I was asked, earlier, whether I think the domestic abuse I suffered changed me as a person. I’ve been thinking about it since.
The girl I was when I met him was a hugely ambitious one. I had a lot of confidence in my abilities and had a grand plan to change the world for the better. I had lots of friends and was generally happy most of the time.
I’m not that girl now.
I suffer with such self doubt. In how I look, in how I conduct myself, in choices I make. This is as a result of the abuse. When you’ve been in a relationship for so many years when you are called fat and ugly and stupid on a daily basis it does get to you. Even now I’m away from it it only takes one similar comment from anyone and I absolutely believe it to be true. It’s something I’d really love to change about myself. I’m so self critical and criticism from anyone else floors me. It’s like Vivian says in Pretty Woman “the bad stuff is easier to believe”
There’s the anxiety too.
It doesn’t take much to set me in a spin. That’s a huge change to who I am as a person now. I was never a worrier before.
I don’t think the changes in me are all negative though. There are some ways I’ve been changed that are for the better. I’d rather no woman was ever abused again of course and I’m in no way suggesting that there are advantages to it, just that all the changes are not necessarily for the worse.
I feel I’m much more aware and empathetic of the plight of other women now. It’s not that I didn’t care previously, just that I was so wrapped up in my own hell that I didn’t have the head space for anyone else. I think now I do feel real anger and real passion for trying to ease the suffering of others. I’m no longer the naive girl who planned to change the world but I definitely intend to do my bit
I also appreciate the free life I have so much more. Independent thinking is so vital to a persons well being and being denied it for so long, I appreciate how very precious it is.Learning how to think clearly and make free choices after abuse is actually really tricky and still some days now I defer to others, but I’m mindful of that and so very grateful for my mental freedom.
So yes that young girl, so sure of herself and secure in who she was. I’ve left her behind. I carry through most of her though, I keep that optimism, that yearning to change things for the better. If I can learn to not be her fiercest critic I’m sure this woman that I am now, she’ll be just fine.