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.
How to Get Over an Abusive Relationship
one step at a time...
I shocked my counselor when I told her that I was still communicating with my abuser so many years after the divorce and she strongly advised me to stop. “Stop talking to him?” I thought. That didn’t even make any sense. How could I stop talking to him when we had three children together and lived in the same community? Not to mention the tidal wave of obscenities and hostility that drowned me the moment I did not answer the telephone, or do so promptly.
My counselor insisted that I establish that boundary and ignore his calls. She told me to read “Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How to Say No,” by Dr. Henry Cloud. I read the book, and it helped a lot, in particularly the “…how to say no” part. If your abuser is still connected to your world, the biggest example I believe is for the good of the children; I strongly recommend reading this book also.
What is a Boundary?
In the simplest of definitions, a boundary is an invisible fence I put up to guard my heart and my physical space. A boundary allows me to safely control who I allow emotionally and physically close to me and whom I don’t allow within my safety circle. This book explains how the critical aspect of setting boundaries is setting limits on others; setting limits on who is allowed into my safety zone and who needs to remain outside my invisible fence. Establishing boundaries for myself involved me taking control of my life by installing these invisible fences. The goal of my invisible fence isn’t to keep all people and things away from me, just those who commit evil against me.
After I read this book, I began to plan my boundaries. I set up strong boundaries and boarders, hedges of protection to guard against my abuser and all his fiery darts. I set deliberate physical, emotional, and psychological boundaries; safety zones, my comfort zones. I worked continuously for months on allowing no evil beyond the boundaries of my comfort zones.
Often, I could not keep him out of my physical boundaries, but I could stop him from penetrating my emotional comfort zones. I got to the point where I decided that his antics at our kid’s events and in front of people were simply not going to come in; they would not stay with me or go home with me.
Setting physical boundaries of personal space can be difficult and even dangerous. However, as you begin to plan and start to acquire little islands of control, set a physical boundary.
As with a lot of things that I write about, talking about establishing boundaries is much easier than doing it. Please be careful and let your conscience be your guide. What I wrote about took me many months of deliberate, constant effort. This is no easy feat, but even small achievements will be helpful in your recovery and self-confidence effort.
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.