Why Just Leaving An Abusive Partner Is Not Enough

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Sometimes in the midst of listening to a woman talk about trauma, I hear echos of my own experience. (Do all narcissists use the same script?) I drift along with the conversation, not wanting to interrupt. And in the end I offer whatever advice I can, hoping that it will inspire action.

In my case, leaving was an opportunity to dive deeper.

I was not only leaving him but also a whole emotional lifestyle that allowed him to become a part of my life. I knew that if I wanted to rip out this emotional weed in my garden of potential, I needed to get at the root. I replaced resentment with curiosity and discovered I was so much more than what I felt. That my sense of self extended far beyond how I felt at any given moment and what I had to give. And that is how I found closure and empowerment.

Fear of change breeds fixation and obsession and continued victimisation.

Looking back now, leaving him was the easy part compared to the hard work that came next. Learning how not to participate in abusive manipulative relationships comes with a steep learning curve and a lot of safe guarding while trying to adjust to a new reality.

A new normal in which we use our abusive experience as a catalyst for self growth and love, creating a stronger and more resilient version of ourselves.

And this does not come easy – especially if we have been subjected to a repeated onslaught of someone else’s false narrative. Therefore it’s necessary to take pen to paper and schedule a daily routine of self-care in which we show up for ourselves 110%.

This is vital, especially when dealing with the aftermath of trauma, when it may be difficult to give priority to personal needs in the midst of dealing with so many other issues. But this is the key to really moving forward.

One of the important benefits of scheduling a self-care routine is that the structure it gives is very grounding and this allows us to better deal with a sea of change and strong waves of emotion.

Treat this self-care routine as a new job. It may be difficult to do at first but the more we apply ourselves to it and learn the skills we need to maximise our effort, the more rewarding it will become and the more doors it will open. Promise. Like attracts like. Don’t wait for permission. It will never come.

A self-care routing also includes finding ways to talk about our experience constructively. Sometimes we repeat the same talk about our past because we are lacking the language to reframe our experience form a more empowering point of view. Yes, more empowering means having the courage to ask ourselves the tough questions that allow us to start taking responsibility for our actions right now.

In addition it will also allow us to start rebuilding our self-esteem so that we can see ourselves for who we truly are. This is our chance to untangle ourselves from the false narcissistic narrative imposed on us by the abuser. It allows us to reclaim ourselves from the lies we were led to believe and stop living in their shadow.

So what exactly do I mean by self-care?

Anything that moves us away from constantly dwelling on the past and what it does or doesn’t mean. In the midst of now, we are creating our future. The most important question we can ask ourselves is whether the our actions align with what we really want. Start slow and embrace change. Always move in the direction of what is difficult not easy. Create a check list of goals, including the steps that need to be taken to accomplished them and follow through on each one. Don’t give up.

If one thing fails, consider it feedback and pivot. Use what you learn to try something new. Be creative. Weed that garden of yours. Dig deep for those roots and in their place, plant new seeds.

And let me know how your garden grows.

If there is one message I would like to share with all women, it’s that you are so much more than you hold onto. Discover what that more is and share it with the world. We lead by example and not by what we say. Transformation is a verb.

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