Posted by: Lea | October 7, 2008

Abuse and Healing

How many of you reading this have experienced abuse of some kind, as a child and/or in a relationship? I experienced both, but for now I will focus on the experience that gave me the most wisdom, which was my second marriage.

Abusive Relationship

When I met my abuser, I was still trying to heal from my first marriage and divorce. Friends with good intentions were urging me to get back into dating. I didn’t feel I was ready for that yet, but began to feel that dating might help me get past the loss I felt from my divorce.

I had difficulty standing up for myself even when I knew I needed to and should. Reasons for this can be traced back to my childhood. This made me an easy catch for someone with an abusive nature, as manipulation is one of the key skills of abusers. Even people who at first seemed nice, loving and caring can be hiding abusive personalities or trait. We don’t deliberately get involved with abusive people. They attract us by their ability to be loving and caring toward us.

It’s said that victims of abuse will behave in two ways, they will either withdraw and be quiet or join the abuser and become abusive themselves. I was the quiet and withdrawn type. At first the abuse was mostly mental and it didn’t take long before I saw evidence of not just his anger, but his rage. I wanted to get away, but didn’t know how I would be able to without a violent reaction from him. Even before experiencing physical attacks from him, I sensed he was quite capable of physical abuse and I had no where to go. It got worse after we had a child. When an abuser is confident that they have you trapped and fully under their control, the abuse often steps up to the next level. So many of the things listed in the “Signs of Abusive Personalities,” I witnessed and heard. I knew I had to find a way to get my child and myself away form him. I didn’t want my child to grow up in that kind of situation. Seeing things a child doesn’t need to see, like a high chair flying across two rooms. It would take two years for that to happen.

Though escape can be difficult, it is possible. I was fortunate in that I had a family member who was willing to help us. I also recommend Domestic Violence shelters that offer havens for battered women and their children. The domestic counselor I had was associated with such a shelter. She also was a domestic violence survivor. Perhaps that’s why she was so good at counseling battered women.

Healing

An abuse survivor requires time to heal on several levels, especially mentally and emotionally, with the average  length of time taking around three years, but sometimes longer. I know some survivors who avoid getting involved in intimate relationships and never remarry.  I was told by the  domestic violence counselor that this isn’t unusual. I guess that’s because their ability to trust men has been completely destroyed.

A survivor of any type of abuse needs to learn to accept and love themselves. Accept the good with the bad. No one is perfect and no one deserves abuse. If you want to change a few things about yourself, then you can work toward making those changes. Just remember your good qualities and continue to nurture them. Often after an abusive experience, the person doesn’t remember the person they were before the abuse or what they have to offer to others and the world. Rediscovering yourself takes time and is part of the healing process.

Its important to remember that the abuse was not your fault. All responsibility for abusive behavior belongs with the abuser. They are the only one who chose to do what they did and are the only one who can choose to change their behavior.

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Responses

  1. Thank you for posting this. It is hard to read, but we should all be aware. It also helps us see how much people are hurting … on both sides of these relationships.

    It’s a testament to the fact that we are only as strong as our weakest link. Abusers do it because they need help, but are unable to accept/admit it.

    If somehow we can help people find ways to better process their experiences, release and transcend even the most traumatic energies of the past and reconnect with God/Divine Spirit deep within, both sides of this equation would experience relief.

    And once the individual and the couple is healed, the family is healed. As a result, our communities become healthier.

    Having released that fear vibration, our world could truly become a better place…one person at a time.

    Thanks again for this article.

    Grace and Peace,
    SpiritFREE1

  2. Thank you SpiritFREE1. So many of us feel alone and isolated by our experiences. Only by reaching out and sharing can we realize that not only are we not not alone, but there is help if we want it.

  3. Hi there Lea ^__^

    I have a close friend who is currently experiencing this situation. We (one of her closest friends) have been telling her for a lot of times that she doesn’t deserve to be in such a relationship… Specially that we see her as a very beautiful person who deserves the best. Though, she keeps coming back to her husband… I guess it’s because she knows, she made this decision alone (she never told us that she got pregnant and that she converted to islam/muslim and married the abusive guy). Also, she now has a daughter (which her husband seems to be confident of that my friend couldn’t leave him), she couldn’t afford annulment (it’s the only way here in the Philippines). …and the guy wouldn’t let her go…

    From the start, we never really liked the guy… We can feel that there’s something about him… but she didn’t listen.

    I just don’t know why she is still in love with her husband… despite that she has been put down/verbally abused for a lot of times and battered. Plus, she knows that her husband is having a lot of affairs…

    I feel very bad for my friend… and I don’t know what else I can do. Like you said, the victim often forgets what she was like before… and that happened to her. She doesn’t have any confidence or self-respect left. I do try to uplift her, I remind her how beautiful she is and it hurts me to see her feel so down… but I guess it can only do little since she is still living her life with her abuser.

    Somehow I can still feel her resistance to move on without the presence of her husband… and I guess nothing can convince her if she resists change…

  4. Hi Tessa

    Its good that you tell her that she deserves better. The problem though is apparently she doesn’t believe it.

    Also, he could be using their daughter as a tool against her. My abuser did. Every time he went into a rage and he knew I was ready to bolt out the door, he would grab the baby so I wouldn’t leave.

    Then there’s also the possibility that he has managed to convince her that she wouldn’t be able to provide for the baby and her on her own, or she might be thinking that her self. Or maybe he has threatened the people who would support her like family and friends. My abuser harassed my mother when I left him, trying to get her to tell him where the baby and I was.

    Its a difficult situation. But there is help if she decides that she has had enough.

    My prayers are with her and her daughter. Thank you for sharing this. Many blessings

  5. Hello…I ran across your abuse post and noticed that you have a share option attached to it.
    I would very much like to add this post to my abuse section on my website of real stories.
    Please get back to me and let me know!
    Have a very positive day!
    DorothyL

  6. Hi DorothyL

    If you believe that my experience with domestic abuse could be of some help to others, then please feel free to share it on your site.

    Thank you for your interest. Have a wonderful day filled with many blessings.

  7. I left my abusive husband a year ago, and I have been dealing with a variety of emotions. I have thought about going back, gave him two chances and both times after a couple days I saw that same dark side and knew He hadn’t changed. I am scared of what He is capable of. He has recently started threatening our son if I don’t return…the court gave him unsupervised visitation…my son is 19 mos old, I am going back to court to fight this. I live in an apt. where he doesn’t know the location but it could only be a matter of time before he follows my family here or something. Does anyone know any other steps I can take to protect my son…or how to assess how dangerous he really is. I feel like He is trying to hunt me down, “a year later” and kill me. I wanted and want to still stay out of the relationship with him, but sometimes it seems like it is worse not being with him. How much longer until it gets better after you leave a man like this?

  8. Hello Beth

    I’m so sorry that your going through this and I understand your fears. If you cave in and return to him now, it is most likely that he will be more abusive than he was before you left and the threats to your son will continue because they worked.

    Get a note book to keep a journal. Every time he makes a threat to you or your baby, write it down with the date and time. Make sure your family and friends know what is going on. If it continues, talk to a lawyer and the child protection agency.

    It will take time for you to heal and rebuild your life. The important thing now is for you and your son to be safe. You and your baby are in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. I have been abused for six years by my husband. I’ve had four broken ribs, two concussions, four broken fingers a broken foot and too many bruises to count.
    I got him out of the house, have filed for divorce but I’m really struggling with lonliness and wanting to take him back. I love him very much but the last beating I thought he was going to kill me. Why can’t I get beyond this and dislike this man so that I don’t want him in my life? I do not have children, am 55 years old, an executive with a good sized bank and I’m very, very lonely. Please help me. I feel so isolated.

  10. Hi Kathy

    I’m so sorry to hear that you had to endure abuse from someone you love.

    Feelings of isolation and loneliness after leaving an abusive relationship is common, especially if you don’t have family or friends to turn to.

    Having gone to counseling after leaving my abuser, I strongly support abuse victims finding a good counselor for support while going through this life transition.

    Most likely there are also abuse support groups available that you could attend. A support group would be therapeutic as well as offer an opportunity to meet other women who have been in the same situation, which can also lead to friendship.

    It does take time to heal after abuse. In the meantime, I hope you will consider my suggestions. I know they helped me a lot.

    I wish you healing and many blessings.


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