As I sat in my bed, cost immersed in a flood of cotton sheets and cherished books, I began to doubt my existence. Doubts that had resilience and control. Doubts about love and its worth. Doubts that threatened to consume my positive progress every moment I opened my eyes to a new day. My fiends become friends, and I had become complacent with the beautiful chaos that raged through me.
I was once so marred by the pain and disappointment that I become numb to it all and I hated that I gave others so much power, the power I needed I just gave it away so freely. One of our most precious possessions and I just gave it way; and because of that, I failed myself. Most days I would only feel mental anguish, no light shown through; I was so lost.
My aspirations were muddled by obligations to conform; each affirmation that I wove into the fibers of my mind never seemed to prove adequate when at war with the doubt. My doubts were audacious, and assiduous in their pursuits to steal my strength- I was so weak and uninspired in my lowest moments. I had lost all hope in my potential because I was too focused on my present defeat.
I did not willingly succumb to the forceful talons of my doubt, I fought and the fight gave me strength. The constant jabs and reassurances of my flaws and faults ultimately allowed me to experience hope in myself- a beacon of light in the opaque fog, I prayed it be the catalyst I needed to transform into something better.
I prayed for a more intimate understanding of who I was because I knew that was a vital weapon against my attempts to revert back to old habits. During my time of internal growth, I had to be honest with myself which is one of the hardest feats I’ve endured yet. There is something so different and frightening about being vulnerable with yourself; learning who you are all over again …
However, I am so grateful and blessed. With the diligent presence of my faith, I managed to pull my mind out of the fog and the doubt. I emerged stronger than I realized in that moment. I learned to feel again, I hadn’t done that in so long. I learned to love again, which was the most rewarding of all. This new love was all encompassing, and I welcomed it with fierce fervor.
Every day presents a new challenge that threatens my progress, but taking the time to relearn myself and regain this genuine love for myself, goads me on to achieve my own paragon, one that I can be proud of and others can relate too.
By Morgan Copeland
First things first: I promise you, sildenafil there is life after domestic abuse.
It was early December 2014 and after what seemed to be the most amazing 2 month courting period ever, symptoms I was in a relationship. It was so surreal. He was funny, smart, patient and worshiped the ground I walked on. I had never felt more loved and it made fall. Fast. What started as the fairytale romance quickly transitioned into something a lot darker and destructive… But I was none the wiser.
Growing up my friends and I had understood domestic abuse to be mainly physical abuse. Something easily identifiable. Something none of us could ever experience because it was so obviously ugly in character, there was absolutely no way we would tolerate it.
Until the night he assaulted me, I was oblivious to the fact that I was in an abusive relationship.
But that night changed my life.
There aren’t words to describe the way I felt whilst all of this was happening. The person I loved had betrayed my trust and loyalty. Initially, my brain did this awesome thing where I couldn’t process it. I say awesome, as had I really taken in what was going on at the time, I would probably be 5 months into a life sentence for murder. ?
In the police car to the station, whilst giving a blow by blow account of what had happened to the officers, even whilst slipping into my house in the middle of the night and lying I was out with friends; I was numb. My eyes stayed glazed over and my body was in autopilot.
Its only the following morning when I woke up to an incredible headache did feelings start to kick in. First, they were physical feelings of pain. Everywhere. Then the waves of emotions came crashing in shortly after. I couldn’t believe what had happened. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was about to embark on one of the most difficult journeys in my life so far.
After spending the bulk of two days switching between feelings of betrayal, abandonment, anger and self-pity, I booked a doctor’s appointment. Getting your head smashed against concrete walls and floors with give you a headache like no other and paracetamol just wasn’t cutting it. It was when I was sat in the doctor’s office and I was explaining what had happened, did I start to get a sense of the gravity of the situation. I was engulfed in this relationship for so long, I couldn’t see what was happening right in front of me.
The police had been so kind as to refer me to a solacewomensaid.org for support in the following months, but they’re the police. Like many young black people, I can’t say I’ve grown up having much faith or a sense of connection with the police. I still hadn’t accepted what had happened.
It was only through my own research and being able to vent to friends did my process of healing really begin to happen.
Anybody that has been through domestic abuse will tell you the first question you ask yourself over and over is why. Why did it happen? Why did he hurt me? How did we get to this point? Why would He ruin our relationship? What am I supposed to do without him?
Why, How and What. I promise you I pretty much thought of every single question possible. My brain was trying to make sense of it all, and I was drawing blanks. Although a natural reaction to something so devastating, I learnt that the Why’s, What’s and How’s were holding me back.
Initially too embarrassed to speak to friends or family, I took my queries to Google. I implore you to ask Google the questions you have, there is so much information from both experts and people in your position, it really does help you understand what happened, what is going to happen and what help is available.
The first page I came across was loveisrespect.org. It was here that I learnt about the cycles of abuse and my heart sank. The authors of the pages had never met my ex-boyfriend or knew anything about our relationship, yet here they were outlining the last 9 months of my life. The next site I visited seeking answers was Quora. I wanted to know if my ex-partner loved me. I wanted to understand what fuelled his actions. Yet again, I was met with the affirmation that what had been happening in my relationship was all a part of the cycle of abuse.
As the weeks went by and my ex-boyfriend began to flaunt his new girlfriend in my face (the girl he had been cheating on me with. Yep. It gets better and better!), I found myself sinking into what seemed to be a functioning depression. I was adamant to finish my final year of university in June with the rest of my class, but I couldn’t shake the sadness that seeped into every aspect of my day. My ex had never been one to update his whatsapp picture or status very frequently, but he made sure to keep me in the loop with how amazing his life was rid of me and I saw it. And it hurt.
I was grieving the loss of an important relationship. Any loss with be followed with grief. Knowing the ins and outs of what was happening when we were together, I was mortified at the fact that I felt anything other than disgust anger and hatred towards him. But again, through educating myself, I quickly learnt that that this feeling of loss I was experiencing was normal and time would show me that it wasn’t to last forever.
I was none the wiser about my situation whilst I was in it, but in wanting to move on and forward in the most healthy way possible meant that I had to understand what the various types of domestic abuse consisted of. It was only then would I be able to aptly tackle the months of healing ahead.
The first thing and hardest thing I had to do was cut all contact. All contact details, clothes, jewellery…. anything we had shared, I had to get rid of. Why was it difficult? Not only was I getting rid of him, but I was getting rid of a part of my life too. However, this was so important as keeping things/in contact can be a painful reminder and can really set you back.
Next, I had to stop asking myself why. I had to accept what had happened and also accept that the person who my ex-boyfriend was, was different to the way he wanted to be perceived. Coming to terms with the reality of my situation enabled me to further plot my development using all resources available to me.
Once I had accepted the reality of my past relationship, I had to do my best to stay open to the wealth of feelings that were headed my way. I had never been in a situation like this before, but all the advice online and the support groups I had visited assured me that I would have my good days and my not so good days, and that it was okay. I like to refer to the not so good days as growing pains. Lastly, once I had accepted, I had to reconnect. Now I want to say this is the hardest part, but in all honesty none of my journey has been a walk in the park. But, I will say it is critical to reconnect.
Often, abusers will isolate their victims (i.e. their partners) in order to really be able to be in control. I had distanced myself from friends and family, all whilst losing my sense of self worth. Vulnerable and alone, I found myself financially and emotionally dependant on my ex-boyfriend. That teamed with the constant direct and indirect belittling of me and glorifying of himself, I really did believe nobody else would want me and that I was lucky to have him there to put up with me. Inception at its finest lol.
Reconnecting with friends and family can be tough and relationships may have become damaged along the way, but for those friends and family that do understand and are 100% with you in your road to recovery, it’s one of the quickest ways to gain your bearings again. I also found that reconnecting with family and friends served as a gentle push towards reconnecting with myself again.
Despite all the TRASH your abusive ex-partner may have put you through, you are beautiful and you are to be loved. Moving forward, take that unconditional love you would show them and bathe in it. Take the time out to say to yourself: ‘Yes, I am responsible for letting this person into my life, but I am not responsible for them abusing me.’
The process is different for every single person, but I encourage you not to give up. Time and effort has shown me that you can move on from abusive relationships. No matter how bad you think it is, it can get better. There is always someone willing to listen, and always someone willing to help. Honestly, there is no shame in seeking help! It’s there to better you! Nobody should have to go through domestic abuse of any kind (emotional, verbal, physical or sexual), but the most important thing is to learn from your experience. Educating yourself helps you both heal and avoid unhealthy relationships in the future.
Never give in to anything or anyone that compromises your self-worth and takes from your self-love.
5 and a half months on, I still get growing pains, but by surrounding myself with positive energy and investing in myself, my sense of self-esteem has rewritten my response to negativity. By refocusing my energy, I am able to counter the thoughts that haunt me.
Experiencing the growth has shown me tomorrow will be okay.
I’m nowhere near the end of my journey, but I hope this serves as encouragement to all young women out there to know that you will live past it and it will get better.
I promise you, there is life after domestic abuse x