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Recovery journey after domestic abuse!(41 Posts)
Does any feel that the recovery process is very circular? I alway assumed that recovery was going to be forward linear but in actual fact I’ve gone round and round. Each time absorbing a little bit at a time. The same questions the same answers but different levels of acceptance.
Does that make any sense?
Perhaps think of it as a spiral? Every time you revisit something you have a slightly different insight, new perceptions that help you process it better.
Also, a spiral gets bigger between each revolution so you still make progress.
And feel proud that every day is a day further away from that situation, that you have managed and are learning from.
Of course. You are going to have times where you will feel on top of things and then at other times the stuff that happened will hit you again.
You learn from the experience and then you're ready to learn more from it and your mind leads you down into it again.
EMDR therapy can be helpful if you have painful memories.
What sort of questions/answers etc are you experiencing? If you would like to share. xx
I think what I’m trying to say is I keep re-visiting the same places but each time with a different, maybe better understanding. It’s like I was expecting the abuse to get better over time, it’s still the same, the same things happened but I view it very differently.
For example I’ve been fixed, I guess traumatised on the end result. My eventual breakdown. I’ve not been able to get past my memory and the thoughts of that time. I wasn’t able to see it as the end result of a process of many things over many years. When ever my memory approached how I got to be me right now it would get stuck on that picture, me out of control.
Then the other day I was drying my hair and I had a thought which triggered an anxious response and I went straight back to oh no I’m loosing my mind like before. Then I said to myself, no you are not, this is a memory and memory response, it’s not real time.
Then I was able to think about what led me to that breakdown and the idea that I had carried so much stress and fear over the years that any human was bound to break. I wasn’t a human that was faulty like he told me, there was a process, a normal human process.
Then I got thinking about me now. Unable to complete the most basic of tasks because I get so easily overwhelmed. My brain associates stress with my husband and I go back to that time. When in actual fact I’m actually stressed by present day things like
money, living alone etc etc. Then I realised I have control of those things as they are present and not past.
I’m not exactly traumatised by events that I have seen but by the end result. I busted my stress capabilities, well he did. But I can do something about that.
Sorry if that sounds odd!
It’s hard to comprehend abuse. You don’t think of it as a small chipping away at the foundations until eventually what’s on top collapses. That was my abuse, he undermined the integrity of my being until it couldn’t cope and went into shut down to protect me. It at the time went completely undetected.
A couple of weeks back I would have been unable to process the breakdown with the build up. I just thought there was something wrong with me and I should have been stronger.
That's good progress then. Another way of thinking about it would be that it took years of chip chip chip to get you to that point- that's how strong you were and how well you survived. It will take a while to repair the damage too!
Yes I thought I was weak because I’ve just been focusing on the end result. I was also told that C-PTSD effects people who usually start out with a low stress ability. When I look at what I’ve had to carry I actually think that’s crap. I withstood it for 11 years, I did great! Yes I’m hindsight without entering and accepting all that I did I would not be in this position. But unfortunately I did and I broke but I’m still here. I’ve been fighting against the natural protection mechanisms your body deploys. Sometimes they should be left alone to do there job. Sometimes they kind of get in the way!
I find the more I talk about it the less power it has. I NEVER talked before which really made me worse so I apologise if I fill this site with my ramblings!
I really relate so much with what you write. I had the signs of a breakdown when I was in it but had to keep going and pretending things were ok. Once I was out and could fall apart I did spectacularly, ending up in hospital for a long time. I recovered from that and suddenly last year when under stress I had this huge realisation that I was feeling how he made me feel even after all these years. It was a huge turning point for me.
I recently recalled a memory where my ex had asked me to make him a cup of coffee. He watched me make it and then started shouting he had wanted tea instead. He started slamming cupboard doors etc and I went upstairs to cry. Only recently (9 years out) did I remember that the he had purposefully approached me with a hug to make him a drink because I was angry with him. All that followed was a way of him turning my anger into fear. I have small realisations like this often, then they vanish and then they come back but slowly a picture is being formed.
Definitely talk about it and share your thoughts if you feel able to. I've found that some people can offer little pearls of wisdom that has opened my eyes that I would never have considered myself.
I've not heard cPTSD and low stress ability. Thats very invalidating when most people will never know how it feels to be in it. We endured more than most every day for long periods of time.
There is a false perception that as soon as you leave the Abusive partner you will feel better, but personally I missed the “good” side of them so much, the cycle is akin to drug addiction. I don’t think getting over a drug addiction is linear & neither is recovery after DV. Give yourself permission to not feel ok. You are strong even if you don’t feel strong right now.
@ThePathToHealing snap I had an almighty melt down about 10 months after leaving. Do the memories of your mental distress bother you now. I’m quite scared of the memory of how I snapped.
That moment was only about 3 months ago so I still feel odd at times.
They still bother yes. I think I'm more ashamed of that than I am about the abuse. My ex often used my poor mental health against me and it's taken a lot of energy to stop doing that to myself.
The more I understand and learn just how abnormal our relationship was and how abusive it was, the more compassion I can show to myself for finding things difficult both then and now. My concentration and memory are in pieces and it's such a struggle at the moment but I know things can get better and I believe they will for you too.
@ThePathToHealing mine also used my poor mental health against me. I unknowingly believed it not knowing he caused my poor health. My concentration is also terrible and my memories disconnected. I think that’s a protective force. I was ashamed of my mental health but right now I don’t care anymore, it wasn’t my fault and I know it will improve.
Omg. I'm 4 years out now and he's still trying to be in control. What an excellent post op.
For example I’ve been fixed, I guess traumatised on the end result. My eventual breakdown. I’ve not been able to get past my memory and the thoughts of that time.
EMDR therapy is helpful for this, and also for the effects that the experience has left you with. Much of what you're describing is PTSD, or at least the result of trauma. xxx
Also, any sort of breakdown leaves you unsure about yourself and any anxiety or anything slightly like what you experienced is frightening as, as you've said, you worry that it's happening again. It's still early days, that worry fades. Are you on any medication to help? It is evidence based.
It sounds like you've been able to move forward in your processing of what you've experienced. These things take time and none of what you describe sounds abnormal given the circumstances.
The suggestion about low stress ability, I wonder if that means a problem with managing and diffusing stress, rather than a problem tolerating it?
I tolerated stress for many years, but didn't know how to diffuse it. I grew up in a house where I wasn't allowed to be angry or miserable, I didn't learn healthy boundaries. As an adult I carried stress, occasionally exploded with rage at home with my children, then felt terribly guilty...I lived in a state of rage for a long time, but rarely expressed it. Then I managed to let go of rage, and learned how to handle stress better, but still didn't protect myself enough.
I am absolutely brilliant at enduring, but that took a toll on my health.
I to grew up in a house with a very controlling mum who I hid everything from. God knows if I had a problem diffusing stress then but I definitely do now.
I often get confused about the term abuse. My husband was odd. He made me do absolutely everything, all the housework, finances, arrange holidays, maintenance etc. He only piped up when something I did didn’t go to plan. Eg, one of our first holidays abroad as a couple I made a mistake with the return flight time’s and we missed it. He was going off at me and I said it wasn’t really fair that I had all the stress of booking, packing, all the hire car arrangements all the timings. He didn’t once look at any of the itinerary it was all on me. He made me open a credit card and pay for the new return flights. Took me a year to pay it off and when I did he congratulated me. He could have paid it off no problem.
When we bought our house, it was up to me to sort out all the solicitors, work full time, pack by myself, drive there with all the stuff and sort the new house by myself whilst he flew on holiday. I got to the new house and was bed ridden for a month as I burned myself out. I can really see the process of my breakdown. My body couldn’t handle it anymore so my mind just gave in also.
These sorts of stresses are suppose to be shared together. It’s like he thought I was around to make all his problems go away.
OP you sound like you have really good insight into what's going on in your head, and you write eloquently.
Have you done the Freedom Programme? Had any counselling? You'd be brilliant candidate for both of these as you have understanding already and can express yourself.
(Yes a spiral is a good way of looking at it)
I’ve done the freedom programme. I went not believing I shouldn’t be there and half way through that was when I started freaking out.
I’m waiting for counselling, I really feel I need to talk and talk until I can talk no more!
I lost my dad to cancer in the last year of my relationship. I believe this was the straw that broke the camels back. My husband saw this is a time when I was at my weakest to up his games. I believe he broke my brain!
I need to talk about my dad because he stole from me my grieve. He over rid it with his constant needs and lack of empathy.
I hear your words that's how I feel about the time when my kids were babies.
It sounds as though your abusive partner was systematically brainwashing you to believe his warped narrative instead of your own, true, view of the relationship.
He made you believe everything was your responsibility, that you were weak or mentally ill if you couldn’t handle the abuse and stress, that you were not allowed to express any needs of your own, and he wouldn’t meet them if you did. Your entire existence was merely to make life easier for him and be a victim to boost his bullying ego.
It can take a long time for the fog to clear, OP, and for you to see the situation as it really was - appalling abuse.
None of his behaviour, or opinions of you, are remotely acceptable to any civilised human.
You may well find you go through a range of emotions as you process all this. I hope that one of them is anger. I hope you feel rage for what this despicable person did to you, and I hope that rage empowers you to find your self esteem, your voice, your confidence again.
Eventually you will come through the recovery process. And you will be free of all this - you will feel complete indifference to the despicable man, who will no longer have any power to mess with your head. It’s a long road - or spiral - but it is SO worth travelling, to a happier future.
Talk as much as you can - to your counsellor, to us on MN, to anyone supportive who can listen - because the more sunlight you let in, the more you see it as it really was, and the more you vent, the more emotional baggage you can process and move on from. One day this whole horror story will be in the past and you will be truly free. Good luck, OP, and God bless your journey.
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