Sanctuary for the Abused

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Recovering from Abuse



"Abused women aren’t “codependent.” It is abusers, not their partners, who create abusive relationships."
Excerpt: Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Lundy Bancroft

Rollercoaster Thinking: Our abuser is sweet one minute and raging out of control with bizarre behaviour the next. If ever there was a situation where we can't see the forest for the trees, this is it. Professional therapy from someone specialized in this field is a good idea.

Stop trying to 'fix' them. They have a problem we can't fix. Only professionals can help them. The prognosis is poor. Working on ourselves is the best fix of all. Let your abuser dial the phone to get help. Reality is knowing this hook to our compassionate nature.

Stop hoping he will return to the "way he was.' This "magical" thinking is normal for us. Abuse gets worse, not better. Take off the rose-coloured glasses.

Physical Exhaustion: Living with an abuser is physically and emotionally draining to the point we may not want to do anything. Get rest. Detach psychologically and physically from the abuser. If we're unable to emotionally detach, react angrily or our tactics aren't working, we may not have had the opportunity to learn the management skills we need to deal with and avoid manipulative abusers.

Substance Abuse: We need to be clear headed. Slow down and stop any use of alcohol/drugs we may be taking to help cope.

Plan in advance to protect your financial base and obtain emotional support. Never stay where there is potential for physical violence -- get out fast. Documentation, proof of abuse are essential. Leaving is a dangerous time. Learn the best ways to leave. Divorcing an abuser can be hell unleashed, your preparation will be critical. Learn to work with the lawyers, and child therapists/evaluators who will be helping you. A calm demeanour, proof and documentation are crucial to success. Having that documentation to refer to keeps us refocused on our decision.

Make a list of what nastiness you have had to endure. Refer to it for reinforcement. Inform other people you know will support you. Avoid those who will not. Expect a smear-campaign from your abuser. Work with the police and your lawyer. We conduct ourseves with Dignity, Integrity and Grace calm, factual, and in control.

Our involvement with them causes a temporary suspension of our otherwise good jugement. We need this time to learn, gain perspective, and heal ourselves. This is our best opportunity to learn why we may have allowed ourselves to remain in abusive situations. We all need to accept ownership of the mistakes we may have made along the way. If we must make contact because of legal/custody arrangements, discuss absolutely nothing else. Don't allow an abuser to bait you.

Therapy: Perhaps we're attracted to the wrong types, or our urge to help or fix them is strong. If we create 'excuses' to avoid leaving, are terrified of loneliness, have abandonment fears or if we think our abuser is all we have, we need therapy. If we're stuck or unable to progress through the stages of recovery, we need therapy also. Many people face these problems. You are not alone and you are not weak.

If you are in joint therapy, tell the therapist your intention to leave. The therapist should be able to work with your abuser to prepare them. Ethical therapists will not disclose your intentions. A good therapist can help prepare your abuser for the separation.

Don't sweat the wedding vows...As Dr. Phil reminds us "You can't sustain a relationship that is based on deception, lies, infidelity, or other deal-breaking behaviors. This is deal-breaking behavior." When our marriage has turned into lies, treachery, betrayal and abuse that person has destroyed every interpretation of any marriage vows.

How long does recovery take? There's no calculation formula. We all heal at our own pace. You will progress through stages of recovery and grief. Recovery means being aware of how we are changed forever by this experience. We can speed up the process by focusing on 'one step at a time', and all-out ˜self care". It takes time to rediscover the person we were before and shape ourselves into the one we want to be. Grieve your lost relationship. Allow yourself plenty of time to wind down from the stress and abuse, and begin the process of rebuilding your new life. Be good to yourself first and foremost! Expect doubts, second-guessing yourself, nightmares, loneliness, post traumatic stress disorder, exhaustion. Journal and/or participate on a discussion site with others facing the same situation. Brace yourself and be prepared to deal with their emotional sniper's drive-by verbal assault.
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We deal with the sadness and regret of our own hurtful words and actions. The nostalgic rememberance of shared intimacies, places, laughs and jokes and the emptiness left by the other person's absence, the lack of any closure in a normal relationship, and the smear campaign hurled at us not only by the abusers but those fools they deceive. We may face betrayal from our own families and friends because of the deception of these abusers. Coping with the end of our hopes and dreams of the relationships continuing, the loss of an anticipated future.

The reality of their lack of conscience is incomprehensible as we grapple with the realization that someone we loved is incapable of loving us in return. The relationships was only a myth. The shock of this new knowledge and reality that we're in love with someone with a mental disorder who can instantly and completely delete us from their memory and attach to a new 'supply source' and appear happier without us is very emotionally painful.

We are shocked, hurt and angry on discovering Jekyll/Hyde. Expect obsessive thinking and fantasies of revenge and justice. As if that horror isn't enough, we become aware of their sadism and misogyny. Expect them to try and draw you back into the relationship. Prepare yourself to deal with this emotionally as we prepare to stop their attempts.

Our "how could I have been so stupid"? feeling, and unwarranted embarrassment and shame as it hits us that everything was a set up in their agenda. The shock that we were targeted and our awareness of our naivete. The discovery of serious mental disorders as we learn the false mask of sanity hides their real nature. Learning the incomprehensible lack of empathy in them. Discovering the deception and lies, our exhaustion, and impaired health. Be aware that we may temporarily seem to be developing the very characteristics of the abuser in ourselves.

Realizing our feelings of protectiveness and pity for them were tools they used to target us. Our awareness of our susceptibility in having our nurturing characteristics turned against us by this disordered person, our hate/hope cycles and the realization that we were quite possibly raised in families which set us up to head in the path towards these types of abusers.

We face not being believed by anyone about what was done, being isolated, cut off from our support networks. The inability to warn or even get others to understand. As we learn about abusers, we feel they are lurking behind every bush.

The residue will be an inability to trust again with the innocence we once had. Our gain - the wonderful discovery of our self reliance and an ability to cope with any abuser who may cross our path and finding grace, dignity and maturity in our self discipline, will power and integrity.

Remember, your abuser has a mental disorder. He is what he is. Our recovery must include compassion, understanding, and our refusal to be an enabler or target any more.

(while this post was written in the male, remember - your abuser could be female!  Women abuse too!)

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shared by Barbara at 12:02 AM


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4 Comments:

It's been approx. 45 days since I broke off a 5 year relationship with a woman, I believe to be narcisstic, sociopath, and to top it off, a lawyer/litigator. All those years, I knew what the truth was..she was manipulative, lied, ellusive, deceptive, argumentative(you can't argue with a lawyer much less a narcissist!), self-involved, and embelishes her everyday activities, stress levels, etc. Her x-husband refers to her as a "master manipulator and a Liar." I don't pay much attention to X's comments anyway.

My healing process from this relationship has been to understand myself and my role in the relationship, as well, to understand her condition. Your blog, as compared to others, relates well in that your experiences bring out the deeper aspects of such conditions. To study it is one thing, to experience it is another.

I'd like to touch briefly about the areas of what it entails to be a lawyer (litigator specifically) and expound upon the sociopathic view also.

Law school pre-empts the students right to be emotional and empathetic. These feelings are construed in the strictess form as illogical and unpoductive as it relates to being a successful litigator. One of my signs, that I did not pay attention to, when in the early stages of dating this woman was when I asked her,"what inspired her to become an attorney?" She replied, " I discovered early in my teenage years, that I had an ability to make people do and believe what I wanted them to." In essence, she was a perfect candidate for this profession. Little did I know what was in store for me! Law school professors and psycholgist alike agree that an epidemic of Lawyers suffer from an inability to be emotionally healthy, especially where it concerns interpersonal relationships. They have no sense of diplomacy, adhere to a percieved legal logic,and are detached from a reality that most people outside law can only understand. In the case of my former fiancee, let's blend her early discovery of skill-sets to manipulate people, and law school. You now have formulated the worst kind of personality that could exist on the face of the earth! Inter-personally speaking. People outside our relationship, colleauges,etc., believed her to be lively, and extremely personable. Early on, in the bedroom, she talked about her sexual encounters with other men, she disclosed that any of these men would be knocking at her door if she allowed. She would talk about her daily experiences at the courthouse, whereby, men would clamor over her. She would go on girl-friend trips and state she would literally have to beat the men off her. That changed with time, as she gained in the neighborhood of 80 pounds to date. Now she still considers herself a catch, based upon her professional status, that she holds season tickets for the local football team, that she is still superior in bed. This was always thrown in my face, as if I had nothing to offer. I did not care about the season football tickets, as for sex, she controlled that in a sense that she wanted it fast, hard, and without the passion, kissing and such. She was too impatient to make love. Her professional status, well, she let me know that her job was more important than mine (engineer) because people's lives were at stake. I was caught in the proverbial "bear trap." She could take a statement I would make, no malice intended, create a scenario by which I somehow had an ulterior motive in this statement, and the arguement ensued. Laded with rhetoric, innuendos, and comprised of issues that were unrelated. In the end, she would convey her opinion, that what I said was unacceptable and hurtful. She was relentless, and I would succumb, for the sake of peace. I was recently at her office, speaking with her secretary about a large stack of boxes in the breakroom. Her secretary stated those boxes needed to go to storage. When my fiancee became available, I kindly offered to take those boxes to storage since I had my truck with me. She replied, "did my secretary tell you this?" I replied, yes. She then stated to me "how dare you confer with my secretary about something before you talk to me,..this is my business and you have no right otherwise." She went on for the next two hours about it. The straw that broke the camels back was an instance whereby I forgot to pickup some dry cleaning on my way out of town. I asked a favor of her to pick this up for me as I would not make it back in time to have for our trip. The next day she let me know that she had picked up the coat from the dry cleaners. Please note, the dry cleaner's was 5 blocks from her office. She then began to tell me to never do this again to her, that she did not have 5 minutes that could be taken from her schedule, because of my mistake or as she referred to it as, "my bonehead move." I soundboarded back to her stating, "I said thank you, and that I appreciated you doing this for me, why can't you simply say,"your welcome", and leave it at that? The beratement then began, "well, it WAS one of your more bonehead moves,..why can't you admit it!? You're never wrong, why can't you just admit it, you give no creedance to the things I say, you're an F'n idiot!" This is when I knew, there really was no love, or emotional bond between us. There was no respect,and my self-esteem had all it could take.

These were minor examples of what I went through during the course of 5 years. Control, deception, lies, and she validated all of it. She would say things like, "if I shared with 10 people my perception Vs yours, they would most certainly see it my way!!" Or, I asked the advice of my father about our issues and he said that my side was more plausible than yours." Funny thing about her father,.. About a year ago, I asked her father, "if there was any one word that would describe your daughter while raising her through her youth, what would it be?" He replied without hesitation "scammer." I did the same thing with her sister and she replied " she was evil."

I wished sometimes I could have recognized this sooner, instead of betting on my perceived potential of this relationship. I accept responsibility for staying in it as long as I did. There were other issues with trust and fidelity based upon lies about where she says she was going Vs where she actually went. Several pictures of her with a man on the girlfriend trip, day and night shots, mulitudes of attire, most likely with her the entire 5 day trip. She tried to convince me it was all innocent, and that I invaded her privacy by looking at these pictures, this is her house, how dare I! She shouldn't have left them out on the kitchen counter, mistakenly! I now know she is a "sociopath with a law degree" and believe me, that is hazardous to ones mental health. I was an ultimate choice for her because I am emotionally cognizant and treat a woman the way they should be treated. I am a passionate man. These types are game for someone who hold narsisstic, sociopathic tendencies. Best of luck to her AND her next victim. You have a great website and recommend it highly to everyone that needs answers where it concerns abuse. Thanks.

4:57 PM  

I love your blog and I come here everyday as I work my way through five years of abusive relationships (two in a row). My home is really empty these days, so it's nice to have somewhere on the web where I find myself thinking "Yes!" or "Exactly!" as I read.

That's all I was going to right, but I feel compelled to respond to the above comment. First, it's refreshing to hear a man open up about abuse. But, as a law student and future lawyer who has gained eight stitches and a broken nose (amongst other injuries) over the last few years, I must express my hope that the anonymous author of the previous post does not extrapolate generalizations about lawyers (even litigators specifically) in general from his ex's narcissistic personality. Many of us got into law not because we know how to get what we want, but because we are passionate about justice, equality, sociopolitical issues, and/or academia. I'm so sorry about your ex...But it's not the job, it's who she is as a person. It's all her fault, giving her no excuses and not blaming her profession.

1:05 AM  

Although this article gives some good suggestions, those of us who read this website daily have been blessed by other articles. It is rarely as easy to disengage. Look at all this stuff! LOOK! HOW WE HAVE TO BE PERFECT, document every single thing, take care of the children, think about the best course of action to get out, plan, plot, and all the while we are being abused by the abuser, disbelieved by most everyone, and there's a great chance we have ptsd, live in fear and have been abused before.

The problem IS overwhelming!

I'm currently reading the book by Claudia Moscovici titled "Dangerous Liaisons: How to Recognize and Escape from Psychopathic Seduction." Wow! It's a great book. Nail after nail is hit on the head. Thomas Sheridan (haven't read his book, just listening to some interviews on Youtube) points out that when he initially started searching for info on psychopaths the pickins were slim. But it seems like with each reputable book on psychopaths that comes out, it builds a better foundation for more.

Psychopathy is real, very common and genetic. VERY, VERY COMMON AND HIGHLY GENETIC. The vast majority of us never even find this out until it's far too late. Currently the only sure way to prove one is a psychopath is through mri testing. We need broader access to this. We also need professionals trained to check for this and then help the victims. But once again, we need to start by testing the therapists, counselors etc., otherwise we may just have rapists in charge of helping the raped. By the way, evil is real!

10:37 AM  

I really needed to read this article today - thank you ! It describes me *exactly*. It is so helpful to have the information presented so clearly as it is day after day after day on this website.

I have decided to leave my husband and from what I am learning, I need to wait until I can safely go No Contact before I leave. So it will be a process and I am hoping to stay strong and private as I make my plans.

I especially appreciate the observation that abusive behavior is a "deal breaker" for marriage. It has taken me awhile to embrace that my marriage is abusive. But the info in this article exactly describes the inner workings of my marriage and how it started to be Jekyll/Hyde almost immediately.

It is so helpful to get clear about sociopaths and how they are all about their own supply with no remorse and no bonding. He lies with a straight face while planning his next move. After finding out more darkness about him recently, I notice that I get these electrical jolts when he is in the room - almost like an allergic reaction. It's this weird sensation of repulsion.

I am looking for somewhere to move and hoping to find a safe place for me and my pets. In the meantime, I am working to stay calm and focused.

This is all very difficult so I hope you know how much this website helps me. If not for the great information here, I would be making all kinds of mistakes right now.

6:31 PM  

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