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Escaping Abusive Relationships: Therapists Keep This Quiet

The aftermath of escaping abusive relationships is an emotional minefield many aren't prepared for. I can help you avoid some of those mines. Read this.

Escaping abusive relationships involves more than the escape plan, and you won’t know the depth of your problems until you break free. But, as you plan your escape, it often feels as if getting out of the abuse will make everything better. And once you get out, you will have well-deserved stages of bliss – you will often feel much better! But at first, as often as you feel better, you will feel worse or confused or doubtful of your ability to create a life of your own. The aftermath of escaping abusive relationships is an emotional minefield that therapists won’t warn you about. I can help you avoid some of those mines.

 

First of all, your therapist does not want to deter you from planning to escape or escaping abusive relationships.  They know that after you leave, you will gain your mental footing and you will become emotionally and mentally healthy. Secondly, therapists aren’t psychics. There’s no guarantee that you will experience even one scary emotion after leaving abuse. You could be the exception, blossom immediately and maintain that bloom for the rest of your life!

But reality says you’ll experience emotions similar to many other survivors of domestic abuse, so I want to give you a heads up on some confusing emotions you may encounter after escaping. If you know your strange emotions are normal, then you’re more likely to sail through them without returning to your abuser.

Escaping Abusive Relationships: The Other 3 Things Your Therapist Won’t Tell You

For numbers 1 and 2, see Part I, Escaping Abuse: 5 Things Your Therapist Won’t Tell You

3.) You could feel an overwhelming desire to speak well of your partner to your friends, no matter what he or she did to you.

Escaping abuse is the first and most important thing you can do for your mental health. Find out what you could experience after you leave.How did you make up for the things your abuser said you did wrong during the relationship? You somehow soothed your ex-partner’s ego, got them to calm down, apologized, or perhaps purposefully let them overhear you speak well of them to others. Old habits die hard. You know your partner feels angry with you for leaving them. You know they want to react in their typical way. Calming his or her ego was priority number one during the cycle of violence, so don’t be surprised to hear yourself say things that remind you of your ex’s better qualities (real or imagined).

Additionally, you could feel compelled to say good things about your ex out of guilt.

4.) You could feel incredibly guilty for leaving your abuser for any number of reasons.

Your logical mind knows that you have no reason to feel guilty. The abuse wasn’t your fault, you didn’t cause it and you couldn’t stop it. But holy cow! Your heart bleeds for the person you left! He never had a good example of how a man should act. She fell victim to a sexual predator during her formative years. You feel sorry for them.

I challenge you to re-channel any guilty feelings about leaving to how you feel about your partner’s behavior toward you. One of the side-effects of abuse is forgetting to pay attention to your feelings. You feel guilty because you’re imagining what your ex might feel, not because you did something wrong. When you start feeling guilty or hear yourself giving your ex a glowing review, get in tune with your emotions and leave what your ex could be feeling alone.

5.) You could find yourself mourning the death of the abusive relationship.

I know you don’t want to feel like a victim anymore. You’re a survivor and you escaped abuse. But you must allow yourself to mourn the death of the relationship, and more than likely, you will feel intense loss and sadness. For me, I discovered that I didn’t so much need to mourn the marriage I had as the marriage I wished I had. The dream of growing old with the man who finally learned to love completely was very difficult to let go.

When the sadness overwhelmed me, I let myself cry and be angry; but I reminded myself that I mourned for something I would never have and that escaping my abusive relationship was the best thing I could have done. And it was.

As you prepare for escaping your abusive relationship (or imagine what leaving would feel like), I hope you look at your possible future emotions as a rite of passage. No matter how horrible you may feel during recovery, escaping abusive relationships is the only way to guarantee your mental and emotional health will improve. Expect the unexpected, including the urge to return to the abuser, and talk your way through it with your friends and a therapist.

Although your therapist didn’t give you a heads up about how hard it would be to stay gone after escaping your abusive relationship, he or she will definitely be by your side as your story unfolds. A therapist’s job is not to guess what you might feel, but to help you deal with what you do feel. And you won’t know what you will feel for sure until you leave.

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You can also find Kellie Jo Holly on her website, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

80 thoughts on “Escaping Abusive Relationships: Therapists Keep This Quiet”

  1. I am a therapist and we do explain to our patients the emotional rollercoaster that comes after you escape any abusive realtionship. We do not aim to harm our patients, We EXPLAIN EVERYTHING AND HELP OUR PATIENTS. Please do not say otherwise. People who are going through the process of escaping an abusive relationship need therapy. Thank you.

    1. Actually, I think you’ve missed the point the author is making. If not, instead of declaring her words false, perhaps acknowledge that not all therapists work in the same way—which, if you tell your patients exactly what feelings to prepare for or expect, you’re definitely not any therapist I’ve ever met. Many, many therapy models hinge on the therapists’ role as primary reinforcer, not a facilitator who is leading or controlling the therapeutic session. Furthermore, changing outlook depends on eximplifying positive outlook so a patient has support for future, forward-thinking, especially during a dark time of spiraling through trauma, like this. The author is not disparaging therapists. She is pointing out that the therapists role is different and crucial to a victim changing her life. And, so is communing and learning of others’ first-Hand experiences going through this difficult, frightening, emotionally precarious and courageous event. The ‘courageous’ part, she is saying, is the primary role of therapy to reinforce, but victims are often ambushed by the reality of her emotions in the aftermath that few prepare her for.

  2. My ex began abusing me when I was pregnant and found out he was texting a girl in February of 2015, only 6 months into our relationship. Anouar el Allati said he loved me and and wanted to keep the baby. I found another girl in his phone who he had been reaching out to inappropriately, and who I came to find out he had previously hooked up with, and I confronted him. He lost it, broke my phone, and strangled me over the kitchen table. I was 12 weeks pregnant. I called the police and this became the beginning of nearly 2 years of emotional and physical abuse, constant mind games, tracking my location on my phone, isolating me from friends, putting me down, lying, stealing and gambling, hiding money in separate accounts so he didn’t pay his share of the rent, days on end that he would disappear to drink with young girls and do drugs with his loser friends, and constantly breaking into my phone and computer to monitor what I was doing. I was pregnant and scared, and I had no idea what to do. I had just moved to Amsterdam, NL from NYC, and I tried so hard to believe all of the lies he was telling me for the sake of myself and the pregnancy. He was playing me and using me the entire time. I bought a scooter so we could get around and he could go to his new job. It was under his name because I am not from the NL and he told his friend that he would steal it for insurance money if we didn’t work out. He would hide my much-needed prescription medication on me, and then say he didn’t take it. He was so intimidated by me, that he worked to systematically destroy me. The woman he claimed he loved and the future mother of his child. I couldn’t understand or wrap my head around it. Why would this man who promised me the world, steal, lie, cheat, and make me think I was being crazy or paranoid?! I supported him financially a bit, and he was so ungrateful and mean, and always hid money and lied to me about it. He promised to help and pay me back when he got a job. We got asked to leave apartments because of the abuse and complaints from the neighbors and I lost at least 5,000 in security deposits. He would call the police and play the victim. It was absolute insanity.
    I paid for our vacation to Mykonos and he had slapped me so hard when he was drunk, that he broke my eardrum. He left the island on a boat to go back to Amsterdam, and the whole journey would’ve taken 24 hours. I called him and paid for his flight back to the island and had so much mercy and kindness. Surely this person couldn’t be this evil. I saw when he arrived that he was referring to me as “the bitch” to his brother on his phone, even though I had been physically abused that day, had an injury, and just saved him from a hellish boat and plane ride to Amsterdam. There have been so many girls in his phone and he comes back and promises it was this or that.
    I got pregnant again after terminating because of issues, and I caught him texting his ex who works at the Schipol airport. I messaged her and she confirmed he had asked her if she was single. This was while I was pregnant and visiting family in Ireland. He denied everything and it ruined my entire trip.
    He is the ultimate con man and has textbook narcissistic personality disorder. Soon after, I then lost the second pregnancy and he blamed me and said I should just get over it. We had a break for a couple of weeks in January and he came back into our home, to live and go to therapy and better our relationship. Anouar promised me and cried to me that it would be different. He was supposed to come to the gym with me one day, and instead I tracked him down with his friends at the sugar factory ( nightclub) in line wasted on ecstasy pills. He said he was sorry and told me to go home with all of them. Later that night when we were back at home, I found a girl in his phone who he had been calling all night to come meet him with the sweat emoji, etc. She was 18 and was a lover boy street girl. Again, he claimed and blamed it on his friend. He even changed her name in his phone, so he could pretend he didn’t know who she was. She sent me the text messages and I was devastated. He promised it was a huge mistake and he was messed up on drugs and it would never happen again.

    We went on a spa getaway and came home and after we were done being together and he was showering, his phone went off and I saw a text from some girl he had asked for her number. I was devastated but locked myself on my patio and yelled at him to leave. He refused. I went inside our home and yelled at him about it and he slapped me so hard on the face twice that my earrings flew off. I screamed for him to leave and for help. He then started punching me with a closed fist. I told him he was a son of a bitch and he went harder. I have bruises and cuts and scrapes all over my head and body. He has strangled me to the point I nearly passed out on multiple occasions, then went home with scratches or ripped clothes, and told his family I was “abusing him”. Unreal.

    Thank you for your support! I had given this sociopathic narcissist another chance, so stupidly. I just found all of his secret Facebook, Instagram, and email accounts where he had pay-for sex accounts, and was chasing around women from his past. I also found out he was trying to have an experience with a shemale. These things are abnormal! I converted to Islam and he assured me we could live a better life together. He lost his mind when I found out and hit me, strangled me, and told me AGAIN he would kill me. I was trying to trust him after all that we had been through. He admitted he lies pathologically, and I hung on so long to someone who is just sick, that I started to feel crazy. We need to remind ourselves to stay away from the Anouar Allati, Anouar Mota, Anouar el Allati, types of the world. They will suck you dry and leave your life in shambles if you let them. I came from NYC with my law degree to the Netherlands, and thought I’d settle down with a nice Amsterdam guy and build a life together. He played that part, but it all wore off until I could seee the monster behind the mask. I am putting my life back together, but it is hard to wrap my head around the abuse and psychotic things I endured for two years. My whole life as I know it with this man I loved and adored, was a complete lie. I wish I had listened to the people around him who warned me he was no good. I will be more cautious in the future, and I forgive and feel badly for someone who is so mentally ill. I know I can get better, but that type of narcissist never will. Please take care of yourselves, my fellow survivors.

  3. I have been in an emotionally abusive relationship for 4 years now. The first 5 years were more than I could ever ask for, I was the happiest women alive. My husband thought I was cheating and at the same time started doing drugs. That was the beginning of my nightmare. He constantly accuses me of things I don’t do, talk to me like I’m garbage, says he’s going to hit me although the has never but things just get worse and worse. My child just sits through the yelling and screaming likes it’s normal. I am completely drained. I feel alone and scared. Why I am so afraid to leave? I know I have to. I have always hung on to hope that he would change back into the man he used to be but I now realize that is not going to happen. I feel like I lost the wonderful man I had plans of spending the rest of my life with. I now have he opportunity to leave after feeling stuck and alone with no help for so long but why do I feel so guilty? Why am I so scared? I know I have to get out of my situation now but why I am struggling with making that first step when I know how toxic my relationship is and how it’s damaging my son. I just feel completely drained and sick. I’m not looking forward to the long road of struggling to get myself back on my feet yet I can’t stand to live this nightmare one more second.

  4. I and my adult children have suffered non stop abuse via rages, degrading comments, threats regrading our livelyhood. I feel so guilty that my children are all scarred by the man they call father. He is generous to a fault and we live a prosperous lifestyle, but it all means nothing when the ugliness of his anger and rage just explodes out of nowhere. I was recently injured and had a brain trauma. While in a car with him he abused me verbally and menaced me. I was begging him to have some cinsideration but he said ” eff your injury.” This from a man I have nursed through multiple injuries and surgeries. We took a road trip to a resort town. QOn the way there he drove like a maniac to scare me. HE cursed and screamed the whole way. When we arrived there I was so depleted I had to go to bed at 5 in the afternnon. The trip was miserable. once home i felt distanced from him. I had finally admitted if I stay this is my life to the end. Fear, verbal bause, and anxiety. What drives me to finally end it is him now abusing my oldest son over a business deal. I have had enough! Sentiment and nothing but bad memories are the realit. I cannot ride out my last days on earth with this monster. QI now admit my entire life with himhas never been happy pr safefor me. My heart breaks o er theain my children have gone through. ALadies, know that I am finally totally walking away! QIm free!

  5. My ex was emotionally abusive, I have only just really admitted this to myself as have spent months missing him and wanting him back. This is the longest I have not spoken to him for (3 weeks) and I can finally see that although I love him and he doesn’t intend to hurt people – his behaviours are consistent and he repeats patterns of abuse in every relationship. Dealing with the emotions of feeling rejected by my abuser has been the most difficult experience I’ve had to date.
    He is now in a relationship with a close friend. I haven’t told her of his abuse but his previous ex wrote a public statement on fb a few years ago disclosing his abuse and many other women commented confirming this. I am thinking of emailing her the link to this anonymously. Is this a bad idea? Would you want your friend to know or am I just being bitter? I am still friends with her but I feel coming from me directly will just look like jealously. Is it just jealousy?

    1. Jane you should definitly let her know what she is getting her self into. Just start with a disclaimer saying that you are coming from a good place. Don’t let him get away with damaging anybody else.

  6. i have been in a abusive relationship for almost 6 years now i have two kids on that abusive relationship and want to live this life but i cant cause i am scared of punches and the threats

    1. I have also been in an abusive relationship for 7 Years. I have left him twice and returned. I am now leaving for the third time and planning on never returning. I am scared and lost. I blame myself but deep now realize that I don’t deserve the physical violence and control. If I don’t leave, he will eventually kill me. I used to think I could not make it on my own, nobody would want me, and I would always regret leaving. I now look to the future and desire happiness.

      1. I am praying you will find the strength to get away. I know this sounds trite, but you don’t deserve this. I don’t have much courage myself, and am dealing with emotional abuse. I pray there will be a safe place for you, away from this person who doesn’t deserve you. I believe God created you as a complete, competent, loveable person; he intended for us to be in loving relationships ( I know all too well that’s not always a given, sadly). That person has just been sidetracked, or in hiding (possibly as a safety factor, to avoid riling an angry, insecure, volatile person. Am asking God to lead you to a better life. Please be safe, and know others care.

  7. No one has the right to hurt you purposely in any way. They have mental attitudes to abuse woman. It is not your fault. Run away anywhere you can…it only gets worse as they will “punish” you more.you can’t fix them and make treat you nice…ever!

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