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Recovering from years of abuse, but is it possible to be happy now?

(19 Posts)
vestandsocks Sat 08-Aug-15 23:06:40

I grew up with verbally and sometimes physically abusive parents and have just come out of a long term emotionally abusive relationship. I am a lot more aware of the dynamics and controlling tactics of my abusers than I was before my son was born and this year has been a BIG learning curve. Feel a bit shell-shocked by it all but getting stronger gradually, I think.

Getting myself in a more independent position, practically, which is good. but I feel that there might be something wrong with me as I just can'/don't want to get close to anyone and just want to be on my own most of the time.
I know this can't stay that way, but if I am honest with myself it's really only because I want to try and be a good role model for my son. But on the other hand I wish I did have closer friends and start having a bit more fun in my life so that ds grows up with this positive environment.
If I do go to a toddler group I just feel like a silly fool, as always and constantly berate myself for the things I say both during and after any interaction with anyone. Then get depressed.
It's like I go around with this big stick beating myself up all the time so in order to protect myself I just hide away.

I am also not sure if it's possible to not only get better from this but to actually make good friends, at this stage in my life, when I am 'damaged goods' as it were.
Sorry, long post! Just wondered if anyone else had similar experiences at all...

textfan Sat 08-Aug-15 23:09:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

vestandsocks Sat 08-Aug-15 23:13:16

Thanks textfan, yes I am on the waiting list for CBT, referred by my doctor. Also on antidepressants which do help. Read LOADS of books on the subject but think talking things through with someone might help.
Glad you hear it worked for you smile that's encouraging.

textfan Sat 08-Aug-15 23:16:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

vestandsocks Sat 08-Aug-15 23:24:37

Really? That's interesting.. guess I may aswell give it a go though and see what it's like.
I tried a counseller last year but didn't like it. I got sick of the sound of my own voice! And found it didn't really help as I was just going round in circles out loud rather than in my head, with no answers (which is what I am constantly doing).
What I am going on is called 'guided self help', a course of 6 sessions. not sure if it includes mindfulness.
What did you hate about CBT, if you don't mind me asking?

textfan Sat 08-Aug-15 23:40:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

takingstock Sat 08-Aug-15 23:49:50

I had two programmes of CBT which were helpful for self awareness but did involve a lot of talking. However my breakthrough came with Mindfulness because I learnt a technique for finding calm in my life. This in turn has enabled me to let go of stress. Can't recommend it enough.

vestandsocks Sat 08-Aug-15 23:54:09

Hmmm, thanks that's food for thought, did you learn mindfulness through a course/counsellor? I've read bit about it in books but not enough to get a full grasp on it.

I agree about finding the right counsellor, the last one I had put me off the process somewhat..

takingstock Sat 08-Aug-15 23:54:53

And also OP I found I was very happy in my own company for a long time after my separation and it is still a very comfortable place to be. However I am also starting to find pleasure in other people's company again but I take it slowly, withdraw when I need to and try not to expect too much. It has taken me 4 years to get to where I am now. Hope you find the peace you deserve.

takingstock Sat 08-Aug-15 23:56:10

Mine was an 8 week course with a local mindfulness practitioner.

AcrossthePond55 Sat 08-Aug-15 23:59:09

I think it's normal to want to isolate ourselves after an abusive relationship. Just the same way an animal goes to a quiet place to lick its wounds. I was perfectly content to sit in my little house and watch TV and/or cry. Counseling will help. But what helped me was starting to be 'appreciative'. To appreciate just little things, like a nice morning, a good book, peace and quiet. Once I started to appreciate the little things in my life I began to feel better about myself and started wanting to go out more, re-start friendships, make new friends, put myself 'out there' as it were. It was a slow process.

Rozalia Sun 09-Aug-15 10:02:50

I'm just 5 months separated from an abusive husband, after a 20 ordeal/ marriage. I too spend a lot of quiet time alone. I can't concentrate on TV although I can read. I mix with people at work, though that's new as STBXH isolated me and prevented me from working. Getting home and shutting the door on the outside world is bliss.
I saw a counsellor this week, I've seen her on and off for a couple of years. She suggested I guard my weekends and use them as quiet recovery time. It really does help.
I've suggested before on MN starting a Recovering From Abusive Relationships thread. I haven't actually done it, because I'm recovering myself and felt too fragile. Anyone think it would be helpful? I know there's the emotional abuse thread but I've endured physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, financial, well you name it. I'm feeling stronger so happy to start it off if there's a need.

vestandsocks Sun 09-Aug-15 14:11:55

Yes, recovery time is important isn't it. It almost feels like starting from scratch again and getting to know yourself better.
In the early days of my break up I was throwing myself into seeing people/doing stuff and it was adding to my stress really because I was tired of pretending and not having time to think. I was pushing and pushing but true to form was not doing anything I really wanted to do.

Rozalia pleased to hear you have got out of your abusive relationship too, that must have been hard after 20 years. Five months isn't long either do you find you are very up and down from one minute to the next? I do.
I am putting my hand up for an abuse recovery thread smile

Rozalia Sun 09-Aug-15 15:10:18

I mostly feel exhausted, emotionally, and stunned. Because time and distance of just a few months is bringing everything into clearer focus so I wonder why I put up with it so long? I guess he just ground me right down so I believed I couldn't cope without him.

I'm actually coping better than he is.

I'll start a recovery from abusive relationships thread, then. Mutual support and sharing of recovery ideas.

HowDdo2You Sun 09-Aug-15 15:24:28

I realised from counselling it wasn't just my marriage it was my family and so called friends too. I had to start from scratch. I also have a rare medical condition and I was also abused by HCP'S who didn't understand the condition. I had a psychologist advise me and others it was all in my head and I wasn't really physically ill. I am most upset about the psychologist gaslighin me as I shared that others did that too. I don't know where it came from. Deep inside I got the strength to find out a specialist and my GP refered me. I got my dx with a complex multisystem physical condition and told the psychologist who refuse to talk about it. I stopped going. I don't want to go near another one ever again.

I have lost trust in humanity and only give of myself to my children.

Forever more I think people aren't friends they are aquantances and inheritantly selfish. I foolishly though people cared for me as I did for them, they didn't.

vestandsocks Sun 09-Aug-15 15:47:58

Sorry you have been through that Howddo2you I empathise as I too have a history of abuse in my family, also the in-laws, so it feels like it is everywhere at the moment.
I realise now that the problem I have is that (a) I feel that being treated in that way is 'normal', and (b) controllers pick up on my lack of self worth and use it to their advantage.
I know that there are very nice people out there though so my goal is to try and make healthy and happy relationships my new normal.

Sod the rest of them. I have wasted so much of my life tying myself in knots trying to 'work them out' while they walk all over me, that I have forgotten about myself.

HowDdo2You Sun 09-Aug-15 15:51:52

You are so right Vest .

Rozalia Sun 09-Aug-15 16:38:29

I've started a Recovery Thread in Relationships, but can't post a link as I'm on an iPad. Would any do that for me please?

vestandsocks Sun 09-Aug-15 17:09:09

Brilliant thanks Rozali smile

hope the above link works?

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