30th November 2021 at 3:05 am #134915PaintingByNumbersParticipant
I recently went away for a week and with the time and space to reflect, finally acknowledged how abusive my long-term relationship was. I knew I had to get out of the relationship but s**t was I scared…I’ve spent nearly (detail removed by moderator) becoming more and more reliant on someone who became ever more controlling and “protective” and I wasn’t sure I could do life without him.
With the support (and physical presence) of family and friends, I came home and asked him to leave.
I’m a few weeks in now and my head is all over the place…
I’ve been in absolute terror, shaking in fear as the (detail removed by moderator) and crying in desperation for a sense of safety.
I’ve had panic attacks leaving my home to walk 5 minutes down the road incase I ran into the person I have spent so much of my life with.
I’ve been in tears as the police, my counsellor and friends confirm to me that his behaviour was abusive, criminal.
I’ve been joyful and excited as I’ve started to do things I wasn’t allowed to do before.
I’ve been confused as I’ve tried to piece together what actually happened and to overcome the gaslighting that had me doubting myself for so long.
I’ve been lonely when I got a splinter and realised I needed a second pair of hands to help get it out (it’s still in there and painful!!)
I’ve been fearful of a future without him, because even though I didn’t feel safe from him, he made me feel safe from the rest of the world.
I’ve felt stupid for allowing it to happen.
I’ve felt like an empty shell, watching all this unfold to someone else…this doesn’t happen to me…this is what you see on TV or read about in books…how could I possibly be a victim of domestic abuse? It can’t be real.
But it IS real. And it’s terrifying. How did I let it happen? How do I know it won’t happen again? Why do i want to take it all back and let him back in? I know I can’t do that, but a part of me is grieving him, the relationship, the presence of another person, the protection from the outside world, the shared experiences, the good times full of laughter and happiness, the times when he was sweet and caring and kind…maybe the bad bits weren’t as bad as I thought? Have I made a mistake? Was it really abuse?
Everyone else is telling me it was. And I do know it was. But it doesn’t always feel that way. It feels like another life, a dream, a story, something that happened to someone else, not me. I couldn’t possibly have stayed with someone that long if it was abusive…but I did.
So yeah, I’m all over the place and I know it will get easier, but right now it’s awful, exhausting, I didn’t know I could feel this many emotions and experience so many contradicting thoughts in such a short space of time. I am tired. I want it to end, to fast-forward to the bit where I’m OK again, or to go back to before I made the decision to end it…I know I needed to get out, but it felt easier to just carry on, to accept what I had, but I realised I am worth more, and although I don’t feel like it most of the time, I do know it’s true.
Sorry for ridiculously long ramble…that’s kind of where my head is at, rambling…maybe that’s why I’m so tired…
30th November 2021 at 7:20 pm #134957LisaMain Moderator
Welcome to the forum and congratulations for leaving an abusive situation. This is such a big step and it must have taken a huge amount of courage and strength so I hope you are able to acknowledge this and feel a sense of pride in how far you have already come.
The feeling that you describe in your post of being afraid of your partner but protected by them from the outside world is very poignant and a good description of many women’s reality of living in an abusive relationship.
No abusive relationship is abusive 100% of the time and the cycle of ‘good and bad’ times can be incredibly confusing and leave us doubting ourselves and questioning if what we are going through is really abuse. This can be a big obstacle to leaving the relationship.
It sounds like you are recognising that this relationship was abusive though and beginning to process what you have been through. Part of this will include questioning what has happened and seeking answers. It might be helpful to access some counselling to support you through this, either from your GP, a local domestic abuse support service, or privately. The Counselling Directory is a useful resource to search for an experienced professional therapist in your area: https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/
Take care and do keep posting to let us know how you’re getting on.
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