What No One Told Me After I Left My Abuser

In She Speaks by Amanda Oleson7 Comments

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You’ve seen it a thousand times before. Those motivational pieces about getting out of an abusive relationship. They’re touching. They’re helpful. They all say the same thing:

“You can leave. You should leave. You deserve more than this. You arebetter than this.”

And the articles are right. They are all right. Don’t think that anything I say in this will discount those truths or the nightmare that is an abusive relationship. I’m just saying that there are a few parts of the story that have been left out.

 

No one tells you how it feels after the big moment. After you’ve left and you’re on your own. You’re strong, you’re empowered, and you can handle anything. But now what?

 

Here’s what happens next:

 

You will see the look in your father’s eyes when you tell him what happened. You’ll watch his heart break in front of you as he realizes that, despite his best efforts, he couldn’t protect you from the evil in another man.

 

You will- at some point- be ashamed of yourself. For who you were and how you acted in that relationship. For letting someone do that to you. Most of all for being ‘that girl’.

 

‘That girl’ is the one who sees the look of pity in the eyes of nearly everyone she knows, and some people that she doesn’t. ‘That girl’ was stupid enough to believe that he wouldn’t do it again. That it was an accident, and he didn’t really mean it. You’ll be ‘that girl’, and for a while, everyone that looks you in the eyes will do so with pity.

 

When you eventually find someone that you trust enough to let in to your heart, you realize that you will have to find a way to tell them. Tell them that at one point in your life, someone else controlled your every move, your every thought. They may want to hear every soul-crushing detail. And you will have to relive it all over again.

 

The people you love will try to understand, but they’ll still forget the little things. They’ll forget that they can’t slam the door, can’t touch your face- definitely can’t touch your face. Everyone around you will forget and then get confused when you jump at something they did.

 

Finally, of all the things that you need to know about leaving your abuser, this is the most vital: you will finally be happy. Truly happy. Not happy like you were when things were good with him, but happy with yourself. After fighting through abuse and everything that comes with it, you will end up happier and stronger than you ever realized possible. And if for no other reason than that, everything else will have been worth it. Take strength in knowing that you can come back from anything.

 

While I have struggled- and still struggle- with the repercussions of an abusive relationship, I know that I couldn’t be where I am today without the saving grace of Jesus Christ. My faith is what got me out of that relationship and it is what I lean on still to remind me that love is a lot of things, but it is never cruel. Any form of real love should try to emulate the way that Jesus loved us, and that means being kind, gentle, and slow to anger.

 

Since leaving, I’ve found the man of my dreams who has helped me work through some of the anxieties I still hold because of my history of abuse. He was the main reason I chose to write this piece, and he guides me closer to Christ everyday with his love.

 

For anyone dealing with abuse, please reach out. Know that you are loved beyond measure by our King and Creator, and there are people here to help. You can receive help through the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

 

Psalms 22:24 For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

 

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Comments

  1. Shannen

    Dear Amanda,

    Just want to say thank you for writing this piece. I understand because I’ve been there. I’m sorry you experienced abuse, but I praise God that you have found someone healthy who loves you, truly loves you! It takes courage to write about our experiences for many different reasons. One is that it can dig up old feelings and then we spend the rest of the day praying over them. Another reason is that not many people understand or want to understand abuse. It’s so uncomfortable for people to read about that it often gets ignored…so the abuse topic is one of the least read blog entry. But regardless of what’s popular or comfortable you still chose to write and I thank you! God bless you as you continue on this journey and know that God was with you then and He is with you now.

  2. Letty

    Reading through this post, is like some kind reading my own story. I lived with an abuser, my ex-husband is an alcoholic, and sill is. It is totally true, you are embarrassed to tell what’s going on. When you take courage to face the reality, people will tell you that everything is going to be much better, and they are right!, but it takes time, time to heal, time to forget, time to forgive, time for you to become who you were. And you have to face lonely the worst time in your life. I know that for real.
    I don’t know you, but i kept to myself for about almost 1 year without speaking very much. I faced the worse, something that i never ever, not even in my worse nightmares have been through.
    But, then i found Him, and until now He comes with me and my children wherever we go.
    He is true love, peace, and has mercy.
    Has been almost 3 years since then. I am single mom, i have to work very hard to support my kids, and the only thing keeps me moving forward is Him, my Father the only one for me. THANK YOU GOD. All the Glory for Him.
    Hopefully i can find the right one for me and my kids.

    If some of you ladies that are able to read this, please, please, SPEAK, if you are in a abusive relationship SPEAK, you are not alone, there are many of us, but we all are better now, so will you…

    God bless you all

  3. Bonnie Stewart

    Great website. I would just note that people from all walks of faith or who are non-religious can find their own strengths in various ways. Its great that faith has helped many of you. Finding a great therapist can help you to heal the most. We all have issues and they have to be worked through to be resolved. I grew up in an abusive environment and have an ex-husband who was also abusive. You are not alone. Hang in there. You are worth loving. If you were never taught how, its never too late to learn. Survivors helping survivors is a beautiful thing.

  4. Heather

    I left my abuser 5 months ago. My closest guy friend rescued me from the situation and has stepped in to help me with my two children. It gets easier. He has shown me God and faith. He has gone out of his way to do things that no normal person would – like fly 2000 miles round trip in one day just to deliver court papers for me so I wouldn’t have to be near my abuser.

    People don’t tell you how hard it is to leave. For me… I have PTSD and anxiety. I struggle in public because I’m always afraid he is waiting there in the shadows to hurt me. I have trouble sleeping. I have nightmares.

    But I also have my rights. I don’t have to worry about sex being forced. I don’t have to protect my children from his screaming and violence. I don’t have to hold my son when he shakes so bad in anger that he hates his father, or my daughter when she cries cause she is afraid of her father. I can drive now. I can go out with friends. I have a job. A bank account.

    Thank you for this. God Bless You.

  5. Evelina

    I have been abused in my childhood, I have went through a lot of trauma both as a kid and an adult, now I just left my abusers that are, my alcoholic brother and my mother that has teamed up with him. I suffer from PTSD, anxiety and major depression, I feel so lonely especially after I left them (I use the no contact rule) and I wish to be able to move out of this house as soon as it’s possible.

    I do feel lonely, I feel a lot of anger, I know it takes time to heal…. I pray to God that that day will come when I will be healed. I cannot believe that my own brother and mother have abused me, I am still in a mental fog, I don’t truly realize the trauma I’ve been through. We just have to keep moving. I am also dealing with several health issues and it’s hard to move right now, but NO there is no turning back to them ever.

  6. Brittany

    This is good. I just made the first step of leaving my soon to be ex husband. It has been only 5 days and this is the most emotional I have been. My 4 yr old child has witnessed so much and I finally have the strength to leave for my sake and hers. It is so hard and confusing. I have support but the lack of resources, i have no job, no money, and no place to live. Hearing(or in this case reading) other stories helps me keep moving forward. I know I have a long road ahead of me but I’m ready to feel true happiness.

    WHat can I do about him trying to play victim because I have hit him with a stick before when I was scared?

  7. Martha

    I have on day five of freedom after 44 years of regular abuse it started when I was 18 on my wedding night it is now over he will not mentally or physically torture me again. Several times I have attempted to break away to be lured back in with promises of Ill change I love you I’m sorry but within a few weeks the control and intimidation starts to return and my feeling of uselessness. For some unbelievable reason I allow myself to be drawn back in to the madness but I am strong now I have stopped the secrets and put the truth out there and I feel at this moment liberated I don’t need this man in my life I don’t want him in my life.

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