Healing From Domestic Violence

Long Time Healing


Many women stay in abusive relationships for 'the children'
or because they 'have nowhere to go' or whatever lame
excuse they can feed themselves.

Once escaping, the extent of damage begins to manifest.
What you see on the surface hides very deep and often still
bleeding wounds.


In Domestic Violence, the pattern is usually;

a) Emotional
b) Intellectual
c) Spiritual
d) Verbal
e) Physical

In Healing, the physical violence has stopped, the wounds heal.
The verbal abuse is no longer heard. It is the spiritual,
intellectual and emotional, which requires the longest recovery
time.

Understand you need time to heal, appreciate the psychological
damage that warped you to the extent you permitted yourself
to be abused.


Timetable



Although it is knee jerk to say that healing time equals
the length of the relationship; in some cases the period
is longer/shorter depending on the events and the personalities.

Some women never get involved with another man with any
intensity. They build so many walls to protect themselves
they can't be touched.

Some women err in jumping into another intense relationship
which often repeats the process of domestic violence.

There are two major 'windows' of escape from Domestic Violence.
The first is before four years have elapsed, the second comes
after fifteen years.


Vignettes

ANNIE

Annie married Martin and the domestic violence followed the pattern. They had two small children which she sent to his mother before making her 'escape'.

Annie had absolutely nothing when she left Martin. However, the marriage had not lasted four years, meaning that she got out through the first 'Window'.

Aware of her vulnerability she decided to embark on meaningless relationships with men she could not love. Men who were far beneath her intellectually, economically, and whom played no role in her life outside of a bedroom.

Love equalled abuse, hence, despite the men in it, she remained singular.

BETH



Beth went from one abusive relationship to another. She married Frank, escaped, got involved with George, escaped, and then met Hank. They were very much, one man.

Instead of going for the opposite of Frank, instead of entering the relationship with the detachment of Annie, the idea that she had 'failed' remained in her psyche and she had thought she could 'fix it' with George, then with Hank.


CAROLE


Carole, having grown up in an abusive home, seeing her father beat her mother, beat her, married Jack who was very much like her father.

Believing all men are...Carole left Jack for Eileen.

Although she had never thought of herself as a lesbian or had been attracted to women, the emotional comfort of Eileen overrode any qualms she might have had.


DIANE



Diane, leaving Mack, knew she needed some support and joined various groups so that her social life was one meeting after another.

She eschewed all involvements, no one got close to her. Annie continued to think of Mack.
For the first three years he was an invisible presence.

When the time she had spent with Mackn equaled the time she had been apart from Mack she formed a relationship with Oliver.
She never loved Oliver.

The relationship was easy and went on for a number of years until she became sick
of him and left.

Beth didn't have to think of Frank, there was George, there was Hank, the same guy, different body. Finally, aware that history was repeating, she broke out of her rut and joined Diane in a period of singularity.

Carole healed, and realised that it was not that she was a lesbian, it was that she needed to be loved. She needed a tenderness, a companionship, which she had been unable
to gain from men.


Guideposts


Once you escape from domestic violence, do not enter another relationship for at least four years.

You want meaningless sex, fine. You want casual friends, great. You want a slurry of dates, go ahead. But do not think you can form a real relationship until the previous is out of your system.

You will either wind up using someone for whom you feel nothing, as Annie did with Oliver, or as Carole did with Eileen. Although it is good 'therapy' for them, those on the other side; Oliver and Eileen will be discarded when no longer required.

Return to your place of worship, or at the least cease attending his denomination/church. You need to get back to the 'I' before it became 'We'.

Spoil yourself. Remember everything you loved before he came along and gorge yourself on it. Whether it was growing roses or going to a football match, whether it was wearingjeans or dying your hair, get back to that very person you were before you met him.

This is therapy. Don't analyse it. Just do it. Just become that 'I' you were, loving/hating everything you had before he entered your life.

Build your intellect; destroy all those self-doubts that were caused by the abuser. Remember when you said.. and then he ridiculed? Remember when you had been sure of...but he made you doubt? Get to the point of being sure.

Whether you go back to school or do casual research, knock down every one of his constructs. Regain your belief in self.

Regain your intellectual confidence.

Reengage relationships with friends and family. He may have poisoned them for you. Go back and see for yourself.

Even if they attack you or dump you, whatever, it is YOU, not him, not his views, it will be your assessment whether Aunt Dottie is obnoxious or your old schoolmate is a jerk.

Emotional abuse takes the longest time to cure. You have to work at it. By getting back to who you were you can start 'new'.

Listen to the music you had loved, see the movies, wear the
clothes, you are 'erasing' him from your life. This is how
you do it.

You want to be able to watch that movie without hearing his
voice putting it down. Wear that colour without his voice
telling you how awful it is, do an action without seeing his
disapproving face.

You need to 'overwrite' memories. If you met at this club,
go there with other people, live in the moment, so that when
you see that wall you won't think of how he looked at you,
but how someone else said...
If this was 'your' booth, sit there with other people long
enough to recall how Karen spilled the coffee, or John put
the salad dressing on his burger, or Bob mispronounced a name.

When 'your song' plays, do something else. Keep up a stupid
conversation, or dance out of step or do anything you can
think of to spoil the power of that song.

Once you have overwritten your past with your abuser then you
can enter a new relationship without baggage.

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Comments 4 comments

Faybe Bay profile image

Faybe Bay 6 years ago from Florida

This is a really good overview but I am wondering about the second window. What if the relationship lasted 7 years, or 10-12. I had a strange dream that I was meeting my second husband in the bar and when I got there my first husband was there instead. I asked him where my husband was, and he said "I am your husband" and chuckled at me. I violently shook my head and backed away as he said "You married me all over again" and turned into my second husband right before my eyes. I woke up and looked at my husband sleeping and knew the dream was true... I didn't even realize I had done it, until my dream told me so.

Anyway, thanks for telling us how to get back to who we were before... I don't know if I even remember the girl that I used to be.


qeyler profile image

qeyler 6 years ago Author

Generally, before 4 years are up, the Victim can escape because there is that much more of her remaining and the children, if any are small and often easily accommodated by a parent or in-law until she 'gets on her feet'.

If she doesn't leave then, what happens generally is that she gets bogged into the situation until the kids are old enough to know what is happening and put themselves in the line of fire.

The actual 'year' depends on when the family starts. For example, a woman who did not have children until eight years into the marriage left when her son was two plus to protect her son. Hence by the calendar she had been involved for ten years, but was, in relation to the age of the child at the usual Four Year Mark.

I know what you're talking about Faybe; a friend of mine was reduced to tears when I asked her; "What is your favourite colour?" She didn't remember. And she cried because she didn't know herself any more.

It sounds silly, but if you dress as you did back then, listen to the music, eat the food, watch the movies, use the slang; whatever, you will remember how you felt. And once you can remember how you felt..you can get back to who you were.


Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago

This is good advice! I do appreciate how you mentioned that the window for healing can be longer/shorter depending on various factors. When I entered into marriage with my abusive ex, I was eight months pregnant, I left him six years later, when our fourth child was eight months old. Technically, the first time I left him was eight months after the birth of our third child and that was four years in but I went and took him back after a month. That being said, I was wrapped up in my own world of work, school, and kids for a year before I met my forever husband. He is nothing like the ex, at all. The difference, for me, was that I saw my mother leave my abusive father, marry a man who was abusive in other ways (he did hit her but never in front of me), then, after a miserable 20 years gone, she finally met the best man ever. After seeing her mistakes and realizing that I already followed in her first footsteps, I went ahead and skipped straight to the finding my knight in shining armour step. We've been together for 2 1/2 years now and everybody says we were meant to be and it really does feel that way. What also helped, though, was doing just what you said. That first year, I did what I wanted (as long as it didn't negatively affect the kids). I played MY music, decorated the house the way I wanted, opened the curtains in the morning, fixed what I wanted to eat, watched what I wanted to watch (which was usually AFV) and generally took pride in being a survivor. I excersized, got back into shape, ate healthy, I was doing everything I could to be happy and be a good role model for my kids. All of that helped me to heal much faster than anticipated. Even the counselor my mother made me go to (she felt I was repressing) said that I didn't need her and closed my case after three visits.


qeyler profile image

qeyler 6 years ago Author

The 'windows' are not based on the actual years; they tend to be based on the children being very young, or on them being old enough to understand.

You were brilliant to recapture yourself before getting involved again. Too many women jump into the wrong relationships carrying all that baggage.

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