It’s not just a quick fix. A ritual of burning sage or sweeping the dirt and bad luck out the door. It’s not all about uncluttering and organizing. It’s not even all about leaving the abuser and going no contact and moving forward. It is a culmination of things that is a different plan for every individual leaving an abusive relationship. It’s praying, working on you, feeding your soul for once, taking the time to breathe and grieve, reflect and be angry. Be happy, joyous, in solitude. It’s whatever YOU need it to be.
It’s about looking inward and cleansing your soul first and feeding yourself spiritually and emotionally. No one can take care of their life until they self-love. It’s about releasing the negative comments that your abuser said to you and that you say to yourself and replacing them one day at a time with thoughtful, inspiring things.
It’s about removing relationships besides your abuser that are not working for you. I put people to the curb so much during my transition that my best friend thought I was going to put her there. I put them on the curb for the trash to pick up and never looked back. People who took advantage of my empathetic nature and my own personal belief that we should all help each other. I was helping. Others were not. I kept giving too much of myself away and no one appreciated me so I set them on the curb. I learned that it did not change my caring, empathetic nature but rather I was able to still be me with boundaries. It is in my nature to help. It’s not a need so much as it is a way of life. A way of living what I call pure hearted and some people see it as co-dependent but I don’t do it for praise or to feel good. I don’t need a fix. I’m just as happy when I don’t need to help someone. I do it because to me, that is the way humans are supposed to interact with each other. Lending a hand. Putting a smile on each other’s faces and helping those less fortunate and sometimes those less fortunate are rich as hell in money and poor as hell in getting their basic needs met.
It was a slow, long process. I did not jump into a relationship. I worked on myself. I started with incense and candles and other aromatherapy designed to relax and help you meditate. When I got some money through my divorce, I kept the aromatherapy and added massage. When I got to a place that allowed me too, I added exercise back in and began seeing a counselor on a more regular basis. This has been a 7-year process. Taking care of me and my children, moving through milestones with them like graduating and dealing with boulders thrown in my progress like the stress of both my Mom and stepmom almost dying in the hospital for 6 consecutive months. My abuser’s continuous badgering and financial and mental abuse and my mother in law dying and me not being able to mourn that loss with a family I was a part of for 30 years. I moved out of the marital home we shared for 20 years right after that long haul with the hospitals. I had been a part of that house for 30 years as it was my inlaws’ house before it was ours. I cleaned it out by myself with the help of my friend, not my ex, for 6 months after our move.
It is exhausting to think about but so necessary if you want to live your life to the fullest. Everything in my life mirrored the backhanded compliments he gave, the complaining but no desire to change or help, the talks that kept beating a dead horse and made me feel exhausted and worn out, the illnesses brought on by not being able to speak my mind or share with him were all reflecting in my everyday life. I am a great actress and I did a damn good job of hiding my pain from others, but it still affected my life in a way I had no control over. I did a good enough job that most people I know reading this blog are shocked I made it through. I also lost friends who don’t want to know the truth and that is okay. That is their issue, not mine.
Start small with little things, like aromatherapy that make you feel good and slowly work up to making the changes needed to gain control of your life. I am a Christian so I prayed but I am also spiritual so I burned his name during a full moon and watched it turn to ash which was symbolic for me that he no longer had control over me. I released him from me. I did this for a long time until I no longer felt the need. I gave away ALL of the things he gave me including selling my engagement ring and wedding band and his. He never wore it anyway and I needed to feed the kids. I did not want any attachment to something that had once meant so much to me.
Everyone’s process will be different and no single way is right. I lived with a lot of criticism about how I should move on and be over things but no one has the right to tell you how to mourn. No one has the right to tell you how to go about your process as long as you keep plugging along and moving forward and are not stagnant in your quest for freedom and good change.
A few days ago, I was hit with another change. I work for a school as a 1:1. My life has been in a constant uproar for years now and I was finally happy in the room I was in and my life was settled and happy but guess what? They are moving me to another classroom. I was upset at first but then I had to think it through. If I stay still I am safe. If I move forward into the unknown I am destined to learn and grow and so now I happily say, “I’m moving forward at God’s will to continue to grow.” No matter what is thrown in your way, know that God or universe, whatever you believe in, is grooming you for better things and life without your narc is one of those things so keep working at it. Keep moving one step at a time and don’t let anyone tell you that you are going about it in the wrong way. THIS IS YOUR JOURNEY, NOT THEIRS!