I hope that this blog has given you a better understanding of abuse. It is an emotionally difficult behaviour to explore. Some of this behaviour is ghastly, and has a devastating impact on victims. Nonetheless, however difficult an abusive situation seems to be, however despairing your frame of mind, even if the obstacles seem insurmountable, you do not have to remain in an abusive relationship. There is always hope, always a brighter future. In that context, I will leave you with what Linda thought were her final words, before her husband returned from Canada, and threw her into turmoil
“It’s hard to explain, but I can now see every side of a problem for people. I like to listen to them when they have worries, or are upset. I try to help them when they ask for advice based on what I have learned from my story. I always try to help them see that it’s not going to be all doom and gloom, and that there is always a way forward. It may not be easy, and it may take time, but there is always a solution and a way forward.
I have also started to be grateful for what I have. I have a beautiful son, who brings me joy each day of my life. I enjoy the lovely sunny days when we can play football or go for a walk. I enjoy the simpler things in life. Material things don’t mean all they used to mean to me anymore. I believe from my experience I have gained knowledge that I can apply to myself, but also that I can help friends and family. I am also trying to learn currently how to take it ‘one day at a time’, and to stop worrying about the future. I still do this sometimes, but I am now aware of doing it, and, therefore, I can try to control it and try to live and enjoy the present!
They say that we learn from our challenges and mishaps in life. In my case, I believe this to be true. I learned that things happen in life that you cannot do anything about; things you may not want happening in your life, but you have no choice. I also have learned to open myself up to people and how differently they may live their life, or what they believe.
What I would say to anyone who is going through, or has gone through, a story similar to mine, is not to be afraid to leave if you need to. You only get one chance in this life, and you have to live your life and be happy. You have to move on and learn from the past, and hope for the future. Live in the present and deal with each challenge as it comes. Bit by bit, day by day, a new life will be growing all around you, until one day you stand back and say, “I did it, and I am so happy with my life that is now peaceful”.
These were Linda’s words, before her world was shattered by the return of her husband from Canada. Her emotional chaos on his return does not take from them. They are, however, the words of someone who thought she had completed her grieving. But, look at her final words, when she had at last emotionally shaken off the shackles of abuse, and completed her grieving. Note how emphatic and confident she is. She has finally abandoned the rosy picture of the charming Jekyll, and clearly sees the ugly Hyde. Thankfully, Linda completed her grieving in about four weeks of counselling and processing. I expect that you will find comfort and hope, when you read the relief, freedom, and clarity, in her final statement
What I can look back and say now, is that Stephen did me a big favour. I am glad he came back, because it opened up all my wounds and heartache and made me deal with it all again, so that I am finally over it.
Stephen, of course, went from his caring side to the ugly selfish side in a short period. He turned cold once things weren’t going his way with his plans for us. He reduced his contact with Jack, and generally went back to the man that I know he is – a self-consumed, abusive man. I am glad, though, that this also happened. I went from the confused, painful, stage to clarity very quickly, because I now have knowledge of how the abuser works, and the cycles they go through. I knew this would happen. I knew that the nice Stephen wouldn’t stay too long. He was never there to begin with, but when my head was over- ruled by my feelings and emotions, I placed him on a pedestal, and couldn’t see beyond the good times.
I can see clearly beyond the good times now. I see him for exactly what he is. To type those words and say them after these years of hurt is such a FREEDOM to me. I CAN SEE HIM FOR EXACTLY WHAT HE IS. I ACCEPT WHAT HE IS, AND I LIVE MY LIFE. I am finally FREE. I am free in my mind now. I may have been free physically for a long time, but in my mind, I wasn’t. I now look at him, and feel pity, and also a sense that our lives are so different, and that we are such different people. I have no idea how we ever got on, or had anything in common. He is completely different to me in every way.
I don’t have feeling of anger, sorrow, longing or love. I see him on the days he visits my son. We are civil to each other. There’s nothing else. Sometimes it just feels like a business transaction. I’m here for my son to get a chance to know his father. I am here for my son because I love him deeply and care for him deeply. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be in his company for anything, as I have no need or want to be in it.
I can now meet him, and he has no hold on me at all. At the end of visiting time, I get into my car and happily say, “let’s get back to our life”. I no longer find him physically attractive. He is no longer this big strong man that would take care of us and love us. He is a mere lost boy in my eyes these days. One that doesn’t know where he is going or what he wants, and, unfortunately will probably cause havoc to someone else.
My last words to the end of my story and the words that I love and wake up to every morning now is FREEDOM and PEACE – my mind and heart are freed at last – and now I can move on in my life with NO EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE holding me back! Take the power you have within you and claim YOUR FREEDOM!”
I have written another book about the impact of childhood on our adult lives. It should be published early in 2018. I will continue my blogs with some extracts from it and hope that this will help you make sense of your life.
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
DEATH OF A CHILD