abuse red flags, battered women, domestic abuse, domestic violence, life, mental illness, PTSD from domestic abuse, PTSD from mental abuse, women abuse

How to Trust Yourself to Make Your Own Coffee Once You are Free of an Abusive Partner

Once you have been living in abuse for awhile, it is hard to relate to yourself again. Our relationship with ourselves has become disrupted and damaged. Just like starting over again, if you were to rekindle a love affair, you must start over again to rekindle your relationship with yourself.

You used to know yourself better. Things like what you want, what you like and what you feel are harder to access now for a good reason. If you were under the tyranny of a narcissist, they took over. The only person who mattered was them.

You were trained to only focus on what they wanted. You lost yourself in the process. I remember the first few weeks after I left the abuser. I had trouble even knowing how to make simple choices. Now I could eat what I wanted to for dinner. I could order pizza from the pizza place that he never allowed me to order from. It felt wrong to do it, even though he wasn’t there.

I could use the coffee maker in my own kitchen and make my own coffee. When he had lived there, the coffee maker was off limits for anyone to even touch but him. God forbid, I moved it an inch to the left while I was cleaning the table. All hell would break loose.

So, there I was standing there, thinking I might like some coffee and feeling afraid to touch the coffee maker. I had to force myself to touch it once or twice. Then I moved it to the other side of the table. I waited and nothing terrible happened. He was gone and I could move the coffee maker anywhere I wanted to.

The I did the deed ! I made my own coffee. I not only made coffee, but I made it the way I liked it ! This was a very freeing sensation throughout my entire body ! The I began to move around in the kitchen and started putting things back onto the places I used to have them, before he lived there.

This act of making coffee and putting things where I wanted them to be, was the beginning of my getting back in touch with myself again. You know what I found out? I could trust myself to do all of those things.

The world did not come to an end, the way he had acted like it would, when I put the silverware in the dish drainer face down, rather than face up. I hated the knives pointing up, with the sharp part where it could scratch me, when I was washing the rest of the dishes, but he always made me put them up.

I began to try out my own ideas and it turned out that they were all okay. I was beginning to learn to trust my own choices and my abilities to organize and care for my own things, in my own personal way. It felt so weird for a few days, but especially the first day.

Over time I started to get myself back. I could eat when i felt like it and if I wanted regular bread with my spaghetti instead of french bread, it was perfectly okay. Over the next couple of months, little by little, I began to remember how I liked to do things.

Sometimes I would freeze and just stand there, because I could not remember how to find out what I wanted to do.  Being told what and how to do things for so long, I was not in the habit of thinking  “what do I want to do?” or  “how do I want to do that?” or  “where do I want that to be” etc.

I did not realize how many choices during the course of a day, that my abuser had taken away from me, by threats and fear manipulation. There is such an element of control to these abusive relationships that we lose touch with ourselves and how to trust ourselves.

I still sometimes start to wash off the top of the coffee maker, just the way he always insisted it be washed. I still feel funny when the coffee maker gets moved to a new location. These are all things that I had to learn to take care of myself, and these are just the little things.

The big things, like life decisions were another step. We become used to being told no, all the time. The first time we are allowed to just go for a drive without having to know where we want to go or when we will be back, is a really big thing. So decisions like taking a college class , changing  jobs or even taking a Saturday morning yoga class are all things we have to learn that we can do.

We should have been “allowed” to make those choices all along, but we were not allowed to do things without prior approval. The feeling of coming home from work and not worrying all the way home about what I will be yelled at about, was amazing. I could just come home and relax.

We do not realize how many things we missed out on, until we are out from under the clutches of the abuser. Now we can learn to trust ourselves again. We are capable of knowing what we want to do and then making a plan of how to do it. We can take classes, watch TV when we want to and go to bed when we want to. It was so much better going to bed all alone, than going to bed with an angry person.

Little by little we get our self esteem back. We are ok and we can do things. The task of getting back in touch with how we feel and what we want, takes time. We can learn to know ourselves again.

You matter and your thoughts and ideas matter.  You can have opinions that are yours. You do not have to pretend to go along with him anymore about anything.

If you are still living in abuse, then you are still subject to his threats and you do not have the freedom to state your own opinions. Imagine what it would be like to be in love with someone who let you have your own opinions, even if they were different from their own.

Imagine someone treating you with respect and dignity, even when you did not have the same thoughts and ideas as each other. That is what love is. What love is not is…having to agree with them even when you disagree, having to do everything the way the person wants it done, having no freedom to have coffee with your best friend on the spur of the moment.

Life is there for us to taste, touch, feel, see, and experience. We have the right to experience life the way we want to.

Blessings,

Annie

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domestic abuse, domestic violence, gaslighting, life, mental abuse, mental health, post traumatic stress disorder, post traumatic stress disorder from domestic abuse . mental abuse, PTSD from domestic abuse, PTSD from mental abuse

Why Do I Miss the Partner Who Was Mentally Abusive to Me? Why am I so Lonely ?

Question:

How can I feel okay after the relationship with an abusive person ends? Why do I feel so lonely and miss them?

Answer:

You will not feel ok, at the beginning. It is very painful and I empathize with the extreme emotional trauma of the breakup. Due to the tendency of a narcissist to become blended with you , when you break up, it is hard to function without them. They will do much better than you and recover faster.

The illusion is that they are very needy of you and that you are their angel and savior. It seems like they should have an emotional crisis and be in the same pain you are after the breakup, but it is usually much more painful for the victim.

You actually loved them and felt real caring for them. You probably still worry if they will be able to survive without you. But they are good at getting people to the things they want and need them to do. They will manipulate them with flattery, and a seemingly humble deferring to their expertise.

They will then appear as a helpless, victimized person who is desperate for the other person’s help. They will get help and be able to find people to be there for them. Believe me.

You can let that worry go, and that will help you to start with. You do not have to feel guilty about breaking up.

The other reason you feel pain, is that the narcissist was involved in every aspect of your life and in every part of your day. There is no thing you can do, that does not make you feel like you should be doing it with them. You feel like you should be consulting with them, checking in with them, getting approval from them.

You temporarily lost your individual identity to this relationship. It will take time to get it back and learn to make your own choices without feeling guilty. Remember, in healthy relationships, people do not have to get permission for everything they do or include the partner in everything they do all day.

There was a feeling that you thought was love from them, but it was their need to be in control over you and over everything. They scolded you if you did not call them bout your plans and also if you did not schedule your day around them.

You become used to scheduling your day around the other person. It feels like you are working as a team to d that, but the question is,”How many times did they ever, work their schedule around you? How many times did they ever put your needs before their own?”

In contrast, “How many times did you rearrange things for them because they told you it was an emergency? How many times did you sacrifice and put your needs before theirs??”

Part of you knew that this was not right. You knew that if they really loved you, then they would put your needs as a priority sometimes, especially when you were suffering for some reason. But what happened every time you needed them to help you? They suddenly had a crisis that was much more important than yours. Something suddenly came up that was a life and death circumstance with their job and they had to tell you “NO” this time.

How many times did you ever tell them no? What happened when you did try to tell them you could not do something?

How many times did they tell you “ok no problem” when you asked for something? When they did do something for you, how many times did they remind you about it? Did they use it as an excuse not to do anything for you, for a long time after that?

On the other hand, how many favors would you do for them in a row? When you tried to say “N0” to the 20th favor they asked, because you were overloaded, how did they respond? Did they make you feel like a bad partner? Did they mention the one favor they did for you? Did they seem to completely forget all of the other things you have ever done for them, like they did not exist?

Yeah, been there, done that.

It is going to hurt. But it will get less over time. The more of your identity you get back, the better. The more you become comfortable with making your choices and running your own schedule again, the better.

abuse, battered women, domestic abuse, domestic violence, healthy relationships after domestic abuse, how to have a healthy relationship after domestic abuse, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, narcissist, PTSD from domestic abuse, relationships, self esteem, women abuse

Love Your Partner Because You Want to…relationships after domestic abuse

Living with narcissistic abuse has an effect of making us feel unworthy. Many of us leave abuse, only to repeat the behaviors we learned from the abuser. The narcissist taught us that we had to give and give in order to be loved. We were not worthy of love simply based on who we are.

The narcissist taught us that we had to give unreasonable amounts to them. Unreasonable amounts of effort, unreasonable amounts of time and unreasonable sacrifices of our own lives. We were expected to give up the people and the things we loved, in order to prove that we loved them.

Constant sacrificing to the point of your own personal detriment is not love. Someone expecting you to sacrifice your dreams and the the things you love, is not love on their part.

We are worthy of love. It is not our actions and sacrifices that make us worthy. It is the person that we are. A partner should find value in just being with us, being close to us, being loved by us. There is no need for constant demands from someone. We should not have to give so much more to them, than they even come close to giving to us.

There should not be a balance scale or a meter that they hold up against us, to measure how many things we have done for them today. They should not compare us to ex girlfriends on how much we give. They should not compare us to other women in other relationships.

Narcissists are masters of deception. Make no mistake, they twisted the truth around in their favor. When they compared you to an ex girlfriend, they were not telling you the whole story. When they are telling you to be like “So and so’s ” wife, they are making that situation up too.

They demand not only for you to be perfect, but to be more than perfect. They do not want a perfect woman; they want a slave. The narcissist wants a slave that will be there at his beck and call.

They change the rules on us as we go. As soon as we think we have the perfect routine down that will please them, they change the rules. It is all about domination by lowering your self esteem. They do not want you to feel good about yourself, or ability to be a good wife or a good girlfriend to them. They want you to feel inadequate and worthless.  That is how they control you.

Once you have self esteem, then you realize that you do not deserve to be treated in the ways that they treat you. They wold lose their power ti control and rule you, if you were to recover your self esteem. The narcissist game is to constantly crush your self esteem down.

So, what does this mean for us once we are out? We still carry those feelings of being inadequate and worthless. We still feel that in order for someone to love us, we must be at their beck and call 24 hours a day. We must give more to our partner than they give to us. We must constantly measure what we have done recently for them.

In a new healthy relationship, we need to feel that we are worthy to be loved. We can do living things for our partner, but that is what they are…loving acts. If we do a loving act for our partner, it does not need to go onto a list. It is simply something we did because we love them.

When our new healthy partner does something for us, we need to feel worthy to receive it. They should be doing it for us, out of love. If they show us care and love, by doing something for us, then it is because we are worthy of that love.

Little by little, we need our self esteem back. It will allow us to be truly loving to our partner. We will be able to show them our love, because we want to, and not because we are afraid not to.

abuse, battered women, domestic abuse, domestic violence, gaslighting, life, marriage, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, narcissist, PTSD from domestic abuse, women abuse

Financial Struggles After Leaving an Abuser

Financial problems often occur, after we leave our abusive partner. This happens for a variety of reason. If you are struggling to survive, living in a less than ideal place and feeling frustrated, then you are not alone.

When you are living with someone, there is bound to be financial entanglement of some sort.  You were both working and sharing the bills, or one of you was working and paying the bills. If you were the one that was not working, then it was an added reason why you stayed longer than you wanted to.

I ended up having to move in with the family of my ex husband. My ex mother and father in law agreed to let me rent the attic floor of their large home. This was very less than ideal for me, in many ways. I could write fifty posts and still not be done explaining the retraumatization I have gone through by moving in here.

But we have to get out when we have to get out. We all have a breaking point. For most of us, the point at which we left the abuser was much later into the abuse than we should have left. It is easy to know that the relationship is terrible, but it is not as easy to figure out how to leave.

You can’t just walk out the door and go sleep in your car for the next year. Well I suppose you could if the weather was not too cold, you had no kids with you and the police did not catch you. But obviously living in the car is not the first thing that women want to do.  I have heard stories of women doing this for a month or so and I admire them for their courage.

So, if the car is out, then what? You can go to a shelter. The women’s shelters vary from state to state and county to county. Some of them are pretty decent and will provide counseling to help you to get back on your feet. They can connect you to resources for food, housing and employment. Some of the shelters have people that can help you with legal things, like a restraining order.

You can move in with a friend or a relative. You can try to rent an apartment, but many women from abuse have bad credit due to the abuser damaging her finances and her credit.

You can couch surf from house to house, when people can let you stay for short periods of time. This would be very traumatizing for anyone who needs to feel that they are home. You have lived in abuse for a long time and you had no safe place to call home. The feeling of still not having a home to come to at the end of the day, is very sad and lonely.

It is the same when you have to stay with friends or relatives. It is not your home. You were forced to leave the home you knew and to become like a war orphan, looking for a place to call home. The lack of a home that you feel comfortable coming to, is retraumatizing. Your brain needs peace and safety.

It is so difficult to heal when you are being retraumatized by so many things. The lack of feeling safe and comfortable is one of them. There is the issue of the abuser coming after you. You have to find a safe place where they cannot find you. You can sometimes get a restraining order which can help some, but they are not perfect.

If the abuser is going to know where you are living, then you need to feel that the people you are living with will protect you. I moved in here, because there are three adult men that live in this house. They are all relatives or ex in law type relatives. My brother in law would protect me, if he was here when anything happened.

I felt that the fact that the guys cars were in the driveway, it was obvious that guys lived here, would deter any problems from my ex. This turned out to be correct in my case, but each case is unique. Some people have to move out of state to feel safe.

Then you have the issue of how to make a living. I did not feel comfortable working at the same job that my ex used to pick me up from work.  he knew my days of work and my shift schedule like the back of his hand. He even had found out the code to get onto the door that locks down after dark.

By the end of the relationship, he had been causing me problems at work. His behavior was inappropriate when he was in the parking lot and also when he came inside to wait for me. Some nights when he was feeling rage, he would slam his  body into the signs and things in the parking lot.  I asked him to stop, because I did not want security coming. To that he would reply something about being able to beat up the security guard. This was embarrassing and it also endangered my job.

When he came inside, he would sometimes start an arguement with me, in the front area where my coworkers and supervisors could hear him. This would involve cuss words and demeaning treatment of me. It was embarrassing and also could have costed me my job, because they did not want unsafe behavior in the facility or any behavior that might upset the patients.

After we  broke, up he used to stalk me at work. He would show up and wait for me in the parking lot, when I was walking to my car in the dark, at midnight. This was really annoying and a bit scary. He also used to leave things in my car. This used to frighten me the most, because I felt like he was making it clear to me that he knew where my car was and could open the door at any time. I had nightmares about him waiting in the car for me, but that never happened.

I changed jobs and had to take what I could get. Many victims of domestic abuse end up having to take low paying jobs and living way under the socio-economic level they are used to.

This again, is retraumatizing. We are in the process of trying to heal from the abuse, and we are being traumatized by living in poverty. We now have to choose between food , prescriptions, and doctor appts. We cannot afford therapists, unless we find something at a free clinic or a charity care.

The other thing which occurs after leaving a domestic abuse situation, is the onslaught of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). If you have PTSD from the abuse, this may affect your behavior and ability to function at work. Depending on your job and how well you manage your symptoms, PTSD can cause you to have trouble moving up in a company, getting a new job, or even getting to work on time.

Our transportation may also be adversely affected. In my case, my ex was the one who drove me to work and picked me up from work. He was not working during the last several months of our relationship and I did not have a car.

His ride to work and home was basically his contribution to the rent. Even though the girls at work used to tell me how he was such a wonderful guy, because he always picked me up from work. Those women would scold me when I worked over time by a half an hour, just to get money for the rent.

They told me it was so rude of me to force him to wait. What they did not know was that I had told him how late I was working and he chose to come early (after I asked him not to) just to give them his sob story about being so tired and having to wait for me.

They also did not know that he had not been working all day, like they assumed and I was the one working the extra hours , so that we could have food on the table.  It is amazing how people think that “the facts speak for themselves.”

It is terrible to live in a domestic abuse situation, The mental torment that the abuser does to your poor brain is soul stealing and self esteem crushing. It causes us to question our own value and worth. There is no way we can stay with them, without endangering ourselves, in a physical way, a financial way or a mental way.

But the problem is that, it can be terrible when you get out too!  Many of us are financially devastated, struggling to survive and being retraumatized while we are trying to heal our brains. It is a hard road for many of us.

I do not want to deter anyone from leaving a domestic abuse situation. My only words to you would be to get as much help as you can. Contact the women’s shelter , even if you do not want to stay there. Just let them know who you are and what your situation is. There may be things they can assist you with, other than just living there.

Let your friends know and any relatives you trust. Let the pastor of the church know, if they are someone you feel you can trust. The more of a support network you have, the better for you when you leave. You cannot anticipate all the things you will need help with or who might be able to help you.

Connect with people here on wordpress. Get into a facebook closed group or some other internet help group to talk to. Let your primary care doctor know and try to have some kind of counselor or therapist on hand, even if you do not think you will need one.

Have as many resources ready to be there for you, as you possibly can. There are so many obstacles to overcome and you cannot do it alone. I tried to go through my exit plan and rebuilding with no support from anyone. it has caused me more trauma and mental injury than needed to be.

If I could go back in time, I would have rallied more people to my aide. There are friends that I have not talked to very much in the last few years, that I recently told about my struggle to get out of domestic abuse. They were sorry that I had not told them about what I was going through.

I was wrong that they were too busy to help me. Many people told me that they would have been there for me and could have provided support in various ways.  I should have reached out for help. I was too scared and I felt unworthy of help from others.

You are worthy of help and there is help available from multiple places. It is difficult to get back on your feet, but you can do it. You matter !

abuse, battered women, domestic abuse, domestic violence, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, narcissist, PTSD from domestic abuse, self esteem, women abuse

You Have a Voice… Don’t let Domestic Abuse Silence you Forever

you are stronger than you think

battered women, domestic abuse, domestic violence, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, poem, poet, post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD from domestic abuse, self esteem, women abuse

Leaving an Abuser … poem

Tip your hat

Say goodbye!

Don’t apologize

The time has past

It’s not enough

It will not last

Don’t dare ask why

Just move your feet

I will not cry

Not in front of you

It just might stop you…

Like in the past

But not again

I am finally done

You’ve done your damage

You’ve had your fun

Just keep going

On your way

Don’t look back!

I won’t be here

Not this time

Not again

Now, take your things

Take my things

I don’t care about them

Take all this  stuff!

Just leave me my heart

And leave me my mind

Whatever is left

Don’t take your time

Just keep moving

I am not changing my mind

There’s not much left of it

After what you’ve done

But I will recover

In spite of you

Just keep walking

I will see myself through!

abuse, battered women, domestic abuse, domestic violence, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, narcissist, post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD from domestic abuse, self esteem, wellness, women abuse

No Longer Available for you to Abuse

moved on