Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
I had many supportive people around me and my children. I never sought professional counseling because I had people to talk to, hobbies to take my mind of things, I was going to college, and I began writing here shortly after as well.
Will I ever get over what happened to me?
Yes, you will. It may take weeks, months, even several years to heal the wounds. Don’t be unrealistic in your healing path. Be kind to yourself. You deserve it.
If you feel counseling is what you need, there are many types out there. There is group therapy at most local YMCA’s and YWCA’s. Look for a local shelter in your area where you can get referrals. I f you had to deal with the police or court systems when getting away from your abuser, they may be able to give you a referral to local places to find help.
I can’t describe the sense of freedom you will feel once you are away from your abuser. In lectures and talks I have given, I refer to the feeling of being about to breathe again. By this I mean when I was with my abuser I felt suffocated or like there was a huge weight on my chest. The night after he got arrested and I knew for sure he wouldn’t be able to hurt me for a long time, I felt like I could breathe for the first time in years. When the Kelly Clarkson song "Since You Been Gone" comes on the radio, I have to get up and dance and sing along! “But Since U Been Gone, I can breathe for the first time.” Do something you weren’t “allowed to do” when you were with your abuser. If you want to eat dinner at 10 at night, eat dinner at ten at night. If the kids wanted to go to a park all day and have a picnic, go to the park and have a picnic. My kids and I went crazy the first few days of our freedom.
How can I make sure it won’t happen again?
Well, honestly you can’t especially if you eventually take your abuser back. In future relationships, you will know the warning signs to look for. Since you have been through it once, if there is a next time, you will be better prepared to leave. Take time to heal yourself before jumping into another relationship. You are more than likely very vulnerable at this point in your life. You may open yourself up to another potential abuser.
Should I tell the new person I am dating about the abuse?
This is one that is hard to say. I think you should develop a level of trust with this person first. If asked about your last relationship, you can politely say your last relationship was difficult and ended badly. If they press for more information just tell them you are not ready to discuss this yet.