Thought Catalog

What No One Tells You About Leaving An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

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When you leave emotional abuse, they don’t tell you what to expect. They tell you to stand firm, build a support system and find a safe place. Mend your internal wounds. They don’t tell you how much it will hurt. It hurts.

Not because you want to stay in the brokenness but because it’s been home for too long. It hurts because you constantly look to this person for approval and validation; something you have never gotten from them and something you won’t ever get. It hurts like hell. The person you’re looking to for approval is the one person who’s making you need it in the first place.

If you’re a compassionate and hopeful person you will feel weak and you will need to find strength. You will need to keep living the nightmare through your memories as you push through your weakness. When they come back to apologize, to grovel, to say they will get help; you will need to cling to those memories. They will burn on top of scars you’ve been trying to heal. You will feel broken, because you are broken. You will cry. You will crave the negativity like an addict needing that last jolt of high. You will crave it because it’s a vicious cycle within a routine. It’s what you’ve gotten used to and you’ve forgotten how to be happy. You’ve forgotten normal. You’ve forgotten how to be in peace. It’s going to hurt. Like hell.

You are going to miss them, at first and for while. You will miss them because you’ve seen potential. You will miss them because abusers have the most intense flip sides. When they’re on-they’re on. When they’re off-they’re way off and you’ve always loved intensities. You will have to be strong for a long time. They don’t tell you that. You will have to be strong as you put yourself back together. When you analyze yourself and find the areas of focus you need to patch. You will need to be strong as you break old habits. You will need to fight for yourself and for new relationships.

They don’t tell you that in new relationships you will need to be aware of how old habits can try to creep in. You will have to push the fear of talking about issues aside and open-up because you’ve been closed off and numb for so long. They don’t tell you how to re-train your brain.

You’ll need to know that not all people will generate the same reactions—and that you are now learning a new normal. A happy and healthy normal. They don’t tell you how scary that is. How wrong it can feel. They don’t tell you how fucked it’s made you, making a home out of brokenness. They don’t tell you that when you find something beautiful and healthy that you will feel like running. You will be in a tug of war. You will want it but you will be frightened.

They don’t tell you that you will make everything about yourself, because it has been all about you for so long. Every bad thing, big and small, has been your fault. Every twist, manipulation and over used sorry has been your fault. You will need to learn to stop making everything about you. Every bad mood, every problem, every issue that can’t be fixed. They don’t tell you to stop literally taking things personally. When you’ve been hit and jabbed on such personal levels so often and for so long, it’s hard not to, isn’t it?

People will tell you to stop apologizing. You will realize that you apologize to everyone for all sorts of silly things. They don’t mention that. It’s a reminder of the abuse and it will sting in it’s realization from time to time. Just so you know. Making eye contact will be a challenge. It will feel too intimate. It will feel like you’re baring all.

They don’t tell you that to change something, you must make the decision to change it, before you’re faced with it.

They don’t tell you to blare the music until you can’t feel a damn thing. On the bad days, you should try it.

They don’t tell you the things that will bring you comfort, ideas are tossed only, because those things are a personal preference.

They don’t mention that you must remember who you are. The you before someone stole from you and tried to tell you who or what you were. Back in touch with feelings you will have to get, before someone told you how you felt or why you did something.

There are so many things you won’t be told. There are so many dependant factors. They don’t tell you because being abused and vulnerable aren’t combinations you find hand in hand. They don’t tell you because “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Soren Kierkegaard. TC mark

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