I am an advocate for domestic violence awareness to help break down the shame, the stigma, and the judgement. Together we can help make it safe out here in the open, because for so many it’s not safe behind closed doors.
Such a simple question to ask. At the time I don’t think anyone had really asked it before. My ex-partner had just thrown a knife at my retreating car as I fled from his house with our child in the back seat. I was shaken yes, terrified, absolutely – but this was my ‘normal’.
That question though, with the undertone of – what you just experienced wasn’t OK . It opened the floodgates that had been closed for over 10 years. All the abuse that I thought was ‘normal’ was seen for what it was.
I was broken down, but I certainly wasn’t out. Those first few years after leaving, he was still so present in my life and still abusing me whenever he could. I was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety – but I didn’t want to believe that at the time, I thought I was OK. Looking back I could see how I was just in survival mode, just as I had been for the years we had been together. Surviving, treading water, trying not to poke the bear, to placate, to be what I needed to be to prevent him lashing out.
Working through the trauma from that relationship has taken nearly as long as the relationship itself lasted, and to be honest I’m not there yet. I trigger, less now than I used to, over the years the reaction has lessened, but healing takes time.
For anyone out there in the thick of it, or recovering, you are not alone. You are not going crazy – though you might feel like it sometimes.
You are strong and resilient, and your life can and will be better. One step at a time, you can build the future you want with help from people who care.