Many of you know my story and it is long and I do not want to take this post to tell it again, so to get a sense of the relationship I left 9 years ago, I recommend reading my post: Time to get personal.
The aftermath of my story is meant for anyone who calls themselves an Introvert like me and not just for victims of Domestic Violence. As someone who tried sweeping my past under the rug for so many years then having it all slowly weaken me I found it difficult to find any relative articles on the aftermath of Domestic Violence. There are many forms of abuse and if you suffered many of those including the very violent offenses then you know how damaging the past can remain for your soul for a very long time after your escape. I am now happily married and have some amazing friends and family, but I am still broken and after talking to many who have suffered to the extent I did, I am just now content with that. I just needed to realize I am not alone.
What am I learning?
For starters I was very wrong to hide my emotions for all those years. I do not like to show pain or weakness. Many of us are like that, but having a traumatic event that you store away and never discuss will eat you up! Communication! Any victim out there or anyone who tends to be introverted may seem even just a tad intimidated by that word. I know it intimidates the crap out of me! To spend 6 years with someone who made me pay if I dare spoke my mind or gave my opinion, I learned to keep quiet. t was best to say nothing and resort to silence to avoid confrontation when I was living as a victim. 9 years later when my husband is begging me to communicate better, I find myself having to learn how to communicate all over again! I just want everyone to know I am a good person and that I am a lover, forgiver, fighter and giver to all those close to me, but I don’t want to say it out loud. I just feel everyone would assume that of me. That does not work well in a marriage, let me tell you. I am convinced God gave me the most patient Man in the universe since I left my abuser so I could cope and learn gracefully how to be a better wife and communicator. I am not a book and cannot go around being hypersensitive to how others treat me and expect them to read my mind all of the time. And people like me know what it feels like to always be misunderstood. When you cause everyone around you to make assumptions all the time because you don’t communicate then sometimes others will make assumptions that are so wrong and sometimes insulting which is such a horrible feeling. It just makes me feel like I failed somewhere and I have never been one to accept failure very well!
For starters, I tend to become a bit self-righteous with others. I find the weak and defend them with all I have and only because I was alone and had shoved everyone out of my life to the point where I was suffering by myself for years. I don’t ever want to see anyone do that to themselves. To turn my back on anyone who needs a friend would be like turning my back on myself. Along with the ‘mission-me’, when things run smooth I am OK and when there is friction, I am unsettled until it is resolved. This has caused problems, but I am working on this as well. One of those problems would manifest when my husband and I started dating and for many years after I would react hugely over every little problem. Be it with his boys and perhaps their Mother and issues with us and I would be a nervous wreck until there was resolution. I remember getting so angry at my husband when he would not drop everything he was doing and find resolution to everything in the exact moment. It took me years to realize that I believe it simply was from the fear I lived for so long after leaving my abuser. When I left him, I ran and I never knew if he was following me, looking for me and if he found me-what would happen. Paranoia was an understatement! I think I just held onto that for so long and to this day I still get so unsettled when things are not right. What is ironic about that is that to resolve friction or issues, it requires communication. I am a horrible communicator, but expect others to communicate with me during these moments. It will all come full circle, eventually and I will master this whole communication thing! I know I can do it.
God gave us strong wings-we all have them! But sometimes those wings get broken-they are strong enough that they can be repaired. But like all things that break, no matter how much glue you use to fix them there are still cracks that will forever be there. As a victim we know where each of those cracks are on our wings and we will go into protection mode if anyone tries to further damage them. We are all fragile underneath and if you take a moment to look around, you know people in your own life that are just like me. People that just need grace and love and when our hearts are exposed for all to see, we will react and defend ourselves. I am sure there are those who think I am ignorant because I stray and those that think I am demanding because I won’t settle, but I am the most harmless person you will meet. I truly hold close to me the quote: “the greater your capacity to love, the greater your capacity to feel the pain”. I am so happy to have met and talked to victims as I prepared for this month. It really is comforting to know I am not alone in my suffering so many years later. That I am not crazy! That perhaps I can finally remove the mask of ‘all is well’ and just be myself. I have to say that the hardest part of talking about my past is that I do not want pity. I tend to disconnect myself from the word victim all to avoid anyone’s pity. Now I just am glad I discovered how much of a relief it is to just talk and write about my past. Because I went through so much pain and torture, I don’t think anyone could ever doubt that although I am not perfect and have some cracks-I am capable of being the most loyal and respectful friend they can ever have. Some will see that and others won’t, but I take it as a gift. If one positive came out of the abusive hand I was dealt for those 6 years, it was to see through others and to share a story that could encourage others. To me, it means everything to hear others say they feel less alone after getting to know me and hearing my words.
As survivors of abuse, we have been blessed and we have had our wings broken then mended again and to get to know us is as close to touching a pure soul as anyone can ever get. We have been to the bottom and back and it takes the strongest of individuals to endure that kind of life. You are not crazy-if you are cray, then I am crazy and no one is ever going to get away with calling me crazy!