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.
How to Heal - Taking Control of My Thoughts
There are multiple battles in our heads fighting to take the lead in our decision making and thoughts. There’s reminisce of our abuser’s stronghold; reminisce of our past regrets, fears of our inability to make decisions and become independent, and for me, guilt, shame, anxiety, massive confusion, and my faith. After 18 years of my abuser telling me what to do, when to do it, and then how to do it because I messed up what I was supposed to be doing left me with serious self-confidence issues. I didn’t believe I was capable of making decisions on my own. Even worse, let’s say I did make a decision; there was a very slim chance I was following through with the execution. My ability to hold firm in my standing up for what I believed in was non-existent. Screaming headaches, lack of self-confidence, and unannounced anxiety attacks stood in the way of everything I tried to do.
One of the first voices I started to calm in my head was the notion of still trying to obtain positive comments from my abuser. Please let me explain what, in hindsight, I figured out I was secretly trying to achieve.
Chances are you have heard that no matter how hard you try, you cannot change people’s behavior unless they want to change. During the abusive years, you couldn’t have paid me to believe that I couldn’t change my abuser back into the nice guy that I married. Yes, the opportunities for change got slimmer and slimmer years later, but I knew for sure I was only one good day away from getting my loving husband back. It never occurred to me that the loving husband I was looking for was really a disguised person grooming me into the world that he wanted. I now understand that I confused his grooming actions with love. Ouch.
Please remember that I am talking about my thoughts and actions after I was safely separated from my abuser. I am talking about many years later. By no means am I advocating don’t do what you need to do to stay safe while you are still being victimized or during the execution of your safety plan. During these times, do what your conscience tells you to do to keep the situation safe.
Requires Me to Stop Being Co-Dependent
The book Co-Dependent No More, written by Melody Beattie, greatly assisted me in realizing how I was losing leverage in my journey to become a domestic violence survivor due to my subliminal effort to please my abuser. Years after we were apart and yet my decisions still waffled on what was better for him before I place value on how the decisions would affect me. Call me unselfish; yeah! Call me honorable for respecting other people’s feelings; awesome! NOPE. Call me ignorant for not realizing how co-dependent I was. There was nothing I could do to generate positive comments from my abuser.
After I read Co-Dependent No More, I realized the impact my being co-dependent was having on my world. This piece of my mental framework was greatly hindering my ability to distance myself from my abuser. This critical piece was hindering my ability to totally break away from the chains of my abuser even though we continued to co-parent our three children. This piece was reminding me daily of my punishments, reprimands, and reminders of what was going to happen to me if I didn’t do what my abuser asked of me. After reading this book, I felt better about how I viewed my world and what I needed to do to help me get away from the strongholds of my abuser’s tentacles in my mind.
Maybe this book could help you identify one of the competing struggles going on in your mind; I know it helped me a lot with being able to identify why, years later, I was still doing things that were not healthy for me to be doing. Maybe, it could help identify one of the multiple voices you have to pull at your thoughts.
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.