I am outspoken about abusive relationships and how easily people can find themselves in one. I have volunteered with women’s shelters in the past and I would say it is a passion for me to help women (Yes I realize men can be victim’s too). I like helping women to realize the relationships they are in are unhealthy and ultimately leave. I am of the opinion that abusers don’t change and likely the behaviors will only get worse.
I read a book in college about this woman who continued to report a stalkers behavior and nobody took her seriously. She was killed. That is the kind of sh** that eats away at me but also fuels me to support friends (and strangers) who justify behaviors over and over again until something really bad happens. I wanna read that..link me While I don’t agree with every aspect of the book (some aspects of victim blaming), learning to trust your instincts is very helpful and the stories are interesting. ALSO I love True Crime.
I have been in a couple of unhealthy relationships and one that would be considered abusive. To read up on the details of that relationship, Click here and to read about having a child with him..Click here!
Long story short, I met him when I was about 13. I used to wait up on AOL messenger for his name to pop up. I met him when I was so young I would draw pictures of us, with our pretend kids and then snap a picture of it with my 2003 Logitech webcam and send it back through AIM. So..I’ve know him for a long time. We went in and out of each other’s lives for many years until one night I was drinking and I called him up. I had just gotten out of a relationship and wanted someone to talk to. Fast forward, it was toxic, it was abusive, it was traumatic.
I took out protective orders then I’d go back.
I would start dating someone else, he would find out, he would call me 50 times.
I would tell him I am never coming back, then go back.
I moved states to get away from him and then flew him out there.
I knew he was horrible but had a kid with him anyway.
I fully understand the complexities of being in a relationship with someone that you care about in some ways and despise in others. I know what it is like to feel so completely alone laying next to someone. I know what it is like to want to run away but you know that he’d either catch you or you’d let him catch you. Abusive relationships fuck with your head when you’re in them and when you finally leave.
Here are a few things that I did after I left him for good.
Spend time alone. I kicked out my ex when I was 8 weeks pregnant. I was working and I had a lot of friends but I felt like it was imperative to spend time by myself. I was single for a year after I got out of the abusive relationship (Yeah I was pregnant but I PROMISE you people still wanted to date which was totally weird but anyway..). Spending time alone was probably one of the greatest gifts I gave myself. I got to know what I liked and what I wanted to spend time doing. 10/10 highly recommend.
Are you bad at “alone time” or feel like you constantly need someone around? Well fucking quit it and try these things:
- Read an interesting book
- Binge watch a TV show
- Try a new recipe
- Go see a movie alone
- Sign up for an activity alone (Painting, Exercise Class, Basket Weaving..)
Also – don’t jump into another relationship because you are lonely. This is trauma. Heal yourself before you go to something new!
Reconnect with friends/family. After you’ve had enough time alone to process the shit storm you went through, try reaching out to some friends or family that you may have isolated from during this relationship. My ex told me that all my friends hated me and my family didn’t really love me for YEARS. By the time we were done, I didn’t really have any of my old friends in my life. It was hard to reach out and explain what was happening but it was worth it.
Figure out who the hell you are and start living for you.
Abusers rob you of who you are.
Abusers make every aspect of the relationship about them, their needs, their greatness and nothing about you.
Abusers cheat you out of your light.
Abusers prey on your weaknesses and expose them in ways just to make you feel ashamed.
- What can you do today to make your life a little bit better?
- What can you do today that YOU enjoy?
- What can you do today to make tomorrow easier?
Find a passion. Maybe you have spent months, years or decades downplaying your own talents so someone else (THE ABUSER) can feel more special or intelligent. Yeah..I’ve been there. My ex would tell me how I wasn’t talented or smart or really that funny (like ok..but I totally am..any-fucking-way). He would also say things like “You are so much prettier when you are crying” A whole psychopath.
Finding your passion or reconnecting with your passion is so vital to this process. Right now, you need a confidence boost. You need something that makes you feel fabulous, smart and happy. You need something that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning.
Don’t blame yourself. First of all, don’t let anyone tell you that you contributed to the abusive relationship or should have seen all the signs. An abusive relationship doesn’t start off abusive and it is a slippery slope that someone falls into. You don’t go on a first date, get punched in the face and say yep he is THE ONE.
Seek professional services. There are all kinds of abusive relationships and you may find that you need to utilize a women’s shelter, planned parenthood, ER, domestic violence hotline, suicide hotline, etc. I highly recommend reaching out to a professional service and staying connected. I also HIGHLY recommend getting into counseling/therapy. A lot of domestic violence shelters have free counseling with their services.
I pay out of pocket $100 a session for private practice therapy. It is very expensive but I have found that almost nothing is more important than my inner peace and mental health..so it is worth it to me. If you cannot do this, find a local resource that does sliding scale counseling or free counseling for the community.
Don’t go back. Well, this is by far the hardest one. It is insanely difficult to not minimize their behavior, blame yourself, think they will get better, try to work things out, change aspects about yourself, call them when you’re lonely, pick up the phone after they’ve called 50 times and just give them ONE LAST SHOT.
First of all, they will not change. Never have I EVER heard of an abuser getting better and if they’re out there I literally don’t care and don’t want to hear about their success story (don’t care, don’t believe it, go away).
You are worth more than abuse. You are not just worth the sunshine and roses of a normal relationship but you are worth the normal fights and healthy boundaries of a normal relationship. You deserve all of it.