This is a article I found in RELEVANT Magazine that has helped me. I was worried that all the negative emotions that would sometimes resurface meant that I was not forgiving my offender. I believed that because I was not ready to reconcile the relationship that meant that I had not forgiven him. This is not true. Reconciliation and forgiveness are two separate things.
If you are in the same boat, I hope that you gain a little insight from this article.
So when I was in counseling, my counselor helped me to make a list of self-care things that I can do to empower myself. It can be a mixture of short-term and long-term goals that will gradually build and encourage you.
Here are just a few items that were/are on my list:
Has this ever happened to you; The one that you gave your heart to drags you through the mud? They cut you down and put you through the wringer and pull out every tactic they can think of to make you feel so low that you just feel worst than dirt? Maybe it goes further than that and they acutally put their hands on you. Then later they comeback with a few sweet words and an apology, promising they would never do anything to hurt you again? And because they seem so sincere, and because they are trying to be a better person, and because we might have been in the wrong in what we said or did, we take that apology and hold onto it for dear life, hoping and believing that things will actually be different? That just maybe this was it? We would finally reconcile so that healing could begin?
I know it has happened to me.
Did you know that a woman will leave an abusive relationship seven times before leaving and staying away from the relationship?
Seven. Times. Reading this statistic hit me with such force. It showed me that, "no I am not the ONLY person who is going through this". This showed me that there are other survivors going through the same things that I go through. Leaving is a process and takes time.
In saying this, I find it to be a dissapointment when I hear comments that further cut down and undermines the survivor. You know, those comments; If it were me, I would have left long ago. If they treat you so bad, why don't you just leave? Do you enjoy getting hurt/abused? And my favorite, I told you so. You should have listened.
Contiually beating them with these questions and throwing around statements with a disapproving wag of the finger and shake of the head is not going to magically undo the damage and snap the survivor out of it. There is already enough guilt and shame to go around; trust me on this.
Those who are survivors of/are in an abusive relationship need support, not judgement. They need to be empowered and have confidence in their decisions. And if those who are supposed to be in their corner are also tearing them down, who can they trust?
*Note to Reader: I wrote this post in September of last year. Much has changed and I hope to have updates real soon*
I. Am. Angry. I am angry at my husband for falsely accusing me. I am angry that I spent precious time away from my son over an untruth. I am angry because whenever I show vulnerability, it is taken as though I am trying to cause trouble. I am angry and I know it will only hurt me if I let it fester.
I don’t know about you, but at times it is extremely difficult for me to process this emotion. Anger is not seen as a good thing. Although this may be the case, it is not true. Anger can be positive.
It all depends on what you do with that anger.
Anger can be used as fuel to fight against the injustices of the world. It can be a helpful driving force that pushes you to stand up and speak out when everyone else is too afraid to rock the boat. Anger does not have to be negative. As a matter of fact this emotion helps to highlight when a boundary has been crossed. Anger can serve as a sign that you have been mistreated or that something has been violated. This is completely healthy. But when we use our anger to lash out and hurt others, that is when the negativity steps in. And if we do not forgive regardless of whether we received an apology or not, anger will only consume us and cause further damage to our well being.
So yes, it is alright to be angry and it may even be necessary. Allow yourself to feel this and don’t be ashamed; there are many more emotions one may go through in order for recovery to happen.