May 17, 2021 at 2:28 pm #563
I’m glad to be here and have found this space. The last year with COVID and the lock downs was the final chapter in my relationship. I couldn’t escape the fact anymore that the relationship was abusive and harmful to me. I found the strength and determination to leave and I’m not going back. But I am struggling emotionally with what has happened to me. I feel like for years I was a puppet and my partner pulled the strings and now all my strings have been cut. I was made to be totally preoccupied with my partner – they’re needs, moods, the changing goal posts plus all the practical stuff like keeping the house clean, finances, food, the pets. There was nothing left of me and now I’m out of it, it is like I don’t know who I am or what to do with myself as the whole of my existence was consumed with my ex-partner. I become very distressed making very small decisions because I have not had to make any decisions for a long time, my partner made them all – ‘you wear this, you buy this, you cook this.’ I want to move on and rebuild myself and get past this. Has anyone got any suggestions for things that have helped them to move forward?
ThanksMay 18, 2021 at 2:14 pm #568Domestic Abuse Helpline TeamKeymaster
Really good question, and you’re right that the next stage after leaving the relationship and looking ahead at your life is – how do I recover from this? This is a question we hear a lot of the helpline, so you are not alone with feeling like this. Below I have listed some different suggestions we have at the helpline, some of these may work for you and others might not. See what you think.
Use the helpline – the helpline is a listening service run by and for the community. All the people who staff the helpline understand what you have been through. If you are having a difficult day and want to talk to someone who ‘gets it’ the helpline is a place where you can have a chat and offload what is going on. We are not counsellors or therapists so we do not offer on going support like a therapist would but to off load and be heard, we are a good fit. Our number is 0800 5428 999.
Understanding domestic abuse and trauma resources – For some people getting more knowledge about what happened to them helps them make sense of it. Some suggestions from us would be ‘Why does he do that?’ The Language used in the book is very heteronormative however, the concepts and conclusions the author talks about are not limited to heteronormative relationships; the information is just as relevant to the LGBT+ community. Here is a podcast with the author which is free and accessible. The courage to be me is a free ebook – The book, written by psychologist and researcher Dr Nina Burrowes, combines science, accessible storytelling and illustration to help send a message of hope to anyone who has experienced trauma such as sexual assault or domestic abuse.
There is a low cost domestic abuse elearning course aimed at those working with people who have experienced domestic abuse but there is so much useful content for those who have lived with it in the course that it might be worth it if you want to dig deep into what happened and why.
Peer to peer support – connecting with other people who have been through what you have can be very healing and be a solid part of recovering. Breaking away from the feeling of isolation which may be present can hold a lot of meaning. This forum is good place to start – reading others stories, contributing your own story and joining in on conversations can help you to feel connected to others who have been through what you have. Some people gain from the connections made in peer to peer recovery groups such as Co-dependants Anonymous which focuses on having healthy relationships or Adult Children of dysfunctional Families Anonymous which focuses on the affects of growing up in a dysfunction family – while this is not specifically about being in abusive partnerships if you have experienced domestic abuse within a family this might work for you. They are big networks and some have LGBT+, mens’ and womens’ specific groups. The recovery groups are affordable donations.
Local domestic abuse organisations and LGBT+ organisations sometimes run groups for survivors and it is worth checking their websites to see if there is something that would suit you in the town or the largest city to you.
Counselling – for some people counselling or therapy support them move forward with their live. Pink therapy is the largest directory of therapist working with gender and sexual diverse people. It is always worth checking with therapists you like to see if they have any lower cost options if this is an important factor in you finding a therapist. Some LGBT+ organisations have counselling services or link to LGBT+ therapists so it is worth checking their websites too. You can also talk to your GP about what talking therapies would be available to you through the NHS.
Remembering the person you were before the abuse – for people who have experienced domestic abuse from an intimate partner, some find it helpful to try and remember the person you were before the abuse. What did you enjoy? What activities did you do? Who did you like to spend time with? Use the answers to these questions to build on and start exploring who you can be after the abuse.
Thank you for this question. Over time recovery past violence and abuse is possible and a new life will open up.
Wishing you all the best on your journey,
The Helpline team
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