Emotions to Expect After Leaving Your Abusive Relationship
After leaving your abusive relationship, no one can predict your emotions exactly. But after some time of mentoring survivors, I've found many similarities between other survivors' emotional experiences and my own. Fear of the unknown is a factor in whether or not someone leaves their abuser. So I hope this post gives you a heads up about the emotions you might experience after leaving your abusive relationship.
Emotions After Leaving My Abusive Relationship
Fear and Obsession: As If He Was Still There
Leaving an abusive relationship didn't immediately change me or the way I went about my life. I was gone, but in my feelings and actions, I hadn't left him. I obsessed over my abuser and our marriage. I imagined conversations we might have the next time we met. I woke to his voice only to find he was not in the house. My heart raced around the time he would normally return home from work.
My old submissive routines remained. I continued to feared doing something wrong that he would discover. I cleaned the house, bought his favorite foods, and budgeted the money he sent me for four despite having only three of us in the house (our two boys and me). When he called, I was afraid not to answer. When he emailed, I emailed right back hoping I met his time schedule for responding.
In short, I continued to behave as if he would come home any second. I lived in chaos, attempting to attend to an abusive husband who no longer lived in my home.
New Realizations About Life
I Retrained My Brain
Between fear and obsession there was no place for peace. After leaving the abusive relationship, it took time to realize that I had a new life that could be peaceful. A life I chose; one that he couldn't choose for me. Soon after, I noticed how much time I spent waiting on his next move. I decided that I would no longer put off doing what I needed to do just in case he decided to contact me. This was not easy, and it didn't happen overnight.
I Set Rules for Myself
I trained myself to wait before answering or returning his calls and emails. I trained myself to recognize his familiar phrases as his -- not mine. I purposefully cut his words out of my vocabulary and, probably more importantly, out of my inner dialogue. I trained myself to exude confidence when I saw him. I trained myself to react calmly to his insults and manipulation.
The hardest part about retraining myself to not react to his antics was realizing how many of his opinions and actions I'd adopted as my own (Abuse: Personality Changes And Authenticity). Take for example his look of disgust when he saw the laundry basket sitting at the foot of the bed, clean clothes folded but not put away. When I saw that look, I hustled to get those clothes in their drawers.
So to retrain myself, I left a laundry basket on the bed for a full week. I lived out of that laundry basket. At the end of the week, the sky hadn't fallen and no one was seriously injured. I started to feel better about ignoring housework to focus on other, more important issues (like how to support myself after the divorce).
Real Change Came After Leaving My Abusive Relationship
Fear Turned Into Anxiety, a Less Harmful Emotion
Once I forced my ex-abuser out of my head (or at least forced him out of a good bit of it), I could concentrate on the important things. For one, deciding how to support myself was scary! I didn't have clue one as to where to begin. I didn't want to work my life away as someone's employee, but I began to realize that being an employee temporarily was the quickest way to an income. But I didn't know how to become an employee! Truly - I didn't.
I found a class at the Small Business Association and took it. I learned that I had skills and how to document them on a resume. I learned how to look for suitable work, and I followed the advice from the class. I got a job doing something I loved to do, and took it despite its drawbacks.
Feeling Empowered, I Detached Further But Felt a Bit Lonely
I started to keep him out of my plans. I didn't tell him what I was doing even when he asked. I didn't share my thoughts or feelings with him. I viewed him as our children's father, someone who shared their lives with me, but he was no longer invited to peer into the rest of my life.
I desperately missed having someone with whom to share my hopes and fears, but I knew that sharing with my ex would only end in him twisting my words into a knife to thrust into my back. I called my sister more often. I went out with an old friend. I met a man and we had lunch. In short, I iovercame the isolation habit I'd developed in the relationship and forced myself to find other outlets for my needs.
Finally! An Emotional Payoff
About 6 or 7 months after I'd left that abusive marriage, my ex showed up at my house at 10 o'clock one night. He looked sad, but wouldn't say why he was there. He wanted to come inside. I had detached myself enough to know that allowing him inside was the worst thing I could do. I told him that I had company, that it wasn't a good time to visit.
He left and peeled out of my driveway in a flash.
I felt good. I really did! I took a look around: I had a job, I had a house. I had enough income to feed myself, our boys, and my cats. I had friends and family who checked in on me and whom I called just for fun. I wasn't all the way healed, but I was a lot closer to it than I could have imagined half a year ago.
You can be happier, too. Be patient with yourself, but don't look back to your abuser for comfort. When you find yourself second-guessing your decision to leave, think about the crap you used to tolerate and ask yourself if you want your abuser's manipulative behaviors back in your life.
It's normal to want to retreat, but it's also normal to overcome abuse. You can do it.
*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so please do not take my pronoun choices as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized. This post is part of my story and my abuser was male.
You can also find Kellie Jo Holly on her website, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
Jo, K. (2012, April 1). Emotions to Expect After Leaving Your Abusive Relationship, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, April 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2012/04/after-leaving-your-abusive-relationship
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
Really helpful read and I recognise a lot of myself in it - even a year after the end of the relationship. Thank you!
I followed your lead. I finally was done. Planned my exit from this awful relationship. 10 years together and lived together for the last two and half years. I had moved my 17 year old son to a hotel 2 nights before.,(he didn't even notice he had moved out) when I told him he kicked me out with violence ER visit, ex-parte issued protective order, he was arrested for DV I had been interviewing for a month prior with Toll Brothers Luxury Homes in Pleasanton, .Ca getting thru background checks reference checks drug test and DMV report. I was offered my career. I was absolutely beside myself when Anthony called me and said Your offer letter is in the employee portal. Sign into portal read and sign. All documents COE to direct deposit signed filled out sent back. This was my window my opportunity, I was out! and going to take care of myself and my son.have a house a new car cuz my job paid 80k plus bonuses. Paided yes past tense somehow my abuser and his Best friend of 30 years decide to call my brand new job I was to start on Friday. The next morning on Wednesday Anthony calls me. I picked up the phone eagerly. (Shoot this was my future) Customer Concierge was my title. Anthony (recruiter) says "were going to need to re-cinde our offer to you" what why? Anthony said. "Something came up." What? I immediately said does this have anything to do Dominic Or James "Eric" he said I'm not at liberty to say. I started to say "Anthony, I just left an abusive relationship. And they are trying to sabotage my future." He said yeah yeah well. We are recinding our offer at this time. So now I'm Jobless, homeless, penniless, my Son is still by my side supporting each effort we make towards getting where we were before we ended up like this. I have no family I'm the youngest and they have all since past away. I was So close. It was in the palm of my hands. I'm applying for jobs everyday looking for a home everyday. The system that was to protect me has failed me. He decided to retaliate and file an RO on me. With his best friend in tow. My life is getting ruined he said he would be mean. He said you haven't seen mean yet..,you will. I feel as though I just should of stayed and taken the abuse I would have a warm bed and a roof over our heads. My heart goes out to my son. I was trying to protect both of us. think of everything. I mean everything.
Great piece Kellie Jo - this is such an important but difficult subject. Leaving a toxic and abusive relationship is one of the most difficult things you can do, and was one of the hardest times of my life but it was the best thing I ever did. I hope others in a similar situation can find the strength to get out like I did.
I left my abusive husband two days ago. I am so scared. The day after I left he overdosed and ended up in a lock up psych ward. Tuesday he came out and went straight to my workplace. My staff , one single woman was confronted by him and his teenage son. He was stumbling around, smashing things and demand8ng to know where I was. I called the police, he was nice as pie when the police got there. All I wanted to do was leave the drama and start a new calm life. I'm 2 months pregnant to his child and am so scared it's just going to escalate. I've contacted solicitors, police and still just feel scared. I've blocked him from my phone, I'm hoping that by remaining silent and 'dissapeared' that maybe I will get some peace. But have been advised by the solicitor this will be a marathon and to prepare myself. I'm desperate for advice from some people who have been through this. I've been advised by the centre against violence that an avo can be limited if the magistrates deem my situation safe / not safe.
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Why do we as abused women still feel heartbroken after leaving. Why do I know I still love him, the him I thought he was and the one he could conjure up on demand, how do I break that hold. I was forced to plead my undying loyalty on a daily sometimes hourly basis, I was tested to prove my love and devotion everyday. To keep peace I promised to never betray or forsake him. A part of me misses that so much even though nothing he did was ever deserving of that kind of total commitment. I feel like a trader, that even though I sincerely did all he asked he still acted like he hated me and I failed him, us and myself. I'm sad, and I'm blamed for that, by him, by my fAmily and myself. Intellectually I know he has devastated my life physically I suffered broken ribs, choking, loaded guns to my head, I was hospitalized twice due to injuries,, I was humiliated and emotionally blackmailed, it was about as BAd as it could get for anyone, on a couple of occasions my children witnessed his rampages and once had to summon help for me. And still that doesn't seem to be enough to change my heart, what I feel for him has never diminished, I call it my mental illness, I live with this everyday. I even remarried, eight years ago, to a kind gentle man who never raises his voice and would never think of physically causing me harm. He is supportive and understanding. I have told him how important he is to me but I have been honest and told him I am not in love with him. Before we got married he said to me, I pray one day that I have what he has. I said what does he have that you don't, you have all my time and share my life., what could he possibly have that you don't? He answered, "he has your heart"
Can someone please tell me if the gut reaction goes away? I’m divorced for 3 yrs from a 25 yr marriage & today my new boss had me feeling exactly as my ex. How? Why? I’m not sure other than the way he was so direct & somewhat hateful I felt like it was my ex in a way & I reacted as such by instantly pulling back, sitting further back from him, apologizing like I had done something horrible & then leaving & crying. I honestly thought I was so far past this in 3 yrs & within minutes it took me right back there & im embarrassed I was triggered by a innocent person. There was all but sexual abuse In my marriage so do I need thearpy? I’m feeling crazy today after this interaction. Is this normal or am I just ruined in life?
Physical injuries heal, the psychological injuries are so much more damaging and their effects last in my case for decades. I left my ex husband eight years ago. He still contacts me, I am horrible to him, I say awful things and remind him why, but all I want to say is come home. It's beyond sick! I have tried everything and I am seriously considering hypnosis. That's how fed up I am about the effects he has on me..
Oh m Gee!! Thank you so much for putting that "look of disgust" part. I've struggled with that always and as soon as i saw that face I could tell right away that he wasn't happy and that I had to get up right away and put the clothes up. This helped so much as I feel I'm questioning myself if I did the right thing. Seeing my kids happy and my heart lighter makes me realize that I do not want to return to an emotionally abusive relationship ever again!!! Thank you- blessings to you!
After 4 months of freedom from a 27yr marriage, I have friends but I am doing all the contacting. I realized the only person who showed any care or concern for me is anither abuser with the same issues as my ex. I shut him out as soon as I realized but I am so lonely.
I understand that loneliness. It’s hard to heal when you don’t have a support system. I don’t have many people in my life that care either. For me, it just reinforces how my husband always makes me feel; that I don’t matter. It’s hard to matter to yourself when you don’t seem to matter to anyone. It’s probably rock bottom for those of us who have been abused and don’t have anyone to turn to. It makes it hard to seek help. I don’t see the point in continuing to try to reach out when no one seems to care enough to reach back. I don’t know how to up from here. I just feel even more stuck. You’re not alone in how you feel. That might not bring much comfort, but I know how you feel.
Go on YouTube and listen to all the videos on how to overcome and begin your healing journey. That’s what helped me get through and it kept me strong because I became knowledgeable about what happened to me.
I feel your lonliness
Hi nay I just left after the 5 time my 25 year together and 16 year marriage with 5 kids my husband in jail now and I am sooo lost alone I know what I am doing is the right thing but hard as he still thinks we will overcome this to
I just left my abuser two days ago I am afraid yet feel so much freedom just to go for a walk by myself feels so new. Loving just the air . But today finding myself crying an missing him as I pack his belongings . Is this normal and how do I not worry about him and start to worry about me ??
Yes this is normal. One day I will feel free as a bird and am so happy that I left. The next I will miss him and go through a grieving period. There were parts of the relationship which were happy, otherwise it would not of lasted, it's ok to miss those parts. Just remember that negatives outweigh the good. These feelings are how you start to worry about you, you are human and you have emotions, go through the same grieving process anyone has to at the end of a relationship and you'll find your way from there.
Dawn, I am so impressed and proud of you! Leaving an abusive relationship is an extremely difficult thing to do for a variety of very valid reasons, and you did it! You should feel so empowered. The first step in worrying about yourself, you've just taken -- leaving. Well done. Now, missing him and struggling with the emotional side of leaving is completely normal. You are grieving your relationship which means you'll likely go through different stages of grief while you journey onward. The five stages of grief are -- grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You may not go through all 5 and you may go through them out of order, it's normal and it's a healthy and necessary part of moving on with your life. For me, break-ups always bring up the bargaining stage of grief, which is when you start to think to yourself, "if only things could have been different in this way, we could have made it work," or "if this had never happened, we may have still had a chance," or "if he would have just seen a therapist, we would have been so much better off." It's lots of ifs and buts and while it's normal, try to recognize if you start to do that, that it's a normal part of grieving. We do it when we lose a loved one, a relationship ends, we lose a job we loved, etc. Depression is normal as well, but the good news is, it all goes away with time! As your stat to live your life without this person, you'll make new friends, have new experiences, and find new things you enjoy to do, all of this will begin to fill your life with happiness, you'll be moving on. You have a new life ahead of you with endless possibilities and a very real potential for happiness and love, you deserve it. Reach out to friends and family you enjoy spending time with, do things you like to do, you've got this girl!
my partner left her ex because of a abusive relationship her ex put her down she couldn't go out for walks with her friends. She has been separated from him for just over four years now. They share join custody of the children, they have the children for a week each but just lately he's not been returning her son saying that he doesn't want to see his mum this is wrong to keep a child from seeing their parent
How do I keep my abusive ex-husband away since we have a daughter
Amazing and inspiring. Was in a very abusive relationship for 5 years, but at the same time could not live without this person. Took lots of counselling and self actualization to understand why I let this continue. When I first broke free, I could care less what happens to him. Now that I am clear headed, I wish him the best.
My emotionally and mentally abusive husband and I divorced 30 years ago. My daughter was 9 years old. He has only seen her about 5 - 6 times in 30 years. He left us. She was abandoned and neglected. I know she has felt sad over all these years. He has rarely texted her and seems to only throw money at her on her birthday and Christmas. Now out of the blue, after 30 years, she wants a relationship with him. He lives in CA and we live in NJ. She forgives him for all he has done. He is remarried and has two grown kids. I don't get it. Why is she chasing him? It is just me and her. And now all of a sudden he seems to do no wrong. I asked her what she would do if he continues to do the things she has forgiven him for. And she said keep forgiving. I feel so angry not only at her for being okay with being thrown under the bus and being used as a doormat but also towards him for never apologizing or asking for forgiveness. He is sneaky and evil. He has no conscience. In his mind he has done no wrong. And she has never confronted him about his unacceptable behavior. In fact she just told me today after we argued about this that the reason he probably never came here to see her was because he was not welcome at home by me. She keeps making excuses for him. Wow I never saw this coming. What do I do now? Any thoughts on this? I am quite upset to say the least.
Let her see it on her own. Let her take this risk. You can only protect at a certain level. Don't feel offended. Kids wants to have the answers too and if she is forgiving him it's a good step for her peace but once she sees him and his attitude she will know best for her. Don't feel hurt it's okay. Just try to stay strong! And still be there for her. Sometimes kids wants their answers or ways to heal
my situation about making excuses for my abuser has stop he is a very violent person I realize I don't haft to be with him I don't need the hittings the slapping choking punching me bitting and any violence toward me he had done he told me he was intutionlize and demon possed my daughter rescued me from the wrath of my abuser no one has to take it being abuse I have choosen life verses death I prayed and realized living with him if I went back I would die he told me he loves me it would never happen again and it only got worse the longer I stayed . there is help for women and men. I stayed because I believe it would get better ill show more love meet his needs my mind confused my heart I didn't want to give up on him I thought I was strong for going though this my daughter started calling more she stayed on the phone with me she rescue me she called me everyday was their for me she stayed close communication and im safe and alive! its is a answerd prayer im alive because of my daughter intervene prayer works there are prayers on you tube that help me my daughter forgivening is one thing abuse is not love I know this today!
Hi my wife of two years left me two months ago, in the two moths she has moved house four times, the last move was back to her abusive ex of six years ago, we had our ups and downs but I never abused her. Why would she behave like this, we knew each other for 21 years.
I have been married for 4 years; 2 years very unhealthy. I have now realised that I am in a narcisstic relationship. However I love my husband I really beleuve that. You'll all think I'm mad when you read this but I do too deep down I know I'm not right in my head.
I have a 18 year old daughter, she was 13 when she met my husband. She welcomed him and respected him. He was quite good with her for two years, however sometimes close to the mark with banter.
My daughter is an only child. Her dad isn't great at the parental side but very good at providing her with external factors (car, holidays). I brought my daughter up to be rejectful and with good morals. She has never swore at me or disrespected me. However she can be lazy and selfish with time at times. She spoils me with gifts as I'm studying at the moment and slightly poor! She pays me board as she works full time and always asks if I'm ok.
My husband for the past two years has called her the most toxic things. Only five times to get but more or less everyday to me. It's at the point now where I never mention her name, and when attending events she is never invited and I literally feel in agony inside as most people I meet there are unaware I have a child.
He has always been hard on me; he paid for bills for two years as this was agreed due to me providing a larger deposit. He has persecuted me for this for the last two years; I paid him out of house and not asked for a penny off him.
He hates all my family he tells me he doesn't find me attractive
He despises my daughter
He constantly says my voice irritates him
He is physically violent too now always throwing things st me and poking my head, he has put his hands on my throat few times. The thing that is killing me is I keep thinking I can correct this. He constantly says I need mental medical help (I'm studying my Msc for nursing). He says I cause all arguments and that I'm to blame.
I just hate my head I'm a mess I don't know my thoughts anymore
I can't even decide on things to buy from shops for food to eat
my family are all so tired of me and say they don't know who I am; mist of all my daughter. I should add that she has never left me in all this. I hate myself.
Hi Stacy, I am not married and have no kids, but the rest of your story is just what I meant to write here. I've been with my boyfriend for more than 2 years, and at first he was so nice... Of course, bells were ringing from the start and I didn't want to hear them. Now my life is nothing but stress, I cry and being afraid my s.o. is going to leave me. He scares me, and according to him, I do everything wrong, and every fight was caused be me. He also says that I need professional help, just like your husband. And the things, that he makes me to do in order to keep him with me... They are just unbelievable. Recently I've been physically hurt by drunk member of his family, and of course it was my fault... I was just standing in the corner, when that happened. Before, he threatened me, that if I do something wrong, he will leave me. I depend on him financialy as that was a part of our deal (I am starting to build my career, and he promised to support me). And you know, I am just done. Idk, I think my head will burn and blow out, when I actually leave him, but I understood that I have to do it. Your situation is worse, than mine, but you have your amazing daughter, friends and family. I live in foreign country with my boyfriend, so if he leaves, I will be left absolutely alone. I believe, you have enough strength to fix your situation. It's not easy, but trust me, all of that is not your fault! Relationships consist of 2 people, and one of them can't be blamed for everything!
Thank you for your reply.
I am sorry for your problems and worries.
Read up on narcissism it's good to clear mind on what is happening to you. However your doubts will creep back but in time you'll see it clear. I need to take my own advice I know. I am currently sat upstairs in my house and my husband is downstairs shouting that he wants to hurt my daughter and that he hopes I fail my degree and that me and my daughter are on our knees.
I was ever such a bright person looked after myself etc. Now I'm
Ashamed to say I don't even brush my hair most of the time. I'm consumed by his words.
Hope you are ok Anastacia xx
Hi Stacey - Please please PLEASE take care of YOU - if you do not - no one else will !!! Yes you have your daughter, but it makes me very heart sick and sad for you to believe this mans words and let them make you feel like you describe ... NO ONE has the right to put their hands on you with out your consent - and I doubt seriously he had your consent to put his hands around your neck!! You sound like a very smart person who could have a lot going for her - ALSO - NEVER let a man (or any other person) dictate to you who you can or cannot see or be with, or spend time with ... any person who tries to control you in that way is a sick person and toxic to your health!!
I just 2-1/2 months ago left a 28 year marriage to an emotionally abusive alcoholic narcissist. My path is far from over - but at least we no longer live under the same roof - I only wish I had been able to take our two sons out of all of the drama and torture and fighting long ago ... they are 20 and 27 now, but still very happy for me that I will be away from him and hopefully happier - however they are also concerned for their Dad, as he is seemlingly very disgraught as he honestly thought that I would never leave him. Anyway - please take care of yourself - EVERY ONE ... and know that YOU ALONE are WORTHY!!! Lift yourself up - do not beat yourself down - we've let our SO's do that much too long already. Godspeed everyone!
Hello leave before he kills u guys I just left my physical husband who damaged my ear and hurt me bad he is in jail if a man ever threatened to hurt my kids that would be it there is help for u you don’t have to rely on him for financial trust me leave it will just escalate go to a shelter
Hi Everyone.. Its been almost 7 months since i left my husband but after a week of contemplating I ended up in my ex husbands house main reason is to grab some of my winter clothes as hes only started allowing me to get some of my personal things without playing games i think.
He was very welcoming as if he hasn't done anything to me. (Which hes never really acknowledged his behavior since day 1. Anyway seeing him like that I forgot
All the abusive words and ugly thing that he did. Now Im all confused. I ALMOST didnt want to leave him. The only thing that saved me waa when i remembered the scenario why i finally left after 10 years of relationship. Please help I am so confused hes saying that he wasnt abusive that hes put me on pedestal all those years .
Grace you know better, He treated you like crap and he didnt care. Still, the key question doesn’t go away: do emotionally abusive men know they are abusive? Because, if they don’t, how come they are so good at knowing exactly where, and how, to hurt? That can’t just be an accident, can it?
I read that somewhere now pull your girly pants up and remember to change his name in your phone to PAIN,ANXIETY AND PANIC. So you see him for what he represents to your life. I am still with my abuser but have tried leaving before. Do this for YOU and me. Pray for me that I leave. He wants to isolate me further by moving us away.
Awesome response xx
Thank you for writing this. I left my partner after being strangled for a third time and I didn't even know he was an abuser when I left. Something took over and I just had to get him out. I feel so sad and miss him,and for this I find myself thinking "What's wrong with me?!". I find it so hard to stay strong and not let him in when he's crying outside and howling and beg find it hard not to call him all the time, but I've realised now that he no longer tries so contact me, until his withdrawals set in anyway. I heard he's hanging around scummy girls, and it hurt so much to hear like he just forgot about me so quick he must never have really loved me like he said it did. It hurts but it made it easier to stay strong and not call when I heard that. Now I hear he is having drug psychoses often and will be in jail soon. I still pray for him but from afar. I will not let him in to my life ever again. Lots of love to allother women going through this same thing. You can do it xx
i left an abusive marriage and im left to pick up the pieces. it's not just the isolation... its living thats hard. I see abuse in everything in everyone, more than my abuser and i know it comes from me being in his head and seeing through his eyes. I still find myself living in the habits of abuse. I always wonder when the next attack will come, i welcome it just so i can get it over with and when it doesnt happen, i think what's wrong with him. Inside of me, I get mad at him bc I'm still walking on eggshells, watching... waiting. I see glimpses of abusive behavior, a tone that may not even be there, hurt feelings that turn into defensiveness from something i said wrong and i shut down, prepare for the numbness thats inside of me and everything is quiet. the quiet before the storm and still im waiting. i know if people know, they will think im crazy but i think I'm crazy. i see myself living life against my will, always going through the motions doing only what will please them just to prevent an attack. i see people watching me and i hear his voice, see the
way they are looking at you. i dont understand why I am more mad at others than him, for looking at me that way, for a punishment that never comes. Without it, there will be no relief for me and i have lived for this relief. i know i have this problem but even worse is the fear that it will be used against me. I dont know how to pull myself from this darkness bc it was always him that took the lead to forgiveness. I know that my way of preventing future attacks is different from others. It always comes back to complete isolation. The only place i feel safe is inside of me, knowing that when i speak or laugh no one knows that im the one struggling. The only place i feel safe is in the lie, that I'm okay.
i live in 2 worlds where i am raw and broken but i laugh and play and touch and hug and my daughter wonders why I am sad and cry when we are alone.
Sometimes I don't know what to say that isn't wrong. Sometimes I feel like there isn't any version of myself that doesn't mess everything up. My habits of abuse are forced on myself by me. I still tell myself that I don't matter and try to move on. I spend my days in the fog of someone elses shadow of importance. I'm starting to see glimpses of my reality in which i know that i don't always feel more than others. "don't look at me that way" I start to say as he rolls his eyes and says, "ok, I won't look at you." But I want him to. I want him to see me, not this broken person who stays silent. I want people to understand that what i have been through hasnt broken me because I'm still here. my mind may not always be clear but I'm still fighting. I'm fighting to wake up every morning, put one foot in front of the other even as I make my way to work. I'm still fighting with my kids as tired as it makes me feel. When someone actually does take the time to look at me, I'm afraid that I will become what they see. I don't want to become the person they see... I want to be me.
These are the emotions I went through after I left my abusive marriage after 12 years while working with a dentist. It's been 2 years since I left my abusive marriage and some days are still really hard.
Thank you. I needed to read this right now.
Hello, I am 20 years old and I just left an abusive relationship after about 3 and half years together. we have a tenth month old daughter which has made it very hard to leave. I didn't want to be alone while pregnant or being a single mother and I think it's that fear of not knowing what was going to happen to me and my daughter is what kept me from leaving. My mom is out of the picture(She ran off with a new fiance and he got her into drugs) I've been on my own since I was 18, but I'm still only 20 and had no one to talk to I felt Isolated. he made sure that I had no one to talk to, or that I felt I had no one but him. He isolated me from my family. They hated me for staying with someone who would treat me this way, and for not getting our daughter away from him. He is an alcoholic and for months if not the last year and a half maybe two. I have been supporting his addiction. He has the password to my online banking and all my pin numbers(so he would take my card and buy alcohol whenever he wanted) it made it to where we could not afford rent cause he had spent all his money and most of mine. We had to borrow money from his parents in order to pay our last months rent. We were going to sign another lease together, but his parent thought we should find someplace cheaper. I'm so glad they did, cause I decided then to start looking for a place with a girlfriend of mine.
He's been trying everything he can think of to get me back. He tried to suicide card, the jealous card, the I can take your daughter away card cause my parents make more money then your dad who's living off disability. (we both temporarily moved into our parents. it's been a few days now) Now he's threatening to move away to Santa Barbara where he has a friend living there already. saying I will have to take care of Sky all by myself, which is what I want, but I'' already be sharing rent to an apartment that is on the higher end of my price range, and now I have to afford day care... I work Mon-Fri 7am-4pm My daughter is at home currently with my older sister who is visiting, but I need to make other arrangements and I'm scared, I have no authority figure to tell me what to do. I'm supposed to know because I'm someones mom, but I need a little guidance in the right direction.
ANY help or advice at all would be great!
P.s. I didn't go into detail about the abuse, but lets just say he's not someone I want anyone else to be with. Unless he gets MAJOR help! I've had three concussions cause of him and my two front teeth got knocked halfway out. I triangle chip. He hit me while pregnant and in front of my daughter and while I've been holding her. I've left so many times, but I always end up going back to him. I think it was so hard cause I lived with him this whole time and we would wake up and he would act as if nothing had happened. half the time he blacks out and doesn't remember anything and cries like a baby asking for forgiveness cause he doesn't remember and would never really do that or mean that. For some reason I'd always go back! and it makes me feel like a terrible mother! I don't want this to affect my daughter negatively. She's the happiest baby I've ever met and just a pure angel. I'd like to keep her that way.
anyways, this is longer then I wanted it to be.
Thanks in advance for anyone who responds!it is GREATLY appreciated.
When I saw your post, I wanted to write. I hope it's not too late to be of help. I am 29, and was abused by a parent most of my life, but escaped and am recovering. I'm hoping my experience might help you. First of all, you are brave as hell and I am so proud of you. I left an abuser, and I know how hard it is emotionally and financially - I can't even imagine how difficult this is for you when you have a child. The consequences for your daughter right now are very high - abuse can cause PTSD, and very severe depression. I've been there. The good news is that there are resources. Try calling your local woman's shelter, which can provide emergency resources like furniture, baby clothes, etc. and help with a safety plan (for free, as I understand it). Secondly, know that you have the ability to get out of this situation - you have been so brave.
Here is what helped me escape my abuser:
1) When thinking about that person, train yourself not to make excuses for him/her. It's tempting, because abusers make so many excuses for their behavior.
2) Do not trust apologies, gifts, or "loving" behavior. Abusers can be very charming - that's why it's so hard to leave. When he apologizes or does something nice, remember that it's part of the game abusers play. It's a classic abuser move. Tell yourself "This is a classic abuser move" every single time he is violent, verbally cruel, or steals your money, and then pretends it didn't happen or makes elaborate apologies.
3) Read articles on abusers and narcissistic behavior. This can help you identify abusive tendencies, label them as such, and strengthen your resolve.
4) The definition of an abuser is presence of abusive behaviors. If you have concussions from this man, he is an abuser.
5) It is normal to doubt yourself constantly when you are in such a terrifying position. Know that your instincts - to get away and protect your baby - are spot on. Recovery is about learning to trust your instincts, to "trust what you know to be true," as my trauma specialist says.
6) Make a safety plan (with the help of a women's shelter, domestic abuse hotline, counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.).
7) Alert the police. Consider asking for a restraining order or a no-contact order (the first is for physical violence and the second is for harassment like repeated phonecalls). The policeman and investigator I spoke with were great, and told me sometimes a restraining order or no contact order can make things worse, sometimes better. The detective called my abuser and the contact stopped - that being said, I was in another geographic area by then. Once in awhile you may meet a policeman or woman that isn't the best fit for the police force (ie, one that doesn't take you seriously) - if that happens, talk to another one.
8) Write sentences of phrases you want to learn to believe, in order to strengthen you emotionally. This can be a really important step in learning to trust yourself. For example, "I am brave and resilient. I am capable. I know what's best for my daughter. I do not trust erratic behavior (ie. love/hate patterns) from an abuser." Etc.
9) It is normal to blame yourself if you are abused, and is a common reaction. It is NOT your fault. You will have to train yourself to believe this. I find writing it repeatedly helps.
10) It is normal for an abused person to love, miss, and crave the attention and love of an abuser. Know that this is a common reaction, that you CAN have love and attention, but you need to find it in other people.
11) In times when you have no support, know that there are amazing and kind people in the world. Sometimes, you will find kindness in unexpected places. Once, when I was very depressed and recovering from assault, I knocked over a small carton of fruit at the store. A tiny little boy picked it up for me, and it made my day. Another time, a disabled veteran I didn't know said, "You look like you are carrying the world on your shoulders. Are you alright?" In other words - support is out there! Every time you want to go back to your abuser, identify what you want from them (love, company, etc), and identify another person who can offer that to you. It might take awhile, but escaping and healing is about learning to find love and acceptance elsewhere. Good luck - I am so rooting for you. I believe in you, and I really admire your deep love for your daughter.
Your story just hit home with me. I couldn't not reply. I hope you are doing well. For a 20 year old single mother you sound like you have your head firmly on your shoulders and are doing a great job. You can do this, trust that you have made the right decisions for the right reasons. I hope you have found a support network and are doing ok with work and getting your bills paid. Most importantly I hope that each day since you wrote this post some months back is becoming a little brighter for you and your beautiful little girl. I can relate to your story and even at 13 years older than yourself, it can be an exhausting and hard road. Please take care and be kind to yourself.
Great job. I hope you stay away. You dont want to end up on the news. Stay strong. Heal your heart.and mind to meet a man that will care for you and love u and your daughter!
Hi. I'm a 39 year old woman currently in the process. I have been physically, emotionally, and financially abused. During our time together I finished a two year degree. (Diploma folded up in a box. I was made to believe that my accomplishments were trash. He had been in prison most of his adult life. So, yes I lived as his jail mate. I've tried to leave over 7 times. I have friends who have been very patient with me. I have finally decided that I deserve to be happy. No more being a slave. I'm leaving my state with two bags of belongings. I finally accepted the help of a long time friend who struggled to keep in contact with me. I have a one way ticket to freedom. I finally began to watch him verses complain or reason with him about his disrespect and lack of love. I really began to see him for what he really was, a master manipulator. Thank you all for sharing your stories it helps with dealing with the " fear of the unknown". As long as you draw breathe you have a chance to escape. Don't give up on yourself!
Great job! Go live a stress free loving life with positive people.
Wow I am in this situation right now! i am a cell mate also considered to be a prison guard. thank you so much for sharing. the physical abuse just started. i am leaving i have some health problems so working is gonna be very challenging. i have a plan in place wish me luck.
hi I really need help in an abusive relationship I want to leave but its not that easy because my fiancé has paid the lobola and we have a baby boy his turning two year ,he have kids we staying with them (2)
I don't have a problem with the kids but where they are wrong I punish them,he becomes angry and wants to make decisions for me like play my role or tell me what to,his not supportive last time they broke at my mums house and they told me who did that when I tried to ask him to drop me at my mums house and look for those guys because I know their corners he refused ,I saw his ex girlfriend call in his phone he denied when I tell him its fine im going home move on with her im not the who fights for a guy he told me the true I even listened to their conversation then he apologised,last year august he was proposing my friend eish...December 2014 0n the 23rd he gave me a hot clap at news café nje ...
the reason im staying with him its because I fall pregnant 2014 and paid dowry(lobola) I wasn't ready for that but scared of my parents and other thing im the only child at home,now competly changed, Im busy looking for a job but no luck ive diploma in boilermaking and Samtrac and I want to leave this relationship but its not easy because my mum said you have to be strong and remember they paid lobola if you just leave they gonna want it backyou don't just do as you please...
now im trying to find something that I will use it against him guess what I don't find anything and now im tired like I cant stand for this im emotionaly hurt at my (25)age experiencing this its not easy
hi I need help
The best place to find help is http://thehotline.org. They have a chat service and a free phone number to call. Please use it.
I had an an awful time with two abusers who both abused me it was a mother and son team so this felt much worse than just the son it's a long time ago now but I still have visions about the abuse it really brings me down.