“Out Of The Relationship, But Not Over It”

by Annie Kaszina on August 10, 2011

“Dear Annie, What can you do when you have been out of the relationship a while and you’re on a sort of plateau?  Life is better (obviously), and you no longer need to “fight” as much, with yourself or him, but you know you’re nowhere near over it? How do you move on from there?”  Deb

Deb, it sounds as though you’ve reached the place of wanting more and not knowing how to get it.

Life is no longer the hideous, nightmarish experience it was but, still, you’re existing, not living your life to the full.

You’re gazing out across the plateau of frustration and dissatisfaction – and, sure, those feelings aren’t bad enough to destroy you, you’ve known so much worse – but you know you want more from your life.

Why wouldn’t you?

But what do you want?  And how do you get it?

My guess is, you want to feel fully alive, to engage happily, even passionately, with Life.  I imagine you want love and intimate connection.  I suspect you feel you haven’t yet grown into your full personal stature.  You still don’t believe you are a wonderful, engaging, gifted woman who is a gift to the world.

Maybe you have yet to stop feeling like a frightened child in a hostile universe.

It’s far more enjoyable, I have to say, to feel like a powerful woman who can choose her own path in the world, and walk it with confidence…

You say you know you’re nowhere near over your abusive relationship.  I’m sure you’re right.

You say you’re not fighting “as much” with him (or yourself) but my guess is that you are still living in the world of his making, the world he imprisoned you, in during the relationship.

Now, if that sounds overly dramatic, it’s not intended to be.  Having worked with many hundreds of women – and struggled through the whole process myself, unsupported – I know what happens.

When you finally eject an abusive man from your life – or, for whatever reason, he puts himself out of your misery (and, most likely into someone else’s) your life does not suddenly become a bed of roses.

Of course, there are immense satisfactions, like being able to go to bed at night, and wake up in the morning, without the fear of an emotional assault.

But the chances are, you aren’t free.

The way it works is this: your abusive partner imprisoned you in the jail of his worldview.  Now that worldview may well have been a reflection of your parents’ worldview or, at least, the worldview you grew up with; or it may not have been.

Still, that worldview led you to believe you didn’t matter.

However you choose to look at it, that was the bottom line: you didn’t matter. That made it a dangerous, hurtful world.

One way or another, your abusive partner has moved on…

But he has left you the legacy of his world.

No doubt you don’t want those beliefs in your life.  They don’t fit with who you are really are, how you treat people, and how you would choose to see the world.

But the thing is, you aren’t free to choose how you see the world.  Because you are still living in his worldview.

Even when external circumstances change, you still have his old views and values echoing in your mind, telling you a different story.

And, at bottom, you believe them.

You’re not stupid, of course.   Not at all.

You know it doesn’t have to be like that for other people.  But you still believe it’s different for you.  You still believe that life has to be hard for you, and thankless for you; and, quite possibly also, joyless and loveless for you.

It is as if you are looking through a glass wall at happy people who live in a safe, manageable world, knowing that you have no right of residency in that world.

That is the jail of an abuser’s making that you are still living in.

As long as you live in that world, as long as your feelings are conditioned by those lies, you will never be over the relationship.

So, what needs to change?

And what can you do to make it change?

As you well know, ‘if you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always gotten’.   For as long as you carry on giving the old thoughts, fear, and negativity headspace, nothing is going to change very much.

Not uncommonly, I hear from women who have found a loving partner and a good relationship.  Their life should – could – be as near perfect as doesn’t matter.  Their life is good, yet their inner world is not.

Because they still have not exorcised all the demons of the past.  That emotional jail is still a place they know all too well.  It may have become more like an ‘open prison’, but it is NOT emotional freedom.  They are not free to rejoice in the moment.

Phrases like: ‘rejoice in the moment’ and ‘living in the moment’ are, I think, difficult to make sense of at the emotional level, if you have been in an abusive relationship.

An abusive partner specializes in trashing life, moment by moment.  So, you could not be blamed for learning that a lot of your moments are worthless.

Yet where else can you possibly live in peace and joy, if not in the moment?

As you may, or may not, know, my beloved partner has recently been through a life-threatening experience.  Times like that bring home to you that the only true safety and joy are in each moment.

And despite the trauma, there have been many, many moments of true joy and peace in these testing weeks.

You – and I – were taught that before we could be happy, ‘everything’ had to stack up, all the conditions had to be right.

That’s a lie.

You can be happy no matter when, once you step out of the prison of abuse.  I know that because I’ve done that for myself, and that is what I teach other women to do for themselves.

So, dear Deb, you have a choice.  You can continue on this half-life plateau, out of the relationship but with the relationship still inside you.  Or you can say: “Enough of being deprived of experiencing my share of joy to the full.”

If you haven’t been able to get beyond the plateau by yourself, it may be time to acknowledge to yourself that you need help and support.  But not just any help and support.  Working with someone who specializes in helping women along their journey back to wholeness and happiness is the best guarantee you have of swift and lasting progress.  I hear from too many women that, months down the line, their counsellor – who is not a specialist in emotional abuse recovery – is sticking labels on the problem, rather than resolving it.

Compared to the jungle of abuse, the half-life plateau may be quite bearable.  For the foreseeable future.

But is bearable enough?

Or do you want more enough to make it happen?

 

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Deb August 10, 2011 at 9:28 am

I do need help and support..

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Jennifer Bugeja August 11, 2011 at 6:18 am

Deb,

I am in the same boat as you except I am having a hard time with the fact that he is so easy yo let me go. I do want to be with someone who treats me with kindness and respect. But I also want him to be as upset as I am about the break up and he seems to be so over it. That’s what hurts me so badly.

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Sandy August 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Hi Deb,

As long as mine has his sluts and whores he can get over me, real fast, record speed. I totally understand what you’re saying. You want him to feel the hurt and sadness like you do. They’re all PIGS!! Men have no conscious.

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Anne Loisel August 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Hi Sandy,

Its me again I agree 110% with what you just said. I’m with you girl!!!!!!!!! They are so dam happy with their sluts and then have the nerve to lie about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They have no conscious and they are pigs and we are left with the pain of it all!

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jill johnson August 10, 2011 at 10:12 am

okay; yes, I want more but you don’t say what to do to get it—-i have found yet another emotionally abusive man—-this time I went halfway across the globe to see him and I have been here a month and he still hasn’t seen me like I need to make an appointment with the king or something I guess—and I don’t get it—what the f is wrong with me— I am out of a 25-year relationship with someone who turns out to have molested a child when they were babysitting as a teenager-0—I am norrified, and yet he seems to be getting everything—the house, the cats, and I have no life and nowhere to live—please help me—-I just can’t take the emotional pain anymore

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Shashie August 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

Dear Annie, first off just want to express my sadness at the madness that gripped yobs in the UK and has destroyed so much. It happens here too and it is horrible. Second off, how clearly you articulate every nuance of recovery. This post is so accurate. I have gone past some of the stuff and am still wallowing in the remainder. Once again, thanks for turning your pain and recovery into a hand of hope for us. I am sorry you suffered for 2O years. Happy recovery to all of us and to all the world’s burning hotspots.

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Diane August 10, 2011 at 11:33 am

Annie, your response to Deb seems to have explained where I’m at in my journey of recovery and I thank you for that. I didn’t realize that this place of stagnation is not a life sentence and is simply a result of past conditioning, which will help me to see things much more clearly from now on.

It has been four years since my husband rejected and abandoned me and I have often wondered whether my life would ever feel full and joyful and emotionally comfortable again. Now I understand. I have come a very long way and really am okay on my own, but life still feels oppressively lonely at times in spite of all the good there is. I have a fantastic support system, a loving family, plenty of resources and opportunities, but still there is an emptiness and longing to once again have more of the good things that I dearly loved from my old life. You just handed me clarity and I now have to figure out what to do with it, because existing really isn’t enough!

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Theresa August 10, 2011 at 11:55 am

True to form, Annie has tapped right into where I am in my life right now.
However, fortunately, I am pleased to say that although I am not (yet) fully ‘over’ the relationship I left 3 months ago, I am doing the work it takes, and am seeing many incredible changes and differences in my perception and development. I know I will get through this. I know every other woman can, too. It’s certainly not easy, but it is worth every step of the way. Our recovery is really the most important thing we can give to ourselves – we deserve this.
Keep on keepin’ on!

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Sandy August 10, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Theresa,

What are you doing to get thru this? I feel like a hamster on a wheel, going nowhere and always going back for more.

Sandy

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Anne Loisel August 11, 2011 at 8:21 am

Theresa,
I feel the exact same way like a hamster on a wheel desperately going round and round but going nowhere!!!! Yes I am on that wheel with you!!!! We have to find a way to jump off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Anne

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Sandy August 12, 2011 at 10:41 am

Do we have a low self image and think this is all we can get and that nobody would want us???? I don’t know but my brain is sooo tired of thinking about this.

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Theresa August 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Hi Sandy and Anne,

It’s a daily process for me. Sometimes minute to minute, even. I am seeing a therapist who is helping me understand why I was drawn to that type of man. Being able to begin understanding the whys and hows of what I do, have helped me get closer to healing.
But there are always setbacks. Today is a bit of a melancholy day for me and when thoughts of inferiority and negativity creep into my brain, I try to think through it to be positive and learn to value the positive and good that I can offer.
Sure, I do get lonely, and sometimes get feelings of overwhelming sadness. When this happens, I allow myself to feel it (something I didn’t do before) but now I question it, and break it down, until I have a clearer understanding of why. And then it passes. It truly does pass because I’ve dealt with it.

I try to distract myself with the positivie support of friends, by keeping my body and mind healthy, not wallowing and pressing forward. My motivation is that I want better for myself and am realizing that I deserve that, too.
What is so wrong with me that I can’t be loved, valued and respected? Nothing. And the same goes for you.
I also read Anne’s blogs over and over, and the words all of you women write for support and endurance.
This website has really helped me move forward in my life and I am so grateful.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go, and on days like to day, the light seems harder to find, but I know it will pass – as long as I focus on me and figure it out.
Further to this, tomorrow is my 33rd birthday and I decided to take the day off work, to take some time for myself, to just go to a park, relax, read a book, and be with my thoughts. I look forward to it.
I do have friends and family that are wonderful and loving, but tomorrow I want the day for just myself.
All in part to heal.

xoxo

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Anne Loisel August 15, 2011 at 5:14 am

Hi Theresa,

That you for your reply to Sandy and me. I am also trying to look after myself physically . The one good thing is that when I was in the marriage taking all the abuse I would get really sick like bronchitus 3 times a year where I was in bed for a week and coughing for a month after that ( I have never smoked). My friends said once I was away from him I would not get sick anymore . I did not believe it but guess what. I have not been sick at all in 11/2 years now!! Unbelievable!! Shows what stress can do to you. My friends and counsellor thought I was going to end up in a nursing home or dead from all the stress. I have MS also but it is very mild and I am able to cope well with it. When he was drinking he used to tell me I would be in a wheelchair in a year. Well with that I was strong and said NO I WILL NOT BE. and its many years later now and I am not and I am out and about doing just fine physically its just these crazy feelings I still have for him thats the problem??? Jekle and Hyde to the extreme and lies and manipulation. Even knowing all this cannot seem to rid myself of this toxic love I have for him. I have known him 30 years and lived with him 20 ( married 15 of them).My first marriage was physically abusive also so that adds up to alot of years of it. Both of them very successful financially but oh what hell it waw in the house!!!!!!!!!! I write so I have written it all out and it reads like a horror story even to me!!!! It feels like it all happened to someone else but it did not. I can slip into denial so easy. I do have good supportive friends and 2 kids who love me. so I am blessed and wonder why the pain of it all and this toxic love still lingers. I feel like it is going to go to the grave with me. I am fighting it tooth and nail believe me I am!!!

Thanks for replying to me. This is the article of Annies that I have responded to. It is so where I am right now!!!! I so envy the other that have been able to sever the emtional attachment. I really wonder if I ever will. I loved him with all my heart and he has just trampled on it . Thanks all of you for being there. At same time I wish you did not have to be here and I wish I did not have to be here ither.

Thank you for Annie helping to pull us all together and say whats truly on our hearts and souls.

ANNE

Julie August 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Most of the time I am so happy to be out of it, I’m enjoying my life, getting back to the person I was but then something will bring it all back. How he lied to me, how I let him lie to me and I just get pissed. What you said about being made to feel I didn’t matter, punctured my balloon because that is what the anger is about. To him, I did not matter. I don’t believe that I feel that way about myself but get sick that I spent so much time trying to figure it all out, and to him, it/I just did not matter. Not only did he make me feel that my moments were wasted, they were wasted. I’m mad at myself for participating and that is what I need to let go of.

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Sandy August 10, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Hi Julie,

I’m sooo happy to read your post. I felt like I’m talking to myself when I read it.
The lies, bullsh*t and stories are unbelievable. I’m married, he’s single. I’ve always told him, “3/4 of what comes from your mouth is b.s. and the other 1/4 are lies”. Yet, why do I continue to go back. He’s a smooth talker and maybe I go back hoping it will be different this time. Not a chance. My heart is empty and I’m so lonely.

Good luck to you.

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Julie August 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Oh, I’m so over it! That I can happily say. It got to the point where I finally realized that even if he kept every promise it wouldn’t be enough to keep me there. I don’t take phone calls from him and refuse to see him. The anger is still holding me, Yesterday was a bad day, today is better. Someday he’ll be simply a memory.

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Anne Loisel August 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I am so stuck. I left my abusive husband of 15 years 2 years ago. He was the love of my life. Before that I had left my first abusive husband of 17 years so thats 32 years of abuse I am trying so hard to recover from. I should hate him and instead still 2 years later I feel sick with love for him. He has another woman, the second one during these past 2 years and he still calls me and tells me he loves me and I just have to say the word and we can be together. Physically I know I can never go back but emotionally I want to. Its pure hell. I have been going for counselling and even my counsellor cannot understand how I can stay so emotionally attached to him??? He was Jekle and Hyde. He could be so so nice and loving then get drunk and be absolutely horrible calling me fuckin hoer and fuckin junk” and for all my education I am pretty stupid. I am an RN. He does not have an education but worked his way up in construction and had an excellent important job. I am addicted to him or addicted to chaos and so so jealour. It tortures me day and night the thought of him with another woman. I left due to alcholism and abuse then a year ago found out about all the betrayals with other women which still goes on! He is older than me almost 7o. It just never ends; I am so so stuck and need help. I have a nice place and good friends but still cannot seem to get over this guy who has almost destroyed me.; I always felt no one would ever love me as much as Ross and I know thats a lie and I still find myself wanting to believe it. Yes you are right I am out of the relationship for 2 years and its emotionally getting harder every day. My own mind has betrayed me as much as he has. No peace at all. I coped better with the abuse than this?? Its pure hell now of a different kind.

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Sandy August 10, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Hi Anne,

Another post I read tonight and except for the drinking, we have the same abuse.

Why in the hell do we hang on??

Good luck to you.

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Anne Loisel August 11, 2011 at 7:51 am

Hi Sandy,

Thanks for your response. Why do we hang on indeed??? They are not worth our pain but I cannot seem to stop the pain? How can we love someone who treated us so badly. I have been in denial so long and now I am out of it but I can actually feel my brain wanting to slip right back into denial but I cannot an that leaves me an endlessly painful place while he is out having a great time. The post from JC was good also about tortured women and that sure describes me and probably you too. I like what she said “abuser man is not happy” I sure hope she is right.That is what kills me. Here I am in agony still after 2 years and he is out there super happy with his new slut( excuse me that is my deeply buried anger coming out usually all I can feel is pain. I appreciate you responding to my post. My friends cannot understand any of this. They think you should be fine now he is out of your life!!!! I think that too but I am not fine at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Sandy August 12, 2011 at 10:38 am

Hi Anne,

I’m so happy to have found a few women who can relate to me. I have sooo much support from friends but this is so much better. My “friend” is addicted to collarme.com, a website to meet and “spend time” with the sluts!! He lives for porn. That is his life. How I look back and always think, “this time he REALLY gave me a reason to end it”. He calls, we are back and forth on the phone, he TRYS to convince me he only wants me and “WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT” I want us to be together. You know, actions speak so much louder than words. His actions are he’s a liar, sex addict, manipulator and user. To talk to him you would think different. So why am I sitting here today waiting for my cell to ring??? My anxiety is gone, thank you God, and the pain doesnt’ hurt like it did this time last year, but I still need that call. I only wish I could wake up tomorrow and have this be all over. He keeps calling after 6 weeks, sings his love songs, I see him and then I say, “what the hell did I do”.

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Anne Loisel August 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Hi Sandy,

Your story sounds just like mine with maybe a few variations????? I thought I was the only one so addicted to my ex after 2 years of exactly the same stuff. He is not on a web site but he picks up the sluts in bars or wherever he can find them and I guess there are lots of sluts around ready to pick up with anything ???? Mine keeps calling and calling too and 1/2 the time I do not answer and he leaves these love messages then I start missing him and I do answer and I am angry but it just starts all over again. I ask myself how can I miss him? He has proven over and over he is a drinker, a sex addict. an abuser emotionally and on a few occasions over 20 years physically. No matter how much he says he loves me if he thinks he can get another female he will.,” Even his own son called him a pig and a dirty dog always was and always will be” Oprah once said ” when a man shows you the first time what he is believe it” I try and try but he still after 2 years has such a hold on me emotionally and it just makes no sense at all?????????? He is cheating on the latest slut as he always calls me and tells me he loves me with all his heart.????? It all makes no sense. I did not even know all this crap when I left. I left due to his drinking and abuse??? It was only last year I started finding out all the real truths and stilll—— it just kills me. so yes I am out of it but still in it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its all very painful and he is not worth all my pain. I think I am as addicted to him as he is to his drink and women and me as he never stops calling me???? If he has another woman why does he keep on with me. I try to go months and months without answering the phone and he keeps on and on until one day I weaken and talk to him again. I am trying to just accept the way he is and just let it be even if I talk to him once awhile it feeds my addiction and I feel better even if its just that he is cheating on her in calling me??? I sound as sick as he is reading what I just wrote. Its all called crazymaking and thats what these men do to us and why we allow it??? I do not understand it at all?????? I see from all these posts that these abusers are all very similar in their abuse and in their love tactics. Love songs like you said. Once he phoned and there was just a sad country music love song singing away in the background. Its madness that I keep trying so hard to stop and then keep getting sucked back in even if just on the phone or back in winter I even saw him abit till I found out he had another slut on the side. Oh my God I was so devestated but its his pattern so why would I be so devesated? Makes no sense????? Such a hold this man has on me and he will not let me go no matter what. I stay strong for months then I give in so he knows. Like I said absolutely crazy. We had it made. I loved him we had a beatiful home on the shore of Lake Ont. It was my dream house turned into a nightmare. I better stop now I could just go on and on but after reading your post I just had to reply again.

ANNE

Sandy August 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Hi Anne

My goodness we have sooo much in common. It’s another Sat. night and I’m just wondering where he is and who he is with. If you could hear the “love songs” you would throw up. His actions completely contradict his words. He’s 60 and lives with his Mom, very long story, not that he wants too. “I can’t leave her alone at night. She’s 84 and Aunt M. is 93. What if something happened and I wasn’t there”. OK, that I believe, yea right. If you truly love someone wouldn’t you grab every minute that you could to be with that person. I’ve also heard, after spending a few hrs. on a Sat. afternoon, “I have to leave now (4:30) and take my Mom to church”. Oh my God!! What is wrong with me that I continue to put my hand in the blender KNOWING that nothing will change. “I’ve lied to you a million times”. OK so I go back because??? “I don’t always lie. I just don’t tell you the whole story if I think you don’t need to know”. OK so I go back because??? He is the most convincing man I’ve ever met. “No other man will love you the way I do”. Using the scare tactic. Well, I hope to God they don’t. I, also, could go on and on for days. Please keep in touch.

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Julie August 14, 2011 at 5:22 am

Anne and Sandy, I have to jump in here. Of course these men are alike, and of course all of us are going through the same thing. These men ARE NOT SPECIAL. There is an abuser handbook somewhere because all of us have heard all these lines before. Please go to the library and find the book “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft.

Anne Loisel August 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Sandy and Julie,

I am going to try to find that book Why does he do that? Its Sat night and I too am torured with the thoughts of what he is doing and who he is doing with it? Its my last thought at night and my first thought in the morning. Its pure torture!!!! So how on earth can I love him???? Love addiction I guess ??? My abuser man is in his 60’s too. It just never stops. I guess they keep on abusing even into their 90’s if they make it that far and alot of them do. In spite of them abusing themselve they seem to live forever. The nice ones die young from what I have observed but not these guys!!!!!!!!!!!!! It seems to me even God does not want them and I do not say that lighheartedly as I do very much believe in God. I try in earnest to give him over to God but even that is not working. Its so hard living with lies and deceipt and this guy has been lying and deceiving me without me being aware of it for 30 years.I realize now I was in total denial. I do not think I will ever trust him or anyone else as long as I live. I find myself still wanting to believe his lies but I cannot. Not anymore. Still need that phone call though even if I do not answer. If he does not call I feel so down its absolute craziness. At least if your husband dies its sad and you can mourn but you know where he is. You know he is not out f—— some slut!!! I have to somehow get to the point where I do not care what he does but just cannot get to that point as yet?????? Well I am going on about it again. Wish I could be like some of the others here who do not still have love feelings for abuser man???? Sat night and every night I am tortured by thoughts of what he is doing and that is because I know what he is doing and it is driving me insane and I am fighting to not let it!!!!!!! I should be happy he is just gone!!!!!!!!!!! So confused by myself even more than by him. He is what he is and I can never change any of that. I know we can only change outselves but its so much easier said than done!!!!!!!!!!

ANNE

JC August 11, 2011 at 12:12 am

Important points for the tortured women, from my experience, anyway, which I will not burden you with, but it was HELL:

1) DO note menopause as a mood changer, and focus on your body and not your head when the physical misery waves come.

2) DO believe what you know and not what your eyes lie about–Abuser Man is not happy. Abuser Man has taken his suitcase full of hate away from your bedside and on to another. No one saw it beside your bed, did they? Have empathy for the woman. You know the crap she is taking. Ouch and ouch and ouch and too bad you cannot call the cops for psychological abuse. He is the angry one, not you. You are the one who was empathetic, or else you would never have given him the time of day. So spend it more wisely. Be with that woman in spirit, and pray she escapes with less damage than you have. That is love. That is the thing Abuser Man hates, and you are full of it. If you cannot have empathy for that woman, then you have no empathy for yourself. I am here praying for you, sisters. Pass it on to sisters you know are being tortured in person and not just by memories. Don’t be a hypocrite. 🙂

3) Bad memories/bad feelings: The physical sensation is like being dropped off of a cliff, because that is what Abuserman does every time he gets a dig in, lies, hits, accuses, whatever, he totally abandons us.
Grab a chair or your bed or a wall, and notice you are solidly planted on firm ground. Abuserman is falling down the vast canyon to hell, and My Father is going to meet him at the bottom and ask about his treatment of me and all of his other victims. And Abuserman is so arrogant that he will probably talk to My Father just like he did to us. Is My Father going to curl up in a ball and cry and hate the future? Uh-uh. Read Jeremiah for a start on Abuserman’s many punishments he will endure if he does not shape up and get the fear of God in him. Maybe not today–we do not know what day. How big is Mr. Big Stuff compared to God? A speck. He could be walking along one day and just vaporize. That is up to Our Father. He is not getting away or getting off. He is a wanted man. He is going to fall hard. Be glad you are out of the way, and let Our Father decide about that car accident; it is way too much responsibility for you to dream up the punishment.

4) I just had someone ask me the other night if my first ex was abusive, because he seemed arrogant. Thank you for noticing, I thought. And then they asked me about his current woman–was she nice? I said, yeah, I think so. They wondered why she was with him, because she seemed nice. The world is NOT blind, even if justice is. That is what they said about me when he was mine, and it is what they said about you, but not to your face. I promise. Pray for that woman. Everyone else is. We are alive and out of it, so I think maybe a bunch of people were praying for us, too, and we were not aware of it. We felt very alone, but I think the help was just not visible.

5) On being a speck and feeling like a speck: Tinkerbell. Jeannie in her bottle. A monarch buttefly. Tiny, beautiful, powerful, mobile. That’s me. I love being small. Only special people notice me.

6) On loneliness: I am going to wait on a good good man this time, and that is someone I would never meet via Abuserman, because truly good men see through him and do not hang around him. I am going to get ready. I am going to hope it takes a year or two or three for him to show up, because I have so much preparation to do. And if he never comes, the Redeemer still comes, and is worthy of my efforts to be a beacon and prayer warrior. It is all good.

7) On cheering you up right now, this second, check out and save this video for a rainy day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=yE6PNps5N9I

(you will have to cut and paste) I DARE you to not smile!

8) On being broke, which is a horrible side effect of Abuserman: Gold stars beat gold coins, and I have a bunch coming for not cheating, murdering, or stealing when I was so very tempted. Gold star yesterday was a surprise visit from my brother with no bad news. Gold star today was perfect weather. Gold star tomorrow may only be bunnies in my yard. Did I say ONLY? Well, first of all, in the 80s and 90s, the coyotes had about taken all of the rabbits around here, and I rarely saw them, but now they have made a comeback. I wonder whether I ever thought they were defeated for good? I do not remember. I just know they are back, even though there are still quite a few coyotes around. I think the coyotes switched to cats and birds. I say let ’em. My bunnies are more precious for having been in short supply for a while. I really notice them and do not take them for granted. I get joy out of seeing them, whereas before, I probably just said, myeah, no big deal. Hey, God, cool job on the rabbits! Thanks! If you did not follow the metaphor, well, darn.

Luv ya sisters. Hang in there.

A Sister Who Did Not Actually Ask For A Mean Brother, But Dealt With It With A Lot Of Help From My Father

P.S. Get thee behind me, Satan. Say it thrice three days a week.
I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengtheneth me. Say it twice two days a week.
Not my will, but thine, Lord. Say daily.
He KNOWS. He SEES. He HELPS. I promise. I am not the liar and deceiver. I am not the snake. I am not sentenced to crawl on my belly. Praise the Lord. I pray for both of my exes, the last one more, because he is so absolutely godless and heartless, a total slave to Satan, a very black-hearted man. But it is not up to me, so I am no longer invested in the outcome. Praying feels better than cursing. It takes quite a while to get there, or did for me, but I am thankful to be there at long last. I do not want him to get off easy. I do not want him to get a free pass because I nurtured hate and cancelled out his punishment. I already got sent to my room for a good long while for doing that. Now I have just got to be a good girl and trust Daddy, and I think it will all be okay. Easy for me to visualize because I had a great and just earthly dad, RIP. Maybe you need to think of another dad if yours was mean like Abuserman. It is their job, to protect. Think about good men, good dads. Our Father loves us just like that, only so much more and perfecftly. And just like Dad, He is probably going to do more if you ask nicely, and do not blame Him for your brother’s choice to disobey. He does not like it, either. John Gotti got his, in the end. OJ got his, in the end. Madoff got his. They always do, It could just be dying alone or public exposure, like Nixon got. Or secretly seething over your beautiful life pretty soon. I think me living alone gets to my first ex more than me being with Abuserman Two did. She’d rather be alone than be with me? Indeedy. Ouch for him. That is for that black eye he gave me back in 1983. Long time ago. It’s coming around, because I forgave him. He also hates that I genuinely like his girlfriend. Drives him nuts.
😉 Different deal now with Abuserman Two. He is in love with money, obscenely so. I picture me being rich and him being poor. But God may have other plans. It will be fun to find out when it comes. I could not have predicted the deal with Abuserman One. It just came, without my help or imagination. Sorry to ramble. I am getting into cheering other people up a lot more, a very very good sign for my recovery. Two years ago, a year ago, I just looked for HELP!!! Not drowning now, just treading water a bit, looking at the ocean and calculating the shortest route to land. I suppose I had better commit soon and start swimming. I am bored with my shaken confidence and treading water. No planes or boats are coming here to rescue me. I think God is going to get miffed if I do not start swimming. It will be no one’s fault but my own if I drown now.
Daleen–you have your daughter there. God says he will answer any prayer offered by two people praying together in the name of Jesus. Give it a whirl. Maybe some extra money will come, or a way to save money.

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Anne Loisel August 11, 2011 at 8:01 am

Dear JC,

Thank you also for your post. I could so relate. I like when you said abuser man is not happy. I so hope you are right!!! It seems like he is but my friends and counsellor tell me he is not. I am beginning to feel there is no justice on this earth but like you I do believe in God and the bible and maybe what goes around will come around later even if we do not get to see it, Why do we love these guys and then a nice guy comes along and I do not feel a thing not a single thing, Just all this love for a guy that does not deserve it at all. Maybe when you have a toxic love it just stops all other love. Its crazy? I cannot understand what has happened to my mind. It betrays me as much as my husband has. Thanks for your interesting and detailed reply. It made alot of sense and like I said already it made me feel better to say ” HE IS NOT HAPPY”” The thought of him off happy with someone else DOES TORTURE ME BIG TIME. I try to give him to God and I try to forgive but the pain just stays and stays. 2 years later and the pain is still as bad as ever!!! I go out and do things and keep busy and yet nothing takes the pain and these horrible love and jealousy feelings away. I was never a jealous wife in all the years we were together. Now I know Ishould of been. I will never trust another man as long as I live. Annie is so right the effects of all these years of abuse linger on. There has got to be a way out but so far no matter what I read or do I cannot find relief from it. Thank you for taking the time to write. I can so relate to you all.

ANNE

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Sapphire September 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Hello to all, can I just jump in here and say what i feel about the question…..Why do we love these guys?

I have done alot of soul searching since my breakup with my abusive x, and I see now that I have fallen for “these guys” because I have never loved ME enough.

When we hear those loving words from abusers at the beginning of the relationship, we fall hard because we have always wanted someone to say those words to us.
We have longed to see that “look” in their eyes, feel that loving touch etc.

We have insecurities and low self esteem, and that sort of man can see that in us on the first date, and they can judge how needy we are, more than we know ourselves.
They see how far to push our buttons, by our responces.

When we get that wonderful attention, probably for the first time ever, we just melt, and then they pour it on even stronger.
Once we are hooked, we then miss all the bad signs……..
LOVE IS BLIND!!!

What I have learnt is that after the pain of the beginning of the breakup has eased a little, as it will, we then have to learn to love US.
Love out inner child.
Comfort US.
Everything we do, we must do now for US…..to heal.

When we learn to LOVE US, we will then see ‘those sort” straight away and we will lower our eyes from their glare, and walk away with our head held high.

Believe me, we will.

It is not easy to do this, it takes time, tears , pain, and commitment, but it is OOOOOOOOOO so worth it!

Take care everyone, and LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!

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JustAvoice September 10, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Good News times two, girl! One: The pain WILL subside…it will go from a sharp, constant twinge of hurt to a dull ache every once in a while to being completely gone. Give it time. You can’t force healing. The other good news is that you WILL love again. Only the next time, you will be an expert bull-ish spotter. You will KNOW the early warning signs of an abuser. So if one tries to rear his ugly head in your life, again, shut his sorry @ss down!

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Julie August 11, 2011 at 6:31 pm

JC……..I love what you have to say about the next poor soul and having empathy for her. My sister pointed out to me last night that I need to stop kicking myself for being a caring and kind person. Haha, I don’t feel very caring and kind to him at the moment!

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Sandy August 14, 2011 at 7:37 am

Hi Julie,

Feel free to jump in anytime. Thanks so much for suggesting the book, “Why does he do that”. I’ll be sure to get it.

Good luck to you.

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Julie August 12, 2011 at 4:01 am

JC………I just read this again. Thank you for posting, I will probably keep a copy of it to pull up and read. Many good points………and it made me smile.

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Sandy August 12, 2011 at 10:50 am

What a wonderful post!!! I also hope Abuserman isn’t happy!!! KARMA is a b*tch!!! How I believe in it!!

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Julie August 15, 2011 at 3:50 am

Anne, your experience overwhelms mine. I can’t put myself in your place. What I know helps me is to read, read, read…………this blog, books, anything. When I realized that “he” was not special, that he was just many in a long line working with the same bag of tricks, it really took the shine off for me. Not sure why. I knew he was never going to change. I stopped making excuses for him (traumatic childhood). There is still alot of anger but I feel that growing less. I realized yesterday what a waste of time my anger is, its like being mad at a cat for toying with a mouse. What is that def of insanity, repeating the same behavior over and over and expecting different results? Love that, it was me, but not anymore. 🙂

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Anne Loisel August 15, 2011 at 5:28 am

Hi Julie,

Thank you . I read read read also thats how I found this website by Annie I am definitly going to try to find that book. That defeinition of insanity is so true. I first heard it at a separation divorce care course I took last year and it rang so true!!!!!

I am still fighting to realize he is not special and He is NOT!!!!! My friends cannot begin to see what my attraction to him even is?????They think he is a sleaze and he is. My heart and soul is having a hard time trying to consume that idea. My brain knows it loud and clear. Torture is the only word for it. On a cheerier not I will get through this somehow I will never give up fighting these toxic feelings!!!! Never!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ANNE

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JustAvoice September 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm

You said: I have a nice place and good friends
I say: My dear, you are so very fortunate. Many women who finally leave their abuser wind up living back at hme with their parents or in a shelter. Count your blessings.

You said: But still cannot seem to get over this guy who has almost destroyed me.
I say: He gave you his best worst shot and you are still standing_without him. The memory of him may linger, but for all the wrong reasons and only one right reason. He was treating you in a manner that defines HIM as: seriously emotionally disturbed. You mistook your reaction and feelings for him as: love, but love does not hurt, so it positively was NOT love you were experiencing but abuse, instead. All that being said: You still have your life. Something too many women lose as a direct result of being in their abusive situation. Count your blessings.

You said: I always felt no one would ever love me as much as Ross and I know thats a lie and I still find myself wanting to believe it.
I say: You’ve got that right, sister, because “Ross” absolutely did NOT love you. It boggles the healthy human mind to try to completely grasp this concept, but abusers are INCAPABLE of love. Period. That’s why they go to such great lengths seeking out individuals whom are predisposed to “love too much” (to rely too heavily on emotional stimulus) as their co-dependent ‘partner’. It is that aspect of your own personality that is pre-conditioned to co-dependency that “wants to believe”. Fortunately, however, your conscious mind can- and SHOULD- overrule that manifestation of victim mentality.

You said: Yes you are right I am out of the relationship for 2 years and its emotionally getting harder every day. My own mind has betrayed me as much as he has. No peace at all. I coped better with the abuse than this?? Its pure hell now of a different kind.
I say: Believe it or not, what you have stated is a “good sign” PROVIDED YOU DO NOT GO BACK TO THAT @SS-CLOWN LOSER. The tug of war inside you is that wounded part of your psyche that got used to being abused sparring with the strong survivor instinct that emerges most notably when the abused finally leaves the abuser: for good. If you do not focus your thoughts on the abuser: how he feels now, is he sorry at all, has he changed, etc, etc, i guarantee you that the survivor instinct will see you safely restored, but YOU will be a changed woman. You WILL be stronger, you WILL be well-acquainted with the early warning signs of an abuser, you WILL pay VERY close attention to the dynamics (what he says/does-doesn’t say/do) of every subsequent romantic relationship you participate in, you WILL not hesitate to show a guy “the door” if he so much as suggests he is capable of directing ill treatment your way, you WILL not lose one wink of sleep whenever you do this, and (trust me, girl) you WILL be your own best friend…when all is said and done.

Most importantly: Give yourself TIME to heal, but don’t stop living in the meanwhile. Take it one day, one step at a time. Take up a new hobby, or return to an old one you neglected during the heinous period when you gave way too much time, attention and energy trying not to break eggshells around that (literally) crazy ex. Bear in mind that most women killed by their abusers are murdered when the guy realizes she really and truly has had enough of the craziness. If that doesn’t keep you in a sobering frame of reference when it comes thoughts of him, probably nothing will.

Peace and Love!

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Daleen Palmer August 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm

This hits home for me, as well. I’m trying so hard to stay the ‘glass half full kind of girl’ but like I told my counselor last night, I’ve started hitting such lows I can’t even find the glass! I’m 48 and hot flashes are escalating, so it could be hormonal. But, what gets me is watching my 17 year old daughter hit it, too. I think we are stuck in this and money is so frustratingly tight I don’t know where to turn to. I kicked him out a year ago last January and the divorce was final a year ago this past June 21st.

Today I just about burst out crying twice at work and that just isn’t me!

I feel so STUCK! I don’t miss him one bit . . I don’t long for what was or what seemed to be or any of it, but I can’t seem to break out of where I am at.

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JustAvoice September 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm

After 11 years of marriage, it literally took me 5 years of living apart from the crazy ex to feel completely normal again. All I can say is: “Hallelujah”, because if I had not gotten to know Jesus, I know I would not have come this far intact. Are you religious. If you used to be at one time in your life, now might be a good time to revisit your faith walk. Also, have you spoken to your doctor about your feelings? Depression is not an uncommon response to abuse. The “lows” you describe in you and your child should be medically addressed ASAP. Have you hooked her up with a counselor specializing in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or recovery from emotional abuse? Does she still interact with the @ss-clown ex? Do you? Have you considered support group therapy? If the ex was a substance abuser, there are support groups that target help to family members impacted by that type of abuse, as well. I pray for your complete restoration and for healing for your child, in Jesus’ Name. God bless.

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Kristi August 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I am so stuck in the anger towards my ex. All I want is pain/hurt/suffering (anything) for him for all the things he has done to me. When do they get their pay back, just when?? Why are we all here suffering and they are all out moving from one victim to the next. I wish he would just leave town and never come back. So I don’t have to see him around town. God I hate the man for everything he has done to me. I am happy in my life finally now, its been 2yrs, but sometimes the thoughts just come rolling back, of all the things he did and how he made me feel, and I just want him to hurt or something happen to him for him to suffer like I did. I am really trying to move past the anger but man its been so hard.

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Anne Loisel August 11, 2011 at 8:17 am

Kristi I so understand. I feel exactly like you do. When do they get their payback?? Is there no justice in this world. Both my ex husbands seems happy. You are lucky you moved to another town. My ex husband still calls me with all this love ( lies if he loved me he would not have treated me so terribly or chased after other women even has one now and lies about it!!!) It is all so sick. My friends cannot understand why I cannot just say f— him and get on with my life. I do not talk about it to them anymore. I do get on with my life the best I can but it still tortures me every minute of every day. Have to find a way to get past this somehow????? Yes I can relate to what you are saying for sure!!!

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JustAvoice September 10, 2011 at 8:37 pm

You can’t get over it because you are keeping the source of your emotional turmoil close-by. STOP talking to the jerk! Why in the name of heaven would you want to hear lies??? You stated more than once the guy is a liar. That in and of itself, not to mention he has a woman he is dissing by professing ‘love’ to you, should be enough to keep him reaching out but only being able to touch you via your voice-mail.

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Julie August 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I hear ya sista! Being physical has always been my best therapy.. I’ve got some tree stumps that need to be taken out, and I’m going to take out my anger at HIM on the stumps. This anger has to go, HAS TO GO!

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JustAvoice September 10, 2011 at 8:07 pm

It is so hard because you are hanging on to an emotion that is just as powerful as so-called love. What you might wish to aim for is the opposite of love, which is NOT hate. It is: indifference. Better yet, try for: pity. That crazy man is sick. He may or may not know it, but you should understand this truth. Forgive yourself for hooking up with him and remaining with him for as long or short as you did. Once you truly forgive yourself, you will no longer find yourself harboring hate for him. Besides, what you are really feeling is anger and resentment…towards yourself. Because he didn’t force you into an intimate relationship with him. You made that choice. It clearly was the WRONG choice, but it was your own. Accepting responsiblity for the role you performed in your abuse, is Step One to truly: “letting go”. You have to touch all the bases in “moving on”, hon.

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Anne Loisel August 11, 2011 at 8:27 am

Reading these posts has helped me to realize I am not the only one with serious lingering issues from the abuse. I was beginning to think I was the only one that had let go but was hanging on at the same time??? Let go physically but holding on still emotionally!!!! Makes no sense even to me. Thank you to everyone for sharing what they are or have gone through. It all helps just knowing I am not totally alone with this. I pray for healing for all of us.

Most sincerely Anne

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JustAvoice September 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm

The part of your damaged emotional psyche that is “hanging on” was addicted to your maltreatment. It is your wounded ego, resisting the admission that you were indeed wrong, in your choice of intimate partner. Don’t give too much credit to the @ss-clown abuser. You DO NOT miss being abused. You DO NOT miss being in an intimate relationship with someone who was INCAPABLE of love. You hate being wrong. You are angry that you “let it” happen, in the first place. You get the picture. We women have to redefine “Love” in our own minds, so that we can accurately portray it to our daughters. Otherwise, co-dependency will continue to be mislabeled as: ‘love’. A man who loves a woman does NOT seek to control or limit her growth as a human being. A man who loves a woman seeks to protect her and to participate in healthy, supportive interactions with her. A man who loves a woman respects and values that woman. An abuser does the precise opposite of these behaviors, because AN ABUSER IS INCAPABLE OF LOVE.

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Lauren August 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I have discovered two things that are important to me. It has taken me a long time to learn these lessons. Firstly, no one can hurt another person without hurting themselves also. Secondly, when we hate someone else we love ourselves less. I have felt 95% of the feelings that are described above and faced many of the situations. Detaching was extremely hard, I think because everytime I was told I was useless, hopeless and mental (although I didn’t believe it) I shrunk again and again. I thought it was important to prove that these words were untrue, but it was much more important to step aside. It took me a long time, and I’m still tripping over and learning. Thinking about it lowered the tone of my day. I have a wonderful counseller who sits with me and works through my situations: Here is what is happening, (you can be negative if you like) but what can you do that is positive?

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Theresa August 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I agree with all that you said, Lauren, and just wanted to thank you for writing what you wrote.

Continued support,

T.

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JC August 11, 2011 at 8:20 pm

My last rant was not posted, and I kind of hope it won’t be, because I am off kilter today. 🙂

We are all survivors of torture. I hope the world evolves someday to where mental cruelty DOES affect a divorce settlement, which in most states right now it does not, so the guys, and abusing gals, too, will see a big monetary fine in their heads when they start the bullshit, because abusers definitely fight for money if the marriage ends. And then we could get abused for pay. Every time he called me stupid, $50. Every time he called me lazy, $35.00. Every time he said I was bi-polar (which I am not and have been thoroughly counseled and checked out on my mental health), $200. Wouldn’t that be great? Why excuse any of it? Why ever say that is just part of married life? It doesn’t need to be.

I hate the way I finally fought back with cuss words, after four years of stuffing it. I really hate the way I spoiled my record, and became what I hated, and made him feel justified. Anne, I would sure like an article about how the abused eventually becomes the abuser, which is technically battered woman’s syndrome. It doubles the damage to our self-esteem when that occurs. We fulfill the abuser’s fantasy about us when we finally succumb to violence or other abusive tactics. You can say don’t do it, but probably a lot of us have already crossed the line in one way or the other, breaking promises to ourselves and becoming lowlifes in our own eyes.

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Annie August 12, 2011 at 3:00 am

Hi JC, actually I’d been thinking about that, and I will be writing about how we get drawn into the abusers tactics before much longer. Annie

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Shellee Andrews August 13, 2011 at 8:15 am

I am grateful to hear that you will be posting something about those of us who have unfortunately tried to protect our self-worth with inappropriate words or inappropriate come-backs when our spouses/partners have attacked us with their hurtful, abusive tactics.

I have spent countless hours feeling guilty and frustrated because I have lowered myself to respond back in a less than healthy light. Tit for tat. I wish I had been mature enough to just walk away but there is such a desperate feeling when you know that what is happening is throwing you so off balance, distorting what you know to be real and causing such grief.

Of course there are things that I if I had to do over again, I would hope I would/could do differently but it is so difficult in the middle of having your mental and emotional status questioned that puts you in a self preservation mode.

Annie, I was hoping you could also post more information on Misogynism (hatred of women) The information is amazing and I believe something that could help other women realize what to avoid in a man.

Thank you for your time.

With hope,
Shellee

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Alice March 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm

RE: responding in kind to our abuser and how to stop it.

I left a 40+ year verbally, emotionally (and in the early years, a few physical moments) marriage three months ago. I relate to a lot of what has been said in this very valuable forum. My final exodus is the result of a) “growing up” (I was barely 18 and from a very dysfunctional family when I met my ex, and 19 when we married) b) and becoming a Christian in my twenties. Obviously, a long story, but to the topic: It occurs to me to share, here, that once I recognized the vicious cycle (something angered him, he blamed and abused me for it, I responded with anger myself, life calmed down a bit, the next issue came up, and it all started up again, and then there were the daily little jabs and controlling mechanisms), I realized I need to somehow get off the merry-go-round, if just in the smallest of ways, each time. I would say to myself: “What is the different thing I can do?” At first, it allowed my anger to settle down for a few minutes. Gradually, it gave me time to reflect on the truth of the situation even as he was accusing me of something or belittling me or some other form of abuse. Precipitating my response to his anger with this question eventually, over time, allowed me to completely avoid the anger response and to come to greater and greater clarity about the relationship. I only stayed as long as I did because we did have about a ten year hiatus from the hate when he stopped drinking (as far as I knew) and actually made somewhat of a turn around. The children and I all noticed it and hoped for the best. Then when things escalated again, I knew it was over. This time, however, I was a far, far cry from that silly immature little girl he married who was so utterly set up to engage in an abusive relationship. This time, when he insulted me in every way he could, “out of the blue,” I said to him “What you are saying to me is HIGHLY insulting, but I know who I am, now.” Of course, that ramped him up even more, and so my choice was quite clear.

I will also add that many times in the marriage I prayed for “God’s heart” for him. I needed that to overcome the anger and resentment I carried, at first, and then work through the other forms of the grieving process the abused person goes through. The second to the last time I prayed that prayer, two weeks before he blew up and I left, I added, almost as an aside, “or maybe, Lord, this whole thing could just come to some kind of conclusion. Soon.”

About three weeks ago, I realized I need to pray once more for God’s “heart” for my ex husband, only this time, a “heart” for him AS my ex husband. This helps me stay centered on the bigger picture, as odd as it is to not live with him any longer after so very long.

I have no contact with him now other than texting, when absolutely necessary, such as concerning legal matters. I also heartily recommend this kind of boundary. I have no illusions about how very deeply and profoundly he has damaged me emotionally and psychologically, and I remind myself, as do others, that I need to take very, very good care of myself while the next stage of my healing takes place, in part, enhanced by reading blogs such as this, accessing my amazing support group, reading, reading, reading, and staying very close to the Lord and His words of wisdom. The book of Proverbs quite exquisitely details the nature of abusers and how to behave toward them–mainly, avoid them.

I hope this can help. And I hope that if a reader is in danger, she recognizes the time to go is now. Leave, call an abuse hotline, a women’s shelter, or a friend. Each of our stories is highly unique. I would never, ever, encourage even a verbally abused wife, let alone physically abused wife, to stay in her relationship. It’s just that this is my story.

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Julie August 13, 2011 at 5:24 am

I hope this is proper but I wanted to pass along a book that helped me tremendously in understanding that “he” is never going to change. That his abuse is very intentional, thought out, planned in advance. That he will and has had, the very same sort of relationship with any woman he is involved with. “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft. Its not his drinking, its not his sex addiction, its not his childhood, IT IS HIM. It is who he is. If its the only book you read this year, I hope you read it. 🙂

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Sandy August 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Hi,
I bought the book yesterday. His name is written on just about every page. Thank you so very much.
Sandy

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Julie August 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm

The book made things very clear to me. I borrowed a copy from the library and put it in my stack to check out. The librarian who knows me very well, looked at it in my stack and started to put it off to the side. She asked if it was mine, thinking that it had gotten mixed up with my things. I smiled and told her yes, she looked so surprised. I guess I don’t seem the type to be mixed up in this sort of thing! LOL

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Julie August 15, 2011 at 5:04 am
anonymous September 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm

I sit here in tears reading everyone’s posts. I finally made a break from my second abusive husband and am past the initial relief of it all and now am wallowing in depression. I see a counselor and she has given me great advice on practical things to do to get my life back. I agree with her, but feel completely and utterly stuck in self doubt and feelings of being an absolute failure. It is hard to not believe that a woman of my age and has been through two marriages isn’t at fault somehow, or not worthy of the love I see others have.

I was married the first time when I was 18 and a senior in high school, partly because my home life was so abusive and my boyfriend seemed like my knight in shining armor. I foolishly believed “love” would conquer all and became a teenage mom very quickly. Eight years and three daughters later I filed for divorce. I was abused in every way possible, but not so much physically so it was easy to overlook it and believe in his pleas and promises to change. It wasnt until I found what I believed to be child pornography that I finally knew I had to leave. I did not want my daughters to become his next victims. It turns out I made the right decision because his addiction ended up taking his life a few years later (after I was remarried,) I still have what I know to be misplaced guilt about that. Like maybe if I had stayed or tried one more time he would be here for his daughters. His death affected me much more than I could imagine. I cannot talk about it now without breaking down.

After my first divorce life went on, but I merely existed. I went back to school, got an Associate’s degree but still felt empty. I needed more, but the more that I thought I needed was another man instead of what I truly needed, self worth. I started dating my second husband about a year after my divorce.

He was charming and was as head over heel with me as I was him. Within a year of dating I was remarried, except this time it turned bad much more quickly. By the two week mark I was horrified to realize the man I thought he was did not exist. I was determined to not go through another divorce so I stayed. I wish I had run the first time I was shown his true self. Not only for my sake, but for the roller coaster of life that my children endured with me. He would turn from the most amazing and thoughtful man you could ever dream of to one that was cruel and hateful the next. We lived in a world of extremes. So much so that I have no idea what real life should be like.

I stayed after having local social services called, him being arrested for domestic violence and animal cruelty to our dog, his threats of suicide, a six month separation period, counseling, even stayed when he was hospitalized and eventually diagnosed as Borderline Personality. It was different with him because he said all the right things, begged for forgiveness and entered counseling, anger management, etc. I believed him that he really wanted to fix things and be the man he should have been.

After seven years I finally left him when he went after my oldest daughter verbally and had her so scared she was hiding in her room with a can of mace. I asked him to leave, which broke my heart because I knew I would never be a part of his three sons’ lives again. I was the only mom they knew and their only stability, but I had to preserve my own daughters’ emotional and physical well being.

I have been on and off many different antidepressants over the years, but nothing has helped much. I sit in my apartment watching tv or spending time online. I rarely leave the house and dont even take care of myself. Most days I cant even muster the energy to take a shower, let alone make the effort to look presentable. I simply dont care anymore and probably self consciously trying to avoid any man ever being attracted to me again. I simply dont trust people anymore. No matter how they seem to care or act as if they are worthy of trust I cant ever escape the feeling that they will end up like everyone else in my life, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

So here I sit at my apartment trying to figure out who I am anymore. I have spent so many years burying my needs that I dont even recognize them. I know the kind of person I wish to be, but the distance between here and there seems like attempting to see beyond the Grand Canyon. I want to be living life, but my small world inside my apartment is the only place that feels safe. I would love to go back to school and into a career change, and I know I have the intelligence for it, but fear and the cage abusive people have taught me to live in keeps me immobilized.

I have no idea how to heal my heart and become the person I was meant to be. I long to be part of the world and actively enjoying life, but at the same time that world is frightening to me. It’s easy to tell myself to go for it, take the steps necessary to become the person I want to be, the mother I want to be, but the anxiety and stress over the simplest of tasks convinces me that it is a distinct possibility that I would get overwhelmed with it all and fail again.

Even through this divorce I have kept in touch with my most recent ex. Why? Because he seemed to instantly turn into the man I thought he was while we were dating and he claimed to finally come to his senses and realize the pain he put us through and would do anything to have me back. I honestly want nothing to do with him romantically, but I still care for him as a person and want the best for him. I miss my stepsons and like to hear how they are doing or see them occasionally. I am quickly realizing that continuing any kind of tie to him is only stalling my healing.

I simply am stuck, I am happier than I have been in a long time, but more miserable too. How those two are possible at the same time I have no idea. How do I move on and become the person I want to be, healthy emotionally, financially, and physically, when social anxiety and fear keeps me from taking the steps necessary?

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maria October 24, 2011 at 5:45 am

Hello Girls,
It is with sadness that I too join in here, with tears in my swollen eyes and in my heart… I left my abusive boyfriend about 2 years ago but everything he would come back, I would take him back! Annie knows about me because I would sign up for the conference, then cancelled or not show up. I would read the book yet not practice it. This went on for two years. Just yesterday I was at his house to pick up my children. Since he made lunch I decided to clean up for him while he was outside talking to his brother. While cleaning the counter I discovered a receipt from a stakehouse (almost a month old) for 2 guests. I asked him if he had gone out on a date and first he accused me of going through his ‘stuff’ (mind you this time I was actually doing a good deed) he told me yes he dated a girl but it had ended. This is the same guy who kept telling me how much he loved me one day, then ignore me the next. He said that he ‘thought’ i was doing the same and thats why he did it.
At that moment a weird picture hit my mind, I saw him walking away, and I was a small bit up can (weird I know) who he had tied to his waist and was dragging me while walking. He kept moving forward and I was just the can that was being dragged which he could easily leave behind whenever he would feel like it. I am not sure why that picture hit my mind but that is probably how low i felt at that time.
I made up my mind last night that i will start dating others as well and I told him that and he seemed to not care. Of course, he gave a couple of guilt trips about why he going on a date was actually my fault!!! How pathetic!!
I start with Annie’s conference on November 8 and I am hoping to get past this once and for all!
In the mean time, please write me and tell me words of encouragement as I am very depressed right now 🙁
God Bless us all!!

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Sheri December 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Have any of you considered that not only was he an emotional abuser but that he may also have anti-social personality disorder, or other personality disorders? My husband, who I loved with all my being was emotionally abusive and physically abusive. 11 months ago he beat me so badly that I couldn’t breathe. I went to the emergency room, where I admitted to the world, that the man I loved and was married to had beaten me. Counselors and the Sheriff’s Dept. Deputy appeared while I was in the ER, I found out he had a history of assault and battery while sitting on a bed waiting for C-Scan results!
He almost killed me! I got a protective order, filed a complaint, and I began counseling. After 11 months, I now know why… it is the cycle of abuse, and he is anti-social personality disorder (ASPD). I’ve spent hundreds of dollars reading books on emtional abuse, and personality disorders. I’ve read countless articles on Domestic Violence.
EDUCATION is the first step in healing. Knowledge IS power. I faced him in court just last week, where the judge found him guilty. I was vindicated and empowered.
It was only when I accepted WHAT the problem was, that i truely began to heal emotionally.
Ask yourself this: Did you want to spend your life with a psychopath?
It is better to have loved and lost than spend your life with a psychopath.

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Carol July 31, 2012 at 7:32 am

My problem seems to be how bad I hurt when I think of how happy he seems now with his new wife! They have already in 8 months been on 2 wonderful out of the states vacations! We were married for 26 years and never once went on a vacation. He always said we couldn’t afford it. Now he has all our money (several hundred thousand) he purchase her a 5,000.00 engagement ring (I never had one) and this just hurts me so bad. He never has anything to do with our children and tries to be #1 Dad to her 3 grown children – just hurts so bad, but basically I am very happy now – no more emotional abuse. My friend all tell me he hasn’t changed that soon he will treat her the same, but I wonder. He tells me I am jealous of her – well that isn’t what I feel – I just don’t understand how he treats her so well and never treated our family good. Any answers?!

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Helen July 31, 2012 at 11:34 am

Carol….Although the details are different, I also struggle with the feelings and questions you describe. I have no answers other than telling you that you are not alone. Despite his abusive treatment of women over his lifetime, my ex continues to prosper and appears to have attained his “heart’s desire” in each and every aspect of his life with a new woman. She seems to be more compatible with him than any of us before her (per a certain social medium). At the same time my best efforts have thus far been fruitless and I am facing losing my home during my teen’s last year in high school. I get angry and envious and then feel guilty for being that way. I think it comes down to simply accepting that life is not always (ever?) fair and just keeping on doing my best. On the worst days I cry and yell at God and on the best I appreciate the small blessings all around me and trust that my situation will improve.

If you must have contact with your ex because of the children, keep it to a bare minimum and do not discuss his current relationship or his “happiness.” Their life may have fewer pressures to deal with than you and he had. A harsh probability. Can things be as good for them as they appear? Maybe…or maybe not! Time will tell. …(And hopefully by that time you won’t care as much….)

In the end analysis, their/his life has nothing to do with yours anymore. It may be a constant struggle, but continue to pull your attention back to caring for yourself and improving your own situation. Find your own small joys. (It is hard as Hell some days.) Well, I guess that was an answer of sorts. Any better suggestions anyone??

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