Depression & Suicide

After the Abuse: A Story of Healing

I hope that you have never had to go through the pain of an abusive relationship. If you have, my heart goes out to you. Because healing from such a relationship is almost as hard as the relationship itself. It’s a struggle, a battle to come out happy, healthy, and whole. The following is one such story from a friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous. If you are struggling to heal from abuse (or from any other malady of the soul), I hope that you can learn as she did to “breathe, rise up, and reach out.” — Vanae

It was 4:15 in the morning, and these were the thoughts running through my head:

“How did I become ‘that woman?’  Why do I still want to be with him? That is so sick. I hate myself for still loving him. I shouldn’t still love him. I shouldn’t want him every second of every day. I shouldn’t be missing him. What is wrong with me? He hurt me. He made me believe I was stupid and worthless. He told me no one would ever want me. And look at me now. He is right. Who would want this hot mess? I am unlovable. He was the one who taught me that I was unlovable. He played games with my mind. Made me think things were my fault. He manipulated and controlled.  And yet… I still miss him.”

I am loveableI had sobbed. I sobbed until I could no longer breathe. I cried until my heartbeat was in my head. I was weeping with everything I had in me. I was weeping because I couldn’t seem to stop my mind from replaying over and over what he had done to me. I was weeping because I missed him. I was weeping because I missed myself.

Once I gave everything over to my grief and the tears quieted down, I began breathing. Three deep counts in. Four slow counts out. Repeated until I could think a little more clearly. Then I reached out to a friend who softly reassured me that everything would one day be okay again. And four hours later, I was sitting in my therapist’s office for our weekly session.

My boyfriend was a mine field. When we were together I never knew what would set him off. One wrong move. One false step. But that is the thing about mine fields. You don’t know where the mines are hidden. So every step is the same. And every blow is damaging. He and I are no longer together, so I don’t have to walk his field. But now a field lives in me.

“I was strong enough to leave the relationship, which means I am strong enough to heal from it’s residue. I am more than the debris the abuse has left in my life.”

That is part of my “911 Meditation” that I call upon when I feel fragile. And when I feel broken, I reach out to my war council–the people who I can trust with my story. My war council speaks truth to me when I cannot speak it to myself. I write. I run. I listen only  to music that lifts me. I breathe in and I breathe out. I pray to my Creator and all that is higher than me. I give myself permission to grieve and to feel my emotions.

And it hurts. And I am healing. And my healing hurts.

One of the biggest helps is receiving help. Professional help from my therapist has been invaluable. He is helping me rebuild the roads and walls and the beautiful cities inside myself that my abuser attacked, destroyed, dismantled, and then reconstructed for his own benefit.

Another huge help has been learning how to forgive. Beautiful healing has taken place as I have allowed myself to forgive myself for becoming “that woman”–for allowing someone to treat me so poorly, and for allowing myself to love him despite it all. Healing comes as I learn to forgive God for letting me be in this situation, for not stopping my abuser or changing him. And it comes as I allow myself to forgive my abuser, recognize his illness and pray for him and for his personal healing.

My healing is not complete. I do not know when it will be. I understand that healing takes time and commitment. But every day I choose to believe that healing is possible. I choose to believe that I am worth it. I choose to believe that I am loveable, and that someday someone will love me with the healthy kind of love that I deserve. And I will be able to give that love back because I am healing.

So, to all those going through something similar: breathe, rise up, and reach out. Speak truth, and hear truth. Because you are worth it. You are worth it. You are not unlovable. You are not trash. You are not crazy. You are strong. You are worth it. Breathe, rise up and reach out.


11 replies »

  1. We are soul sisters…this is you and this is also me. Thank you for your courage; you give me hope and determination for my own courage. Many blessings.

  2. This comment made me cry! It touched me. I’ve been there and it still hurts. I am happily married now but sometimes the memories still haunt me.

  3. I woke up this morning with a heart that is still bleeding from yesterday’s abuse. I read this post, yet i have no idea how to get out of what I am going through.
    I wish someday I get the courage to leave back everything that I dreamed would become a wonderful love story for a movie. My life is a nightmare now.

    • For me, after 8 years together…I find I still feel sorry for him/his alcoholism. I know this is a disease but I keep feeling drawn in to help hum despite all the hell he put me through. I am struggling to find my personality…even “who am I” all I can do now is stay away…glad I moved away…last time I visited it was…can you loan me money! I am a BA level licensed D & A counselor so I know the talk. The walk is hard. Co-Dependency is horrible!

  4. Thank you for your blog. I was “that woman” but I finally got up the courage to leave after 23 years of marriage to a clinical psychologist who was a master at manipulation and insidious mental abuse. So subtle that it wasn’t even on the radar at first. Your life becomes consumed with their demands and leaves you questioning if there is something wrong with you. I’d say yes (for myself.) It’s called co-dependency. Arm yourselves with knowledge and self-respect. See yourself as God sees you, his precious daughter. I had to speak truth to myself to start to unravel the twisted thinking that was put into my head. I had to remind myself that I had options and not remain “stuck” like he wanted me to feel. My world started to make sense again. I am now at peace, trying to put my life back together but not without dealing with the aftermath of two unsuspecting sons with the damage this destructive pattern of relating to others has become a part of them. I pray that one day I will see total healing in our family.


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