I would have thought that I would feel safe after he was gone.
I would have thought that I would do things for my own personal achievements, rather than out of fear of a second party reaction.
I would have thought I would be healed.
Although I was one who was abused, I thought I would automatically get better after what happened.
I’m still being abused.
Not by his hands or words, but what was changed in my head.
I have an unrealistic view of what perfection as a wife, mother and woman should be. No matter how hard I could have tried, I could have never pleased him. Logic tells me that his mind was sick so I can just dismiss everything that was said and done. Instinct tells me another story.
When the house isn’t clean, I worry about the consequences.
When I don’t say the right thing, I worry about the consequences.
When I fail at a task I have set before myself, I am gripped in paralyzing fear.
Although my abuser is gone, I haven’t been released. I have taken up where he left off and abusing myself because that is what I know.
I look in the mirror and I am ugly, fat and undesirable.
I cook a meal and I forgot the pepper and I am a horrible cook.
I speak or write and I am stupid, uneducated and foolish.
Our heads are funny things. We can hear 10,000 positive things about us; yet we cling to the one negative thing that has been said. No matter what we succeed in; we fret ourselves over our failures.
It’s not being a past “victim”; it’s being “victimized.”
It’s acknowledging that someone took advantage of them being stronger and bent me against my will. Stripped me of the power of confidence. Caused me to be blind to what reality is. I am trying hard to accept that I am a statistic of PTSD. I have to reassure myself constantly that I am safe.
Being remarried is a trigger. It automatically places me in roles that lended itself to abuse in the past. I have had to give credence to the fact that although my new husband is in my heart; my abuser is still in my head.
I have to acknowledge in all my pretension of being strong; I am a battered woman.
Although I am battered woman, I am trying to believe that I am OK. Its waking up every morning and praying that I will be whole. Its acknowledging to my husband that I am weak. Its allowing him to comfort me and reassure me.
If you have ever been abused, don’t feel guilty that you can’t let go of the fear. As a victim you had to let go of what is rational and you began to rely on instinct. Your mind was trained to see things differently and that’s a hard thing to change. It isn’t going to happen overnight. I’m not too sure it ever goes away completely, but you can make steps to begin to heal.
I know this because of the verse “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you. – Isaiah 66:13″
Sometimes my children cry out to me in the night. They saw a monster in their room. It’s not really there. It’s all in their head, yet I comfort them and reassure them that they are safe. I acknowledge their fear; rational or not. I picture this as God dealing with my heart. Sometimes I cry out because of the monsters that aren’t really there, but are in my head. I feel his comfort and reassurance that I am safe. It doesn’t mean I will never dream of a monster, but that I am safe and comforted when I do. I have to acknowledge my own fears; rational or not. They are there and I am fighting mad to beat them.
I can identify with this post. I haven’t been out on a date in the 18 months I’ve been separated, and I’m still waiting for the ability to file for divorce.. but i can imagine being very reactionary, living in fear of consequences, and projecting judgment of me and my actions onto the man in my life. Because it’s what I came to expect. It’s hard to imagine being treated well and loved deeply and respected and cherished. It will take some rewiring in my brain. Holding your hand as you work through those things in yours. *HUG*
Psychological studies say we have around 80,000 thoughts per day and 60,000 of them are negative. And it’s not personal – we are all hard-wired that way. It’s why change is hard and takes time. It’s why so many don’t stick it out; there is no over night fix.
But you, dear Alycia, are doing the work to make the shift in your thinking. The courage and faith that had you take the girls and leave will prevail. I know this like a truth.
Sometimes it’s the thoughts left behind that are the hardest to conquer. You are strong my friend. And conquer you will.
I can identify with this post too. I’m glad you are letting God carry you through this because sometimes I think its the only way to not only move on, but to heal. He’s been healing so much in me lately, it’s like having a brand new life.
I really hate that you went through all this. I wish that I could take it all away for you, but it makes you who you are, with the big heart that you have and all that love to share. I love you, friend. I’m here for you.
Hugs to you. I don’t know if it helps, but I live by the “Fake it till you make it” Rule. After a while, you start to really believe you are okay, that you are a good person, a great cook, a confident person….just because you’ve been pretending to be. It help that you are remarried and I’m sure your new husband would be happy to indulge any positive thoughts about yourself even if in your heart you’re faking it. Sweetheart, I wish you all the best. It gets better but it takes time to heal.
‘Our heads are funny things. We can hear 10,000 positive things about us; yet we cling to the one negative thing that has been said.’ So very true!
In the words of the character Abeline from one of my newest favorite movies, “The Help”….you is kind…….you is smart……..you is important. and you are.
I definitely hear you on this. You know some of the issues I’ve encountered, and sometimes they pop up. If something goes awry on the budget, I hear those words that I suck with money. Never mind that I was much better with math & details than he ever was. Never mind that he blitzed so much of our money (that I was the only one earning), that I have nothing to show for my first tax refund, or all the money that accrued while I was in basic training. I did have a lot of issues with something called hyper awareness. It meant that when I went into gas stations, grocery stores etc. that I was looking over my shoulder to make sure no one was getting to close to me. For a while, if someone reached towards me…even for a sweet gesture like brushing my hair back, I would flinch. Healing is definitely a process. This was a great post.
I feel for you. I have been in the negative lately too. I write things down and give them to God. Then I can finally sleep. Praying for you too.
As a PTSD sufferer and survivor or childhood abuse, I couldn’t agree more! There is a line from Pretty Woman that runs through my head (along with a thousand negative messages) — “It’s easier to believe the bad stuff”. Why is that so true!?! Blessings to you as you continue your healing path.
Thank you for sharing this.
Your blog is one of the first blogs I ever started reading and I always loved it, but then I quit bogging myself, and now I rarely find myself reading many blogs. I don’t really know why I felt like I needed to say that, but I guess maybe I’m just trying to say that I “know” you a little bit.
To the point of this comment now: When I was in high school I started dating a guy. From the beginning I never really felt safe around him, so I don’t really know what I was thinking when I continued our relationship. But over the years he went from being someone who had my whole family fooled as being one of those “great guys” to truly showing me his true colors. He cheated on me multiple times, forced me into a sexual relationship, and verbally and physically abused me. He had me completely controlled, and brain washed. When I started to realize that I didn’t want to be in a relationship that was so abusive, he switched gears. He started being much nicer to me. He bought me a promise ring, and said we’d get married in august. He was pretty sure that he’d be able to keep me forever by bringing up the marriage thing because he knew that I had always wanted to be a wife and a mom. So he was pretty confident that I wouldn’t try to leave because I was going to get what I wanted. But then the cheating continued… (it never actually stopped) … and the physical and verbal abuse came back. Then one night, I stayed up all night thinking about everything and I decided that I didn’t want that life. He had made me believe that I was far too fat, ugly, and undesirable to ever get the attention of any man in the world, so I had decided that I would rather be single for the rest of my days then to spend one more day with him. That was the best night I had in years. I was so excited to break up with him, it’s almost comical. So, the next day, I did it. He was really controlling and I never completely broke the ties with him until I left the city we were living in. Afterward, it took me a very long time to come back from that. I had been one of those extremely positive and always happy and giggling kind of girls, to someone who rarely smiled, flinched at the slightest touch, and stopped talking to almost everyone in her life. It was months before I could actually truthfully smile and laugh again. A few months after I had broken up with him, I started dating someone new. He had been my support through all the post-break up emotions. He helped me build my confidence back up. He encouraged me, and he supported me. Now, almost 4 years since we started dating, we are now married and he is the best husband I could ever ask for. He’s everything the ex wasn’t, and much much much more. But, the strange thing is, I still have issues. I am still insecure about everything the ex had said I was. I still think I am stupid, and useless sometimes. I still am extremely self conscious of my body image, and sometimes, very rarely now, but sometimes I still flinch when someone comes near. I agree that some of the affects of abuse don’t fully go away. They become less severe and less frequent, but there is always a piece of it that never goes away.
Holy. Longest comment ever. I hope I didn’t creep you out by spilling out my whole story. I still haven’t told many people about it in full detail… it feels a little weird to be posting it for the world to see, but I feel peace, and that God wants me to, for some reason. So I will.
May your new marriage be blessed. I am very happy for you, and that you’re finally getting the love and respect that you’ve always deserved.
Abuse can separate itself from the individuals it has spoken through and still follow us. This only makes it more important that we continue to fight and that we know victory is possible. Healing is a long journey that is worth everything. We do not have to be abused forever.
Oh so true, you sum it up perfectly. It’s the effects it has on our heads and the way we think that lasts the longest and possibly is the most damaging. 🙂
It takes a very long time. The longer you’ve been abused, the longer it takes to feel safe. I’m still terrified of men, of what they think of me, of the lies they are telling, of the contempt they have for me.
I hope time will make this go away, for both of us.
It is such a hard cycle to break out of. You are strong for the journey you are on, and how far you have come. Your journey will never be over, but you will continue to get stronger. Hugs!!
–Just by you writing this clearly shows how strong and empowered you are now.
Thank you for sharing. X
I think this post shows how brave you really are. Praying God continues to help you conquer and heal. Blessings!
I am touched by your words, and I can relate.
PS – I am stopping by your blog from the writer’s link up. I am going to follow you now. I ‘m intrigued.
Thank-you for this. I can still identify with a lot of it, although my experience was 19 years ago and I since have a different, wonderful, man in my heart. The monsters are still in my head — although fainter — and often in my dreams.
I hope that by living day to day, by writing the things that have happened to you, you can thereby gain release from your demons, from him.
I sort of wish that every abuser would have to read your words aloud but then they wouldn’t get it anyway. In fact, most abusers would probably go beserk if they could read the horror in their victims minds – then and now. Glad you are here to write about it. Then and back again I guess. Keep up the good fight.
This is a great post! Such an important message for those women who have experienced this to know they aren’t alone!