Healing from emotional abuse and control is one incredibly long journey. I’m sharing this to let you know that making headway toward healing takes time, and it truly differs from one person to the next. What takes some women two years can take 12 for others. Be gentle with yourself and focus on your progress regardless of where you are. But if you’re reading this I’m pretty sure you’ve come a long way, baby!
I had my last domestic violence group meeting this week; this was a meeting that I was participating in not facilitating. When it ended, I was overwhelmed and overcome with emotion. I care deeply for all the women, and I want so much for them to find true peace and step out of the hell they live in.
On my last day, I was left with a deep knowing that if I had found this group sooner my level of frustration over the lack of in-person human support would have been so much much less. I spent or lost lots of energy thinking about how people didn’t get it. What I experienced in my group was the antithesis of that.
Our group was for a set period, just 12 weeks. I’m not sure whether all groups work this way or not but it was totally worth it and though I have no regrets for where I am in my life I feel strongly that had I found it sooner, I would have had much less frustration on the support front. I’ll admit before I found the support group I became quite bitter and sheltered myself from anyone who didn’t seem to get what I was going through but I think that isolation allowed me to keep myself strong.
A Desire for Understanding is Normal
If you’re in a court battle, considering leaving, or going through circumstances where you see clearly what’s happening, but people around you don’t get the context or see the damage of emotional abuse (which is tricky to pinpoint), it can be hard for you and your children. Part of what makes it so is your desire for understanding from someone, anyone. But expecting people to grasp something that you spent years hiding and took a decade to figure out is asking a lot.
You’ve already been through so much in the abusive relationship, to add another layer of hurt or let down to that, well, it’s just not smart.
Take an honest look at how much you’ve healed from the emotional tear downs
So, let’s call a spade a spade for a minute and toss expectations out the window. You know what happened. You understand on some level how it happened. And you’re making decisions for yourself to move your life forward. That’s all that matters. If people get it and want to help or give your comfort, consider that a bonus. Count yourself lucky!
The real win is that you made a decision, and you are either OUT or in the process of getting there. Bravo!!!
Right now all your extra energy should be focused on fueling you. You need it sister, trust me. Things are about to get rocky. Hold on tight to you, and nurture your inner warrior. Wrap her in peace and strength in whatever way you can. She needs you now more than ever.
You may have heard the term “no contact” for avoiding your abuser; I have mixed feelings about this because it’s so unrealistic for the majority of women I’ve met. If you have children, it’s rarely possible. But don’t get down about it.
You can go “no contact” for the non-believers in your life or people who are simply unsupportive and question you in ways that drag you down. Ditch them for now. You can catch up to them later when the battle is over, and the stakes are lower. Right now mega doses of inner strength and the people who stand with you are essential to your well-being.
Next steps for healing in the midst of crisis
One of the best things you can do for yourself regardless of where you are on your path is to make a conscious choice to surround yourself with people who make you feel safe, comfortable, and believed. If you have friends who make you laugh and feel carefree, even better! Laughter is the best medicine.
Your assignment, should you decide to accept it, is to find these people and make sure they’re in your life on a weekly basis.
If you need structured help from professionals in the form of a support group. Look at the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s page on regional resources.
Note: in my area, these groups take the summer off, which is unfortunate for sure but do get on a waiting list. You may also visit your local town hall to see if they have local resources for people in your position. What I found via that route helped me tremendously.
You’ve heard of putting on the oxygen mask right? That’s what these people are for you. Treat them with respect and gratitude they deserve and they will be there for you today and long after the battle is over. These are the friends we wish we had all along. They’re a blessing!
Onward! Peace and blessings to you! xoxo!!!