grieving when an abusive relationship is over

You, too, may have to grieve the loss of a caring partner, and you move on to mourn the loss of self-esteem, of personal integrity, of relationship, of intimacy, of friends, of control, of safety, of personal meaning, of a father/mother to your children. You mourn the loss of your dreams, your hopes, your future without your partner, and the possible lack of closure. Your therapist will help you explore the story of your relationship, and you will come to identify your particular losses.
Bereavement theorists offer several frameworks to help us grieve. William Worden, one of the great experts on grief, tells us that we have four tasks to perform to successfully mourn a loss.
We must first accept the reality of the permanent loss of the relationship. In parts of her narrative, Linda believed that she had reached this stage, and did not regret making every effort to
“I criticised myself that night so much for giving him another chance, and that when I left for those few months at my parents’ house, I should have stayed gone. But looking back now, I’m glad I gave us another chance, because I put my heart and soul into us, and he walked all over it. And now I can look back and say I gave it my best shot, and I had to do this for myself, so that I wouldn’t feel guilty about leaving, and bringing my son with me and letting him be from a broken home. This hurt so much! Of course, this wasn’t the only reason for leaving as explained earlier, but it definitely gave me that nudge that I needed to get out. I realised that night that Jack and I didn’t matter to him anymore.”
There can be several false endings when the survivor returns to the relationship, and this makes it difficult to acknowledge the real ending when it comes. It also involves recognising that you never really knew the abusive partner, but loved an idealised or non-existent person.
Secondly, we must work through the pain of the grief, which will involve many feelings such as anger, guilt, loneliness, depression, guilt, sadness, and longing. You feel anger at the Hyde and longing for the Jekyll. You may be filled with confusion at these contradictory feelings, but ultimately you will get perspective on the relationship. This can be painful and challenging.
Your third task is to adjust to your new world in which your partner is missing. Remember that despite the obstacles you face, you are the creator of this new world. Your abusive partner is no longer with you and your central question is ‘who am I now’. You redefine yourself, find meaning in the loss, regain control, and begin to see the world as a benevolent place. Elaine Weiss has some good examples of women empowering themselves having escaped the clutches abusive partners. One woman quickly reclaimed her maiden name, and this became a symbol of obliterating her marriage, for example, whenever she found a document with her married name on it, she covered it over using markers. Perhaps ‘obliterating’ the marriage may be an unfortunate term, because you must integrate it as part of your life experience. As Linda surveyed the wreckage of her marriage, she saw her new life as being free of her abusive husband
“Stephen hasn’t been a husband to me for such a long time, I feel he doesn’t deserve the title “ my husband”, because when I think of this title I think of someone that will love, care and protect me, and he provides none of these. I don’t want to be referred to as his wife anymore, I am not his wife in my eyes. We haven’t seen each other for over a year, and we have no contact. He does nothing to help with his son, or with anything. I want to be free from him.”
Neither was she willing to celebrate the end of her relationship
“A lot of friends have said to me, “we will celebrate that day when you are granted your separation for him”. We will organise dinner and drinks to celebrate”. But what is there really to celebrate? This day will be the end of so much – a marriage I had such dreams for, a chapter in my life that I gave my heart and soul for, the family unit, even though it is gone a long time, my title as Stephen’s wife – the title I was proud and happy to take on the day we got married. I think this day in court is a sad day, and it is a sad day for any couple who have to go to this stage. Remember on the day the marriage was made, we celebrated it with friends and family. It was a day of happiness and joy, and now we end it in so official a way, in a courtroom with a group of professional strangers, who don’t know either one of us. How can this be a day to celebrate?”
She also recognised that they had happy times, and she was determined that these would be preserved, so she kept some photos and her wedding album, when she left Stephen.
“The reason I brought the album and video is that I knew he would destroy them in his rage. Despite the pain and hurt the breakdown of our marriage had brought us, I was the happiest woman on this planet the day I married him. My wedding day memories are something no one can take away from me. It is a part of my life, and I want to be able to hold onto that day. Even though the marriage is over now, that good day and the good parts of our relationship I am glad and grateful to have experienced. They were such happy days. I hope one day I might be able to look at the wedding album or video as it is a part of my life and me. The marriage may be over, but the memories last, both good and bad, and both are part of my life, so I’m not going to try to wipe any of them clear from my life. I just want to be able one day to accept both memories calmly without being upset, and get on and live some more good memories.”
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press

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Counselling helps you to understand what abuse really means

In the safe setting of counselling, you should be able to safely deal with the emotional impact of the abuse, and with thinking distortions, behavioural patterns, the spiritual losses, and loss in general. Feelings of shame, worthlessness, powerlessness, confusion, fear, and so on must be explored. The confusion that abuse engenders must be teased out and disentangled, and the possible existence of a co-dependent personality. The counsellor will check if survivors are using negative coping mechanisms which work in the short term, but in the long term are harmful and prevent healing. Such negative activities include smoking, taking drugs, cutting themselves off from other people, workaholism, violent behaviour, unhealthy eating, and self-destructive behaviour, such as self-harming or suicide attempts.
For a time, Linda struggled on without counselling, but she needed help in exploring her pain and confusion, and found the experience to be
“One of the best decisions for me and really brought me along the road of recovery. I have peace in my mind now, and can go to bed in peace and sleep without horrible dreams, a thing I often wondered if I ever would have again.”
She reveals how counselling helped her, and hopefully will help you, as you set about rebuilding your new life
“Counselling has helped me enormously. It has helped me understand. It has also helped me to accept things as they are, and to accept my feelings as they come to me. I always tried to fight any feelings of sadness toward my ex husband. When I cried, I used to say to myself “don’t be so stupid – why are you crying over someone that had done all this to you and doesn’t care one bit – you are so stupid and pathetic”. And so I would hold back my tears. Now I have learned that it’s ok to cry over him. It’s a feeling, and there is nothing wrong with that. I have learned to accept all my feelings as they come to me, whether it is anger, hate, longing for our past life, love, sadness or whatever feeling comes along.
I’ve also learned to understand how abusers work. Stephen used always turn things back on me for things he would do, and he was so cunning he would have me questioning myself, saying, “am I the one with the problem? Have I issues? Am I not well like he says”. Now I have learned that I am not the abuser here. I am the survivor. I did not cause him to be abusive. He chose those actions. He chose his behaviour, not me. I am not responsible for his behaviour or happiness. He is.
I’ve learned that it is up to individuals themselves to be happy. No one else can make them happy. I also learned more about boundaries, something that I didn’t have within my marriage. I had no boundaries. When I first attended counselling, there was so much going on in my mind, and I was so confused. My emotions were all over the place, and I was trying to fight them. My thoughts were everywhere. I was so confused. By going to counselling, I let all the hurt and pain come out, as I went back in my mind to everything that happened. Yes, it was so painful, and I grieved, and I am still grieving over the loss. But I have more of an understanding and acceptance of things now.
I have talked through all my thoughts and worries. And it is such a release to get them all out in the open to a non-judgemental person. I needed to get all it all out. It was all stored in my head and was going around and around and getting nowhere. It was like a big whirlwind of thoughts and worries that were not being solved, and were going nowhere.”
I have mentioned in the previous chapter that people have remained in abusive relationships because they have failed to grieve their losses. This grieving process will now be part of your survival/recovery plan, and the help of a counsellor is advisable in this. Remember, that while Linda understands the dynamic of abuse, she still has to deal with her feelings. Understanding is only part of grieving. Firstly, you mourn the loss of the nice Jekyll and all his admirable qualities. You grieve the loss of this charming companion and the warmth and love he initially brought to the relationship. When Linda first came to me, she could not understand why she still had feelings for her abusive husband. Her friends frequently challenged her about having loving feelings for this abuser. But, the following extract from her story about the early days of her marriage shows why these feelings persisted
“I lived my life with Stephen happily. He was so caring toward me. Even if I had a slight pain in my stomach, he would be so attentive to me and would say things like “I hate seeing you like this.” I only had a sore stomach, but I found him so caring and used to think how nice this was to have such a sensitive man, a man that cared and loved me so much. I used always see a bright future for us. I knew I wanted him in my life and that we could have a happy life together. A life full of love and passion, just as it was all the time with us. He used to tell me all the time that he loved me, and that I was everything to him, and how happy he was that I was in his life, and that he had met me. He used to say things like “look at how much we accomplish together” i.e. buying the house and starting a new exciting life in Galway.”
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press

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There are many ways of practising self-care

Emotional self-care entails being with people you like and enjoy, praising and affirming yourself, playing with children, looking at comedies, and allowing your feelings. Spiritual self-care is about spending time with nature, being open to inspiration, cherishing optimism and hope, meditating, praying, singing, feeling awe, and reading inspirational literature. Her faith was especially important in helping Linda to survive the early days of separation
“I constantly prayed to the angels for guidance and courage. When I wasn’t sure of where things were going, or what was to be my next move, I would pray to them and ask for guidance. I found it a tremendous comfort to know that they are always with me, and that they are always there to help. They never let me down. They helped me on dark nights, when I would be trying to go asleep – when my mind was restless, and thoughts were whizzing around my head, thoughts of everything, my husband who was gone, the dream I had lost, the home and life I knew was gone, how would my son react to the fact his father isn’t in his life, and lots of other things. I prayed to my angels and asked for peace, so I could get some badly needed rest. I have yet to find a night when this prayer for peace in my mind wasn’t answered.
Sometimes on my lunch break, when I was struggling, and finding it hard to cope and trying to fight back tears, I would go to my local church, and sit there and talk to God. I felt at peace and felt such calmness in the church – it was like a hideaway from the rest of the world. To me it allowed me to run away from the outside world that was pulling me in all directions, and just let me sit in peace and calm, and relax, and pray for help and guidance. I used to pray for my husband too, that God would help him throughout life, and maybe help him see the hurt and pain he is causing, and to help him become a better father.”
If possible, your survival/recovery plan should include having therapy. It takes courage to enter therapy. Talking to a stranger about intimate and shameful matters is not easy. And, this stranger is in a position of power. As a survivor, you know what it is like to have your power taken away, and it is right to be cautious and even suspicious as you enter therapy. It is, however, important to choose a therapist, who is right for you. Specific therapies will be necessary for victims who experienced serious sexual assault, who have become addicted to a substance or to self-mutilation. It is really important in therapy not be re-traumatised, and so it is vital to choose a therapist well trained in dealing with abuse and trauma, where you can safely vent your feelings, get suggestions, and bring your resources into awareness. This is akin to being ‘built up’ psychologically to take the hard road of exploring your life as an abuse victim. You can only do this if you have a good connection with your therapist, otherwise move on to another therapist after a few sessions.
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press
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Her experience was a long hard journey for Linda

I think that the creative use of a journal is also a powerful psychological aid to self-care. It can be your ‘creative journal’ for your art, poetry, and narrative. I used poetry when I was going through bereavement following the death of my child. You do not have to be a good poet or a good artist. The process is the important thing. Linda found that writing her story, which is a more expanded use of a journal, was one of the most beneficial factors in her recovery. As she compiled it she came to see Stephen’s pattern of abusive behaviour, and while not obliterating the kind Jekyll, she got a clearer image of the malign Hyde in this powerful passage. As you will see later, Linda’s image of Hyde was not as clear as she thought at this stage. But, this is how she felt and thought at that stage, when Stephen was still in Canada –
“Writing this story has brought me on such a memory trip. I feel like I have been on a long journey of my life. It was very hard emotionally as I was writing and remembering details of events, and the hurtful things that have happened. But, more importantly writing my story has helped me so much. Each time I wrote an episode of something that had happened, I felt the emotion and pain, and I cried it out. I also, however, began to see, as I put what happened in black and white, just how much my husband had done to me; just how much I was in his web of betrayal, pain, anger, hurt. A web of no love. None whatsoever. I may have loved him, but I was just foolish thinking that he loved me or ever would. He is not able to love anyone. When I started my counselling and this story, I often wondered would he change. Maybe someday he would knock on my door and be a different man. Now I accept that that is very unlikely to happen. And more importantly, if he did knock on my door and claimed he was a new man, I wouldn’t care. It is only from telling my story from the magical relationship that it started off to be to where I am now, that I realise there is no room for this man in my heart. He cannot give me the love and caring that I deserve, or the life that I want for my son. Since writing this story, I have learned about his control and I have identified in writing this story how he used his it. He was using his control within the relationship even at early stages, but I couldn’t see it.
I now know how not to fall into his control traps. I have also begun to realise how far I have come. My son and I have built a good life, one that I am very comfortable and happy with. I found writing the story a great release, or a great way of dealing with everything I was going through. It has really opened my eyes to the horrible, ugly side of this relationship. Before counselling and this blog, the good charming side that was at the beginning of our relationship kept overshadowing the ugly side. Now the ugly side shows its face in a clear picture to me!”

Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press
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Self-care is vital when you leave an abusive relationship

As well as a safety plan, you should also have an uncomplicated survival/recovery plan. A safety plan means external safety, a survival/recovery plan means having a measure of internal security. When you consider the debilitating effects of abuse, and how you are almost owned by the perpetrators, you probably realise how difficult it can be to feel secure within. Remember you have a great number of unrecognised resources. Set achievable goals for your recovery, otherwise the victim’s self-critical tendency will set in, and you will be tormented by self-blame for failing to successfully complete your plan. Be gentle with yourself, accept yourself, and try not to blame yourself for the breakdown of your relationship. You must begin to nurture yourself to counteract being emotionally famished by your abuser.
Caring for yourself and treating yourself with tenderness will have a healing effect, and will help raise your self-esteem. When I was in training, some of my colleagues often told me I was self-judgemental and hard on myself. My experience has been that although I have come to love myself, both the good and the shadow side, it has been a long process, and I still can be hard on myself. Very often, we need someone to remind us of how harsh we are on ourselves.
The importance of self-care and basic health cannot be over-emphasised as part of the survival/recovery plan. The Hidden Hurt website, which is worth visiting, outlines four areas of self-care (physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual), which would be helpful following a separation. Physical self-care includes regular and healthy eating, plenty of exercise, medical care, sufficient sleep, vacations, and having time alone. Psychological self-care involves therapy, light reading, reflecting, getting involved in new activities, and paying attention to your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes. Any material on awareness, such as blogs or CDs will help. It is also psychologically beneficial to personalise your new environment, making it a familiar place with your identity on it. Paint a room, put up new pictures, and so on.
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press
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As a survivor you may suffer harrassment and stalking

One of the most malignant post-separation control methods is stalking and harassing the survivor. Stalking is illegal in most developed countries, and is a pattern of behaviour with intent to instil fear. It often goes on for several years and it can demoralise you and make your life a misery. It is an obsessive behaviour and therefore very dangerous. The stalker usually starts with annoying, obscene or threatening phone calls, and follows this up with visits to the home or the workplace of the survivor. Stalkers often carry out acts of violence aimed at the survivors’ property, pets and even at the survivors themselves. Again, they may use the children for this end. There are many examples of abusers frightening the children, threatening them, harming them, and even kidnapping them. Your onetime abuser may also attend sporting events in which your children are involved and sit near you to intimidate you. You may also find him sitting next to you if you are having a meal in a restaurant. No place is sacrosanct to the abuser.
Cyber stalking is especially destabilising. Instances have arisen of stalkers concealing GPS equipment in the survivor’s car to track her movements. You should also be aware that computers might be used to gather information about you. Some survivors turn to chat rooms for support and advice. It is easy for an abuser to pose as a supportive female, make contact with the survivor, and gather information. This further feeds their jealousy and need for control.
Yet, you are not without power when dealing with stalking and harassment. On a psychological level, it is best not to react, because any reaction gives the abuser satisfaction and encourages him in his behaviour. Personal power can best be maintained by creating psychological boundaries, which means being aware of the buttons that abusers can push, and disconnecting from them. Controlling or concealing anger, resentment and bitterness, deprives the stalker of the satisfaction of witnessing the torment of the survivor, and may help to weaken his resolve to pursue. On a practical level, stalking should be reported to the police, although this is not very effective. After all a person is entitled to attend events in which their children are taking part. Nevertheless, research shows that being confronted by a police officer can deter some abusers. If you wish to take legal action at some stage, you should keep a diary of all stalking events. There is nothing as powerful as a written record, because it may show a pattern. If the stalker makes phone threats, it might be possible to record them, also.

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There are different ways to keep you safe when you leave an abusive relationship

Linda was fortunate in that she had never lost contact with her parents. Her father was particularly supportive
“My father came to me one day, and said that he had got an interview for me with his colleague in my hometown, if I was interested. I look back now and I think that maybe my dad was planning a future for my son and me. Maybe he could see what was going to happen. I wasn’t sure, because it would involve commuting. On the other hand, I would be around people in my hometown, instead of living in an isolated area, not knowing anyone. So, I went for my interview and I got it. My mother had a local childminder sorted out within a few days near my home. Everything fell into place very quickly. Maybe it was fate. I think my angels helped me to be some way prepared for what was to come. I was happy in this job and could call home and stay a night or so when I wanted to do that. I was quite happy. If only my marriage had been so happy.”
As Linda shows, leaving an abusive relationship can be traumatic, and the abuser may resort to all sorts of controlling behaviours to torment you, and re-establish power over you. It is, therefore, not always easy to ensure protection. The first step is to establish physical boundaries. This means getting as far away as you can. It also means having as little contact with the abuser as possible.
There are other practical steps you can take to maximise safety, although some of these are more feasible in cities. Renting a post office box or using the address of a friend for mail is one suggestion. It is always important to hide the new address from the abuser, so only close friends should know it. I would suggest changing the number of a mobile phone, and having it cloaked. The phone company could also issue a caller ID facility on your phone, and your landline could be blocked and unlisted. Children also need protection, and so school authorities should be alerted to the situation. If you have moved a long distance you will have changed your children’s school, and the head teacher should be advised of the situation. Alert neighbours, and ask that they contact the police if there is the possibility of danger. A motion-sensitive lighting system is somewhat of a deterrent, and could be part of the overall strategy to prevent contact with the abuser. Of course, he may have rights of visitation to the children, and in such cases, some of the above suggestions are not relevant. However, if you feel that the children are again at risk, you can take steps to have such rights withdrawn.
Irrespective of the measures you take, your erstwhile abuser may use unscrupulous methods in his desire to keep control over you. He may refuse to contribute any maintenance for the children’s support, and use the children in other ways to distress a mother already worried about the possible destructive impact of the abuse on them. Some abusive fathers, who have every right of access, may use them to undermine their mother. They use them to get information about her, neglect them when they stay with him, try to divide them from her, threaten to take them from her, seek increased custody, and generally make every effort to disrupt the family. Female abusers resort to similar tactics.

Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press
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You will meet the challenges of separating from an abusive partner.

Initially you needed to create a safety plan to make the world a more secure place. Previously you lived in an unsafe place, and now you bring about a physical and psychological distance from the abuser, to reclaim yourself, regain your power and identity, and dispel the confusion created by years of abuse. Sometimes it can take a long time to ensure a safe world. Some of the appendices in the 2010 report by Cosc, outlining the national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, lists many organisations where you will find appropriate support. You can get this report in your local library. This would also be relevant to the immediate period when you are planning to escape from your abusive environment. The Mid-West Region of the HSE has a very valuable information document that lists various support agencies for the region. I imagine that all the other regions have a similar resource. It is no bigger than a banking card.
A vital element of your survival plan will involve having a good therapist, GP, and family law solicitor. Such professional support will increase your sense of power, and help you deal with isolation, one of the main obstacles to survival. When you were abused, you were isolated and silenced. Now you have to undo this conditioning, and realise that not all relationships are abusive or sexual. You will free yourself from this shackle, and reach out to others. This positive coping strategy helps to reduce anxiety in the immediate term, and expel it in the long term. Re-establishing contact with friends and making new friends not only counteracts this anxiety and worry, but also adds to the safety of your new home. You may find, however, that some erstwhile friends may be uncomfortable, for various reasons, with a separated person. It can also be distressing to find that abusers may get more loyalty and sympathy from some others, because they have more contact with them. Abusers sometimes gain sympathy by portraying themselves as the innocent victims of separation, as they bluntly deny any abuse. Thus, they hope to enlist the help of others in condemning survivors and keeping them isolated. They wish to destabilise the survivors and prevent them from moving on. Linda was fortunate, however, and managed to reconnect with erstwhile friends, who rallied to her. It is clear that they liked her, and missed her when she became isolated from them through the control exercised by her abusive husband
I have made an effort to take up all my friendships, including some of the closest ones that I had with my cousins. It felt great to get back in contact with them. However, some contacts did take a lot of work, as I had hurt people with the way I just walked out of their lives. I even organised a college reunion last year, and caught up with all of my college class. It felt so good to be able to meet up with them, without being made feel guilty. They are all good friends, and I shouldn’t have been made feel guilty about talking to them, whether they were male or female. We are all in touch now via email or on the net, and it’s great. I am so delighted that I did it. My friends told me that they felt uncomfortable around Stephen. Of course they did. If I could feel the tension around him when I was out with him, they could too. At the time, I was so busy trying to calm him to make sure that he did not boil over, and hit one, that I didn’t even notice that they could see through it all.
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press
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You will recover and build a new life if you leave an abusive situation

Despite the trepidation, the questions and the fear that you feel, you will survive the abuse, recover and re-experience independence, happiness and peace. Part of our work as humans is to integrate our suffering, as we strive for happiness. We have the capacity, irrespective of apparently insurmountable obstacles, to create a life where we can grow, reach our potential, and experience joy. It is a fundamental principle that we have within ourselves everything we need to be happy, including the capacity to recover. However, it may take a long time for your scars to heal. It may take years before you trust again. Even when you meet a non-abusive partner, you will be on the alert, always waiting for an attack. Learning to trust and experience non-judgemental love within a new relationship is one of the best antidotes to the after -effects of an abusive relationship. Gradually the feeling of wariness will abate. Initially, you might be better to focus on social relationships, rather than intimate ones, because this provides a safer context to rebuild relational skills.
When you leave an abusive relationship, you are no longer a victim, but a survivor. The stench of the abuse may linger for a long time, and you may be confused by the loving feelings and longing you experience for the nice Jekyll, before you begin to confront the vicious Hyde, and you may, perhaps, experience bitterness and regret. But, as you slowly find your feet in the new space you have created, you will begin to see possibilities, and enter the recovery stage, where you will enhance your life and be as you want to be. As you had the strength to endure the abusive relationship, and to leave it, you also have the strength to create a new life. It takes time, and there will be setbacks, as you set about recovering your optimism and reclaiming your identity.
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press
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What happens after leaving an abusive relationship?

Take my hands, my children,
And look into the sun,
We will create our world,
Unwatched and unfettered.
The light shines through the trees,
As they green in time of spring.
I see the summer in your eyes,
Clouded by the storms of winter.
The winter clouds view the horizon,
Driven by the icy wind that chills the soul.
The gentle breeze of Spring rescues you
From barren waste
And I will hold you, too
In loving embrace,
And look into the future
Mirrored in your hopeful face.

Jim O’Shea

It is difficult to imagine the emotional turmoil that victims feel when they leave an abusive relationship. Linda gives us some idea of what it is like.
Your feelings when you leave can be scary, because they make no sense. It is just a big whirlwind, and you are just swished around in this whirlwind, with no control. I felt every emotion I can think of – sadness, anger, helplessness, loss, loneliness, stress, pain, unhappiness with the world, shock, no understanding of my life, loss of hope for me and my life, confusion, and anxiety. Some days I would wake up so sad, and had no interest in the day. Then it could turn to anger and I would say, “No! I’m not giving up. I am going to make a life for me and my son”. Everyday would bring such a mixture of emotions and feelings; it was so hard to keep in line with everyday life, like going to work.
Stress was a huge factor for me. I had been left with such a mess on top of my marriage failure. I was left with such financial burdens, and a completely new life to build. I was getting threatening letters everyday from banks. It was just one thing after another. I could go to work, sad from the loss of the relationship. Then it could turn to anger so quickly, when I would come home and see all these letters and all the problems he had left me to sort out, as he walked away. Confusion is such a big part of things, too. It’s impossible to rationalise any of what is going on in your life. How you got to this stage, and how it went so wrong.
Then you ask yourself the question, was part of it your fault? Why has he such hate and anger in him? Were you doing something wrong that he was so unhappy? And why wasn’t he happy and content with what he had, as you were, and as you both were when you met? It’s impossible to answer all the questions that go around and around in your head.
Of course, there is the stage where you long for your partner and dwell on all the good times. I think I spent a lot of time on my own thinking about this. But, when I would get really sad about the marriage ending, I would pick up the phone and talk to friends and family, and they would give me the courage, or that little shove that I would need to pick myself up and keep going!
Sometimes I would be paranoid that he might come to the house during the middle of the night in a rage before he left the country, and so all doors from most rooms were locked. I used to lock my bedroom door, and for a while I slept with either a Hurley or hockey stick by my locker, in case I was put in the position that I had to protect me and my child from him

Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press
THERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
COUNSELLORS IN TIPPERARY
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
ABUSE
DEATH OF A CHILD

Posted in abuse, Leaving an abusive situation