3 Things You Should Know If You Have Ever Been In An Abusive Relationship
You don’t have to stay in something that is not getting better
Upon writing my memoir today I found myself faced with a task I had been putting off for a very long time. In fact, I think I had been avoiding it altogether due to the pain it brought up. It was about an abusive relationship I found myself in about 10 years ago. The story has a happy ending, luckily, but so many other people could be going through the same thing as we speak. Things could be even more difficult during a pandemic where odds of escaping the situation are slim to none.
My ex and I were very much in love and we had such a passion for one another that it often spiraled into bouts of emotional abuse, and often into physical abuse. It was cathartic to finally tell my story, even just to get it down into words, but it meant having to relive the entirety of the relationship over again. I feel exhausted having finally finished it, but I am left with something that still needs to be said, to whomever it may help.
These are 3 things to know if you are involved in an abusive relationship:
1. You are not your trauma
Someone told me this a while back and it has stuck with me: we, as humans are traumatized people, re-traumatizing each other over and over again, in an increasingly traumatic world. It’s hard to pull ourselves out of that victim mindset at times. Yes we experience trauma in a myriad of ways, both big and small daily and we deal with said trauma in our own ways. Some healthy, some not so much.
The one thing I find when talking with people who have gone through abuse in their relationships is that they identify with it. They feel like it is a part of them and they are open about it to whoever wants to listen. This is fine, but there is a distinction between informing and identifying with your trauma. Just because you went through something, doesn’t mean it’s always a part of you. It has made you into the bright, shining star you are now, you are no longer a victim. It has informed this new you about what you went thorugh to get to where you are now and thats amazing.
If you continuously re-live the trauma and identify with it you are essentially telling yourself that you’re okay with more trauma. You open yourself up to bringing more of it into your sacred space because it feels comfortable to you. You never fully heal from it because you’ve simply accepted it as a part of you. That’s not healing, that’s being the dog in the meme with the house on fire and you’re simply saying that it’s fine.
You are not your trauma. It has informed the new you about what hurdles you’ve had to endure in the past to get to the place you are now. It does not have to be your identity. Let yourself loose from the ties that bind.
2. You don’t have to stay
You are a beautiful soul and are deserving of a love that is not full of insecurity or jealousy. That being said, you are under no obligation to stay in a relationship that does not make you feel good. You are worthy of love in every respect and should not feel as if you have to water down your wants or needs to appease someone who seeks to control your every move.
Yes I understand that children, property, or some other issue may be involved that could otherwise harm or hinder your way out of a situation. But you must know that where there is a will, there is a way. There are many anonymous programs that help others in just this very way. Lean on your family and friends until things have settled. Law enforcement (if you feel safe in calling them) can also be a resource if things get really dangerous.
Note: I will list several programs at the bottom of this article for additional resources. You do not have to stay in something violent or abusive simply because you feel as if there is no other option. I am telling you from experience, there is always another option. There is help and safety out there, you just have to seek it.
3. You are worthy
Some people stay in a bad relationship because they feel as though they have little to offer someone who is genuine. Their sense of self-worth has been dragged through the mud numerous times by an abuser because that is how abusers know to control others. They beat them down so that they feel feeble and their will to live is gone. That is how they are manipulated.
This is all you need to know: none of that bullshit is true in the slightest. You are worthy and special and kind. You deserve to be treated as such. It’s hard for people to grapple with this because of their past, but again, your past is not your identity, it has simply informed the current you. You no longer have to feel less than or powerless because someone has made you feel that way. It’s simply not true.
You are worthy of real love, even if it doesn’t come from another person right away, give it to yourself. The greatest act of self-love is allowing yourself freedom from the things that once controlled you or hurt you. If you are waiting on permission to step into your strength, well, here it is. I bestow on you permission to accept that you are worthy of it. Now come up with a plan to remove yourself from negativity and step up that self-love.
“The greatest act of self-love is allowing yourself freedom from the things that once controlled you or hurt you.”
If no one has told you today that you are absolutely a beautiful, intelligent, and caring child of God (or the Universe) then allow me to be the first. You are absolutely a beautiful, intelligent, and caring child of God and you deserve the very best life has to offer. You are not alone in your trauma, I’ve been there too. Bless you and all your fabulous gifts.
If you are in need of assistance due to violence at home or abuse here are some resources that can help:
National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800.799.SAFE (7233) https://www.thehotline.org/
LGBT Resource - The Trevor Project: 1–866–488–7386 www.thetrevorproject.org/