I think for so long, I was desperate. I was desperate to fill that void- I longed to feel loved, needed. More than anything, I just wanted a family. I wanted validation. My relationships were based primarily on what I grew to know, what I had deemed as normal.
The whole concept of teaching others how to treat you; I’m 31-years-old, just now learning this. I’m selective of my friends and acquaintances- and even still, it is hard for me to trust.
I am doing well with finding balance in my life- even a little bit of socialization. Is this uncomfortable? Very much so! But, per my therapist- a major step in my recovery.
So, my life after abuse and what it looks like- I live in my own little peaceful apartment. I visit with my children every week. I attend DBT Therapy Sessions on Monday nights from 6-7 p.m. and my therapist does a home visit once a week, usually on Fridays. Every Sunday, I attend church with my boys, and within the next two weeks or so, I will officially become a member of the church.
I work as a Pre-K teacher, Monday-Friday. I typically work till about 4:00 p.m., although sometimes I stay late. On my free time, you can find me walking trails- getting lost… or sitting at my local IHOP- by myself- enjoying a meal and feeling 100% okay with that!
A far cry from 6-months ago. Although, I am still not 100% just yet, I am well on my way.
I’m told all of the time, keep writing. Keep telling your story. But whatever you do- don’t let your guard down.
Recently, I have slept better than I have- however, I still suffer from night terrors and panic attacks. This is one of the biggest reasons I love to get out and get on the trails- so I can wear myself out and sleep at night. I’m pretty much doing all of the things my abuser said I wasn’t capable of.
I’m self-sufficient, and I support myself. I love having the ability to do what I want, without consequence.
And when I say that- I mean simple rights that I should have had all along.
It feels good to have choices and make decisions- and though sometimes, I still struggle- I’m at least trying.
I can’t believe that it’s been two-years since my hell began. The most extensive part, that is. It’s a triggering time period for me.
I remember my 29th birthday, as though it was yesterday. It was my last year in my twenties. I’m not big into celebrating or anything, but surely- I knew that we would do something, I mean- I had spent all the cash I had on his birthday that year- to show that I cared.
I decorated our house and bought balloons along with a card and gift. I even had the kids make birthday cards for him.
On my day, though- I sat in the dark inside the Athens house, alone. My children were asleep in their beds. My abuser spent his time either at the car lot with his new receptionist, or outside with his bestfriend who briefly lived with us, building a greenhouse. He mentioned going to Home Depot, and to myself, I thought- he must be going to get flowers. I know he hasn’t forgot about me. Maybe we can have a picnic at the park- get out, do something.
I went to bed that night with nothing as simple as a “Happy Birthday”. I went to bed that night, as he stayed up- partying with his drug dealer friend, using cocaine and marijuana.
They talked in code when they were around me. They thought I was too stupid to realize what they were really doing. My abuser invested all of his money- and mine- into this greenhouse. He was too busy to give baths. He was too busy for a bedtime story. As I begged for alone time- just me and him- I would get shut down. I was told I was “lazy” and “undeserving”.
I worked myself literally- to death. I was skin and bones. I barely ate and I definitely did not sleep. The abusive treatment I received from my abuser triggered traumas from my childhood. It was a double whammy. It was overwhelming. I remember one night, calling each one of my family members. I finally confessed to them- what I had been trying to desperately hide for so long. I felt embarrassed, ashamed.
People from the outside looking in thought that I had it all together. Perhaps I was good at making it seem that way.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I called them to tell them that I loved them. I was desperate for help- by this point, it was life or death.
After coming home from school, I worked double hard to ensure the house was perfect. The kids were quiet. It was exhausting- as I was ultimately responsible for everything.
The unknown of what was to come became increasingly unsettling. I had no idea what I was in for.
It would take nearly two years before I would gain the courage to find myself, forgive myself free myself, and move past desperation.