When I was trying to break away from my abusive husband, I first needed to understand what was really going on in the relationship. In other words, I wanted to know for a fact that the fights and breakdowns were not solely my fault.
Suddenly, I discovered that I had been living like a frenetic hamster on a wheel, going round and round, faster and faster all the time. For as long as I stayed on that wheel, all I would ever do was go round and round. Eventually, I would probably have dropped off it; emotionally, if not physically, I would have died of exhaustion.
When I look back, it wasn’t just a circle; it was actually a spiral that went progressively further downhill with every revolution.
That diagram helped me.
I’ve since used it to help many, many other abused women. Once women understand the inevitability of the damage they will suffer in an abusive relationship, the relationship loses much of its attraction. Once they understand that the dream they have for the relationship is not part of the picture, it becomes easier to walk away, physically and emotionally.
That is the often the first step to healing.
After that first step there are a number of others that facilitate healing.
Part of the power that domestic violence has over us is that, for the longest time, we are floundering in uncharted waters. We don’t know where we are, where we might be headed, we can’t even find our back to where we once were.
We can’t explain it to ourselves, and it is very rare to find helpful, supportive people around who can explain it successfully to us.
As soon as we have a map of the territory, things become clearer. We can look beyond that map, we can start to explore the whole atlas. We can start to look beyond where we are to where we want to go. And then we can follow the route that will take us there most quickly.
We can heal by accident, or by design.
One woman wrote to me this week and said that there was no point in her trying to heal fast, because her healing had to be a slow process.
There is nothing to suggest that healing requires a proportion of the time you have spent suffering abuse: there is no 10%, 20%, 50%, or 100% rule.
When you want to heal and are prepared to commit emotionally to your healing, and you have the right tools, that is the best tools available, healing can, and does, happen very fast.
You may not be ready to take that next step yet, but if you feel you are ready to move from victim to creator in your life, I would urge you to act now. Make that leap of faith, and your healing will occur very fast.
If you are ready, the 10 week Emotional Abuse Recovery teleclass program may be just what you need.