We’re here again. The anniversary of the date I left the abusive relationship is on the horizon. I think by now I’ve possibly bored you all with my take and insight on that particular subject. I just wanted to talk about The Freedom Programme though and what an invaluable resource it is when you’ve suffered abuse (or indeed still are)
That scary day, all those years ago, that I fled I didn’t expect to succeed. I don’t remember much about that time due to a shed load of unhealthy coping mechanisms as I spoke about here. What I do remember about that day though was the fear. Standing at the train station with the kids – sick with fright fully expecting him to show up and force us back. To this day I still occasionally have dreams of that exact scenario happening. They’re truly horrible.
I did do it though. I got away.
That startled girl in new city though is a million miles from the woman I am now. I’d naively expected to be able to shut the door on that relationship and magically transform back into the person I was before him. Confident and ambitious. It sounds silly but it came as a shock to me quite how damaged I was. Thankfully here, years of therapy and using this blog as an extension of that down the line I am in the main healed and healthy and stronger.
My healing process began with The Freedom Programme. I’d really like to share with you how it helped me so much.
Firstly the fact that it’s a group scenario becomes really helpful. I know I know! That ironically was what almost put me off doing it in the first place. I had no confidence back then. I could barely look anyone in the face. How could I stride into a room of women and talking about things I hadn’t even with my closest people?
Well of course it wasn’t like that.
It was a room of kindness and gentleness. Women just like me, who had the same stories to tell as me. That’s where the fact it’s a group scenario becomes empowering. You’re so isolated when you’re in an abusive relationship the relief of another woman saying “me too” when you talk of your experiences is incredible. When you speak of incidents that you’ve not mentioned to others as you worry they’d be seen as trivial and women relate,that’s powerful. Nothing sounded silly to these women, they knew. They got it.
Secondly it’s just a brilliantly put together programme. The woman who devised it really knows what she is talking about on this subject and you can feel it.
Each week you look at a different side to the perpetrator, the different behaviour they use. For me I for the first time acknowledged shared beliefs with the perpetrator which really helped me gain an understanding. You also are introduced to his opposite. Identify the characteristics of a more supportive man. The decent human being. Helpful in itself.
Another amazing thing I gained from doing the Freedom Programme is that it helped me to allow myself to let go off the guilt I felt for not being able to get the children out of that environment sooner. I wrote a whole blog post covering that here but it really was weight of the world lifted off your shoulders stuff.
Lastly, and really importantly, the Freedom Programme stays with you. Here I am still banging on about it all these years later, I probably will be in another 10 years.
There’s a section in the programme about being able to identify early signs of abusive behaviour. Kind of red flag warnings you can spot at the beginning of a relationship. I come back to these often. Between learning these on the programme and a good few years of just interacting with people I do feel quite well equipped to spot a twat from a distance these days. It’s helpful.
They. Are. Everywhere
The ones just beginning to chip away at a beautiful woman. The ones further down the line in absolute control of other people. The ones still single yet give off a waft of ‘abusive tendencies’ so strong you can almost choke on it.
If you are experiencing abuse there are agencies that can help you. That can safely support you. There are a whole army of women out here ready to mobilise on your command.
And of course the brilliant Freedom Programme
Are all here if it’s safe for you to get online.
Doing the Freedom Programme started off my healing from abuse in the most positive way. Writing this blog and years of therapy have a big part in enabling that healing to continue and there are also some spectacular humans who have helped me to get to where I am now, which is in no way a spectacular place to be but thinking back at this time of year is way better than I’d have dreamed my life could be back then.
Thank you all of you
Shameless plug : If you like my nonsense and fancy nominating me in the #BiBs2017 you can do so just here http://www.britmums.com/nominate-for-the-bibs2017/