A domestic violence survivor is not someone who is separated from their abuser.
I think there is a general misconception that we become a domestic violence survivor once we are safely removed from our abuser’s controlled environment. Speaking from my experience and watching other victims who have left their abuser, we are not even remotely close to becoming survivors during the months following when we leave our abuser’s. When my abuser physically moved out, the eighteen years of emotional abuse lingered in my head for years. My abuser’s control over my thoughts and actions weren’t automatically removed just because he wasn’t in close proximity to me. All of my abuser’s punishments, threats, physical attacks, and degrading comments remained with me as he left to start the next chapter in his life. Since we have three children, I still needed to communicate with him.
My first memories of overwhelming domestic abuse anxiety occurred after I was apart from my abuser and the reality of all that was happening to my world started sinking in. This new emotion provided a furiously new feeling of incomplete inability to function, think, focus, make decisions, be a single parent or co-worker. The new feeling overpowered me like nothing before. It wasn’t like the anxiety I felt throughout the abuse; the anxiety I experienced during my abuse never kept me from being able to function. The unpredictability of my abuse kept me functioning in a chaotic state to make my abuser happy. This new, post abuse anxiety was significantly different and overwhelmingly debilitating.
For the first few years post-abuse, I believed my anxiety provided me with my will to fight. I considered my anxiety a meter that guided me to decide if I should fight or run. In the absence of any other decision-making method, I allowed my level of anxiety dictate how I should handle a situation.
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.