My domestic abuse recovery is flat-lining. I’m dead in the water, forgetting that I have skills to stay afloat.* I feel much like I did a year or so before I figured out that the problem in my marriage was not me. The problem was abuse.
Flat-lining in domestic abuse recovery as I am, it is difficult to refrain from blaming him and myself for my present depressed circumstances. I sink to the pit of despair because of the what-ifs running through my mind. I feel the pain of hate trapped inside of me. I point my middle finger at the past.
Stephen Covey says to “live out of your imagination, not your history.” Depression, suicidal thoughts, hate, despair and hopelessness result when I live out the mindset of my past. It’s as if he is abusing me all over again (Five Feelings in Domestic Abuse Recovery That Could Derail Your Healing).
“You can’t make it in the real world,” he said. And I look to the past as proof that he was right. I worked from home and failed to make a living. I lost passion for writing and living. I became homeless and my son abandoned me. I felt love for others, but didn’t allow others’ love for me to strengthen me. I raged at God for abandoning me. I believed, and continue to believe up to right this moment, that I can’t make it in the real world.
Domestic Abuse Recovery And Confusion
In reality, I’m abusing myself with crazymaking. I’m lying to myself. I’m confused over whose reality is real. An abusive man’s assertion negates my current reality.
When I think about it, I sit here now, in a pretty home, protected from the elements. I’m in touch with both of my sons. I keep the lights on. My belly is full. As he told me in the past, I have children to care for, a roof over my head and food on my plate. And as I felt in the past, it isn’t enough.
But wanting more and “not making it in the real world” are completely different ideas. He wanted me to feel guilty for wanting more. Now, I confuse his guilt-tripping with my wish to live a fuller life. There’s not one thing wrong with wanting more.
I Feel My Pulse Returning
The fact is, I’ve lived through the real world and succeeded.
- There isn’t anything more real than being homeless.
- There isn’t anything more real than allowing myself to feel the love of others when I can’t love myself.
- There isn’t anything more real than taking a chance on myself and failing (I will try again).
- There isn’t anything more real than picking myself up from nothing, leaving an abusive relationship, succeeding – and then falling flat on my face only to pick up again with the love of family and be here. Where I am now. Sitting here with a kitten on my lap.
I kicked the real world’s ass. I don’t need to listen to his fucking ghost. And I certainly don’t need to abuse myself into thinking my successes are proof that I will fail.
1 They call the skill used here reframing, or rewriting your story, and it comes from cognitive behavioral therapy and narrative therapy.