021 at 1:42 pm #130922iliketeaParticipant
Sending you so much love, and solidarity. You have just described my life. Exactly my life. Going to write more later. Just off to the food bank… (yes indeed, these men, their abusive reach and effects of it carries on and on and on, especially the financial and psychological abuse).
2nd September 2021 at 4:53 pm #130930ISOPeaceParticipant
Hi Wiseafter and Iliketea, I’m really sad to hear how difficult things are for you both. It always amazes me just how far the unfairness of abuse stretches. I am convinced that abusers do not lead truly happy lives, because I just don’t believe you can be truly happy when you don’t live from a place of compassion and empathy. But what they’re missing out on doesn’t compare to living with trauma inflicted by somebody who was supposed to love you and the practical consequences of getting safely away from them. Sending you both lots of love and strength. And thanks for sharing. The struggle to live with abuse is so unseen, but I think the difficulties in living with the aftermath of abuse are even more unseen.
I’ve only been out a few months. I’m certainly much happier than before I left and I don’t regret leaving in the slightest. But I still feel like I’m waiting to get on top of things. I’m lucky to be able to live with my parents for now, which isn’t perfect but is ok. But I really dread the thought of divorce and how I’ll manage running a household and being a sole earner. Before I left I felt like my life was on hold. I know leaving was the first step to a free life and I have a lot more freedom than I did, but I still feel like my life is on hold. I guess it takes a long time to work through all the trauma and to really feel strong and capable. It also seems like I didn’t do the growing up most people do as young adults because I was just surviving, and now I feel like a middle aged woman with the life skills of someone in their early 20’s. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly feels like that in some ways. xxxx
2nd September 2021 at 8:03 pm #130940LottieblueParticipant
Hello @wiseafter – I thought I’d come and give you a bit of a wave, and thank you for sharing. You have given me so much support at times when I really, really needed it and for that I shall be eternally grateful. You’ve expressed yourself really well, better than I could, and I know exactly what you mean. I have dipped and bounced, recently been on a bit of a high, but am amazed how often the air chills around me as the trauma grips and something as simple as how I fold my towel reminds me how anxious I was.
The sex thing I shut away. I can’t think about that at all. He wouldn’t take no for an answer, just wouldn’t. Quite often gave me the silent treatment for a whole day if he didn’t get his way. I genuinely cannot imagine ever feeling safe enough with someone to want sex again and I hate him for that. It was an assault.
Sending you huge hugs. X*x
2nd September 2021 at 8:35 pm #130944EggshellsParticipant
Sending hugs your way.
It is a long process unfortunately. I’ve been put a couple of years now and I’m still seeing things that I didn’t see before.
There will be a time when you start to feel strong enough to maybe try a little therapy.
Getting back on your feet, emotionally and practically can sometimes feel like 2 steps forward and 1 step back but slowly, you do edge forward.
There are ladies on the forum who have been out for many years and when they talk about their lives, it shows there is hope and progress.
Take it at your own pace. Seek help from your GP and take any help that is offered from friends and relatives. The forum is always here for you too.
Please also consider phoning citizens advice. They may be able to help you with the debts he left you. xx
2nd September 2021 at 9:31 pm #130948LisaMain Moderator
I’m very sorry to hear that you are having problems coming to terms with the aftermath of your abusive relationship. You are not alone in this. Many women who have experienced abuse struggle with “getting back to normal”. Sometimes the memory of what you endured and the difficulties of starting a new life can make you feel as if you are not healing. It all takes time and people around you may have to accept this. We all deal with things in different ways and this healing process can take time.
You did mention you have had therapy before, but it may be good to contact your local domestic abuse service to see what emotional support or links to specialist counselling they have.
Regarding the debt your ex-partner left you with, you may want to try speaking to The Financial Support Line. It is a service specialising in the financial side of domestic abuse. Anyone who has experienced domestic abuse can call for one-off advice regarding debts, benefits and budgeting from the Financial Support Line on 0808 196 8845 (Mon to Thurs 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 12.30pm).
Also, The National Debt Line gives information and advice on debt; including bank, credit card, finance, mortgage arrears, council tax, hire purchase and utility debts. Issues dealt with include county court, refusal of credit, bank charges, harassment, housing and homelessness and bailiffs. The National Debt line is able to signpost callers, make referrals and can be contacted on 0808 808 4000, 9am – 9pm Mon – Fri, and 9.30am – 1pm Sat, http://www.nationaldebtline.co.uk/.
StepChange are a debt charity. They provide free, confidential and expert debt advice and money guidance, recommend the best solution or service for your circumstances, support you while you deal with your money worries for as long as you need their help, and campaign on your behalf to reduce the risk of debt problems and the harm it causes https://www.stepchange.org/
I hope this is helpful to you. Do keep posting to get further support and understanding from the other women here.
3rd September 2021 at 7:43 am #130971BettertimesaheadParticipant
This thread resonates with me. Over. A year here too. I am up and down too, and no closure. Still got police involvement so constant reminders. I too have realised how abnormal our sex life was, how obsessed he was and it makes me feel sick. I have no contact, the thought of it makes me shudder. Struggling today as my divorce is through. Finances still to be sorted and I know he’ll make it as hard as possible. But if I look back there are positives too. He no longer can tell me what to where, I can use my living room when I want, it no longer smells of drink. I can lie in without a scene as we didn’t have sex. I don’t dread being alone in house as he’d expect me to be naked.
When you’re struggling think of the positive however small xx
3rd September 2021 at 8:29 am #130974LookToTheLightParticipant
Hi x. I can relate to this, all those things you hide away in your head eventually find a way to break out of those boxes. I am finally having to face & deal with the trauma caused by the abuse I dealt with as well as the aftermath of his death. I am half way through my counselling(via work) & find that certain incidents come back at me like a speeding train which is both scary & sad; reliving the bad memories is exhausting & I feel sad because I lost myself with that relationship. Opening up about abuse is the hardest thing I have ever faced & while I can’t change what happened I do want to find Me again. I took the step this week of telling my parents & my daughter that my marriage was abusive while I didn’t go into detail because I am still trying to process & deal with it myself. Being made aware of this Forum has for me been a blessing because while the outside world may never know what I dealt with I do know that here I am not alone & that while we do not know each other we all share a bond which gives me added strength to look to a better future. I send my best to you & remember…Here you are not alone xx
3rd September 2021 at 11:59 am #130989
Thanks to all of you for your incredibly supportive responses which I really do treasure – I will take the advice about support with finances etc and look forward to posting again soon. Enjoy the rest of this precious Friday lovelies xx
4th September 2021 at 11:55 am #131021Wants To HelpParticipant
The Recovery stage after leaving an abusive relationship is an ongoing one with no time limit and we should never pressure ourselves in to thinking that by a certain date after leaving everything will suddenly be fine. Along with Recovery comes Rediscovery, where we find who we are again, what we like, what we want to do with our lives, how we want to live etc.
Some of the things you have mentioned I can look back on and recall those feelings too. Even now, I sometimes feel shame for some of the things I did in order to deal with the situation I ended up in due to the abuse, but I have just read a book (will put the details at the end of this post) and it is helping me to learn to forgive myself for this – and surprisingly, how to forgive my abuser! I have read many books, but this one is helping me in a different way again.
Post abuse, the psychological trauma does stay with us. For me it has eased lots but has never left completely. Sadly, my son, who is now an adult, displays some of the same traits his father had and I have to stand up to this quite firmly and deal with it appropriately, but this can often be triggering for me.
I too was left in thousands of pounds worth of debt and had to re-furnish a home from scratch. It was challenging and devastating, and I had feelings of anger and resentment too because prior to meeting my abuser I was self sufficient with a lovely home and savings of my own. The practicalities of this meant that everything I bought was second hand or given to me and I lived on a very tight budget, but I did manage to adapt. Even now I spend money sparingly and I know I will never merge finances with anyone ever again or share a home as I will not risk having it all taken away from me.
What helped me the most was actually sharing my story. I didn’t want to hide it, I wanted to share it so others may learn from it and that it may help prevent it from happening to someone else. I wrote it all down a few years after leaving and then self published it as a book. Sharing my story was therapeutic for me and has helped so much. Responses I have had have really helped with my Recovery journey. I have not had anyone be negative to me for sharing. You say you cannot share your story? What is the reason for that?
I was also fortunate enough to be able to attend some courses via my job. One of these was an Assertiveness Course and this course really helped with being able to stand up to people who like to bully or dictate to you, but in a calm and measured way without being confrontational. It may be worth seeing if this is something that could be an option to look at?
Please be patient with yourself. You have nothing to be ashamed of, but I know those words are easy to say. But I ask you this; are you ashamed of any of the ladies on this forum for what they have endured? Or are you empathic for what they have been through and have sympathy and encouragement for them? I think I know what your answer will be. We need to show those same emotions to ourselves and actually big ourselves up. We have been through, or are going through, our own personal hell, but we are still here and we are trying our very best to make changes for the better for ourselves and those around us.
The book I read is The Book Of Forgiving by Desmond and Mpho TUTU.
So pleased you are out and have stayed out xx
7th September 2021 at 2:23 pm #131147
Thank you, I have just had a very difficult meeting with Citizens Advice which has left me exhausted but it one step nearer being in control again financially and taking stock. I am experiencing feelings of vulnerability that are completely alien to me having spent years hiding my feelings and pretending I was OK when I wasn’t – my coping mechanisms are all shot to pieces and I have to start again. Putting myself first is not something I am used to. I was powerless in the relationship but made to feel 100% responsible which was a horrible situation to be in. I am faced with all of these feelings I have hidden which are coming to the surface and it is incredibly raw. I think you are right about sharing. I need to speak about it but choosing the right place and people is paramount. I have a good therapist and I have begun to write things down and will continue to do this. Will look at the book you suggested, have a lovely day X
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