After I started therapy and talking through my experiences, I realized my support system was completely disconnected. Friends I had known for years were a distant memory, and my family had been pushed away. I had allowed my abuser to always be right about how my family spoke of our relationship being so wrong. The relationship between my mom and I was broken, and I was desperate for the bond we had five years before. Any person I did have a connection with was a shallow existence of a true friendship, because they were my abuser’s friends.
As a victim to emotional and verbal abuse, evaluating and assessing that my support system had been subtly changing for the worst over the last five years was very hard to accept and acknowledge. Facing this reality showed me how much more my abuser had control over my life. Yet, at this point, I could step back and see how much more of myself I lost because someone did not value me. During this time of realizing I was in an abusive relationship, I was also creating new friendships. These were real and true, and they helped me to navigate a direction of hope and courage and kept me moving forward, despite the challenges of not knowing what was going to come.
However, I still felt very alone. I did not know if I could reach out to the family and friends I had known for years. I feared how they would respond. To my relief, everyone, including my mom, had open arms and a willingness to help me however they could. I was secretive in my approach to building my support system back up, so that my abuser would not know. In doing this, I learned that true friends and family will never leave you no matter how much it hurts them to see you go through the abuse. They were my stars in the darkness, guiding and directing me to find myself again. It was knowing that I truly was not alone, even at my lowest point. I will be forever grateful for their love and support during that time.
Now that I have left my abuser, my support system is stronger than ever. I know that even on my worst days, I am never alone, I am never disrespected, and I am never challenged by who I am. I am loved by being me. That should always be enough.
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