I almost married my worst abuser. I was young, I already believed I was damaged goods, and, typical of abusers, he confirmed this was the case, explicitly, over and over again.

We were engaged, and I was happy to be chosen at all. Given how I already felt and what he confirmed to be true – that no one else would want me – I thought that this toxic, abusive relationship was the best I could hope for. And surely it was better than nothing?

But things started to fall apart. Firstly, he’d been away studying at a university abroad long enough that I started to have a life again, free from his rages, control, and abuse. I could go out with my college friends without fear that he’d find out where I was and physically drag me out of the club and into a taxi. I started to have fun again. And I’d also just found evidence of him setting up rendezvous with other people. The rose tinted glasses began to slip.

And then I went on a family holiday during which I met someone who really liked me and didn’t care about my past. The second morning I was on this holiday I received a really nasty text from my fiance and something within me just broke. I knew it was over and that I would end things, face to face, once I got home.

That was the day I decided to allow this new person to take me on a date. I had never been so spoiled and cared for by someone before. It made me realise that not everyone would insist I was broken; some people liked me for me, and I realised all the psychological manipulation wasn’t based in reality. I was worthy of being treated well.

I got home and I got out. The relationship was over. The engagement was ended. Three years of abuse and believing this was as good as it would ever be was over. The relief I felt was better than anything else I’d felt in those three years.

I’d done it…right? Well, kind of.

What followed over the next 6-7 years was more dating of the wrong people. Abusers, toxic dynamics and even someone who was battling a terrible addiction as the result of some really severe trauma. Granted, none of them were as bad as the first, but I wasn’t happy, and I was triggered all the time. There were still so many elements of my own self-abandonment and the dysfunctional patterns in my partners that felt way too familiar.

Almost exactly ten years after I’d left the worst one, I started to get my trauma treated. Permanently. Something I could have only dreamed was possible before. And it wasn’t that complicated. Hard, yes, but it wasn’t triggering, and was surprisingly quick, compared to all the years I’d spent talking to mental health professionals, trying to find relief.

Once I realised what I needed, what to do, and how simple trauma healing really is, I started to get obsessed. My story was so common, it was mundane. And not even the worst of them.

What happened as a result of me treating my trauma was that I became this really grounded, stable, assertive version of me. I didn’t lose my empathy or kindness, and I didn’t become indifferent to wrongdoings. I was just able to handle it all with a regulated nervous system, no more flashbacks, and my feelings stopped getting so out of control in a way that was horribly disruptive.

The thing that I learnt from all of this was that, yes, leaving is an incredible feat of strength. It takes most people many times of attempting to leave before they manage to really do it. It’s a very, very difficult thing to do. But after that, to tend to all the ways in which that experience affected you, and to heal any patterns that you had that makes you an unwilling participant in such relationships, is what frees you from the cycle for good.

It’s been over ten years now since I got out of that cycle for good. I’m surrounded by more deep, meaningful, and healthy friendships than I could ever need. And the people I date now are within an acceptable range! No long term relationship has come out of it yet, but I’m confident now that I know how to do it, and it’s just a matter of time (and spending time outside of my house!). But I also just really enjoy being me, and that’s one of the best feelings any trauma survivor can have. You deserve to feel safe in your own body.

I also have the honour of helping people just like you to do the same; to recover from everything that has been, and to get the chance to really be yourself, have good relationships with other human beings, and to better handle the challenging relationships you’re continuing to navigate.

I would love to help you to do the same. The past has taken enough from you, and you deserve to spend the rest of your life living for you a bit more. Think you might be ready to leave the past in the past? Book a call with me and let’s have a chat about it!


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