It can shock you when you try to move on but find your feelings for your partner returning

The fourth task of grieving is to emotionally relocate the lost partner and move on. You will reconcile conflicting emotions, realise that you will not forget the relationship experience, good and bad, and experience the relief of leaving an abusive environment and travelling the road to peace and, hopefully, love. Many of Elaine Weiss’s storytellers eventually learned to trust, and to take the risk of a new relationship. Educating yourself on the nature of abuse and abusers will make it a little easier for you to make a better choice of partner. Most of her storytellers had better luck second time round.
It is vital to complete the grieving stages or grieving tasks. Sometimes you may be disappointed and shocked, when you feel that you have succeeded and are ready to move on, and your feelings for your partner return with even greater intensity. This may happen when a partner emigrates and returns. In the meantime the survivor goes through what he or she thinks is the entire process of grieving. Linda’s story in the above paragraphs indicates that she felt she was ready to move on. But, when Stephen suddenly returned from Canada, she unexpectedly found herself overwhelmed with conflicting emotions, and returned to counselling to deal with this crisis. She successfully met this challenge in the short space of 10 weeks. Basically, she had moved a long way down the road of grieving, but she had not reached the end of that road. Do not be surprised if that happens to you.
When Stephen rang to say that he was returning, Linda initially felt a plethora of negative emotions. She felt angry, suspicious, mistrustful, and concerned about the possible impact on her child. How would Jack respond to his father? Would Stephen befriend him and abandon him again? The peace she had so painfully achieved was shattered and her emotional turmoil increased on the Sunday they had agreed to meet
I was upside down with emotions. I was angry, anxious, stressed and upset. It had been so long, I didn’t know how to be. We pulled up in our car, and waited. He arrived. I introduced Jack, who hid behind my legs for a while, but eventually he came around. They played and they seemed to do very well. It was so strange, though, after all this time. He told me about his experiences of his travelling. He was nice and very warm with his personality. He said that he had changed, and had learned so much from his travels that he wants to make things better.
He met Jack on a number of occasions, I always accompanied my child because I didn’t want to leave him on his own with him. I had very little trust in him. I waited to see when he would get tired of handing over money for Jack, and spending time with him on Sundays. But he didn’t break any of his promises, and was there when he was meant to be.
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press


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