More accurately, the perpetrators of abuse are thieves.
I’m close to the end of the tunnel of recovery from abuse.
I spoke here about feeling healed.
I know there’ll always be anxiety and trauma triggers but I’m able to deal with them now. My day to day life is on the whole a calm,free one.
When I look back and reflect on those dark years though I am resentful of the things that were taken from me that I’ll never get back. That are lost forever.
This may sound a bit nuts but my memories of my elder children’s baby and toddler days are really limited. I had 3 babies under 3, I wasn’t allowed to nap. I was so bloody tired. (this is a really effective tactic. When you’re exhausted, as all parents know, you can’t function properly. You can’t think straight, you’re certainly not going to have the energy to get up and leave)
Memories of that time are blurry. First words, first steps, first foods are all hazy and confused and messy. This isn’t just down to tiredness. I had a very unhealthy coping mechanism for years of blocking out any memories that are traumatic. Unfortunately other memories have been lost with it. Blocking out trauma allowed me time to heal. It was a survival technique for a long while.
The problem is, as some of you may identify with, what should have been memorable occasions with the babies were inevitably when the biggest ‘kick offs’ would happen. Christmases, birthdays, holidays. Anytime the attention was focused on someone other than the abuser the shit would hit the fan and I’d suffer the consequences. Which means all the Christmas and Birthday memories are as lost as the trauma that accompanied them for me.
I resent this. I do. That in order to protect my mental health in the past other memories have been sacrificed. I should say here that thanks to a lot of counselling and therapy these days I have way more healthy and helpful coping strategies and to anyone in an abusive relationship, thinking about leaving one or still haunted by the effects from abuse I’d say seek out counselling. The relief of someone handing you the tools to allow you to put yourself back together again is immense.
I have photographs of the children as babies and younger kids,these are a comfort in a way but even looking at them I feel robbed.
I see birthdays, first school uniforms, the happiest smiliest toddlers. I see birthday candles blown out, days out. The kids look at the pictures and enthuse about certain days. To me though there are stories behind every picture, trauma and tears and faking happy to the kids whilst feeling so desperately miserable and on the edge. So I even feel robbed of my photo based nostalgia.
On a much shallower note, that I almost feel embarrassed to talk about , I feel robbed of myself. Of that girl not yet in her 20s – young, carefree, slim, happy when she met that man. It goes without saying I could never regret the amazing children I gained from that relationship. I feel though I wasted my best years with him. I was the girl without hang ups. These days when I date, if I look like getting close to a person I’ve no choice but to disclose all my baggage. That’s tricky. It’d be so nice to just not have to explain away traits I’ve inherited from that time. I mean bloody hell it’d be really quite nice to be trying to turn on the charm with a hot guy you really fancy without having to explain actually you really need to sleep on the side of the bed nearest the door or you’ll freak out.
I’m angry and resentful at the things I’ve lost but I don’t want this to be a negative post. I jut wanted to share in case it resonates with anyone else.
I regained so many things I thought I’d lost in that relationship and I’m so grateful for that. Friendships and relationships that he’d dismantled I got back, my self esteem, control of my own mind. I got all these things back. I’m lucky in that respect.
Being too angry and too resentful will only damage myself and I certainly don’t intend to do any more of that, I’ve only just rebuilt!
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