I’ve been telling myself and everyone around me, I’m over my abusive relationship, I’ve moved on, I’m a new person. I’ve recently come to believe this isn’t true. I’ve been working very hard to move on and start my new life but I have never really dealt with the fallout from the way that I lived for so many years. I’m a far different person than I was 20 years ago. Different at the core, different than my true self.
The years of abuse made an already somewhat quiet, observant woman withdraw even further. My voice was silenced by all the years of put downs, learning not to show excitement about anything so that it couldn’t be used against me, staying quiet so that nothing I said could come back to haunt me, being minimized and told I was stupid, ugly. Taking away a persons voice is taking away the essence of who they are. That’s what happened to me.
This past weekend I attended a retreat hosted by Lundy Bancroft. I went mainly to try to figure out what a healthy relationship was supposed to be like, how do I set boundaries and stick to them, how do identify the proper partner. Instead I was reminded of my past, what I remember of it. You see the mind is a powerful and self-preserving thing. It helps you cope when things are bad and sometimes that coping is forgetting. I was aware that my memory had huge gaps. But hearing other women say the same thing and being able to link it to the abuse they suffered made me realize I was afflicted by the same phenomena. Not only has the abuse stolen my essence but the fallout has stolen my memories. Even if they are bad memories they belong to me and I want them back.
I have journals but they have huge gaps of years between entries. I have the blog I wrote in the last year we were together. That last year together was an aberration. He was in legal trouble for threatening the cops (which it turns out is not illegal) and said to me on more than one occasion, “You know I can’t do anything to you because if I do you can call the cops and I’ll be in jail because of the other issue.” I didn’t know that but I agreed. That didn’t save me from the emotional abuse.
So today I reached out to someone who mentioned how horrible he treated me on a vacation we had together. I asked her to tell me what happened because I forgot. It’s a first step and maybe my only step. I don’t really have anyone else to reach out to. He was on his best behavior around my family.
Back to the mojo. I used to have enthusiasm for life. I joked around and participated with everyone. I was engaged in what was going on around me and quick with comebacks. I used to blurt out feelings with the honesty of a five-year old when I liked something or someone. I don’t expect to go back to that 20 something person. But I’d like to become less reserved, I’d like to live in the moment instead of in my head, I’d like to speak up more easily without turning blotchy and red. I simply want to fully participate in my life and engage with the people around me.
For me speaking my thoughts would be getting my mojo back.