Denial is a Powerful Tool
For many of us, it’s being brought to the brink of death that provides the strength for us to leave our abuser. For others, we remain in our situations, wishing for the happier days to return, until the children start sounding like our abuser’s and question why we are not doing what we are being told to do. Regardless of what our reason(s) are for leaving our abuser, the significance of the decision is monumental. It signifies that the door to our denial surrounding domestic violence is about to be opened, and the journey to domestic violence survivor has “officially” begun.
With denial, I knew in my heart what was truly going on, yet in my head, I could suppress these horrible feelings and believe them not to be true. Denial allowed me to reject the truth of what was going on in my marriage. My realization that my world was not going to change was a pivotal point in starting my recovery. At these moments, I had to realize that whether I wanted to or not, I must now make drastic changes in my world. I had to start accepting the reality that I could no longer remain in my current situation anymore. The changes had to start now or I would die.
It is easy for me to understand why I lack self-confidence. After 18 years of verbal abuse, it became ingrained in me that I wasn’t able to do anything correctly.
I spent so much energy during my recovery looking for people to validate that what I was doing was okay. Whether it’s positive validation from my sister, my boss, or my children, I constantly set the conversations up so I received confirmation that what I was doing was okay. Even worse, not receiving confirmation from the person sent me into a tailspin believing I was automatically wrong in what I was trying to achieve. I didn’t need another person to tell me I was wrong in something I was doing; their lack of response was enough to send my racing mind into overdrive. I never considered that maybe the other person was busy or unable to answer me right away.
Importance of Prescription Medicine
For the longest time, I misunderstood the importance of my anti-anxiety medicine. I was concerned that as a daughter of an alcoholic, I was trading my alcohol addiction for prescription medicine addiction. The devil’s voice in my head had a field day convincing me that I was trading one addiction for another. I felt defeated and weak since I was unable to handle this anxiety issue on my own.
What I now realize is how far from the truth this is. My anti-anxiety medicine restores a chemical imbalance in my brain. Years and years of abuse re-wired my brain’s ability to function. My medicine is required to boost chemical imbalances in my head thus allowing me to function in this world.
No wonder our journey to domestic violence survivor seems so insurmountable sometimes! When you break down all the pieces that we have going against us, it’s enough to want to just curl up and cry. I didn’t ask for this abuse. I surely didn’t ask for my world to be put on hold while I recover from years of abuse. Other victims reading this blog didn’t willingly sign up for their horrible situations either. Abusers in our world have anger, control, power, and emotional instability problems that they can’t control. It’s not our fault.
Prioritize Professional Counseling
I will be the first to admit; I used to dread the early part of a day before a counseling session. Back when my world was a dark, horrible secret in which I trusted no one, the counseling sessions were just an exercise in voicing a few thoughts while avoiding the “emotional” feelings after domestic violence. I don’t know how many times I stated, very clearly, I don’t remember “how I felt” when…. happened.
Co-Parenting with Abusive Ex-husband
I co-parented with my abuser for ten years. The barrage of emotions surrounding seeing my abusive ex-husband at children’s events became so debilitating. More often than not, I failed to enjoy the reason I left the house. The thought of seeing my abuser triggered overwhelming anxiety and sucked the enjoyment of the event right out of me prior to the event even starting.
Getting Over Domestic Violence Emotional Abuse
During the worst parts of my recovery, I thought for sure I would never be able to get over the 18 years of emotional abuse from my abuser (now ex-husband). If you were to ask my inner self-confidence, it would say that for the most part I haven’t gotten over the emotional abuse, but have learned how to work around it, and its severe effects. I believe getting over domestic violence emotional abuse will be an ongoing life challenge for me.
Five years after my divorce, my abuser continued to harass me by calling me on the phone with the guise that we had to talk about something concerning our children. Of course, he would start out with something of relevance to the kids, but as usual, moments later, I would be in the midst of a verbally abusive lashing. Just seeing his name on the caller-ID, rattled me and filled me with anxiety. I now know that the reason I was having such a hard time wasthate I hadn’t been informed about an important piece of my recovery. The domestic violence recovery tip: establishing boundaries.
Learning to Take Control of My Thoughts
Multiple years after I was safely separated from my abuser, I realized an important piece of my transformation from domestic violence victim to survivor; the battle for my transformation out of my prior existence resided in my head. The battle wasn’t with my checkbook, my boss, where I was living, the run down car I was driving, or how desperate my world had become. The battle for my mental and physical freedom didn’t rely on what my abuser was or wasn’t doing; it didn’t rely on what others thought I should or shouldn’t be doing; it relied on regaining control of my thoughts after domestic violence. The winner of my mental debates dictated how I responded and viewed my world.
Hi, I'm Sue
Welcome to my blog! I served twenty-one honorable years on active duty, living a double life of capability and accomplishment in the service while enduring brutality and abusiveness in my twenty-one year oppressive marriage. Today I'm happily married and have three children who are my inspiration and motivation.
My goal is to help combat the lies of abusers with the truth of God. I hope you find my words to be healing and helpful through your own life experiences.
Being separated from my abusive husband didn't make me a domestic violence survivor. It surely didn't release me from the grip of his brainwashing control and the innate power he had on me.
Read the full raw story in my new book, Rock Bottom and Faithless.