October is always a time of reflection and gratitude, as I am a domestic violence survivor. There are so many of us who have survived the menacing and evil treatment from our abusers. Even better, we have found a way to rebuild and thrive.
It has been a privilege to work with and support many women in finding their voice towards the simple word; Enough. It is a small but mighty work. Enough, says it all. No more will you tolerate being spoken to like a second-class citizen. No more will you allow your skin to crawl when you are touched by your abuser. No more will you shrink to make someone else feel better about their insecurities. No more will you alter your soul for someone else’s small, minded demands.
But once we have removed ourselves from the grips of our abusers, we can find that we still carry the pain with us. There can be a residue of pain, fear, insecurity, shame, and depression left behind. Now we begin the hard work. The work of surviving while trying to heal. Doing so while working, parenting, and being surrounded by those who do not have a clue as to what you have truly been through. Only another survivor can truly relate to the hell you have survived. Whether it was having a knife at your throat, being spit on, or the systematic erosion of your self-worth, only a survivor will understand the internal pain of your journal.
Our takeaways can be:
- Isolation and withdrawal when we don’t feel emotionally or physically safe
- Hyper vigilance – our heads are always on a swivel
- Easily startled
Some of us may meet the diagnostic criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome PTSD and may experience some of the following:
- Behavioral: agitation, irritability, hostility, hyper vigilance, self-destructive behavior, or social isolation
- Psychological: flashback, fear, severe anxiety, or mistrust
- Mood: loss of interest or pleasure in activities, guilt, or loneliness
- Sleep: insomnia or nightmares
- Also common: emotional detachment or unwanted thoughts
Ironically, one of the most unidentified feelings of a domestic violence survivor is that of anger. It may seem obvious, yet a survivor can have an undercurrent of anger and resentment that presents as sadness and depression. Anger can become a silent culprit and an impediment to our healing journey. We can think of ourselves as weak, for accepting such treatment, which in turn may leave a vacuum of rage and indignation. You would think this anger would be towards the abuser, but often, it is towards ourselves.
Misallocated anger that is self-inflicted can have
damaging results on your self-worth, your emotional health,
and your physical health.
So, how do we identify such feelings? How do we begin the exploration towards discovering our darkest feelings?
If you are ready to take the first steps towards healing, you have options. You can click the “resources & links” tab to your right. There are numerous organizations that provide assistance no matter what stage you are in towards surviving and healing.
You can google a local licensed therapist in your area to begin processing and working through how you got there, why you stayed (which is nothing to be ashamed of), how to heal and rebuild.
Lastly, I will be publishing a self-paced online course which will be available in the month of November. Keep an eye out for the release. If you are interested in reviewing the first view modules at a discounted price, please comment with your email address below.
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One response to “Domestic Violence Awareness Month”
What a great read