29th March 2018 at 12:15 pm #56487PondlifeParticipant
I have been out of the abusive relationship for almost (detail removed by moderator) and luckily there has been no contact for (detail removed by moderator). I am in a loving healthy relationship and enjoying my job and life with my wonderful little girls.
But as I am sure you understand, the memories of those years when I was locked in this abusive relationship follow me round like a shadow. The smallest, most innocuous thing can be a trigger for me. This morning it was a notification from my photo app. It wasnt a picture of my abuser (gratefully.) All it was some pictures from a couple years ago. I was a trainee for a conservation charity and I was on a course about fruit tree grafting. On the pictures the course attendees are smiling and involved in their work. I remember from that day that I too was smiling, making jokes and pretending to be absorbed by the task.
I also remember that my phone in my pocket was vibing every few minutes, as it did whenever I was at work. I was ringing my ‘boyfriend’ every break time, as was expected, even though it was breaking his bail conditions. He had just been arrested for beating me in his kitchen (he dragged me around by my hair, hit me, spat on me, told me e would set me on fire.) A few weeks before, at a weak point I had told a friend what had been happening, she had reported him and he had been arrested… Anyway the conversation with my ‘boyfriend’ (I delight in these inverted commas) on the phone that day varied from talking about fruit tree grafting, to him asking what I was wearing (almost all my tops he thought were too low cut) to him threatening to send my daughters revenge porn of me in return for betraying him by getting him arrested.
So as you can see, the smallest thing, a phone app notification, sends me down a spiral of nasty memories, of guilt I didnt do things differently. I have this several times a day, sometimes several times an hour. Although I had specialist DV counselling, which helped, that is finished now. I have my new boyfriend and friends I can sometimes talk to, but not several times an hour! Most of the time I can swallow this stuff and carry on or at least do a good job of pretending. But sometimes I wish I had somewhere to put it.
For a while, I have been considering some kind of (detail removed by moderator) to offload some of the pain. Today, after losing hours just reminiscing about dark times (when I could have been enjoying my daughter telling me about her swimming lessons or doing my work reports, which are overdue) I decided today is the day.
(detail removed by moderator)
But I know, from when I was in the abusive relationship and drowning in the pain, the salve that is EMPATHY. And the main source of empathy for me was and is this forum. When I started using it, I was dazzled by how cathartic it was. I had been in terrible pain that no dr could cure and suddenly, although it wasnt a treatment, this forum was an anaesthetic! It was helpful beyond words to have a place where there were so many people who really understood. So I really hope my clear memories of what it was like, my empathy, can help others, in some small way.
Love, and I will say it again, empathy x*x
29th March 2018 at 5:45 pm #56493SunshineRainflowerParticipant
It sounds like you have created a great life for yourself which is very positive, without wanting to sound patronising I hope you are acknowleding the progress you have made due to your commitment to your own self care and self love. I think the symptoms you are experiencing with flashbacks and triggers sound like PTSD. Have you looked into EMDR (not sure if that is the therapy you had or something different). I have heard that it helps a lot for PTSD.
I wasn’t with my abuser for long and the abuse was more psychological but I know exactly what you mean about innocuous triggers each day, I get them too. Sometimes it is someone saying a phrase he used to use during sex, another one I get is every time I open certain types of food his voice comes into my head when he was being abusive and rude to me several meal times. Today I actually answered the ‘voice’ back and it felt quite helpful, basically telling it/him to b****r off and that he doesn’t intimidate me. Sounds a bit daft but it helped for whatever reason, maybe because I was acknowleding it rather than constantly pushing it away. Another trigger is if I see a certain type of car, or hear certain songs, or go past a certain restaurant etc. It’s difficult how we can be instantly transported back to a past event in the middle of our daily lives when we are otherwise feeling ok about things.
I have also find writing things down, talking to Victim Support and painting these flashbacks helpful, it seems to stop them from constantly replaying. Definitely seek out further PTSD treatment, it might just be that you need more sessions or a different type of therapy to work through it.
13th April 2018 at 2:00 am #57060PondlifeParticipant
Thanks so much Sunshine Rain Flower
People have recommended EMDR for me, but I am not sure what to make of it all. I definitely have some way to go and wouldnt rule anything out.
This post had to be really heavily edited but I was trying to say I had set up a twitter page to talk about about my experiences as a survivor and hopefully reach out to others. At the moment, this is my coping mechanism.
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