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Going Deeper: Recovering from Abuse

Going Deeper: Recovering from Abuse

Two weeks ago, I wrote about my experiences in an abusive relationship. It was one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written. But this is an important topic and I’m not ready to let it go yet. No, because healing from an abusive relationship doesn’t end with leaving.

I’ve been out of that relationship for almost ten years. Yes, I know the date I left and yes, I will celebrate it in my own private way this year. But despite the fact that I’m healthy, happy, and have friends and a loving husband now, I still deal with the repercussions of that relationship on a regular basis.

One of the hallmarks of an abusive relationship is that the victim never feels that she (or he, as men are abused too) is worth anything. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve wondered, “Why is she friends with me?” or “Why would they ever want to hire me?” I know those thoughts are silly. I know that I’m a good person, that I’m smart and strong and caring. But years of being beaten down take their toll.

When “normal” people have a bad day, they often turn to friends for laughter, sympathy, or comfort. I turn inward. Often this means that I suffer under a pall of depression alone, unwilling to call upon anyone. I cannot tell you the number of times a friend has said to me, “Why didn’t you text me?”

I didn’t call or text because I didn’t think my problems were worthy of bother. Because I’m not worthy of bother. I know in my head that isn’t true. A friend is someone you don’t bother when you need to talk. They’re happy to let you cry on their shoulder or chat after work. But abuse victims often don’t understand that. Not in their hearts.

It’s a rare day when I reach out. And a rarer day when I open up about my true fears. Because even now, I’m terrified of rejection, of being told I’m worthless, and being ignored. But this means that though I have a very weak filter, and don’t often consider much to be TMI, there are only a few who truly know me.

If you have a friend who is an abuse survivor, be aware that they may have a hard time reaching out and knowing their own worth. And don’t be surprised if they never seem to need anyone. It’s a defense mechanism. They need as much as the next person.
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2 Comments

  • Tami Lund Posted January 19, 2015 6:16 am

    Amazing post. And hopefully, a little cathartic. Because yeah, you deserve to have confidence and believe in yourself.

  • Elaine Posted January 19, 2015 3:22 pm

    such a good reminder to those of us with friends coming out of abusive relationships. Thanks for your honesty.

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