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Finding Freedom: One Survivor’s Story Part 4

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After leaving my abusive relationship, I wasn’t sure what was next or how I was supposed to be. I asked myself “When will I be okay?” and “Where will I be in a year from now?”  I learned shortly after leaving these are very normal thoughts to have after being isolated, manipulated and made to think you are unable to do anything without your abuser. I decided that I would continue to build my support system. I would continue go to therapy and talk with other survivors. I would continue read books on how to move on from an abusive relationship. I would simply just learn how to “be” and “do” without anxiety, tension, and tears.

Eight months have gone by since I left my abusive relationship and my life appears to be somewhat normal. I go to work 40 hours a week. I raise and take care of my boys, and my dog. I have evenings and weekends that are full of joy, laughter and happiness. Of course, this includes the frequent sibling fights and mom yelling at the kids to be nice, to share with one another. The day to day is still there like any other day, even when we were living with my abuser. The difference is he is not there telling me what to do, or how to do it. No one is expecting me to have the house clean and dinner on the table. No one is putting down my ideas and thoughts. No one is asking me “Why you are wearing that outfit?” No one is asking me where I am going, why, and with whom.

The point to this story is that life after an abusive relationship can be slow, daunting, boring, and unknown. However, it will become empowering, freeing, exciting and full of happiness. You will find appreciation for things you forgot that existed, and you will be grateful for your life. However, like anything else, there are bad days too. It can feel hopeless. There will be sadness. You will be angry. And you will have days that are just silent and you don’t know how to feel. All of these emotions are real, and they are okay, and normal. I have felt all of these emotions over and over in the last eight months. Yet, I have chosen not to let my experience define me, or to hold me back from finding my new happy, following my dreams and passions or what new things I want to do.

What happened to me and my kids was wrong, traumatic and not something I ever want to relive. However, I have learned a lot from this experience: how to respect myself, how to love myself, and how to care for myself. And in learning these things I discovered myself.

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