I have spent the last couple years focusing on healing from my domestic violence situation. It has driven me to push forward and through the emotional traps that have sprung up over the course of my healing. I have assumed this whole time that my abuser was the wicked source of my lack of self esteem, self care, and insecurities. Boy, was I ever wrong.
Let me catch you up a bit, and then I’ll come full circle into my statement above. I have been in counseling hard core since March 2015. I have been averaging two group therapies a week, as well as a 1×1 session with my therapist bi-weekly. I have worked hard on myself, my mind, my emotions and my ability to communicate what my needs are before I break down into a suicidal depressive state. I have come to thoroughly enjoy each week and the topics the group settings introduce. I love it so much, I’m working towards Peer Counseling. My overall goal is to go back to college and finish my psych degree. I want to work with domestic violence victims and/or become a d.v. advocate. I am venturing into my 40s exactly how I wanted to two years ago when I left my abuser. “I will enter my 40s as a rock star.” As my counselor says, “You’ve always been a rock star, it’s just getting you to believe it as well.” So here I am, a freaking advocate for mental health . . . and I wouldn’t change the path it took me to get here for anything.
In these groups I have created a safe, supportive group of friends. It is amazing who your tribe begins to morph the more you grow and establish your own boundaries. I learned to purge those from my life that were not healthy for me anymore. I learned to establish a set of boundaries by changing my vibe, especially in regards to myself. I changed my view of “me” and that allowed me to see who around me was supportive. I can honestly say I am thankful for the new troup I have built around me. I have some strong female friends to thank for that. (Karla, Julie, Mary, Suzanne, Kerry… to name a few). Changing my inner voice to question my negative self talk is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. That’s not to say, however, that I am perfect. I still have moments of doubt, it’s just not crippling or damaging anymore. Those boundaries and self discoveries aided in my ability to see romantic relationships differently as well.
After a few messy dates, and my capacity to see what was happening and not what I wanted to happen, I finally met a fantastic man. The greatest thing about this is I am not blinded by “newness” of a relationship. I went in knowing who I am, my boundaries, my strengths and weaknesses. I met someone who is in a great place spiritually and mentally as well. We are taking our time, moving slow. It helps that we’re about an hour apart from one another; that forces us to be slow. One of the biggest compliments he gave me recently, “I like that I don’t feel like I need to save you. You’re doing such a great job saving yourself.” Hell Ya I am. It is about time as well. I’ve said it quite a few times, and I will say it again, I am thankful for the path my relationship history has put me through. It has helped forge and guide me to who I am today. However, I have come to quickly realize, not only in my counseling, but from my current relationship that my abuser is not my sole focus.
My ex-husband is.
How does that work out? My ex-husband is my biggest hurdle in the ghost of relationships past. Wow. I didn’t fully recognize this until my current beau enlightened me that in almost all of our conversations I have made mention of my ex-husband. Not only have I made mention, it’s usually negative. This is not healthy. When his words landed that blow on my emotional
psyche, I ruminated on it for about an hour. He’s right, you know. I do mention my ex quite often. It’s not a “hung up on him” scenario. It’s the fact I have never really mourned our friendship. The friendship was severed beyond my control. I wanted an amicable divorce. I didn’t contest, or fight, or push. I wanted it easy, in hopes to mend and keep our friendship. We’ve known each other for 26 years; almost longer than his new wife has been alive (I think she’s 27 now). I believe, deep inside, if she wasn’t a factor in preventing him and I from talking, we’d be able to at least have closure. It was all so brash when she became involved. So where does that leave me? Apparently, it leaves him at the forefront of my mind . . . . so much more than the abuser ever was. How do I “get over it”? Or, “Let it go”?
And please, for the love of all that’s sanity, don’t sing the damned song.
How to let it go. I don’t believe in irony anymore. I firmly believe in a path of learning placed before us. I believe that angels come down and take form of people when you’re truly in need. I believe the universe slaps us upside the head when we’re “really not getting it.” A couple weeks back the discussion in one of my group therapies was around exactly that, “Letting it go.” There was a huge discussion surrounding the fact that you can’t really, “Let it go.” That the event(s) or trauma that lead you to hold onto the pain will always be in your memory. You cannot ever really let it go. What I took from that, what I processed over and over again in my mind, was the fact that you can’t let the event go.. . but you can let the pain go. But first, you have to define exactly what the pain is.
The pain. The truth of the matter. The emotions behind the transient being taking up space and dwelling over and over again in your mind. Pain is healing and growth. But why am I holding onto it with my ex husband? I will never get my credit back. I will never get my car that was repo’d back. I will never get the ten years invested into the actual romantic relationship back. I will never get back anything invested, really. On a cognitive, rational level, I fully understand this. What good is it to harbor those memories though? Fear…? Maybe a little. Fear that I’ll be wooed into a similar relationship scenario. Anger…? Ya, there’s a lot of that. I’m angry over the fact we were friends for as long as we were and it ended in the manner it did. But, it’s done and over, right?
I need to restructure my thoughts so that I do not continue to move forward in this relationship in a way that could potentially ruin it. We’ve been divorced since 2011. Friendship, and any resulting relationship, has been finalized and severed. Closure will not happen, at least not right now. I cannot continue to harbor these thoughts. I have to let the emotions and pain surrounding the relationship go.
From the movie, “Peace, Love and Misunderstanding”