I am writing this blog to share with you my experiences and how I healed after being in an abusive relationship.
Please remember that everyone is different and heals in different ways so I hope that you can find something useful that resonates with you.
At the young age of 18 I got into my first relationship with a Man who was six years older than me. At first he appeared to be really attracted to me, he seemed to be really putting in the ground work to make an effort. During the dating phase he would take me out to exclusive night clubs and restaurants in London.
He would make an effort with me, calling me everyday and telling me how much he cared about me. At the beginning of the relationship he flooded me with compliments and wanted to spend as much time with me as possible.
I thought that I was in love, but little did I know that this was part of his plan to have full control over me. It wasn’t until later I realised this stage of abuse is called ‘Love Bombing’. *
*Love Bombing is defined as a person who grooms you with words of love and affection in the beginning of a relationship. Unhealthy signs of love bombing are, saying I love you really soon in the relationship, buying you gifts and telling you exactly what you want to hear.
Controlling and Coercive Behaviour
Very slowly things started to change within the relationship and he became very controlling, by telling me what to wear when we were going out for the night, instructing me that I had to always let him know when and where I was going anywhere.
At that time I felt that I was in love with him, I thought that this behaviour was normal and felt that he really must love and care about me to be this over protective.
Time went by and he began taking me out less and less during the weekends. He would call me and tell me to get ready for a particular time as we were going to another nightclub. I would get ready and he wouldn’t turn up. I would call him and text him and he would not respond. I would sit in front of the mirror until the early hours of the morning, crying and thinking to myself, “What is wrong with me?”, “What have I done/not done to upset him?”, “Who is he with?”, “Maybe he doesn’t love me any more and he found someone better than me”?
The next day he would call and tell me that I was going crazy and make up an excuse as to why he did not show up or answer his phone. In my gut I knew that he was lying but I just chose to take his word for it, because there was a part of me that wanted to believe him.
These occurrences started happening more frequently and the same questions kept repeating over and over in my head, “What is wrong with me?”. I would confide in my friends and they would tell me to leave him, but I just could not seem to let him go. I was so attached to the man I had met at the beginning of the relationship who showered me with attention, I thought that he would return if I changed.
At this stage he became verbally and emotionally abusive towards me, answering the questions that I had been asking about myself. He would tell me that I was worthless and that no one else would want me, he would tell me that I was a hoe for wearing certain kinds of clothes and he was embarrassed to take me out or be seen with me.
I began believing him and started drinking heavily, going out raving with my Friends every single weekend. As miserable as I was, I continued the relationship with him with that little glimpse of hope that the man I had fallen in love with would return. He would turn up to night clubs while I was out with my friends and would watch me to see if I was “behaving myself”.
This cycle of abuse continued for one and a half years, all of the hurt, sadness and anger that I had inside finally made its way out when I found out he was cheating on me. This was the final step that eventually made me realise this was the end of the relationship.
Unfortunately I still did not realise that this was abuse and I continued to walk around with the same limiting beliefs that I had created and adopted about myself from the relationship.
Due to this I continued to attract the same kinds of relationships until my late twenties. I went looking for love and acceptance in all of the wrong places and continued on a spiral of self-destructive behaviour.
The night life increased, my alcohol consumption increased, I began experimenting with party drugs and putting myself into dangerous situations. I was carrying around so much hurt and pain that I did not want to deal with, so I used alcohol, drugs and partying as a coping mechanism to numb the pain.
So how did I heal?
I started delving into the world of personal development. I looked at the areas in my life that I wanted to change and started setting goals and action steps to help me to achieve them.
As I began achieving small goals my confidence in myself grew. I started creating new beliefs that I could do whatever I set my mind to.
I took a break from dating, as I continued to attract the same types of relationships that were continuing to do me harm. I realised that I was also using sexual relationships as another coping mechanism. I felt that I needed to feel wanted and desired, when all I needed was the time and space to discover how to learn how to love myself and what I wanted out of life.
This stage was really hard for me at first as I had to stare my pain in the face, but this was a part of the healing that I so desperately needed.
Knowledge is power!
I attended a Domestic Abuse Programme called ‘The Freedom Programme’ to facilitate within my place of work for Women who are victims and survivors of Domestic Abuse.
It wasn’t until I attended this programme that I discovered that I had been in abusive relationship’s. I had the belief that abuse is something that needs to be seen. I would strongly recommend attending the Freedom Programme as it was a huge eye opener as to how societies beliefs, our parent’s beliefs, cultural and political beliefs, perpetrators beliefs effect the way we view ourselves and others.
This is when my healing began! I went to therapy and began journaling and working through the limiting beliefs that I had about myself. It was really insightful to learn that most of the limiting beliefs that I carried around with me for the majority of my life were the beliefs that I had adopted from others from the earliest stages in my life.
Find your passion, purpose or your why?
I discovered that my greatest pain and struggles turned out to be my biggest why.
I felt a huge calling that I want to help other Women who are victims and survivors of Domestic Abuse. This is my passion in life and the thing that brings me the most pleasure.
Helping and supporting other Women who are in the same dark place that I was in and giving them the tools that I have learned and developed with the hopes that they can find hope, peace, healing and beautiful transformations for an amazing life.
Connecting with a higher power/God/spirituality
As humans we want to feel a sense of belonging and connectivity. It is in my opinion that when we do not feel connected we begin to search for things outside of ourselves to fill a void or an emptiness which can lead us to make unhealthy decisions such as unhealthy/toxic relationships, trying to numb our pain with alcohol or drugs, overeating/unhealthy eating.
I am not a religious person, however I am very spiritual and always believed in a higher power and the belief that everything happens for a reason.
I began feeling a huge sense of love for myself, belonging and connectivity when I began practicing Yoga and meditation. I know that this is not everyone’s cup of tea but I found that this really helped me on my healing journey.
I practice Yoga and meditation every single day, early in the morning. As I have grown deeper into my practice I have developed a different respect for my body, mind and soul. I am more aware of the substances that I put into my body and no longer use recreational drugs, binge drinking of alcohol and overeating on unhealthy processed foods.
I have never been a lover of cardio and find that it puts me off from doing a workout. So instead I practice Yoga, I love walking and enjoy the occasional bike ride when it isn’t raining! (Which feels like everyday in this country!)
Exercise is an amazing tool for our body, mind and soul and releases all of those feel good chemicals! Find an exercise that you enjoy doing and make it become a habit in your life. I promise you will feel better and start making healthier choices in the kitchen.
Create a morning routine/ritual
When you have a morning routine that you follow everyday it will set your day up for success!
This has been so true in my life. Of course we will always have good days and bad days because we are human and we have feelings. Life is not a straight path and there will always be bumps and scrapes along the way. However when we take charge of our day, we put ourselves in the right frame of mind to make us even more resilient.
Some of you might be saying, “Where the hell am I going to find the time for a morning routine?” But trust me, if I can find the time then you can also!
I am a single Mother to my 6 year old son and I work part time in a Domestic Abuse Refuge. Most survivors and victims of domestic abuse tend to be empath’s and as Women we are empaths by nature, so we tend to take a lot of emotions on. This is why it is so important to make that time just for you in the morning.
What my morning routine looks like?
• 5am: (Yes 5am!) I wake up and drink a big glass of water to wake me up. I then have my coffee and sit and read for about 15 minutes from a book. (I will leave some useful books that I have read below)
• 5:15am: Yoga /exercise (I will follow a yoga practice from youtube, I will leave a link to the one I use below.)
• 5.40am: 5 minute guided meditation (I will leave the link to the ones I use)
• 5:45am: Positive affirmations- I will look at myself in the mirror and say “I am enough, I am worthy, I am beautiful, I am strong, I am confident, I love myself”.
• 5:50am: I will spend 10 minutes writing three things that I am grateful for. For example, “I am so very grateful that I am healthy”, “I am so very grateful that I live in my beautiful home and my son is happy and healthy, Thank you!”, “I am so very grateful that I have the ability to do anything I want to do with my life, Thank you!”.
• I then write down three actions/intentions that I am going to take for my day.
My hopes for you
I really hope that you can find something useful from this blog and adapt it to your interests and desires.
I know traumatic experiences are hard but please know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you are worthy and deserving of an amazing happy and fulfilled life!
I love you!
• The Freedom Programme is a course that you helps you acquire knowledge about Domestic Abuse so that you are able to recognise early warning signs/red flags in your relationships. To find out more go to www.freedomprogramme.co.uk