Hi, I'm not really sure what I'm looking for here but really needed to talk to people who "get" it. I was in an abusive relationship many years ago. Since then, I've left and im happily married to someone else but it still affects me every so often. I don't talk about it and never did, I didn't access counselling or anything. Anyway, recently my job has involved working with someone who was a perpetrator..and actually that was ok. I mostly managed to separate that and do my job, I think. But I've found myself thinking a lot again about the abuse and this was triggered tonight by stumbling across a newspaper article about dv and it just brought back all the feelings of anger I have towards this guy who got away with it. I know it has affected me more than I care to admit, im pretty isolated and don't trust people although I put a brave face on and none of the people I see regularly have any idea that I was in a relationship like that. I guess I just wanted to vent a bit. Is it normal to have these feelings resurface after so many years, will things always trigger this? Do I just wait it out and hope the feelings pass? I hate the fact he still has this power over me. I'm still angry and reliving it and he probably hasn't thought about it in years! Does anyone else feel like this?
Hello! I can sympathise- the last time I heard from my ex I felt okay for a few days after, then I tanked and back came all the nightmares and negative thoughts. Triggers can work like that. Sometimes they hit you like a brick, other times it can take a while to sink in. It's pretty impressive you were able to separate the professional from the personal, that takes a lot of strength.
To be honest, I can't recommend therapy enough. Even if its just having an impartial confidential person to talk to. Waiting it out could work for you, but if you still feel like you have unresolved feelings and anger (totally justifiably) counselling/talking might help. CBT, EMDR and mindfulness therapy are a few kinds of therapy that help people cope with trauma.
It might also help having a support group around you. Telling people can be really effing difficult, but having people who understand what you are going through/went through makes life so much easier. But like I said, it's difficult to tell people. I hope you can find peace!
Yes, it is completely normal. And maybe try and see it not so much as "him having power over you" but rather your soul reminding you that there are some wounds you want to pay attention to and heal. It sounds like you turned your life into a VERY positive and safe place for you after the abuse and congratulations on being married to a good man!!
I think with abuse it is like any other bad memory we might have from negative times in life...BUT the lack of finding justice, closure or revenge-- ..makes it harder to see those memories come creeping up. For me it is hard to NOT analyze every man and every couple I meet to see if I can detect signs of DV in the male...it is something I think that will stick with me forever but I am also thankful for it. It reminds me what is important and that not every person on earth is a good person and should be in my life.
Maybe if you feel like it seeing a counselor now that you are safe and have a support system and a job etc. might be something you could think about. But see what feels right...sometimes maybe letting time do its work also works.
Either way, it is NOTHING to be ashamed about. It was never your fault and the shame is on this man who was a weak worm to abuse you. He is most likely abusing every woman he saw after you as well and you "win" therefore when it comes to life, being a kind person, seeking healthy relationships and a safe home and peaceful life.
He lost everything the day you saw through his abuse. They never get away with anything- they have to spend their entire life with their own shitty, abusive character and run people over in the process.
There is a good book written by Gavin DeBecker called "The Gift of Fear" (careful though, it can trigger a LOT and I do NOT recommend it to anyone who doesnt feel 300% sure they have overcome the memories and feel sure about confronting the past -- and even then possibly with the support of a therapist - like mine did when she recommended me that book) and it taught me that my suspicion and general doubt are actually positive tools I will use for the rest of my life to make better choices and judge people with more caution. It is a gift...but its hard to accept and see that I find.
Hang in there, its ok to feel this way and so so normal. If you would like to share, we are here to listen and you can talk about your memories if thats comfortable. Or you can just focus on the now and put it behind- everything goes as long as it feels right for YOU.
And sometimes it helps me to know: This too shall pass. My emotions and feelings are like trains arriving in a major train station. they come in, stay some time but always, always leave and one feeling is being replaced by another- more positive one ....
Thanks for the replies. It's good to hear from people who know what I'm talking about. I'm not sure I did manage to separate the professional from personal, on the surface yes, but I think it's maybe that that brought back all the stuff again. You're right that it's the lack of justice I still have the most anger about. It was reading an article about a poor police response that really got me this time. It was so similar to my story that I was almost convinced it was me! It's been 10 years since the last incident but I'm still so angry about how it was handled and I still carry that feeling of total worthlessness. To cut a long story short, he tried to strangle me but somehow managed to convince them that I had provoked him and it was totally out of character! They didn't check or ask about previous, they didn't check or ask about injuries. He pleaded guilty to assault with provocation and got a tiny fine, when we both knew he had been trying to kill me. When he was fined, he came back from court laughing and threw a pair of shoes he had just bought at my head, to prove how little the fine bothered him. He even said he'd been trying to kill me but no one cared because it was tried in the lowest court in the land. It just kills me that he got away with it. You are right, we have mutual friends, and so I know that his life hasn't moved on. He's never held on to a relationship since ours, I can guess why! I suppose it's hard that even within our friends there's no recognition of what he did. And some of them know. That hurts. I've distanced myself as much as possible from them, but it's left me isolated. I might look into that book you mentioned and maybe it is time to try to talk about it with someone too.
Hey you, i am actually re-reading the book again and it might not be suited for your specific situation right now. Maybe "why does he do that" by Lundy Bancroft would help more or "Invisible Heroes" by Belleruth Naparstek. The "Gift of Fear" book is very graphic and could trigger some emotions you might want to explore while you are in therapy or see a counselor. I too cut out all people who were friends with my Ex and it was painful. But it had to be done. There are so many myths and lies about abuse and luckily the law enforcement is getting better at handling DV cases.
Looking at what he did to you-- of COURSE he had to lie and say something belittling about the court being "the lowest" and then throwing shoes at you. In many ways it is the behavior of an angry 3 year old kindergardener but....sadly these men have grown up bodies with a lot of strength.
You got away with your life. Another woman he might date in the future might not be so lucky.-- thats what I kept telling myself when I felt like revenge or closure would never happen. But....the best revenge is to love yourself. The one thing that was missing when I dated abusive men years ago was the love for myself. To expect more from a partner and to say NO to anything that doesnt feel right.
Living the good life. Making your life the way you want it. That is the true punishment for those abusers. Because they will never have that. Their life is being ruled by wanting control and by hurting others. what a miserable existence.
My therapist once told me I need to "stop swinging my sword of justice" over my exe's head. and it was true....it took me a long time to let go but in therapy i did. I still have a very high instinct when it comes to analyzing men i meet nowadays or seeing other couples. it is...as if i can sniff it out and id rather live this way than ever falling for an abuser again. luckily the knowledge i got from that abusive relationship enabled me to choose so much better and i have dated a very, very good man for many years after the abuse. someone who is safe, normal and where i can slowly understand and learn what love really is.
hang in there and if it feels right, see if a counselor that is specialized in DV is something you would want to look into.
The trauma can stay in our bodies - facing your possible death by strangling is something VERY scary. My ex "joked" sometimes he would want to "choke me until iam dead" when we had some sort of argument. It turned out he wasnt joking. And that normal men would NEVER "joke" like that.
high five for getting out and here is to good choices and strong women.