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Finding Love After Abuse

Updated on April 4, 2015

Moving forward is quite difficult.

It has been a year since filing the protective order against my ex-husband and that then becoming a modified restraining order, to now, where there isn't any sort of paper restricting his contacting me. I have grown and can now hold my head high and tell him I do not accept him speaking to me in anything less than a civil and respectful tone, and will end the conversation when he does not treat me with the respect I deserve, if not as the mother of his children, but as a human being.

During the last year, I have gone on a few dates, had a very brief relationship, learned a lot about myself and learned to love myself, and am on the road to truly liking myself as well.

Knowing why we do things and where we are coming from can help us when finding love.

Not too long ago, I started seeing someone, but we didn’t establish a true friendship first, nor had we gotten to know each other before embarking on a relationship. I kept trying to slow things down but due to us both being very lonely people, slowing down just didn’t work. The ironic thing is that the person said things that were verbally and emotionally abusive, but had the spin of being back handed compliments, somewhat similar to my ex-husband. It’s a situation, which I caught and handled. I know I hurt the other person by staying true to who I am learning myself to be, but I know after what I’ve been through, for me to be able to make someone else happy, I have to be happy with me. Even with the pain I know I inflicted by not acquiescing to their desires, within my heart, I know that I handled the situation with gentleness and honesty.

Looking within and forgiving oneself is a good place to start.

After the situation I mentioned above, I realized I still need to learn more about me. I still need to understand what it is that makes me seemingly choose the same type person over and over. I then realized that not only do I need to love me, I need to like me as well. I now understand that I need to accept myself and forgive myself for the same mistakes I make that I would forgive others for. I believe that is the key.

I am constantly struggling with the demons of insecurity, self-doubt and self-loathing that seek, on a daily basis, to destroy the work I’ve put in to walk a path of self like and self-love. The negativity can almost be overwhelming sometimes. I’ve learned to allow myself moments of weakness. I’ve learned that it’s okay to feel out of sorts, and I’ve learned that it’s okay to cry when I’m feeling vulnerable and emotional. I’ve learned that those who will tell me to suck it up and deal, have not walked in my shoes, and therefore can’t know what I go through just to maintain some semblance of sanity on a daily, sometimes moment by moment basis.

Accepting that when an ex treats someone better than they did you, it has nothing to do with who you are, sometimes things just don't work.

To add an additional layer of doubt and insecurity, during this last year, my ex-husband has a friend that is now his girlfriend. From what I hear, he may speak to her as he did me sometimes, but he doesn’t maliciously set out to hurt her as he did me. He also shows her the affection he used to deny me, as well as the appreciation that was never forthcoming while he was with me. I won’t lie, that does sting, but not because I’m jealous and want him back, but because I did all the things she does for him, and he just wanted to hurt me out of anger. It made me doubt myself and who I am.

It may be cheesy, but the message is very true.

The greatest love of all really is the love and respect we find for ourselves.

The strength I’ve found, and some absolutely wonderful friends who have been a great support system. My friends have helped me realize, that the problem isn’t with me, it’s with the other people who seek to take advantage of a loving heart, because of their own insecurities and jealousies. My only problem is that I give people too many chances, and forgive too easily at times.

Over all, I’ve learned that finding love after the trauma of domestic abuse, whether it’s physical, emotional, verbal or sexual, isn’t about finding love with another person, it’s about finding the most important love of all, the love of ourselves.

© 2014 Leslie Schock

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    • LEWMaxwell profile image
      Author

      Leslie Schock 2 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      That is the hardest part of all. Especially since I had an "a ha" moment when I realized that I forgive people all the time for things that I come down with both feet on myself about. I realized I have to be fair to me, as well as to others, and I've become happier. It is still a struggle sometimes, but overall I think I'm recovering.

      Thank you for commenting, it is very much appreciated.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I love your final comment, that it is not necessarily about finding someone who will love us, but about coming to love ourselves. That is the key to overcoming the affects of abuse. We have to somehow realize that we are a person of worth, that no matter what has happened in the past, we can go on.