I left my abuser over 5 years ago and yet, I can’t seem to get over that feeling of anticipation, the knot in my stomach that humiliation and hate are heading my way when dealing with my children. Both boys over 6 feet tall. I immediately, when confronted loudly about a situation at home, retreat into my safe shell. I can’t take in what they are saying, even though I should be actively listening and I completely shut down. I am aware of this and fight it every time I am confronted with their anger/anxiety/or constructive criticism. They hold some responsibility, though. They could talk to me in a different way as I have suggested but they don’t, and like their father, they don’t listen so it’s a constant go around until the pressure is released, I am able to walk away and stop the anxiety they have brought on and return to them calm and they have calmed down.
I am suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of experiencing domestic violence. It’s not fair to my children but it is a reality and their reality as well as some of their responses, are clearly a result of what they have seen and heard.
PTSD intrudes into my life on almost a daily basis in one form or another. I am either talking myself through handling a situation in a mindful way and not in the mindset of my PTSD or fighting not to avoid a situation because of anxiety and memory triggers.
Domestic violence can produce injuries that last far beyond the termination of the relationship. For some people, it is hard to believe that people can love you with no harm intended. They love you for you. You are perfectly imperfect. You can’t wrap your brain around it because you are used to all your flaws being used against you to gain control and power over you.
PTSD can create a distorted view of the world. Your instincts and perception can be off. It’s important to be aware of the red flags and triggers. It’s something you have to continually work on so that you can one day be healthy emotionally. One thing that helped me was having a second party willing to be the logical one. Having support through this process has been invaluable to me and it has helped me that it was a trusted male friend.
One thing I continually remind myself of is that I am no longer a victim. I never really was. I was a target and like most bullies, the narcissist in my life picked on all that was right with me and magnified all my flaws. I was in a no win situation but I was a target and now I am a survivor and the quicker you change your mindset to that, the better and more empowered you will feel.
Love yourself. Respect yourself. Do what makes you feel safe. Surround yourself with great friends. People who believe in love and light and goodness and don’t dwell on the bad and who don’t need the drama.
You can’t allow yourself to be a victim anymore. By seeing yourself as a victim, you open yourself up to people who want to help you and fix you. As a victim, you are vulnerable for the wrong people to step inside your life. Make yourself a survivor so you can heal and grow and know that you are worthy of being loved for who you are…warts and all.
Look in the mirror and say “I survived domestic abuse and today I am taking my life back!”